By Dias, Sonia Marie.
Rapid urbanization has burdened cities with an issue that no one can ignore -- unprecedented amounts of trash. World cities generate a whopping 1.3 billion tons of waste per year -- an issue that will only get worse unless strategic steps are taken.
This September, world leaders will gather in New York to formally adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an important 15-year agenda to prioritize and address problems affecting rich and poor countries more holistically than its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Given the extent of global waste and the projected increase in the world population, waste management is present in several of the new SDGs -- in both focused and tangential ways that show how humankind's massive waste is linked to poverty, gender inequality and job creation. The SDGs make it clear that the value of waste picking is not to be squandered.