Collection: Pollution

Pollution in every form – air, water and waste – is a direct consequence of human activity and as such needs to be managed by humans. Local authorities across the world have the opportunity to play a central role in achieving a profound change in global pollution through delivering effective and sustainable pollution management strategies. From investing in clean transport services and modifying local water management policies, to promoting sustainable waste management, there are clear ways local governments can reduce pollution.

This collection showcases a range of LGIU work that explores all things pollution, including air, waste and water pollution. From exclusive LGIU member content to our Global Local newsletters, plus articles which are free for anyone to read, this collection provides resources to support better policy and practice for your communities. This collection also delves into the strategies being integrated on local levels to resolve the impacts of pollution including eco-friendly transport planning and circular economy waste management, as well as exploring further impacts of pollution on biodiversity.

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Controlling air pollution and improving transportation

Air pollution remains a serious problem in much of the world, particularly in urban, agricultural and populated areas. Understanding and responding to the impacts of air pollution, be it on health, transport, local economies and the environment, is vital for local governments.

Nearly all local authorities now have air quality targets to meet, but there is no one measure that fits all local areas. Different factors will be behind why one municipality is struggling with pollution versus another, be it through high levels of household air pollution, unreliable public transport, road traffic issues, a lack of cycleways, or geographical conditions. As such, councils are best placed to help reduce air pollution in their local area, as they can deliver different abatement initiatives specific to local characteristics.

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Cyclepaths to recovery: Fast-tracking active travel and public realm investments

This member-only briefing looks at the benefits and challenges around fast-tracking active travel and public realm investments in response to government investment and provides examples of some local councils’ responses, particularly into major city centres. Read here.

Do emissions-controlled zones work? A review of the results

For the first time, emissions-controlled zones have been floated as a possibility in New South Wales, however, they are not a novel idea and have been implemented elsewhere for over two decades. This briefing explores the evidence from other countries and the various pros and cons they offer to factors like health, environment and economy. Read here.

Going even lower? A progress report on Low Emission Zones and tackling air pollution in cities

Low emission zones were first introduced in Sweden in 1996 and there are now over 250 low emission zones across 15 European countries, either planned or in operation. Vehicle access to a LEZ is usually based on Euro emission engine classification standards which provide the emission rating of a vehicle. This member-only briefing explores the pros and cons of implementing LEZs. Read here.

Global Local: Air quality and pollution

This Global Local newsletter, open to LGIU members and Global Local premium subscribers, looks at how local governments can help improve air quality and reduce exposure to harmful pollutants with best practice examples from all around the world. Read here.

Find out more about our topical weekly newsletter service, Global Local right here

Active leadership for active transport

Last year, LGIU and the Municipal Association of Victoria held a panel to discuss how leadership changes at local and state levels can create more connected cities and neighbourhoods that prioritise walking and cycling. The summary of this exclusive event is available for members-only. Read here.

When transport meets participatory planning: Repurposing public spaces away from private cars

This member-only briefing looks at the role of deliberative and meaningful participatory planning coupled with key strategies to secure a public mandate for potentially controversial projects like repurposing spaces away from private cars. Read here.

Water pollution

Global and local trends, such as consumerism, agricultural intensification and climate disruption, present significant challenges to local government in respect of ensuring citizens have an adequate supply of potable water. Today, nearly 75% of freshwater resources are devoted to crop or livestock production, and plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980 with 300-400 million tons of industrial wastes and fertilisers entering fresh waterways and coastal ecosystems annually.

While the sprawling nature of river basins means that water requires management from regional and national actors, in most countries local government has some responsibility for water management, be that protection of watercourses, monitoring water quality, or managing wastewater and distributing drinking water.

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Global Local: Freshwater management

This Global Local newsletter puts the spotlight on all things local water management, from clearing pollution and improving biodiversity to securing the supply of fresh, safe drinking water. Specifically, this newsletter takes a deeper look at three municipalities’ water management strategies from the US, Australia and Ireland. Open to LGIU members and Global Local premium subscribers, read here.

