Sustainability: Building Cities for Future
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and as per United Nations Development Program (UNDP), two-third of the world population will be urban by 2050. This rapid urbanization, infrastructure development, and expansion of cities have resulted in serious environmental hazards such as Urban Heat Island effect, increase in greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and noise pollution. Therefore, SDG 11 which states, ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable’ holds immense significance in today’s world.
For a city to be well-developed, it also needs to be well-maintained. This is possible through policies that encourage sustainability as well as revitalize the creation of lively and dynamic neighborhoods and people-centric locations – in other words, ‘cities for people.’
Contrary to that, increasing use of plastics and poor disposal have been causing a great threat to civic life. Plastic products, specifically polythene bags choke sewerage systems in cities. While on the other hand, disposal through landfills becomes one of the major reasons for soil pollution and leaching as it takes 1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose in a landfill.
The US slams Russia for not implementing Minsk agreements One particular way to promote environmental sustainability is using biodegradable plastic and biodegradable plastic products i.e. jute bags etc. Biodegradable plastics are made with renewable raw materials that can be decomposed by living organisms into water and biomass.
Furthermore, a poor public transportation system is also one of the major hurdles in the way of sustainable cities. Excessive reliance on private vehicles is the major cause of air and noise pollution in cities. This issue can be resolved by shifting from public to private transport. The city administration and local government should introduce sustainable urban transport interventions through bus rapid transit, metro service, etc.
Another significant hurdle in the way of sustainable cities in the poor urban planning system. Developing countries, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, etc., do not pay heed to the idea of zoning, population growth rate, and geographic mapping that is why the risk of disaster increases. It is the right time to minimize the chance of disasters by incorporating the idea of green buildings, waste management, renewable energy, and green spaces in city planning.