It has been reported that humans will generate 7 million tons of trash per day across the globe by 2025 and 11 million tons by 2100. Currently, around 3.5 million tons of trash are generated on a daily basis. Taking into account the various factors like the current state, population growth, and urbanization, The future of worldwide waste output is horrifying and there could be the following three scenarios in terms of waste management and generation in the world in the coming times.
It is an ideal situation in which a vast majority of the global population is expected to take part in recycling, reusing, and reducing waste output. According to this scenario, it has been reported that around 8.4 million tons of trash are expected to be generated on a daily basis.
This is the middle path wherein it is believed that of the total global population around the world not too much will change as compared to how it is today. It is believed that according to this scenario that around 11 million tons of waste will be generated by 2100 on a daily basis. Also, this is believed to be one of the most realistic scenarios of the three.
This is the worst-case scenario in which it is believed that factors like acute poverty and poor education will play spoilsport, especially in developing countries. Under this scenario, factors like environmental activism are kept on the lower end of the scale and backed by urbanization; this is a recipe for a global disaster. With an estimated population of 9.5 billion people by 2100, the waste generated is expected to reach a mammoth 13 million tons per day by 2100.
Studies have found sub-Saharan Africa is an area of particular concern. It is expected that the region alone will account for around 3.2 million tons per day by 2100, which is close to one-third of the global waste output. Experts believe that environmental education and support is present in this region will be critical for a better future. Researchers have also warned multiple times that waste production has to peak in this century. It is believed that if the waste production continued to rise beyond 2100, the results would be disastrous for the world. Especially considering the fact that the world population will continue to grow as there is no alternative solution for the same, it is imperative to find an alternative solution to curb the rising per capita trash output. It is widely believed that if the per capita trash output continued to rise beyond 2100, we all would be living in garbage.
According to another report, it is believed that the global waste will increase by over 70% from the current levels by 2050, in the absence of any urgent action undertaken to address the rise. Factors like rapid urbanization and the ever-rising population are expected to drive the global waste generation from 2.01 billion tons in 2016 to 3.4 billion tons in the next 30 years.
It is important to note here that the high-income countries are responsible for generating more than one-third of the world’s waste while having 16% of the global population. Similarly, the East Asia and Pacific region generated close to a quarter of the total waste currently. However, by 2050, waste generation in sub-Saharan Africa along is expected to more than triple from the current level while South Asia is expected to grow to reach more than double of its current waste generation levels.
Plastics are considered to be very problematic in the area of dealing with waste management. It is believed that if plastics are not collected and managed properly, they will contaminate and affect waterways for at least hundreds of years to come, if not thousands.
A sturdy and consistent waste management program across the world is the need of the hour for creating sustainable, healthy, and inclusive cities of the future. However, it is very unfortunate that this area has not been given its due attention until now. While high-income countries are able to recover and recycle around one-third of the total waste generated by them, the figure stands at an abysmally low 4% when it comes to the low-income countries.
A more appalling fact is that close to 1.6 billion tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent were generated in 2016 from the treatment and disposal of waste, based on the volume generated, its composition, and how it is being managed, which is close to 5% of the global emissions.
It is strongly believed among the industry experts that strong waste management systems are essential to building a circular economy. It is expected to build a scenario where the products are designed and optimized for reuse and recycling. In the background of the circular economy and the impact that it is expected to create on the local and national government, countries across the world are expected to work on smart and sustainable ways for managing waste in order to work towards efficient economic growth and at the same time, minimizing the impact on the environment. At the same time, it makes a lot of economic sense to properly manage the waste being generated. Otherwise, the health and environment cost will be too much as compared to the economic implication.
Currently, we are standing at a very critical phase. In case we are unable to create solid systems for waste management right now, the coming years will bring many disasters for the coming generations. Also, the changing world order which has urbanization and industrialization touching new peaks every year, a solid waste management system has the capacity to keep the world running beyond its allocated capacity, if implemented properly. However, in the absence of a waste management system in place, the world will not be the same place as it is today and will bring in unheard and unseen visuals for the coming generation.
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