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Environmental Policy: Water Sanitation Essay

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Updated: Jul 7th, 2021

Introduction

Water pollution has a deeply lasting impact on the global community, affecting public health and the environment. The connection between water pollution and the issues such as health rates and environmental issues might seem tenuous, yet water contamination has a direct impact on people’s health and the safety of habitats, as well as different species. Several factors that may lead to water pollution are typically mentioned as the ones of the greatest impact. These include increased production of domestic waste, active use of pesticides, detergents or any other type of chemicals that interact with the environment aggressively, and industrial waste (Liu et al., 2018). The latter includes wastewater effluents from plants and other production facilities that emit waste (Wang et al., 2018).

In addition to direct consumption of water that has been contaminated and may contain viruses of dangerous infectious diseases, there is a possibility of water trickling further into the soil and contaminating groundwater. The described process affects the environment on a very profound level by increasing the instances of waterborne illnesses among people and animal species. In addition, the quality of soil and the crops that are produced using it drop respectively, causing an ecological catastrophe. Due to the negative effects of pollution, numerous habitats disappear, which causes local endemics to become extinct (Wang et al., 2018). As a result, multiple natural processes are disrupted, which leads to more diseases and even more drastic outcomes for people and local species (Wang et al., 2018). Therefore, the issue of water pollution must be managed using both the support of local authorities and the assistance of citizens.

Innovative Solution: A Critical Review

The application of the new sanitation principles represents a new method of reducing the levels of water pollution and curbing the extent of its negative effects on living organisms. The specified technique implies addressing the issue of water contamination by introducing it to anaerobic treatment (Díaz-Báez & Valderrama-Rincon, 2017). Specifically, the proposed technique implies introducing organic sludge to contaminated water in order to purify it from waste. During the anaerobic treatment of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket digestion (AT in UASB), water is processed with the help of the blanket that forms on the surface of the tank and distils clean water from waste elements (Wang et al., 2018). Along with AT in UASB, the expanded granular sludge bed (EGSB) approach is often proposed as equally effective. In fact, several studies point to the fact that the EGSB-based strategy is likely to yield better results since the specified EGSB can be combined with glucose more effectively (Wang et al., 2018). The described reaction is critical to the degradation of 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-DCP), which launches the mechanism of water purification (Díaz-Báez & Valderrama-Rincon, 2017). Nonetheless, the AT in UASB framework as the most accessible one needs to be integrated into the modern system of wastewater management and the reduction of water pollution rates.

Critical Analysis and Discussion

Advantages

The AT in UASB tool as the method for addressing the problem of wastewater has been chosen as an appropriate one for a solid reason. According to recent studies, AT in UASB helps to purify sewage water rather effectively. A comparatively small size of a typical AT in UASB and the small amount of resources that it consumes, including financial expenses, deserve to be named as the key advantages (El Gohary & Aboulfotoh, 2017). Indeed, due to its ergonomic structure and the active use of biofilters, the specified technology can be applied to rural communities, especially the remote areas that experience difficulties with regular access to water (Qian et al., 2106). The application of ASD in UASB with the inclusion of biofilters will lead to a rise in the levels of water sanitation, with the following chances for restoring damaged ecosystems and reducing the rates of groundwater pollution (Yang, Lee, Zheng, & Zang, 2018).

The described technique cannot be seen as fully impeccable due to several constraints, including the probability of leakage in case of inconsistent quality control. However, the performance of a UASB can be controlled more effectively once IT tools for monitoring are introduced to it. With the integration of AT to the UASB and the active management of issues associated with control, one will reduce the level of threat greatly and at the same time create the platform for the further improvement in the quality of water sanitation.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, the suggested solution is far from being flawless. While wastewater processing has a tangible impact on the degree of contamination, the AT in UASB framework also has several weaknesses. The size of the device and the scale of a project aimed at purifying water is the first problem since the volume of the tank is limited. Although the current volume restrictions still allow for a rather large amount of water to be processed, it does not provide an opportunity to perform the process of purification fast enough (Yang, Zhou, & Li, 2018). In addition, contained-based technology of new sanitation as a concept is rather broad, embracing a large number of technologies some of which are yet to be tested. The lack of tools for maintaining the security levels high and monitoring every aspect of the process of new sanitation also present a large number of concerns to address (Bovio, Cabezas, & Etchebehere, 2019). The technology issue is of particular importance to the overall efficacy of the proposed solution.

