|Urban population (millions) with and without
improved water and sanitation: Asia and the Pacific
By the year 2000, improved water supplies had
been provided to a larger proportion of the urban population (95
per cent) than had improved sanitation (65 per cent)
Note: data are available for many more countries
in 2000 than in 1990 so the improvement appears exaggerated
Source: compiled from WHO and UNICEF 2000
Much of the solid waste generated in urban centres
remains uncollected and is either deposited in surface waters and empty
lots, or burned in streets. This problem has worsened over the past 30
years. Collected waste is mainly disposed of in open dumps, many of which
are neither properly operated nor maintained, and which pose a serious
threat to public health. Only a few Asian cities such as Hong Kong and
Singapore, and those in Australia, Japan and New Zealand, have adequate
solid waste disposal facilities but even these cities have problems in
dealing with increasing volumes of waste (ADB 2001).
In the mid-1990s, Metro Manila generated 6 300 tonnes of solid waste
daily but its landfills could accommodate only a little more than half
that amount (ADB 1996). The island of Kiribati has severe population density
problems caused by internal migration and has little land for waste disposal.
As on many atoll islands, solid waste is discharged into coastal waters.
Serious health and environmental problems can be caused by poor waste
disposal. In the Pacific Islands, freshwater is scarce, and solid waste
disposal methods that contaminate water are frequently a source of intestinal
diseases and ear and eye infections. In India, an outbreak of bubonic
plague in 1994 was linked to inadequate solid waste disposal (Tysmans
The disposal and treatment of industrial, toxic and hazardous waste also
causes serious problems. Dumping of hazardous waste is common in South
and Southeast Asia. Countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have
become dumping grounds for significant quantities of hazardous waste from
industrialized countries, and are facing growing protests about waste-related
A large number of stakeholders are involved in national waste management
policies and strategies. Waste management services have been privatized
in countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Thailand.
This appears to be an effective means of improving these services, while
providing additional employment. However, much waste is generated by small
producers, who are difficult to service with traditional methods.
|Sustainable commuting in Singapore
With a total land area of 650 km2 and a population of
4.1 million, Singapore faced serious challenges of limited space
and high population density when designing its transit system. A
combination of buses, mass rapid transit (MRT) lines, light rapid
transit lines and taxis, Singapore's public transportation system
currently supports about 5 million of the total 7 million trips
made every day, with 3 million on buses, 1 million on the MRT and
another 1 million in taxis.
Singapore has implemented a strict vehicle quota system, under
which a certificate must be acquired before registering a vehicle.
This allows the government to restrict the increase in vehicle numbers.
An electronic road pricing system charges a fee to cars during peak
hours, encouraging motorists to use public transportation or less
busy roads. Vehicle inspection centres carry out mandatory testing
of cars more than three years old and exhaust emissions to ensure
they meet the limits set by the Ministry of Environment. The government
has also introduced tax incentives to encourage the use of electric
and hybrid vehicles.
|Source: Swee Say 2001