Mississauga is a community of continual growth and expanding development. In order to uphold our level of development, we must keep improving and modernizing our city to accommodate our rising population and create the ideal environment. For this reason, the Mississauga Youth Urban Planning Committee (MYUPC) has come up with solutions geared towards targeting areas of improvement. Specifically, we have come up with propositions to enhance the following areas of concern:
- • Energy (Inayah Rehman)
- • Water (Irtaqa Choudhry)
- • Waste Management (Aminah Raza Khan)
- • Transportation (Abdul Aleem, Manahil Nadeem)
- • Adapting to Environmental Changes (Anthony Dam)
Our Current Energy Dilemma:
Our current primary energy sources are nuclear energy (61% of Ontario’s energy is nuclear) and energy from fossil fuels. Below, we will look at the negative impact of both energy sources, beginning with nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is taken from the heat generated in chemical reactions. It is very harmful to the environment because:
- The main component is uranium, which is a radioactive metal. Large amounts must be extracted and processed; the procurement process releases harmful chemical emissions and the enrichment process uses copious amounts of electricity.
- Airborne radioactive gases can also be released, which is unsafe to all living organisms.
- The waste that is produced is so toxic and radioactive that contaminated mines pose risks for up to 250,000 years after closing.
- When cooling systems are used on very hot uranium, an excessive amount of water is wasted. This affects aquatic ecosystems through the water level of the bodies of water that are extracted from dropping, decreasing the carrying capacity.
- The event of a failure in a cooling system would cause a nuclear meltdown. Metal rods would melt in seconds, burning everything in contact, having the potential to injure or kill thousands of people.
On the other hand, fossil fuel is created through the burning of compressed organic matter that has been buried long enough to form crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils via exposure to pressure and heat from the Earth’s crust over the span of hundreds of millions of years. Energy from fossil fuels is also harmful to the environment for the following reasons:
- When fuels such as coal are burned to produce energy, harmful contaminants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ground level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, potentially heavy metals, and more are released into the environment.
- Gas pollutants contaminate the air and are unsafe to breath, leading to deteriorating health of all oxygen-intaking organisms in the area.
- Solid pollutants contaminate soil and water. The addition of these pollutants to the soil leads to the deterioration of soil quality, affecting all organisms in the soil and resulting in their deteriorating health or even death if the acidity/contamination is too high.
- The addition of these contaminants in water leads to consumption, hence the deterioration of health of organisms who consume/come into contact with the polluted water, and seeps into the water cycle resulting in acid rain (rain with an acidic pH level), which is harmful for everything the rain comes into contact with including soil and organisms.
As proven in the drawbacks pointed out above, both types of energy sources have detrimental effects on the environment. Our urban planning committee is working towards solving the current energy issue we are facing.
Sustainability in Mississauga:
The biggest drawback of both sources is that it they are nonrenewable. Uranium is a finite resource, and fossil fuels take hundreds of millions of years to form, making them unsustainable for our purposes. This means that these sources can only sustain us for so long; it is better to start shifting our reliance to a renewable resource now before we are in a position in the future with no time or money to implement another energy source to rely on.
My urban planning committee is proposing the shift from the non-renewable resources we currently heavily rely on (fossil fuels and nuclear energy) to a renewable resources that can sustain us, primarily solar and wind energy. These sources are not only sustainable for usage, but also strip nothing from the Earth and the processes of producing the energy don’t cause emissions. We plan to begin the change by switching increasing amounts of housing complexes to one of the 2 resources, depending on personal preference and will later shift attention onto public buildings. We also plan on building solar and wind power plants all over Mississauga. During times of low energy usage, energy that is produced will be stored so it can be used during times of low energy production. This will revolutionize energy, making us the first community to run completely off of renewable energy, setting a worldwide example that will urge other communities to follow and will create an impeccable reputation for us.Not only does it give us these advantages, but it gives a chance for the Earth in this area to restore itself, leading to cleaner air, better soil, and better agriculture.
Mississauga Water Management
Mississauga gets most of its water from lake Ontario, and we are lucky to be located near such a valuable resource. Unfortunately, lake Ontario has become very polluted and is being taken for granted. For example, water goes through a treatment plant and is treated with compounds like polycyclic, synthetic musk, and fragrances that are harmful to the aquaculture of lake Ontario and nearby lakes, and these chemicals kill some animals in the lake which no one finds out about until the lake starts to smell. Also, when hydroelectricity is used in Mississauga, its main resource is water which we are running out of through polluting and overusing, and people do not realize that they are wasting water by doing the simplest thing like leaving the tap when they are brushing their teeth, taking long showers, taking baths etc...
We plan to make Mississauga's water more sustainable through implementing the following ideas:
- Have community clean up in land by nearby lakes and rivers this will put teamwork into a great cause and when one community start to clean up the others will follow because they will have a clean water which will invite more people into that community and other communities want people to come to their area
- Have people charged/fined who throw their garbage around Lake Ontario and not in the bins this will make people more caution and will throw the garbage in the bin.
- Limit the amount of water each area can use this will make people use their water more carefully and will make them realize how important water really is
- Gather stormwater to create electricity this will help keep the wetlands balanced
- Using desalinated saltwater in factories and in other processes that normally waste freshwater (Desalination: a process where you take salt water and boil it which creates fresh water), this will be great to use in factories because then we wouldn't have to waste fresh water which we could save or put to better use.
In Mississauga there are approximately 713,445 residents (2010). In our city there are 5,500 lane kilometers of roads, 195,180 households, and on average 2 cars per household. We all know, our most common form of public transit is bus (usually via MiWay); it is convenient and it takes us all around Mississauga, and there are bus stops for it everywhere so there is no need to travel too far in order to find one. Although Mississauga has functioning transportation facilities, as we go further in we will be talking about the minor existing problems and how we can solve them as well as improve the system we already have.
Issues in Sustainability:
- Traffic/ accidents: more cars mean more traffic, more traffic means higher chances of accidents or collisions.
- Traffic: the construction that happens on the roads causes fewer lanes to be open, therefore it leads to accelerated traffic during rush hour.
- Population growth: there is an increase in demands for cars, hence necessities such as gas stations, car repair shops, and car wash stations.
- What we lack: as of now, we have no highway, and there is usually not enough parking space for residents who require more parking spaces for their cars.
- We plan to add more facilities for snow and debris removal removal for smaller communities that lack these necessities.
- Safer and more walking pathways for pedestrians, and easier to be read traffic signs and lights.
- There will be wifi on buses to allow for traffic and weather updates in case the conditions get bad to advise caution.
- There will be more infrastructure built for cars such as auto shops.
- A newer highway will be built, therefore there will be a faster way to travel.
- Residences for apartments and houses that don't have a second parking spot provided to them already will be provided, extra private parking spaces for everyone will be available for a certain amount of money depending on income situation.
We have 30,000 people starting their lives each year in the Peel Region. With this city being populated by over 758,000 people, we have accumulated about more than 300,000 tonnes of garbage! Even in a developed city we don't have a sustainable method of removing/reducing waste in landfills and an effective way of reducing one's garbage.
What are the issues or problems that exist in Mississauga regarding waste and waste management?
- The Peel Council has partnered with the Mississauga Youth Urban Planning Committee to devise a plan to divert 75% of the waste that goes to landfills by 2034.
- The Council ended an incineration Energy-from-Waste operation that was already diverting 75% of garbage prior to 2012. They also halted construction of a second incineration plant because of pollution effects on residents.
- Peel pays $75 a tonne to have local garbage hauled and dumped in the rural community between London and Sarnia (Twin Creeks landfill in Warwick).
- The biweekly collection plan raised the current 46% diversion rate to just above 50%. With plans to build an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility it would raise the diversion rate to 60%. Regional staff will still have to devise a plan to keep another 15% of the garbage, produced by Peel homes and businesses, from landfill. Regional councillors voiced concerns about increased heavy truck traffic and pollution as well as a price tag that had moved north of $580 million when they cancelled plans for the incinerator and presented the proposal for a $100 million Anaerobic Digestion facility.
