Category: Sanitation & Hygiene

Sanitation and hygiene are very much related to poverty, illiteracy, use and abuse of natural resources in particular water resources. Poor sanitation and hygiene have major negative impacts on public health with serious feedback effects on productivity in all sectors and levels in the society. To enhance the socio-economic developments and achieve acceptable and sustainable levels, e.g. in Africa and Asia, organized, coordinated and regular efforts are needed to improve the situation in these regions. It is not a matter of individual responsibility only since children, students and labor are continuously interacting with each other in various daily life activities where common facilities and resources are usually shared. Access to organized forms information packages, coaching, training and demonstrations for raising public awareness among communities, stakeholder’s activities, organizations and institutes are IMPERATIVE.

On the Road of UN-SDG -SWEDEN TEXTILE WATER INITIATIVE

COOPERATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY is imperative to put the world on the right track for achieving the UN-SDG. It is about global transformation of all sector activities and on all levels for shaping and reshaping our lifestyle to protect and preserve all life forms on earth.
Textile industries (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textile_industry) are among main sectors that contribute in major production of pollution and waste that threaten global freshwater resources.

Freshwater on our planet is precious and without sustainable management of such vital resource all life forms on planet earth will sooner or later vanish. Sweden Textile Water Initative brings together Swedish leather and textile companies in collaboration to reduce water, energy and chemical use in their supply chains.

The Sweden Textile Water Initiative announces the global results for the financial year ending 31 December 2015. The environmental, social and financial (the basic pillars of sustainability) results have surpassed expectations. Results have been collected from the Initiative’s scaled up global programme to increase efficient water, energy and chemical use at factory level in India, China, Bangladesh, Turkey and Ethiopia.

Among the goals and objectives of the Sweden Textile Water Initiative “STWI” are creating guidelines for increased sustainability worldwide. Based on the assumption that common guidelines pave the way for real change, STWI-guidelines provide suppliers with clear instructions on how to work towards improved water efficiency, water pollution prevention and wastewater management in production processes. The guidelines are available in English and Chinese. Visit the Guidelines page to learn more: http://stwi.se, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/kinds-pollution-textile-factories-give-off-77282.html

UN – World Water Day

Water is emerging more and more to be a global neccessity not only for the survival of life on planet Earth and improving our life quality on all scales and levels but also for providing young generation with meaningful jobs.

http://www.unwater.org/campaigns/world-water-day/en/
Sustain-earth.com continues to look far and deep in our future on planet Earth.

  

Refugees of Post Iraq War – An Insult and Shame of Human Values 

The migration crisis keeps expanding as millions of victims of the post Iraq war have no certain situation and being lost in huge uncertainties with homes, no future and nowhere to go. Add to this the the emerging social instabilities and crimes in Europe because of either conflicting cultures, difficulties for integration or desperation (http://gu.com/p/4g96y?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other).

The situation in large parts in the MENA region can very-well be compared to the conditions in Europe after WW-II. However, the future scenarios in the MENA region are much much different as compared to those existed in Europe and the world after WW-II. Except for a very small fraction, the future looks very uncertain and dramatic for millions of people in the MENA region. It is simply tragic and an insult to all human values. 

The refugees remain to be time-bombs endangering the stability in many parts not only in the MENA region but also in  neighboring areas for years to come (http://gu.com/p/4hkv3?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other). The refugee crisis is putting Europe under great constrains (http://gu.com/p/4gxyt?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other). It is simply because the system does not work as it was not designed for what we have right now, hundreds of thousands of refugees. 

  

Managing Sustainability – Science, Technology, R&D Versus Politics, Socio-Environment, Economics

Where are we today in the process of promoting sustainability ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability). To know this we have to examine the existing situation. 

There are needs to know the diverse parameters and factors governing the outcome of our efforts in relations to the goals of the ongoing “sustainability mission” as defined by the UN-SDG (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goals). It is essential to have wide-range of global observations, enough infra-structures of instruments and global alternative of approaches for measuring and assessing our achievement in managing the process and promotion of sustainability (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_management). We have just to apply the simple role “what we can not measure does not exist” also “what we can not measure we can not control”. 

There are many imperative questions in this context: how can we assess and measure sustainability? Do we have enough world-wide observation systems and tools? Are there enough appropriate instruments and approaches? Who is doing what, how and when? What are the spatio-temporal status of sustainability on regional and global scales? These questions and associated answers are not straightforward and far from being known everywhere, for everyone and whenever necessary for taking actions. So far, science, technology and R&D have not delivered sustainable answers for the addressed questions as if they did so, we did not need to be in the situation we have today and there is no warranty that they will do so in the future if we keep the addressed questions unanswered and keep going “business as usual”. 

What we know today is focused on replacing fossil-fuel with renewables, which is in itself a slow process and far from filling the complete width of managing sustainability. Associated with this is merely a single but imperative parameter (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parameter), i.e. the “changes in global average surface temperature” with complex system of observations upon which various models can predict essential and important data about climate and weather under the prevailing global warming conditions (http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warming-introduction).
Even if science, technology and R&D did what they are supposed to do to fully support and promote sustainability on the global scale still there are political, socio-environment and economic obligations for appropriate management of sustainability according to the outcome of the Paris Conference in December 2015 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference). It has already taken several decades to convince world politicians and policy-makers to recognise the threats from global warming though it was already known for many decades in science and technology circles. It is this time lag and slow communication between science, technology and R&D on the one hand and politics, socio-environment and economics on the other which causes severe threats for appropriate advances and successful implementation of the UN-SDG.

The outcome of the Paris Summit of 2015 (http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php) is an alarming collective reminder of what we constantly failed to do to meet a growing number of global problems. Beneath global warming there is, indeed, an accelerating pile-up of complexity of old unsolved issues.

  

From Megacities to Megaslums – Slums The Fastest Growing “Lifestyle Communities”

Historically, there have been three major global modifications for human settlement, migration and mobility on earth. These can even be decribed as tectonic transformations of our lifestyle, which have shaped and reshaped human life and affected human streams around the globe: agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization. These three can very well denote stages or phases of socio-economic developments without specific order though agriculture and food production are essential, central and common needs for us and will remain to be so. It is not strange that agriculture and food production were among the first activities for humans on earth, thereafter came industrialization and urbanization. However, science and technology were, and still are, natural prerequisites for any socio-economic development to take place anywhere. Implementation of innovations in science and technology is not straightforward, i.e. in the process of industrialization and urbanization, as it might seem in the first place. I do agree with Albert Einstein who is one of our great thinkers and philosophers of all times “The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” 

Urbanization is a major effect of the expansion of industrialization, and both urbanization and industrialization are very much dependent on science, technology and education. Urbanization, however, unlike industrialization has different dynamics and evolution, and can be much more dependent on policy-making and management, at least in terms of socio-economic planning. Even though, the simple definition of urbanization, i.e. the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more and more people begin living and working in central areas (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbanization), the full definition does involve the quality or the state or the process of becoming urbanized. Increasing urbanization is hardly a new phenomenon, this has been happening since the time of the first city, somewhere between 6,500 and 8,000 years ago. Urbanization was even associated with many glorious and famous civilization, e.g. in ancient Egypt that brought excellent examples of harmony, social and cultural developmemts. Among important new issues that make us to re-think and re-consider what urbanisation brought with it: are sustainability; the implementation of UN-SDG; the emerging needs for adaptation to the post fossil-fuel era and what urbanization should be in terms of preservation and protection of water, energy and natural resources.

Post-agricultural urbanization caused dramatic increase in population in cities and towns versus rural areas. A process that began during the industrial revolution, when workers moved towards manufacturing hubs in cities to obtain jobs in factories as agricultural jobs became less and less common. Urbanization in China, for example, has brought hundreds of millions of people from rural locations to the bustling coastal metropolises. The effects of urbanization, however, are more tangible and better recognized than those of agricultural land-use; e.g. air pollution and increasing child asthma; forced choice between rural hopelessness and urban despair; does urbanization creates a good living places for all citizens and people, particularly families; increased loads of sewage discharge into the streams. Above all, the severe expansion of slums within and around major/mega cities and towns.

Across the world, slums are home to a billion of people, one in seven of the world’s population. By 2050, according to the United Nations, there could be three billion. The slum is the filthy secret of the modern mega-city, the hidden achievement of 20 years of untrammelled market forces, greed, neglect and graft (http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2011/08/slum-city-manila-gina-estero). Megacities will often turn into Megaslums under the coming and increasing urbanisation, fueled by migration and differential birthrates. We see this occurring first of all in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As current immigration trends continue, we will see the emergence of true Megaslums in Europe, North America, Oceania, and even in Japan and other presently low-migrant wealthy nations that are losing the demographic race (https://alfinnextlevel.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/urban-world-utopia-or-global-dysgenic-idiocracy/).

