The level of cleanliness of a place indicates the degree of pride, investment, and health in that location, be it a street, neighborhood, or a big town. A clean city is, therefore, a sustainable city. Conversely, a dirty place brings out an impression of neglect and poor governance by the citizens of that place. While a cleaner environment increases the value of the property and attracts local and foreign investments of a given community, a dirty one does the exact opposite; eroding the pride of the community and laying the ground for crime and other similar vices (Zaleski, 2009). To realize the dream of a smart and sustainable community of Baltimore, there is a need for implementation of sustainable plans to manage the solid and hazardous waste through recycling and treatment.
Currently, the Baltimore City Bureau of Solid Waste spends over $10 million on garbage collection throughout the city (Kelley & Ambikapathi, 2016). While the city struggles to collect and recycle the trash, ineffective means of collection and illegal dumping have jeopardized these efforts. Additionally, there are thousands of storm water outfall pipes that supposedly drain water from the streets and private property. Unfortunately, the water from the streets are contaminated with pollutants and chemicals from sewer leakages, and through the pipes, they all end up in the Baltimore streams and Harbor (Kelley & Ambikapathi, 2016). Moreover, the hundreds of illegal wastewater, garbage, and raw sewage discharges experienced throughout the city have led to the contamination of waters in the region, degrading the water quality in Baltimore city; killing aquatic life and endangering the community health.
To ensure a clean city, there is a need for sustainable plans to eliminate waste, both solid and water. To do this, I will introduce measures such as educating the community on proper storage and disposal of waste, upgrading the garbage collection methods and improving the sewer systems and sewage treatment plant.
The least expensive method of ensuring cleanliness is through educating the masses. There is a need for distribution of a clear and consistent message on proper waste disposal around the community. This message will be distributed through workshops, seminars, door-to-door messages, and in different gatherings. By reaching out to the people, sooner or later, the message will affect them and will lead to a change in their ways of waste disposal (Zaleski, 2009). As more and more people adapt to the message of proper waste disposal, the community will slowly change its way, and the city will be cleaner with time.
In the same manner, the project will include materials that can be distributed to schools on proper disposal, and waste recycling and reuse. These materials will be suited for the students in different institutions, starting from the kindergarten to the colleges in the area. Providing the students with such material will effectively change their attitude and those of their peers on garbage collection and encourage innovation in college towards better and more sustainable waste collection, recycling, and reuse strategies.
Upgrading Waste Collection Methods
Currently, the Baltimore City Bureau of Solid Waste crews collects about 320,000 tons of garbage from household waste (Zaleski, 2009). However, much of the recyclable waste collected by the crews are left on the streets with no trash cans. These sites invite more public dumping from the area while inviting rodents (Kelley & Ambikapathi, 2016). When it rains, the garbage is swept into the water systems leading to the pollution of streams and the harbor.
To counter this problem, the Smart and Sustainable Community of Baltimore will expand and make effective the existing programs by introducing public trash and recycling bins around the city. By providing more than 2000 trash bins around the community in proximity, people will get the motivation and encouragement to dump waste in the bins. In addition to that, each household will be provided with a large municipal trash can with a lid. For easier tracking of the collection, each of the trash cans will have a bar-code and will remain the property of the municipal. Lastly, stiffer penalties will be introduced for those violating the sanitation codes around the community; up to 300% of the current rates.
Upgrading the Sewers Systems and the Waste Water Treatment Plant
The leakages from the sewer pipes lead to the contamination of stream waters: Thus, sustainable cities need to deal with them (Younos & Parece, 2016). While the sewer system is adequate in the collection of sewer water, the entire system needs to be upgraded. The plan is to replace the old pipes with larger and newer pipes by reviewing and replacing pipes in places experiencing leakages.
While the treatment plant at Montebello was recently upgraded, the community will need an upgrade to the Back River treatment plant too by incorporating best available technology to achieve the Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorous goals (Yigitcanlar & Dizdaroglu, 2015). These will include the modification of the Modified Ludzak Ettinger reactors, and upgrade of the Activated Sludge Plants. These improvements will result to more sustainable water treatment facilities that are safe to the environment while providing each resident with cleans and clean water for consumption.
In conclusion, a more secure and cleaner community can be achieved through the implementation of sustainable plans such as those outlined above. A proper garbage collection plan, educating the community and upgrading the sewer water and water treatment plant will positively impact the environment. Proper waste collection and disposal eliminated the chemicals from the land, the air, and reduces the carbon footprint and green house emission, thereby impacting the climate in a positive manner.
Kelley, C., & Ambikapathi, R. (2016). Litter-Free Baltimore: A trash collection policy framework based on spatial analysis and social media. [Winner] Abell Foundation
Yigitcanlar, T., Dur, F., & Dizdaroglu, D. (2015). Towards prosperous, sustainable cities: A multiscalar urban sustainability assessment approach. Habitat International, 45, 36-46.
Younos, T., & Parece, T. (2016). Sustainable Water Management in Urban Environments (pp. 131-134). Springer.
Zaleski, S. (2009). The Baltimore sustainability plan (pp. 1-24). [Baltimore, Maryland]: [Baltimore Office of Sustainability].