Why clean cities thrive

June 7, 2019
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Clean cities are good for business and help boost tourism.

Choking air pollution, traffic congestion, unprecedented rates of urban population growth and swelling landfills are a growing concern for urban planners globally.

Nicholas Stern, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, said: “Cities can be at the heart of the growth story of the future. If we are to create a dynamic and sustainable global economy, we will need productive cities where people can live, move and breathe. Cities should be attractive and dynamic places to live and work, where talented people can create and innovate.”

According to a new study for the Coalition for Urban Transitions, directing investments into low carbon projects in cities delivers faster and bigger returns than conventional infrastructure. Highly effective low-carbon projects include public transport, energy-efficient buildings, renewable energy, and solid waste management. Importantly, these initiatives benefit the poor the most. Low-income groups are more likely to live in draughty buildings and neighborhoods with chronic air pollution, and depend on public transport, cycling and walking.

The opportunities are there – now we need the plan so cities can work with waste pickers to improve their health and livelihoods while slashing the emissions from landfills and waste burning. A plan where cities will work with unions and businesses to train workers for local jobs in areas with high unemployment through programs to insulate buildings or electrify transport. A plan to expand public transport and create decent, low emitting jobs.

The cities we want – cleaner, healthier, richer – are made possible through climate action. Whether high-quality public transport or segregated cycling lanes, energy-efficient buildings or better waste management, the money, lives and hours saved are impressive.

For urban dwellers, the solution starts at home. From community litter picking to corporate programs that target industrial and commercial waste and government infrastructure projects, every bit helps to reduce the harmful and negative effects of pollution on the individual and the economy.

Useful tips to get you started
Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are commonly found in cell phones, laptops, cordless phones, household electronics or power tools and are considered hazardous waste when they are discarded. Unfortunately, more and more dangerous incidents are being reported involving explosions or fires caused by improperly disposed of cell phones or Li-Ion batteries. All batteries and electronic waste must be properly recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility or event, and NEVER placed in trash or recycling carts!

Batteries and most electronic waste are considered hazardous because of the metals and/or other toxic or corrosive materials contained within. Even when batteries have reached their end-life, they still hold a small charge. If batteries are not discarded properly, they can potentially explode and cause a fire in a collection cart, truck or in a disposal facility when crushed.

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