The described issue is not as much a disadvantage as it is a characteristic that makes the approach rather difficult to implement. Due to the necessity to integrate the latest and the most innovative tools into the project, it is crucial to provide staff members with updated information and training options for developing relevant skills. However, the process of learning is expected to be quite difficult since monitoring the performance of the equipment and ensuring that it works properly is going to be a challenge for staff members that are unaware of how to manage AT in UASB (Humayun et al., 2019). Thus, the introduction of the policies that encourage organisations and communities to incorporate the specified technology into the target setting in order to improve wastewater treatment and reduce the extent of water contamination requires further changes.

At present, the policy of anaerobic digestion, to which the principles of new sanitation and particularly the use of the AT in UASB belong, has been implemented with a varying degree of success. According to a recent study by Kang et al. (2018), to implement the proposed wastewater management policy, the current environment for cooperation between the bodies of city administration and organisations that produce wastewater is required. However, the current setting is far from being a perfect atmosphere for endorsing the proposed technique. For instance, a recent study establishes that the implementation of the system has been hampered in the UK:

Whilst the Department of Energy is not concerned that AT can provide a more environmentally friendly waste treatment alternative. The UK experience provides an example of a strong advocate integrating departments’ policy setting to realise AT’s full suite of benefits. (Edwards, Othman, & Burn, 2017, p. 824)

Therefore, the inconsistency in the stance taken by the local administration, environmental organisations, and local industrial entrepreneurships and businesses is worthy of noting. The observed obstacle is likely to prevent one from the successful implementation of the specified policy. The expenses associated with the AT in the UASB system and the AT framework, in general, is also of large significance to the overall feasibility of the new system integration.

Furthermore, integrating the policy of an AT in UASB-based water purification technology into the framework of operations within the settings of organisations and communities will require a deep understanding of the current legal standards. For instance, the present-day policy for managing water pollution with the help of the AT in UASB tools in the U.S. can be described as quite vague. According to Edwards et al. (2017), the efficacy of the AT in UASB system hinges on the extent to which the issue is addressed in the existing legal standards. Specifically, the author states that “The upward trend of on-farm AT use for bioenergy is expected to continue as high on-farm AT usage in particular is concentrated in a small number of states” (Edwards et al., 2017, p. 817). The necessity to establish the connection between the legal framework of a particular country with the introduction of AT in UASB tools into its communities and business sector is likely to reduce the speed of the policy integration and the implementation of the technique. Finally, the core disadvantage of the specified model of new sanitation concerns the absence of a framework for encouraging education about the specified concern.

Managing Disadvantages

Although the problems with the instalment of the new sanitation framework and particularly an AT in UASB-based technology in communities, the specified tool has a vast potential as the method of addressing water pollution. The disadvantages mentioned above, especially the one associated with the possibility of leakage, can be managed by introducing IT tools for monitoring and control, as well as the education of staff members. The proposed technique will help to reduce the threat of a leakage. In addition, it is critical to reconsider the present legal framework is supportive of the integration of innovative biotechnology into the UASB management. Finally, cooperation on the administrative level is required. To address the specified concerns, one will need to educate the residents of rural communities and the organisations that practice their business in the target setting about the opportunities that biotechnology holds for UASB and the chances that the described technique can open for water sanitation and overall improvement of the community’s ecological status.

Future Opportunities

Despite its numerous problems and the lack of legal support in a range of states, the technology that implies the use of new sanitation techniques and particularly the application of the AT in UASB method has a massively positive effect on the environment. Therefore, the selected policy that encourages organisations and communities to accept the idea of water purification as the gateway to introducing sustainability to their setting offers huge advantages. The improvement of the overall ecological situation is the primary positive outcome that the proposed strategy and the reinforcement of the current policy implies. By creating the legal and environmental standards that will make it mandatory for every community to utilise the AT in UASB system as the model of water purification, one will be able to manage the problem of water pollution at a much higher level. The resulting change in the ecology of communities will lead to possible restoration of habitats that have been affected by water pollution (Wang et al., 2018).