For older cities in developed countries – London, Paris or New York – urbanization took place gradually over a century and with tight interactions with industries and engagenment from  research, technology and education. They had time, resources, know-how and knowledge to adjust. In contrast, in developing Asian, intense urbanization is taking place within few short decades in random fashion and completely degenerated from supporting infra-structures and with complete absence of public and basic services, e.g. education, health, transport, water and sanitation. Unlike the Western cities that urbanized earlier, developing Asian cities simply do not have the administrative, management, institutional and financial capacities to manage urbanization and resulting socio-economic upheaval within such short periods. Urbanization is, indeed a complex challenge, with implications that are difficult to forecast especially in the absence of coordinated policies, management and administration (http://thediplomat.com). Most disastrous consequences arise with rapid and random urbanization in the developing countries (http://www.iied.org/study-warns-failure-plan-for-rapid-urbanisation-developing-nations). Governments in Africa and Asia must have strict plans for urbanization or risk harming the future prospects of hundreds of millions of their citizens with knock-on effects worldwide. They should heed lessons from Brazil whose failure in the past to plan for rapid urban growth exacerbated poverty and created new environmental problems and long-term costs that could have been avoided (http://knowledge.zurich.com/risk-interconnectivity/the-risks-of-rapid-urbanization-in-developing-countries/).

By 2050 more than two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, while the many benefits of organized and efficient cities are well understood, we need to recognize that this rapid, often unplanned urbanization brings risks of profound social instability, risks to critical infrastructure, potential water crises and the potential for devastating spread of disease. These risks can only be further exacerbated as this unprecedented transition from rural to urban areas continues. The increased concentration of people, physical assets, infrastructure and economic activities mean that the risks materializing at the city level will have far greater potential to disrupt society than ever before (http://www.afdb.org/en/blogs/afdb-championing-inclusive-growth-across-africa/post/urbanization-in-africa-10143/). Urbanization in Africa has largely been translated into rising slum establishments, increasing poverty and inequality. However, there are large variations in the patterns of urbanization across African regions. The relatively fewer slums in North African countries is mainly attributed to better urban development strategies, including investment in infrastructure and in upgrading urban settlements. More broadly, 60% of African citizens live in places where water supplies and sanitation are inadequate. As most of the migrants from rural areas are uneducated/unskilled, they end up in informal sector with low income and intermittent, and naturally seek for shelters or become tenants of slum landlords. Many African cities have, therefore, to deal not only with slum proliferation but also with increasing insecurity and crime. Weak institutions have contributed to poor urban enforcement, resulting in dysfunctional land and housing markets, which in turn has caused mushrooming of informal settlements. Furthermore, African governments have neglected the key drivers of productivity which include small and medium-size enterprises, human resource and skills development, and technological innovation. These factors are essential in advancing predominantly informal, survivalist and basic trading activities to higher value-added work (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35556&Cr=URBAN&Cr1#.VtsxxUV86nM).

Relevant slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/PECSweb/urbanization-brief-history-future-outlooks; https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/RajendraPSharma/urbanization-a-theoretical-view-perspectives-growth-cause-and-problems

Here is a short summary on How Slums Are The Fastest Growing “Lifestyle Communities”: http://www.theurbandeveloper.com/fastest-growing-suburbs-slums/

  

Cairo, May 2016 – TEMPUS Symposia on Product Development Innovation & Industrial Systems and Operations

Please, note the forthcoming joint Symposia, Cairo, 3-5 May 2016, on Product Development Innovation “PDI”, and Industrial Systems and Operations Management “ISOM”, an outcome of EC-funded TEMPUS-collaboration (for 2014-2020 the new Erasmus+ aims to support actions in the fields of Education, Training, Youth and Sport with strong international cooperation dimension in the field of higher education http://eacea.ec.europe.eu/tempus) between universities in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Egypt. These Symposia are intended to fill the gaps in industrial engineering through bringing together industries and the academies including fostering networking, collaboration and joint efforts among the participants to identify major trends in Industrial Engineering today. For further information, please see 

(https://db.tt/AbfWfFJL; https://db.tt/TDrHYd7S; https://db.tt/xhig15Ui).
We look forward for joining us and being part of these interesting activities/
Dr. Farid El-Daoushy

Senior Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Ångström Lab., Uppsala University

  

Global Warming and Rise of Sea Level – Would Your City Still be on Map 2100?

