Known as the land of a million elephants, Laos experienced an economic boom when it opened up its economy more than a decade ago. Although economic growth rates were impressive, urban planners scrambled to develop new ways to cope with the by-product of this growth: increased pollution of the air, water, and soil in the cities, where most of the growth was occurring.
Cities are the focal points and drivers of societal development in all countries. At the same time, they are the largest consumers of natural resources and the biggest sources of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
Fortunately, cities also house the greatest concentration of the world’s brains, brawn, money, talent, ambition and vision – all of which need to be deployed to find environmentally and financially sustainable solutions to urban problems.
Rural areas in eastern regions, which typically enjoy higher levels of industrialization and urbanization, have suffered most from pollution. Various forms of pollution not only threaten the health of hundreds of millions of rural inhabitants, but also affect the urban population through contaminated water, air and food. Zhou Shengxian, Minister of Environmental Protection, recently revealed the extent of rural pollution; he stated that the waste discharged into water in rural areas accounted for 48 percent of total waste.
The urbanisation trend in developing countries including Nepal is accelerating, thus exacerbating the condition of proper sanitation coverage. Despite greater sanitation coverage in urban areas compared to rural parts of Nepal, access to sanitation facilities does not solve the problem of improved sanitation. This is because conventional latrines normally lead to various other pressing environmental problems, along with the injustice of scarce water resources for flushing latrines to keep excreta out of sight, which means that other community-accepted sustainable solutions are needed.
Urban settings have a direct impact on the health of the people who live there. On World Health Day WHO is launching a campaign to highlight urban planning as a crucial link to building a healthy 21st century. In particular, the Organization calls upon municipal authorities, concerned residents, advocates for healthy living and others to take a close look at health inequities in cities and take action.
It is common to see empty mineral water bottles or other litter flying out of a car window in Kampala City. The reckless occupants of the car do not stop to think that what they are doing leaves behind a mess in the city.
But when heaps of garbage threaten to bury the entire city, the residents of Kampala are quick to point an accusing finger, calling for heads to roll at Kampala City Council (KCC). They forget they are part of the problem.
“It is not true that KCC has done nothing about the problem of waste disposal,” says Silver Mukulu, a waste management expert from KCC. “We collect waste and take it to Kiteezi, off Gayaza Road, where the urban poor sort it to get waste that can be used to make useful materials.”
Most of the water supply systems in African mega-cities are based on groundwater. Unplanned and rapid urban expansion has put enormous pressure on this natural resource, which becomes polluted from excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides as well as effluents from leaky sewerage systems, septic tanks, leaky fuel tanks, factories or pollutants from solid waste (garbage) dumps.
Activists are warning against air pollution in Indonesian cities which they said had reached alarming levels.
Based on daily monitoring, urban residents inhaled healthy air less than two months per year due in large part to poor transportation management.
A group of activists and government officials from the State Ministry for the Environment and the Transportation Ministry established a Forum for Indonesian Clean Air as part of its mission to push for sustainable transportation management to minimize air pollution.
This paper describes the impacts of recent disasters in urban areas and their contribution to poverty, and highlights how little attention urban development planning and disaster relief organizations give to disaster mitigation. It also describes CARE International’s Household Livelihood Security (HLS) model and how this allows an urban livelihoods approach to integrating measures for reducing poverty with measures for reducing risks from disasters. It pays particular attention to supporting low-income groups and community organizations in building and diversifying their asset bases. A focus on reducing household vulnerability to shocks and stresses (including disasters) also reveals the supporting actions needed from municipal authorities and disaster relief organizations.