Urbanization is increasing all over the planet. Increasing along with it is one of the more unpleasant byproducts of urban living: municipal solid waste. Cities are centers of garbage production, and the amount of garbage they create is increasing even faster than their populations, according to a recent report from the World Bank. And for cities in many developing countries, it's rapidly a becoming an environmental and economic catastrophe.
In "What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management," [PDF] authors Daniel Hoornweg and Perinaz Bhada-Tata examine how rising urban populations are creating larger and larger waste management problems for cities all over the world. Unsurprisingly, authors found that the world's urban residents are producing significantly more waste than they were just 10 years ago. Over that time, the waste generated by urban residents has nearly doubled, from 680 million tons per year to more than 1.3 billion tons per year. By 2025, the report anticipates that the world's urban population will be producing 2.2 billion tons per year. The urban population is expected to increase from 2.9 billion in 2002 to a projected 4.3 billion in 2025.