Drugging our waters

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A recent visit to Denmark made me realise that the global challenge of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in wastewater was even more onerous than I thought. Despite being one of the most sustainable countries in the world, and equipped with advanced water technologies, Denmark has managed to build its first full-scale dedicated WWTP for treating hospital wastewater only recently. Most hospitals are discharging their wastewater to municipal treatment plants, which as insiders know too well, are woefully inadequate to deal with PPCPs. Continue reading

Is my water drugged?

When I brought home my pack of antibiotics from the doctor last month, it was with a heavy heart – not just for the unwanted side effects that I had been sentenced to bear but the damage to the environment.

Mankind is dosing itself with such high levels of pharmaceuticals including painkillers, tranquilizers, anti-depressants, antibiotics, birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapies, chemotherapy agents, anti-seizure medications, etc that these compounds are finding their way into rivers, groundwater and ultimately drinking water. Municipal sewage treatment plants are generally not equipped to remove complex pharmaceuticals and these dangerous compounds are poised to make a huge impact in the coming decades. Continue reading