- Local residents dealing with the over sized bins, leaving them outside in the winter would freeze the latches/locks.
How is the situation unsustainable in Mississauga?
- Landfills are unsustainable in Mississauga because they are harmful to the environment. They pose 2 main environmental problems like air pollution and groundwater pollution.
- When the waste is biodegrading it releases a more potent gas than carbon dioxide called methane which is released in the air and soil. As this toxic gases pressure increase it moves throughout the soil and air, which affects the surrounding communities and poses lung and heart diseases.
- The toxic gases can seep through soil and since most landfills are situated near bodies of water, the toxins can poison the water and make it harmful for us and make it harmful for the inhabiting animals.The cost to ship the garbage to the landfill site cost $75 a tonne which mainly comes from taxpayers. It's both economical and environmentally harmful.
The effects of an incineration plant affects the environment, our health and has financial impact.
- Plastic and metals are the major source of the calorific value of the waste. The combustion of plastics, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gives rise to highly toxic pollutants such as dioxins and furans, which may be present in the waste gases, water or ash. If it harms us it can harm animals as well.
- Burning the garbage creates 2 types of ash, fly ash and bottom ash. Fly ash produced in small dark flecks, typically from a furnace, and carried into the air, if not properly disposed of. Bottom ash has a lot more quantity because it is the residue of the combustion. Both of these ashes are toxic and have to be disposed of properly in a special landfill which is more expensive than regular landfills.
In order: Dioxin, Mercury, Lead, Nitrogen oxides, Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Sulfur dioxide
- Breathing the air affects both workers in the plant and people who live nearby.
- Eating locally produced foods or water that have been contaminated by air pollutants from the incinerator.
- Eating fish or wildlife that have been contaminated by the air emissions.
- Neurological damage
- Disrupt reproductive systems
- Thyroid systems
- Respiratory systems
- Half of investments are put towards controlling toxic's and volatile compound emissions.
- Incineration experts generally state that to have an economically viable operation, it is required to have an incinerator that burns at least 1000 tonnes of garbage each day. The cost to build such a facility is approximately $100 million. Operating costs to maintain the equipment and the pollution control equipment is also high.
- It is dangerous to bury fly ash in a regular municipal landfill. A special hazardous waste landfill is required which is almost ten times costlier than a municipal landfill. Therefore, the cost of municipal waste incineration shoots up due to the requirement of a special landfill for fly ash disposal.
How do you propose to make Mississauga more sustainable within your urban planning committee?
- If people have more trash they should have to pay a price so that the extra garbage can be sent to a landfill or an Anaerobic Digestion facility.
- Instead of burning the garbage just for land, we can burn the garbage for fuel in an Anaerobic digestion facility. In this facility the garbage is burned and used to heat up homes. In Broward county they burn thousands of waste and power 100,000 homes and eliminate 2.4 million barrels of imported oil!
- In the Anaerobic digestion facility the garbage is burned for fuel. With this method of waste management we can clean up the ocean, (the pile of garbage the size of Texas in the Atlantic), other incineration facilities can be shut down but the workers can work in the AD facility. Since more than half of investments are spent on controlling toxic emissions the efforts can be put towards the facility since there would be only a few buildings.
- Giving tax breaks to companies who make a biodegradable plastics. The biodegradable plastics can be thrown in the green bin.
Housing Solutions (Anthony)
Mississauga is limited in space, and with these size limitations Mississauga is being forced to tear down important land within the city in order to build more houses and buildings which wastes many resources. The community should transition towards living in apartments and condos to hold more people and conserve space as well as open up more space for better purposes for the city.
The Environment (Anthony)
Pollution is increasing and because of our growing population, Mississauga will need to rely on the environment more to reduce the pollution. This means that we need to protect our forests and wetlands. The community should build around these environmentally crucial areas as well instead of destroying them for more buildings. Expanding the forests will also help provide awareness for living green and improve the overall atmosphere of the city, especially visually.