Close Welcome writers, influencers and dreamers, make the world a greener place
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password
or
or

Close
Close Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
Close Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
Close Reset password
your profile is 33% complete:
33%
Update profile Close
Close WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-Change

For writers, influencers and dreamers who want to make the world a greener place.

WhatsOrb reaches monthly about 28.000 thousand visitors who want - like you - to make the world a greener place. Share your expertise and all can benefit.

Become an influencer and write and share sustainable news and innovations globally
Are you a writer or do you have ideas about sustainability which you want to share? Register and share your green knowledge and news. WhatsOrb offers you global exposure for your article.

If your article meets certain standards, you receive promotional gains like Facebook promotions and Google Ads advertising.

Agri & Gardening agriculture  wastewater as natural fertilizer | Upload General

Agriculture: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer

by: Ariana M
agriculture  wastewater as natural fertilizer | Upload

It is no secret that the world’s population has grown very rapidly in the past decades. This has put a lot of pressure on natural resources, especially when it comes to the most important one of them all – water. With it becoming more and more scarce, we are now turning to reuse wastewater, and for some farming communities, it has become the only solution – but it is much more dangerous than they realize.

Agriculture: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer

Naturally, nobody would want to drink wastewater, and yet it seems like less of a concern when it comes to watering our plants with it. Wastewater can indeed provide plants with essential nutrients and act as a natural fertilizer, however, when untreated, it can also introduce heavy metals, organic contaminants, pathogens, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria into our food. So why do some communities still take the risk of using it?

The answer is straightforward – untreated wastewater is free. In some areas, this is the only way a farmer can afford irrigation, while in others, it is merely a way of increasing profits. According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 10% of the world’s population relies on food grown on wastewater. Still, in reality, the true extent of the problem is unknown due to lack of regulations and checks in some developing countries.

waste water pipes

Recommended: Human Waste As Fertilizer Is Good For The Environment

How Untreated Wastewater Farming Puts Everyone At Risk

The Mezquital Valley in Mexico is a textbook example of the problem. Lack of appropriate water treatment facilities and the rapid expansion of Mexico City has forced local farmers to use untreated wastewater for irrigation. High prices of pre-treated water made unsafe practices the only way that produce could be grown at a low cost.

Affordable produce came at a very high price – it cost the population their health. Mezquital Valley has the highest incidence of kidney cancer in the region, as well as very high rates of helminth and severe gastrointestinal diseases. As using untreated wastewater has been practiced in this region for more than 100 years, many generations of locals were affected, and future generations will likely be affected as well.

A Controversial Solution: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer

Luckily, the government has recognized the issue, and a new water treatment plant called Atotonilco plant has been in the works since 2010. It is expected to be able to provide enough water for irrigation of 80,000 hectares of land.

While many see this as a significant step forward, some don’t want to see this project finished – the farmers themselves. Switching to treated water would require them to switch to using fertilizers and agrochemicals, which will increase costs. Many farmers are concerned that they will not be able to sustain these additional costs and would thus have to quit the trade that has been passed down in their family for many generations. Most of them also downplay the risks of using untreated water, claiming that their families haven’t suffered from it some wash their hands with that water before eating. This is a conflict that will be hard to resolve in a way that would leave both sides of it happy – the farmers want to see no reduction in the amount of water they get or how much organic material it contains. In contrast, the government wants to see a drastic improvement in water quality.

Recommended: Waste In Oceans: 5 Dirty Cruise Holiday Secrets

Is There Still Hope?

Unfortunately, experience has shown that even the latest technology does not eliminate all of the risks of using wastewater. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other pollutants can still find ways to pass through these treatment systems and pose a severe threat to human health. This can make developing countries less likely to invest in plants such as the Atotonilco one as they are incredibly costly (according to the company behind the plant’s construction, it has required an investment of more than 560 million euros so far, which is nearly 650 million USD). Their limitations might seem insufficient by some.

World Health Organisation has been campaigning for safer wastewater use in farming for many decades, and various solutions are being developed for low-income countries. They work with experts across multiple industries to define safe practice guidelines and offer low-cost options that, while imperfect, will reduce health risks for both farmers and locals.

