Can technology help tackle the world's waste crisis?

First Slide

In Disney's 2008 animation Wall-E, the eponymous robot is left behind on a deserted Earth to clean up the waste mankind left behind. If the latest statistics are anything to go by, we're in danger of turning that fictional future into a reality. A decade ago, city dwellers generated 680 million tonnes of solid waste a year, says the World Bank. Now this is 1.3 billion tonnes, and forecast to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 - enough to fill a 5,000km-long (3,107 mile) queue of rubbish lorries each day. And the cost of disposing of all this detritus is projected to rise from $205bn (£136bn) to $375bn (£250bn) a year over the next decade. But could technology, which helped create much of this waste, also help deal with it? Methane munching Much of the world's waste goes to landfill sites, which only add to the pollution problem because they produce methane - a greenhouse gas and significant contributor to climate change. Mexico City's mammoth Bordo Poniente site generates 1.4 million tonnes of methane a year. But technology is helping to extract the gas and turn it into electricity.

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