12 ways to turn water from waste to resource – The Guardian

12 ways to turn water from waste to resource. The Guardian, March 27, 2017.

As 80% of the world’s wastewater flows untreated into the environment, we asked an expert panel to discuss how to promote water reuse 

wastewater

A pedestrian walks past a wall adorned with water conservation messages in Mumbai. Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

1 | Highlight success stories

The main message we should give is that proper reuse can save money and generate income, and is good for the environment. In the Netherlands, there is now a wastewater plant that actually generates energy. As a sector we need to highlight such examples, provide technical options and work with the public to raise their awareness about the danger to their health around wastewater. Arjen Naafs, technical adviser, WaterAid South Asia, @Arjen_Naafs,@wateraid

2 | Tackle cultural stigma

Wastewater is often out of sight and out of mind. There is resistance not just from the public to re-use but also from governments and health authorities. In one recent project on wastewater management we demonstrated that water was safe for specific re-use. Christopher Corbin, programme officer, pollution prevention, UN Caribbean Environment Programme, @cristojc, @UNEP_CEP

We have examples of successful reuse – such as biogas installations in Ethiopia fuelling kitchen units, eco-san toilets in peri-urban Mozambique, and a co-composting plant in Bangladesh which produces fertiliser. In all examples, however, it takes a considerable effort for awareness raising and longer term presence. It is possible, but it requires determination and patience. Arjen Naafs

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