UN-Water: Look at wastewater as a resource, not waste

A wastewater treatment plant in Manila, the Philippines. Photo credit: Danilo Pinzon/World Bank

UN-Water pressed a shift in their United Nations World Water Development Report, Wastewater: the Untapped Resource, moving from considering agricultural and industrial wastewater emitted into the environment on a daily basis as an expensive issue to regarding it as a valuable resource.

The United Nations World Water Development Report is a UN-Water Report coordinated by UNESCO’s UN World Water Assessment Programme. It debates and argues from the stance that once it has been treated, wastewater has the potential to prove valuable in meeting the growing demand for freshwater as well as other raw materials.

“Wastewater is a valuable resource in the world where water is finite and demand is growing,” Chair of UN-Water and Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, said. “Everyone can do their bit to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater 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.”

“The 2017 World Water Development Report shows that improved wastewater management is as much about reducing pollution at the source, as removing contaminants from wastewater flows, reusing reclaimed water and recovering useful by-products,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova argued in her foreword to the Report. “Raising social acceptance of the use of wastewater is essential to moving forward.”


Source: UN-Water, UN World Water Assessment Programme by UNESCO