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Monthly News Round-up: August

Aquatiere have filtered through the news to bring you a monthly news round-up of the latest headlines and developments in water filtration, treatment, and conservation.

Pollution

Plastic Wet Wipe Ban

Around 90% of wet wipes on the UK market still contain plastic. Not only is this bad news for plastic pollution in general but the plastic also prevents them from breaking down when flushed. These plastic wet wipes are a main cause of drain blockages and also contribute to ‘fatbergs’. Fatbergs are created in our sewerage systems when oil and grease is poured down drains clinging to other non-flushable items.

The government are looking to bring about a ban on wet wipes to reduce the incidence of fatbergs and blockages in the sewerage systems. Water Minister Rebecca Pow is keen on bringing the ban forward as soon as possible.

Sewage Scandal

Water companies are being accused of withholding information in the latest sewage scandal news. Liberal Democrats have stated that the information surrounding the volume of pollution through Environment Information Regulations did not exist.

Several water companies across the UK have reported that they do not record this information. To this the Lib Dems have replied that the water firms are either withholding volume data, or are using inadequate monitoring systems.

Fighting Fires with Sewage

With current fire-fighting methods using up local water resources, crews in Wales are looking for alternatives. Sewage water is being treated and cleaned with ultraviolet light. It will then be used instead of wasting precious drinking water by fire-fighters in mid and west Wales. Welsh Water welcomes innovation and wants to adapt their methods to avoid the prospect of future water shortages.

Innovation

Oxygen Treatment of Wastewater

Working alongside Lagan MEICA JV & ARUP, NI Water is rolling out liquid oxygen trials as part of an innovative hydrogen project. The trials are taking place at wastewater treatment works in Belfast. The liquid oxygen trials aim to investigate the benefits of oxygen in the treatment of wastewater. The results of the trials will lead to new ways in dealing with wastewater whilst simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.

Conservation

World Water Week Summary

Close to 15,000 participants from more than 190 countries took part in World Water Week 2023. The organisers were happy to report that a record number of first-time attendees participated in events. They were happier still that a larger percentage of women and people under 35 took part in this year’s World Water Week. In this news round-up we have summarised the 6 key talking points from the event.

World Water Week 2023: 6 Key Trends

1. Interconnectivity: many speakers at the event highlighted the importance of talking more about how to bring about change, rather than just focusing on the problems.

2. Rethink innovation: SIWI’s Acting Executive Director pointed out that innovation is a much wider concept than simply AI and IT. Innovation also extends to governance, finance, ideologies, and culture.

3. Indigenous Knowledge: special focus was placed on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, with representatives from 20 groups present to share their views and experiences. Dr Milika Sobey talked about the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge in terms of innovation.

4. Focus on Oceans: all three winners of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize had a special ocean focus. The young scientists participating in the prize made a point about taking individual approaches to different water sources.

5. New Approaches: the future of water governance was discussed throughout the week. Professor Rockström revealed new research on the pressure we are currently putting on the global water cycle and what this means for humankind.

6. Syncing International Processes: by synchronising international processes, collective action is being encouraged to solve water challenges together.

That’s all for this month’s news round-up. Check back in September, for more on water pollution, conservation news and technology updates…