The city of the future is usually imagined as Utopia or nightmare. But maybe it could be a bit of both…
Dubai can boast some of the world’s most impressive architecture including the Burj Khalifa, but sewage from the world’s tallest building is collected in trucks every night and driven away to the desert – an estimated seven tons of shit every 24 hours. Is that the kind of future we want for our cities?
Singapore has taken a different approach and city planners even introduced a scheme to recycle sewage and market it as something called NEWater – guaranteed as safe for human consumption.
So what kind of future would you choose? Send your sewage into the desert or drink it?
More recently, authorities in Singapore announced a new system for handling its rubbish, vacuum-packing refuse and sending it to central collection points via a network of underground pipes. Pneumatic Waste Collection (PWC) will eliminate the need for waste collection trucks and eradicate unpleasant smells from refuse chutes.
According to Singapore’s environment minister, the volume of the country’s waste has grown by 40 per cent over the last 10 years: “If we do not adopt technology but continue to manage waste the way we do today, we will need a proportionate increase in manpower which we cannot meet without turning to foreign labour.”
So this time you have to decide between more immigration, a mountain of garbage or vacuum-pack robots…