BI-Science YouTube is a Business Intelligent solution provider, for the on-line media industry, of videos about the newest discoveries in space, medicine, and biotech along with science explainers (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9uD-W5zQHQuAVT2GdcLCvg). 

This video by BI Science is about one of the many irreversible effects of climate change. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. In 2013 National Geographic showed also that sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world’s major cities.

Sea level rise is caused by two factors related to global warming: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms. The increase in sea level is being measured by two methods, i.e. tide-gauges and satelite altimetry (http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/measuring-sea-level.html). Many leading science and technology institutes and organisations have reported on the increase of sea level which is estimated to be up to or even more than 3.39 mm/yr depending on the used approached, e.g. https://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise.htm; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-direct-observations.html; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch5s5-5-2.html; http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/; https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-5-1-figure-1.html

Here are some inconvenient facts about the global impacts of the rise in sea level on heavily populated coastal regions (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VbiRNT_gWUQ).

Urbanization Trends – Sustainability is Not “One Size Fits All” 

How to make our cities sustainable, indeed there is no “one-size fits all” solution as cities around the world face different challenges when it comes to defining what a sustainable city is. Joinig the ongoing transformation to a more sustainable future is bocoming not only a global need but rather a neccessity where the urbanization process is not a random process anymore. Yet, the historical, cultural and traditional evolution will play cental role for adoptation along with many other indicators across socio-cultural, economic, climate, energy and environmental domains. ” Juliet Davis, senior lecturer in architecture at Cardiff University says “there will be no one size fits all”. Lucy Warin, project manager at Future Cities Catapult says “There are of course underlying principles that support good, sustainable urbanism – firstly, good city governance, powerful city leaders who know their region and can respond quickly as issues arise. And secondly, citizen engagement. Smart people make smart cities and any sustainability solution should start and finish with the citizens”.

More on how to make our cities sustainable at:
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/17/how-to-make-our-cities-more-sustainable-expert-view?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Here are, also, some quirky ideas for making our cities more sustainable:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/apr/16/ten-quirky-ideas-for-making-our-cities-more-sustainable

This said, there are other important issues, what regards the global transformation to a more sustainable future, to take in consideration. Though about 70% of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050, there very little known about how we can achieve sustainable rural-urban integration. This is specially true in developing counting where for example 70% of the African population is living in rural region with agriculture as a main source of income and employment. Rural Africa suffers from extreme levels of poverty in terms of energy, water and sanitation along with general lack of basic public services and infrastructures for education, health, transportation and communication.

 

2016 – Foresight and Top Priorities for Africa

The sixth annual Foresight Africa captures the top priorities for Africa as by 2016, offering recommendations for African and international stakeholders for creating and supporting a strong, sustainable, and successful Africa. It is hoped that the Foresight Africa 2016 will promote a dialogue on the key issues in uencing economic development in Africa  and ultimately provide sound strategies for sustaining and expanding the economic growth to all people of Africa in the years ahead.

There are major structural failures in Africa that indeed threaten the path to successful sustainable developments in particular the accelerating urbanization which is generating high density of slums in African mega-cities with uncontrolled and major drains from the rural agricultural regions. Also, the random and aggressive  exapansion of the private sector on the shoulders of very week public sectors with poor basic services for the majority of the African populations.

Read the full reports: https://www.dropbox.com/s/50x4nakzc4wus5i/foresightafrica2016_fullreport.pdf?dl=0

  

  

Getting Our Planet on the Sustainability Road – The Reversed Engineering 

The post industrial revolution era was  geared to lifestyle based on production and consumption engineering technology. While our global lifestyle is moving on new tracks to revert what went wrong in the post industrial era new concepts are being emerging. Future  technology will involve the expansion of the so-called “Reversed Engineering” where 12 GREEN Engineering Principles would be absolutely imperative for getting our planet on large-scale and long-term sustainability roads. 

Read more about this: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es032373g