Q: What are some things that are supposed to reduce waste, but can actually cause more damage to our environment in the long run?
A: Take the example of lead recovery in India. Lead is a valuable resource but let’s see how it is recovered in India. With primitive open air smelters that pollute communities and populations for decades and groundwater for hundreds of years, the damages for health and environment are by far more important than the benefits of lead recovery. The question is who is utilizing this recovered lead finally? In which supply chains it goes and for what kind of new products it is used? Is it possible that we call this circular economy? Those questions provide the answers required to understand the linkages between market dynamics and recovery practices. The same answers will help us to understand the difference between real efforts towards sustainability and green washing.
Q: What are the repercussions if there is no change?
A: In my lectures and articles, in each and every consulting activity I am involved, I use to say that we are closer than ever to a Wasteless Future but at the same time, most probably, we are heading towards a serious waste crisis, especially, in the developing urban world. The fourth industrial revolution provides an opportunity to resolve difficult problems, to reinvent the environmental degradation – poverty nexus, to deliver unimaginable solutions that will drive sustainability. The option for a better planet is more tangible than ever. But at the same time, the current dominant social and political framework drives inequality to impossible extremes and takes the control away from citizens. The future might be bright but it will not come by itself. The current grey conditions involve both the seeds for a better and for a worst future. Technical innovation needs to be combined with social innovation; this is the only way to have a better future for everyone, this is the only way to sustainability.
Antonis, has been called “the one man think tank” his thought-provoking sessions prime tomorrow’s global leaders. He is Chair of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the International Solid Waste Association http://iswa.org
To learn more about Antonis please visit http://wastelessfuture.com/