Urbanization and Waste Management – Impacts on Conservation and Protection of Water Resources

Different forms of solid waste have diverse negative impacts on quality of natural waters. All humans, either directly or indirectly, produce garbage from household or/and waste and pollution from work places, i.e. private and public sectors. So, we all make it and we all hate it.

Surface and groundwaters, on various combinations and levels, are important parts of water resources that support the national economies and social developments around the world. In China for example, over 400 cities exploit groundwater and many of them use groundwater as the only source of supply. With this a series of problems emerge gradually just as river waters have been over-used and polluted in many parts of the world, so have groundwater. The governance of groundwater is becoming very urgent after years of researches on the nature and pollution mechanism of contaminants in the groundwater (also coupled interactions between surface and groundwater), i.e. pollution sources, the fate and transport of chemicals and organic pollutants. This in addition to increasing knowledge on landfills, leaking sewers, oil storage tanks, pesticides, fertilizer and septic tanks (http://www.intechopen.com/books/organic-pollutants-monitoring-risk-and-treatment/the-investigation-and-assessment-on-groundwater-organic-pollution). Some aspects on groundwater contamination and pollution in Canada are given at  (https://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=6A7FB7B2-1), new threats are also emerging from production and processing of oil sands (or tar sands). More about ground-water contamination and related threats in cities and many rural homes, that are dependent on the use of groundwater for drinking and other household purposes, are given at (http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/environment-book/groundwatercontamination.html).

In this context, Europe has indeed the best waste performing countries in the world in terms of e.g. lowest percentage of landfills, highest benefits from recycling and energy gain from waste. Some examples are Estonia  (http://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/2014/04/and-the-best-waste-performing-country-in-europe-is-estonia/); The Netherlands (http://www.iamexpat.nl/read-and-discuss/expat-page/news/netherlands-has-the-best-waste-management-in-europe); and Sweden (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAe4fVtPsCs&feature=youtu.be).

USA produces more garbage per person (230 000 000 tons every year) than any other country on the planet, it has biggest mega landfills and it is still lacking behind what regards recycling and waste management.

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