Tuesday 25 January 2022

Most cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are unsustainable

The cities of the region consume between 12 and 14 tons per capita per year of resources, above the limits considered sustainable

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Q REPORTS (EFE) Most cities in Latin America and the Caribbean are unsustainable now and by 2050 they will consume four times more fossil and mineral resources than is considered sustainable if measures are not taken in terms of urban planning and efficiency, warned a report from the UN.

The cities of the region consume between 12 and 14 tons per capita per year of resources, above the limits considered sustainable

This is the study “The weight of cities in Latin America and the Caribbean: future resource requirements and potential routes of action”, prepared by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Resource Panel ( IRP, for its acronym in English), released this Monday.

The publication concludes that Latin American cities could cut their consumption of resources such as fossil fuels, minerals and food in half, while fighting poverty and inequality.

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“Planning a sustainable transformation is crucial if we aspire to live in a cleaner region, in harmony with nature and without leaving anyone behind,” said UNEP’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jacqueline Álvarez.

Álvarez added that “a sustainable recovery from covid-19 is urgently needed” and that “this report lights the way in the right direction.”

The cities of the region consume between 12 and 14 tons per capita per year of resources, above the limits considered sustainable of between 6 and 8 tons per capita per year, according to the report.

Already in 2015 – the year that organizations have the largest volume of regional data – Latin America consumed annually between 12.5 and 14.4 tons per capita of resources, and more than half of the «urban material stock» was in the cities of Brazil ( 38.1%) and Mexico (21.1%).

In 2050, with a regional population of 680 million people, urban domestic material consumption could increase to 25 tons per capita if changes are not made.

“Many of the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean today suffer the effects of the unsustainable use of resources: environmental degradation, lack of access to services and, as a result, a bleak future,” said Álvarez.

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The report recommends a package of measures on sustainable transport and mobility, efficient buildings, waste, water and sanitation to reduce the consumption of resources, waste, environmental damage and greenhouse gas emissions, reducing annual consumption between 6 and 7 tons per capita by 2050.

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