World's Cities Produce up to 10 Billion Tonnes of Waste Each Year

Antwerp, 7 September 2015 - Inadequate waste management has become a major public health, economic and environmental problem, with 7-10 billion tonnes of urban waste produced each year and 3 billion people worldwide lacking access to controlled waste disposal facilities.

Fuelled by population growth, urbanization and rising consumption, the volumes of waste are likely to even double in lower-income African and Asian cities by 2030, warns the Global Waste Management Outlook - launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) today.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "An urgent response to the world's mounting waste problem is not only a public health and environmental necessity, but also a sound economic investment. Inaction is costing countries 5 10 times more than investments in proper waste management. A greater commitment by nations to systematically apply the 3 R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - can transform the problem of waste into a resource for our economies.

"The global waste management goals proposed by this report have the potential to result in dramatic reductions in greenhouse gases, the creation of millions of green jobs and economic benefits in the hundreds of billions of dollars. By achieving them, we would also be taking massive strides toward realizing the Sustainable Development Goals."

The report offers an integrated global solution to the waste problem, including calling for immediate improvement of waste collection and disposal, preventing waste and maximizing reuse and recycling of resources. It also calls for a major shift away from the linear "take-make-use-waste" economy and towards the circular "reduce-reuse-recycle" approach to the lifecycle of materials.

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