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Analyse Those Factors Impacting On The Ecological Sustainability Of A Large City In The Developed World?

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Question:

Analyse those factors impacting on the ecological sustainability of a large city in the developed world?

Answer:

There are various factors affecting the ecological sustainability of Sydney. For Sydney to be containable and sustainable it means growing within resource limits & improving on natural & biodiversity endowments when and where we can. Careful planning of new areas & the revitalisation of existing communities is needed to increase the diversity of housing choices to achieve sustainability & affordability. Sydney's rapid growth and huge demand for natural resources has put pressure on the natural environment. The impacts on the ecological sustainability of Sydney can be seen through the urban sprawl, road congestion, air pollution, water, energy use, waste disposal and the rapidly decreasing area of bushland. The ecological sustainability of Sydney depends on effectively reducing resource inputs and waste outputs while maintaining the liveability of urban areas.

Sydney is the most populous city in Aust & the capital of NSW located in south-eastern Aust on a lowland basin on the Pacific Ocean. To the city's north is the Parramatta River, an estuary of the Pacific Ocean that cuts through the city's northern boundary. To the city's south is the mouth of the Georges River which flows from Prospect Reservoir 20 miles to the city's east into Botany Bay. Sydney covers 4074 square kilometres at an elevation of 62 feet above sea level. Sydney approximately 60 miles east of the Blue Mountains.

The Sydney Morning Herald's 30/5/05 "Campaign For Sydney" showed Sydney is growing at a rapid and undesirable rate. For example one million more people are tipped to come into Sydney in the next 20yrs. 100 new residents enter Sydney per day which is expected to continue for 25years and 70% of new arrivals will be accommodated in existing suburbs. Baulkham Hills Shire has a pop growing at a rate triple the Sydney average. For example between 1996 and 2001 its pop expanded by 16.5%. By 2016 Sydney's population will grow by 16% & by 2026 it will grow by 29%. In the next 25yrs 650 000 homes will be needed & 70% of them will be squeezed into existing suburbs. Within 15yrs 70 million flights a yr will arrive at & depart from Sydney airport doubling current movements. In 2004 there was 2.2% growth in energy use nearly triple the pop growth & it was fuelled by rampant air conditioning use while every day an extra 40 homes are built.

Such a large urban area like Sydney has huge demand for natural resources. For instance Sydney's population has doubled since 1950 but consumption has tripled. This obliterates the natural hydrological system within its area. Producers waste products including solid & liquid waste, sewerage, air pollutants, heat & noise which alter the environment around it this reduces biomass & alters species of plants & animals in & around it. These impacts make up the ecological footprint of a city. The footprint provides an estimate of the total area of productive land & water required to produce all resources consumed & assimilates all waste products produced

The urban sprawl took place to accommodate the increasing population in existing suburbs. Most of these areas already had a history of poor environmental infrastructure especially the public transport system. This has created many problems. Firstly road congestion has increased in recent times. For example almost all commuters in Sydney's newest suburbs drive to work. The national cost of road congestion in terms of wasted time, fuel, air pollution & stress is tipped to rise to $8.8 billion a yr by 2015. Car use is expected to increase by one third by 2020. 91% of all residents in Baulkham hills travel to work by car and work related public transport use is down to 10.6% of all journeys. The train system lost 6 million trips last yr as commuters abandoned the network. This can create social isolation of people without cars. For example by 2001 more then 150 000 homes in Sydney had three or more cars while only 13% of homes were without a car. It also means large areas of land devoted to parking & roads.

Air quality is under threat because State government failed to shift people out of their cars & onto public transport. Car dependency is growing faster than the population. Tiny airborne particles emitted from cars linked to increased respiratory problems, aggravation of asthma, more hospital emissions & premature deaths. Cleaner fuels & more sophisticated engines have been offset by the growth in car use. Building more toll roads ahead of demand will only stimulate more car use. Smog is becoming worse despite cleaner fuel & better vehicle technology because on weekdays 4.1 million people each make an average 3.78 trips by car. Cars are the main source of pollution & car use is tipped to rise by 32% by 2020. As a result maintaining air & quality will be a continuing challenge for the Government. A present Sydney's air quality only meets four of six national goals & its photochemical smog continually breaches the Australian standard. The government has also stopped monitoring air toxins & stations capable of reading air standards have been cut by a ј because of budget restrictions. In 2004 the government scrapped its gas fuelled bus program. Carbon dioxide emissions from cars are forecast to rise to 72% during the next 15yrs. Air quality guidelines were exceeded in Sydney's south western suburbs on nine days last year. The topography of Sydney means air quality is consistently worse in western Sydney.

Water also has a significant effect on the ecological sustainability of Sydney.

After years of profligate water use in the face of one of the worst drought for decades our water supply has never been lower. An antediluvian attitude to water recycling could mean billions of $ are wasted on energy hungry desalinisation to provide the city with fresh water. At present 91% of NSW in drought. Sydney's dam levels have fallen to 38.8% of full capacity. Every yr Sydney Water discharges about 450 gigalitres of waste water into rivers & the ocean recycling only 3.2% of effluent. This is expected to rise to 4.6% after a new water reclamation plant starts operating in Wollongong in Oct. Overall water consumption has tripled since 1950 despite a recent decline. Nearly 11% of piped water is lost through leaks.

Energy consumption is growing causing more

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