Recommended: Garbage That Could Kill The Whole Human Race

Mezquital Valley’s situation has illustrated that we cannot avoid using wastewater for farming and that more needs to be done to make it safer. New technology, governmental regulations and policies, and educating communities about risks are all required for us to be sustainable without risking more in the process.

Have you heard of other communities affected by using untreated wastewater for farming? What other steps do you think can be taken to make the practice safer for everyone? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments!

Before you go!

Recommended: Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How?

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your article about sustainability?
Click on 'Register' or push the button 'Write An Article' on the 'HomePage.'

Messange
You
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY TIPS & TRICKS
More like this:

Agriculture: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer

It is no secret that the world’s population has grown very rapidly in the past decades. This has put a lot of pressure on natural resources, especially when it comes to the most important one of them all – water. With it becoming more and more scarce, we are now turning to reuse wastewater, and for some farming communities, it has become the only solution – but it is much more dangerous than they realize. Agriculture: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer Naturally, nobody would want to drink wastewater, and yet it seems like less of a concern when it comes to watering our plants with it. Wastewater can indeed provide plants with essential nutrients and act as a natural fertilizer, however, when untreated, it can also introduce heavy metals, organic contaminants, pathogens, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria into our food. So why do some communities still take the risk of using it? The answer is straightforward – untreated wastewater is free. In some areas, this is the only way a farmer can afford irrigation, while in others, it is merely a way of increasing profits. According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 10% of the world’s population relies on food grown on wastewater. Still, in reality, the true extent of the problem is unknown due to lack of regulations and checks in some developing countries. Recommended:  Human Waste As Fertilizer Is Good For The Environment How Untreated Wastewater Farming Puts Everyone At Risk The Mezquital Valley in Mexico is a textbook example of the problem. Lack of appropriate water treatment facilities and the rapid expansion of Mexico City has forced local farmers to use untreated wastewater for irrigation. High prices of pre-treated water made unsafe practices the only way that produce could be grown at a low cost. Affordable produce came at a very high price – it cost the population their health. Mezquital Valley has the highest incidence of kidney cancer in the region, as well as very high rates of helminth and severe gastrointestinal diseases. As using untreated wastewater has been practiced in this region for more than 100 years, many generations of locals were affected, and future generations will likely be affected as well. A Controversial Solution: Wastewater As Natural Fertilizer Luckily, the government has recognized the issue, and a new water treatment plant called Atotonilco plant has been in the works since 2010. It is expected to be able to provide enough water for irrigation of 80,000 hectares of land. While many see this as a significant step forward, some don’t want to see this project finished – the farmers themselves. Switching to treated water would require them to switch to using fertilizers and agrochemicals, which will increase costs. Many farmers are concerned that they will not be able to sustain these additional costs and would thus have to quit the trade that has been passed down in their family for many generations. Most of them also downplay the risks of using untreated water, claiming that their families haven’t suffered from it some wash their hands with that water before eating. This is a conflict that will be hard to resolve in a way that would leave both sides of it happy – the farmers want to see no reduction in the amount of water they get or how much organic material it contains. In contrast, the government wants to see a drastic improvement in water quality. Recommended:  Waste In Oceans: 5 Dirty Cruise Holiday Secrets Is There Still Hope? Unfortunately, experience has shown that even the latest technology does not eliminate all of the risks of using wastewater. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other pollutants can still find ways to pass through these treatment systems and pose a severe threat to human health. This can make developing countries less likely to invest in plants such as the Atotonilco one as they are incredibly costly (according to the company behind the plant’s construction, it has required an investment of more than 560 million euros so far, which is nearly 650 million USD). Their limitations might seem insufficient by some. World Health Organisation has been campaigning for safer wastewater use in farming for many decades, and various solutions are being developed for low-income countries. They work with experts across multiple industries to define safe practice guidelines and offer low-cost options that, while imperfect, will reduce health risks for both farmers and locals. Recommended:  Garbage That Could Kill The Whole Human Race Mezquital Valley’s situation has illustrated that we cannot avoid using wastewater for farming and that more needs to be done to make it safer. New technology, governmental regulations and policies, and educating communities about risks are all required for us to be sustainable without risking more in the process. Have you heard of other communities affected by using untreated wastewater for farming? What other steps do you think can be taken to make the practice safer for everyone? We would love to hear your opinion in the comments! Before you go! Recommended:  Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How? Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations