a city known to not many worldwide, but for us, it is home. Mississauga may not be the largest city, but it certainly has a lot to offer to everyone. Mississauga has continued to improve in every aspect possible, because of the ideas proposed by the people of the past. However, every city has it's problems, and Mississauga is no exception.
This is where my classmate and I come in. My name is Japmeet Singh, and my classmate is Prateek Rao. Living in Mississauga for such a long time, we have noticed many problems in our society, and these problems are about Mississauga's sustainability for the future. Although we do have our current issues we need to solve, we need to focus on the future as well. We need to do this, or else these problems will arise in our near future, but on a bigger level. With Mississauga growing, our population will continue to grow and grow. With more and more people coming to our city, they too will begin to adapt to the unsustainable lifestyle that many of us live. We need to live a more sustainable lifestyle in Mississauga, as the way we are living now is expending too many resources at a rapid rate, and is detrimental to our environment as well.
My classmate and I have begun to focus on two main areas: Waste Management and Water & Energy. We both have seen some problems in these areas, and they are a big part of the unsustainable lifestyle we have taken to. In this short report, my classmate and I will talk about the problems in these areas, and some of the solutions we have come up with to combat these problems. Prateek, will focus on the problems in Waste Management, while I will talk about the problems in our Water & Energy utilities.
Waste Management (Prateek):
What are the issues or problems that exist in Mississauga's Waste Management?
The Current waste Management system is faced with certain challenges and issues. Some of critical ones are outlined below:
• Trash Troubles - Squirrels and raccoons eating away the new organic carts and bins. This means that it will cost more money for the city to produce more bins and replace the damaged ones. Carts costed the region $46M.
• Organic Cart locks were freezing and waste was not picked up.
• According to a photo, a truck picking up garbage had broken down and all of the waste was then left on the street for hours causing foul smell and insects and animals to come near the garbage. Then, a second garbage truck came to pick everything else up. This polluted the air as it used the fuel of 2 trucks to pick up one load of garbage.
• Another photo, depicts a car that had its windshield broken and the garbage bin that was totally destroyed. This was caused by the new mechanical arm from the new automated waste trucks.
• The 1.2 million residents produce over 500,000 tons of garbage each year and 70% of that was diverted to the landfill.
• Waste left on the streets can generate methane gas which is the main compound of natural gas which is explosive. Exposure to methane gas in air with low oxygen levels is subject to health issues.
• Electronic waste such as batteries are being thrown with garbage. Batteries contain harmful chemicals for both the environment and health.
• Using Plastic instead of reusable materials
• Overflowing landfills causes dizziness, headaches and a feeling of fatigue also called the greenhouse effect.
How is Mississauga's Waste Management unsustainable?
Urbanization in Mississauga continues to grow, so does the waste being produced. The costs of waste removal are becoming too expensive and citizens are not treating the environment the way it should be treated. As a case in point, what we now as the Braeben golf course, was actually a landfill site. The people who lived near the landfill left the area due to smell and greenhouse pollution. But once the landfill turned into a golf course, more people moved back into the area, which meant people would produce more waste, and there is not enough space to store/process the garbage as a massive amount of garbage is diverted to landfills. Our city’s garbage and waste is diverted to the Michigan landfill, and a couple of years ago, Michigan denied accepting any more waste because there was too much. We also need to look at our waste removal methodology. The region implemented a new collection system last year, but there have been many instances where there have been issues. Trucks have broken down, animals chew into organic bins and let the food fall all over the street and the automated mechanic arm has caused damaged to private property. If we do not take action to solve this issue, then our mission to cut down waste will not be any closer.
How do you propose to make Mississauga's Waste Management more sustainable?
Our community should be more enthusiastic on the 3 R’s. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. We should reduce the amount of waste we produce by using containers and water bottles that we can use again.
- We should focus on reducing the use of plastics/Styrofoam™ and roll in more eco-friendly products such as biodegradable bags.
- Be aware of how much water is being used in our day to day activities
- Encourage deposit-refund schemes for drinking bottles/containers/cans
- Provide tax credits to companies that embrace waste management techniques
- Grocery stores should be able to provide customers with reusable products made from recycled materials.
