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World Cities


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Assess how cities reduce their impact on the physical environment by the way they deal with waste, and consider the implications for sustainability. (10 marks)

For cities to be considered sustainable, a key aspect of this is to manage their waste efficiently and cause the least possible damage to the environment. England and Wales collectively produce a total of 400 million tonnes of waste every year, and the way in which this waste is dealt with is vital to the future of urban cities. Waste management methods vary widely, from landfill to recycling, and each one has its positive and negative impacts. In the UK, the EU and UK government produced targets for local authorities to reduce the amount of municipal waste not recycled, and were willing to introduce fines to encourage this. In an LEDC like India, cities such as Bangalore have far more advanced recycling methods than an MEDC due to the economic and environmental incentives that the process offers.

In 2006, statistics showed that landfill was the main waste management method used in the UK at 65%. Only 27% of waste was recycled. Using old quarries and mines, a large hole in the ground is used to bury waste. Once full, it is capped with soil. There are over 1,500 landfill sites across England and Wales, holding 100 million tonnes of waste every year. It is a convenient and cheap way of getting rid of waste, and doesn’t require any complex processes such as sorting the rubbish. As 2/3 of the landfilled waste is biodegradable, when they decompose they release gases such as carbon dioxide, contributing to the enhanced greenhouse gases. Modern landfill sites have gas extraction systems installed to extract harmful gases like methane and CO2 and are burnt to generate electricity. London produces enough waste per hour to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool, but Surrey Trumps Farm is a useful example of where

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