March 22 is World Water Day. The United Nations acclaimed this in 1993. This year's theme is wastewater. Wonder why? Read along!
The United Nations sees wastewater more as a resource than as a problem. “Wastewater is a valuable resource in a world where water is finite and demand is growing,” says Guy Ryder, Chair of UN-Water, on the UN website. “Everyone can do their bit to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase safe water reuse by 2030. It's all about carefully managing and recycling the water that runs through our homes, factories, farms and cities. Let's all reduce and safely reuse more wastewater so that this precious resource serves the needs of increasing populations and a fragile ecosystem.”
What is wastewater?
The Oxford Diary says that wastewater is:
Water that has been used in the home, in a business, or as part of an industrial process.
Wastewater does not have the same quality as pure water, coming out of your tap, it has been polluted. In developed countries this water is filtered and used again as clean water. But in not so developed countries, the majority of the countries, this water is released in nature without treatment. This forms a threat to nature and to public health. Still 1.8 billion people have to drink faecally contaminated water (this is water contaminated with poop = not ok).
What does the UN want to do with it then?
The UN wants to improve the treatment of wastewater in underdeveloped countries.
By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
How will they do this?
- Prevent the pollution by controlling and prohibiting certain toxics to enter the wastewater.
- Collect and treat wastewater by connecting people to sanitation options.
- Using wastewater as an alternative source of water. For example using it for irrigation.
- Recover useful by-products such as energy and nutrients.
Read the full report here.