- Encourage RDF production (reusable biogas) from the biodegradable waste
- Encourage creative use of waste products for example: plastic bottles for gardening, containers for pots, creatively use waste products to create musical instruments, furniture from waste products.
Energy & Water (Japmeet):
What are the issues or problems that exist in Mississauga's Energy/Water?
In Mississauga, there are quite a few issues that come along with both the energy sector and the water sector. With energy, some of the issues include a reliance on non-renewable resources and high energy usage in homes. With the water sector, the main problem with its sustainability is that we are using water at alarming rates.
Nuclear power plants are a major example of a non-renewable source used in Mississauga. Source: http://www.taxpayer.net/media-center/article/nuclear-plants-need-boost-to-stay-open-industry-warns
How is Mississauga's Energy/Water unsustainable?
In Mississauga, the situation right now is very unsustainable for the future in both areas of energy and water. With our energy, the biggest problem is our dependence on non-renewable resources for power generation. We rely heavily on fossil fuels, which is horrible for our environment in multiple ways. Not only does it pollute the air, but it pollutes water as well. Along with this, it uses large amounts of water to cool down the plants, wasting an incredible amount of fresh water. In fact, nuclear plants make 50% of Ontario’s electricity. This wastage of water is unsustainable for the future, and would only add more problems along the way.
Nuclear plants, one of Ontario's major power suppliers, require water to cool down the reactor, in turn using up large amounts of water. Source: http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/reactor-core-cooling
However, that is not the only impact non-renewable resources will have. Because of the fact they are ‘non-renewable’, it means that they will eventually run out. And with a large portion of our energy created from these fossil fuels, it will be a difficult time when we begin to have less of these resources. This issue means we cannot be able to fully depend on fossil fuels for our future energy needs. Along with this issue is the high amount of energy wastage in our homes. In our highly technology dependent lives, we use a lot of energy, whether it is used in appliances, entertainment systems, lights or in any other way. Like stated previously, we are highly dependent on fossil fuels, and they are our main sources of energy. However, with the current rate of energy usage in Mississauga, we are only speeding up the arrival of the day we can no longer use fossil fuels to power our homes and establishments. We have not invested in sustainable energy sources, and instead have focused into sources that will not be sustainable for a long time.
Nuclear power is the biggest generator of energy in Ontario, and Ontario has invested lots of money into non-renewable resources, but have invested much, much less into renewable sources. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Canada
With the issue of water, the main sustainability issue we have with this is the incredibly high usage of water in Mississauga homes and industries. According to a study, Canadians use an average of 329 L of water per day, per person. This amount may seem normal. However, this usage is insanely high, to a point where Canadians use more than twice the amount of water Europeans use! This water wastage is seemingly clear to everyone, yet no one addresses these problems. The cause of this is our high amounts of water. Because of our location, Mississauga has an abundance of fresh water that can be taken from our Great Lakes. This, in turn, has led us to be ‘spoiled’ when it comes to our water. However, we are not the only ones to be blamed. Industries are another example of water wastage. In the manufacturing of items and the production of energy using fossil fuels, a tremendous amount of water is used, whether it be to cool down the plant or to help make the product. No matter how we look at this current situation, we take water for granted in Mississauga, and this wastage will not be good for the sustainability of our fresh water supply.
Our large amounts of water in Mississauga have led to us living a very, very unsustainable lifestyle. Source: http://www.nationalpost.com/rss/study+calls+average+water+Canadians+alarming/1402591/story.html
How do you propose to make Mississauga's Energy/Water more sustainable?
