Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Whiff of Naples

Earlier in the year I posted about the garbage problems in Naples Italy. Well, it hasn't let up, and now, the city of Hamburg, Germany will be taking all of the garbage that has been collecting in the streets of the city for the past several months. For 11 weeks, a 56 car train will carry 700 tons of garbage a day 44 hours away to it's final resting place.

It's pretty insane isn't it?  Yet it's not a singular problem, or at least may not be in the near future.  Here in the US we are lucky enough to have lots of space to dig holes and fill them with trash.  But in Europe, the problem is growing so rapidly, that the EU is saying that by 2020 all members must cut their refuse to 35% of what it was in 1995.  Shocking but obviously necessary.  

While many countries are going to have some big problems changing their ways, Hamburg is way ahead.  As this article in the Times explains, on the streets of the city, pedestrians are required to separate their trash into four different bins depending on the nature of the refuse. What needs to be disposed of as opposed to recycled ends up in highly efficient incinerators which generate electricity and trap noxious fumes from entering the environment. Hardly the kind of thing you want going on next to your house, but then again, you don't want to live next to a landfill either.

The first step to any solution is recognizing you have a problem.  Perhaps this is the beginning of the beginning.



might I add...? said...

Whoa! That recycling system in Hamburg is pretty impressive.

I'm a little confused about some of the numbers in the NYT article, though. It sounds like the amount of their recycling is way up, but their trash is only down a bit. I realize that they said the population had risen, but....

I also think it's impressive that the EU is calling for such a huge reduction in trash production. I wonder how many countries will follow through. We need something like that over here.

Dave said...

Yeah, it would be pretty sweet if we could follow their lead.

The way i read the article, i thought that trash was down because they were recycling a larger percent of their refuse as opposed to sending it to the trash. I'll have to reread it again.

Consume Less, Conserve More!!!


Camila said...

I saw a podcast on this subject on current tv