Find out more about our topical weekly newsletter service, Global Local right here

From snow that only melted yesterday: water management in Chicago

This article explores the importance of local waterways to Chicago’s development, the ongoing challenge of water pollution, and some of the projects developed by local authorities to improve water management in and around the city. Open to everyone, read here.

Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition: select committee report

This member-only briefing deals with a report published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on its inquiry into the agricultural transition in England and Environmental Land Management (ELM). The transition represents the most significant changes to English agriculture in decades. Read here.

Waste and the circular economy

Waste creation and disposal is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste alone, for example, accounts for between 8 to 10% of global emissions. This means that how we extract, purchase, consume and dispose of resources needs to change in order to tackle the global climate crisis.

Local authorities across the world have the chance to play a central role in this change. From raising awareness and investing in infrastructure, to modifying their own procurement policies and supporting the growth of the circular economy, there are numerous ways in which councils can promote more sustainable waste management.

Top view of many hands holding different waste, garbage types with recycling sign made of paper in the center over white background. Sorting, recycling waste concept. Horizontal shot. Top view

The circularity gap: An opportunity for local government leadership and practical change

This member-only briefing explores how local governments can include reporting on the circularity gap as part of their wider annual reporting processes, measuring their role in transitioning to a circular economy alongside other key local government metrics. Read here.

Stirling Reuse Hub: Transforming Waste into Economic, Resource and Social Opportunities

In this article, Donna Wood from Transition Stirling discusses the city’s new Reuse Hub. Set up in partnership with the local authority this hub will reduce waste, support the local economy and bring people together. Open to everyone, read here.

Sustainable waste management in Maroondah City Council

A sustainable approach to waste is imperative for every local government. Find out how Maroondah City Council became the first Australian Council to supply municipal solid waste to the Maryvale Energy Energy from Waste facility in Victoria in this article. Open to everyone, read here.

How BladeBridges are repurposing wind turbines and active travel

Tackling the dilemma of growing wind energy adoption and no sustainable disposal solution, offers a way to repurpose blades into blade bridges, a cost-competitive option to traditional bridges with added environmental advantages, learn all about it in this article. Open to everyone, read here.

Organics as a resource: removing household waste from the waste stream

This member-only briefing looks at household organic waste management: the size of the problem, how local governments are working to divert organic waste from landfill, and the supporting infrastructure and services required to make smarter use of organic waste. Read here.

Recycling & Waste Management: Issues and implications for local government

While waste management and recycling practices have largely been the domain of local government, they are increasingly of interest to state/territory, national and international bodies. This member-only briefing provides a brief outline of initiatives in each State and Territory, along with specific issues and new directions of relevance to local governments. Read here.

Impacts of pollution on biodiversity

Biodiversity is vital to all life on earth, however, at the moment, it is facing unprecedented levels of collapse and crisis. Protecting biodiversity from the impacts of pollution, climate change and human activity can take a variety of different forms – from national strategies, local plans and legislation, to urban planning. Local authorities, therefore, have the potential to play a leadership role in enhancing biodiversity.

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Mainstreaming biodiversity

This member-only briefing summarises a landmark report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) that highlights the extent of global biodiversity loss. Read here.

Urban wetlands for liveability, biodiversity and fighting climate change

In this member-only briefing, we look at the role urban areas can play in being part of the solution to the biodiversity crisis. The provision of green infrastructure, including urban waterways and wetlands, can stimulate the economy through ‘building back greener’ at the same time as helping to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss. Read here.

Biodiversity: effective protection and harnessing co-benefits

This Global Local spotlights local strategies for supporting biodiversity. The newsletter explores how despite an increase in policies and actions to support biodiversity, indicators show that biodiversity loss has worsened in recent years. Open to LGIU members and Global Local premium subscribers, read here.

Find out more about our topical weekly newsletter service, Global Local right here