Now is the time for change in Mississauga. We can create a more sustainable city that is designed to sustain our precious environment and resources. The best solution, without a doubt, is to begin making the switch from non-renewable resources into renewable resources. With renewable resources, like the name suggests, we can keep on harvesting the resource, whether it be wind, solar or other sources, and it will not run out. If we begin to make the switch to these types of energy sources, we will reap multiple benefits from this. The first benefit is the sustainability of renewable sources. We can continue to use renewable sources to produce energy, while non-renewable resources will, at one point, run out. So, we do not need to worry about supplying the energy plants. The renewable sources, like solar panels, will not pollute anywhere near as much as a nuclear plant or coal plant. This will help to keep our air and water clean and sustain our environment. It also cuts down on water usage, as significant amounts of water are used to cool down nuclear plants, and the water would not become polluted from the remnants of uranium from these nuclear plants. I plan to slowly merge renewable sources into our power grid, while removing the non-renewable sources of energy, as we are so dependent on them. Removing all of them at once would lead to catastrophe, with nuclear power generating 50% of our power needs alone. Lessening the amount of fossil fuels we use will help lead the citizens of Mississauga to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Renewable sources of energy, like solar power and wind power, are the solution to our current unsustainable power choices. Source: http://www.alternative-energy-tutorials.com/energy-articles/renewable-energy-a-sustainable-energy-source.html
An idea to have a more sustainable water supply is to increase prices on water usage, as well as to promote ways to save water. With higher taxes on water usage, people will make an effort to use less water, as they would have to pay more for their bills. With the current average of usage, an increase in tax would hike the price of the bill by quite a bit. This will help to reduce the amount of water that is used by the population of Mississauga, helping to sustain our freshwater supply for the future generations. However, like my idea with raising the energy bill, this may be met with some obstacles. If we were to raise the cost of water, we may get some backlash from some people because of the continued raising price of water. The lower-class families may also backlash because of the higher prices that affect them. However, this increase would bring along significant changes that would be good for the future of Mississauga. An increase would help not only reduce water usage, but it would affect the other sectors of Mississauga, which I will touch on.
Today, energy production, water & the environment are closely intertwined with each other, and they have an effect on the other. If we were to raise the price of water, not only would we influence water usage, but we can also affect energy production. We can use the money coming from the higher water prices to begin investment into our renewable sources of energy. With these renewable sources of energy, we would release less pollution into the air and water, keeping our water & air clean, while giving us sustainable sources of energy. Raising taxes will help to limit the water usage of citizens.
Promoting water saving techniques while raising the water bill will surely have an effect, as with the increase of the bill, people will begin to start using less water. Promoting these techniques may help the people of Mississauga save water, as they will be looking for ways to do so. Using an ad like the one below can help people save water in their daily lives. If all of Mississauga did the little things, then we would save a lot of water. We can help to create a sustainable Mississauga by saving water in every way we can.
Mississauga can surely overcome the water and energy problems we currently face. These are merely a few ideas to help solve our current problems.
Therefore, Mississauga, while being a great city, has it's fair share of sustainability problems. These problems will cause us quite a bit of trouble in the future if we do not take care of them now. With Mississauga's ever-growing population, these issues will get worse as time passes. These problems, which are quite prevalent in the Waste Management and Water & Energy sectors, can be solved if correct actions are taken to solve them. So, we hope that you, the members of the City Council, take our ideas into consideration, as they may be the solutions to our sustainability problems. Thank you for reading our short report.
- News, Mississauga. "What a Waste." Mississauga.com. Mississauga News, 27 June 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. (http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/3126645-what-a-waste/)
- Williams, Rachael. "Questions Still Remain about Region's Waste Collection Program." Mississauga.com. Mississauga News, 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. (http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/6232414-questions-still-remain-about-region-s-waste-collection-program/)
- Jolicoeur, Thomas. "New Study Calls Average Water Use by Canadians 'alarming'." National Post. Canwest News Service, 18 Mar. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <http://www.nationalpost.com/rss/study+calls+average+water+Canadians+alarming/1402591/story.html>.
- Oskin, Becky. "Water Levels of the Great Lakes Are Declining." Scientific American. LiveScience, 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/water-levels-of-the-great-lakes-are-declining/>
- Weber, Bob. "Canada Must Start Linking Water, Energy Issues: Scientist." Global News. Global News, 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <http://globalnews.ca/news/1876109/canada-must-start-linking-water-energy-issues-scientist/>.