Q&A

Southern Innovator - - WASTE -

At the Alexan­der von Hum­boldt Re­search In­sti­tute in Bo­gota, Colom­bia, re­searchers have been think­ing about how to bal­ance ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and the en­vi­ron­ment to make sure the grow­ing cities of the fu­ture are not eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ters.

Ac­cord­ing to Juana Marino at the In­sti­tute’s Bi­o­log­i­cal Re­sources Pol­icy Pro­gramme – which in­ves­ti­gates “Bio­di­ver­sity, Ecosys­tem Ser­vices and Ur­ban-re­gional En­vi­ron­ments” – how cities grow and de­velop must change.

How is the trend to­wards rapid ur­ban­iza­tion af­fect­ing the planet and the cre­ation of waste?

The more peo­ple who ar­rive in cities, the more they de­mand goods and ser­vices (in a mas­sive way!) – roads, hous­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, food, wa­ter – [cre­at­ing] an im­pres­sive amount of waste, chal­leng­ing tra­di­tional waste man­age­ment and san­i­ta­tion poli­cies.

What role can in­no­va­tion play?

In­no­va­tion is not just an op­tion; it is a “must”, and not just the tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion al­ready be­ing car­ried out by in­fra­struc­ture, trans­port and build­ing sec­tors that are rapidly chang­ing their pat­terns based on mit­i­ga­tion tech­nolo­gies.

In­no­va­tion is also needed in terms of bio­di­ver­sity, biotech­nol­ogy, in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge pro­duc­tion; ap­pro­pri­a­tion, use and man­age­ment. Knowl­edge turns into in­no­va­tion when ap­pro­pri­ated by so­cial spheres, when it en­ters the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal are­nas.

(hum­boldt.org.co)

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