Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sustainable Waste Management Defined

A recent report produced by the Brundtland Commission (formally the World Commission on Environment and Development) provides an excellent definition of what sustainable development is. The UK Government’s Sustainable Development strategy, published by the DETR also defined it, and that definition can be found online.

However, these definitions need to be acted on and not just thought up. The idea is after all very simple to understand so here is a breakdown of what these definition might mean to you:

Sustainable development starts with the theory that the most sustainable aim for all is a better quality of life, not only today, but for generations to come.

To achieve this, sustainable development is about achieving economic growth, in the form of higher living standards. It is definitely not about scrimping and not buying things, or punishing ourselves for enjoying the use of the world's resources now.

But it is about protecting and enhancing the environment we live in, not just for its own sake but for our own enlightened self interest, because a damaged environment would quite soon begin to hold back economic growth and lead to a lower the quality of life.

To be truly sustainable, history shows us that things only work in the long term if we all make sure that economic and environmental benefits are freely available to the whole society and not just to the privileged few.

Sustainability is compatible with all the major faiths and can be supported by all. Therefore there should be no excuses for not meeting your objectives. It is commonly accepted that sustainable development must encompass four broad objectives;

*Social progress which recognizes the needs of everyone.

*Effective protection of the environment

*Prudent use of natural resources

*Maintaining stable levels of economic growth and employment.

One of the most important areas of sustainability for society to act on is the disposal of waste. Nothing else, other than fossil fuel energy over-use causing climate change, and war, has the potential to do so much accumulating damage.

Unsustainable waste management poisons watercourses and underground water, leaves litter around everywhere that harms our wildlife, encourages rats and vermin, pollutes the air with odors and unhealthy aerosols and can render vast areas of land damaged or largely unusable.

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