Moreover, the underlying issue of groundwater contamination will partially be addressed since lower rates of waste will be introduced to the water system and, thus, to groundwater. Studies show that the adoption of AT in UASB-related innovative technologies allows for the recovery of phosphorus during the procedure, as well as the removal of nitrogen from groundwater (Wang et al., 2018), the specified changes introduced to groundwater allow for its further sanitation and, therefore, affect the overall quality of water that people consume. The management of groundwater by using AT in UASB in communities and businesses is also connected closely to the improvement of groundwater status in the long term.

By applying the elements such as granular activated carbon to the AT in UASB environment, one can launch the process of Anammox granulation through uncultured bacterium (Liu et al., 2018). Therefore, the process of groundwater sanitation improves exponentially with the inclusion of UASNB-related technologies and particularly the integration of components that enhance the formation of granules (Edwards et al., 2017). It is worth keeping in mind that the suggested techniques may require additional efforts to be integrated into the selected environment due to legal constraints. For example, the described technique is prohibited in China because of the side ostensible effects that it may have (Wenjie, Huaqin, Joseph, & Yue, 2015). Nonetheless, the current studies indicate that the side effects can be minimised, whereas the positive outcomes for the health rates within a target community and the restoration of its ecosystem are bound to be massive (Edwards et al., 2017). Therefore, the opportunities that the incorporation of the AT in UASB technologies powered by IT tools for monitoring are quite immense.

In addition, the introduction of IT and ICT tools into the management of UASB should be regarded as a crucial opportunity. Although some of the current disadvantages that the proposed method includes can be seen as intrinsic to the designated method of addressing water pollution, it could be improved by reinforcing the control over the sludge management and the introduction of the associated sanitation measures to the target setting. Therefore, one should consider restructuring the current framework for managing UASB and incorporating IT and ICT tools into it to improve its performance. The specified changes are particularly relevant for rural areas, where wastewater management is hampered due to poor infrastructure and the inability to address ecological concerns for economic reasons. The integration of the selected approach into the designated setting will help to reduce not only water pollution but also the contamination of groundwater. As a result, a vast change in the management of the specified environmental issue is expected to occur.

The alterations mentioned above are bound to lead to a gradual improvement in the ecological status of specific areas. For instance, a slow restoration of habitats that have been affected by wastewater and contaminated groundwater is expected to take place. With an improvement in the management of water pollution, one will be able to handle some of the current issues linked to wastewater management. Thus, a certain number of the challenges associated with the promotion of green waste management within organisations and communities will be handled effectively., However, the process of monitoring the performance of AT in UASB should remain consistent to ensure that the described change will not affect target communities and the environment negatively.

Conclusion

The problem of water purification has been affecting the global community for a significant time period, with numerous solutions having been provided over time. However, the principle of new sanitation, which involves the adoption of an AT in UASB, seems to be the most effective for using in small communities and especially rural areas, where access to clean water is restricted. The incorporation of IT tools for monitoring the process of water animation in UASB should be seen as critical due to the necessity to control the possible leakage and prevent the associated issues promptly. As a result, a gradual recovery of not only wastewater but also groundwater affected by the rates of pollution within a target community can be expected. Further changes have to be made to the current framework for UASB technique and the introduction of IT and ICT tools for controlling it. Thus, the process of water pollution can be reversed, with a greater amount of water being sanitised.

References

Bovio, P., Cabezas, A., & Etchebehere, C. (2019). Preliminary analysis of Chloroflexi populations in full‐scale UASB methanogenic reactors. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 126(2), 667-683. Web.

Díaz-Báez, M. C., & Valderrama-Rincon, J. D. (2017). Rapid restoration of methanogenesis in an acidified UASB reactor treating 2, 4, 6-trichlorophenol (TCP). Journal of Hazardous Materials, 324, 599-604. Web.

Edwards, J., Othman, M., & Burn, S. (2015). A review of policy drivers and barriers for the use of anaerobic digestion in Europe, the United States and Australia. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 52, 815-828. Web.

El Gohary, E. H., & Aboulfotoh, A. M. (2017). Enhancement of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket using submerged biofilters as a pre-treatment. International Journal of Current Engineering and Technology, 7(5), 1797-1801.

Humayun, M., Hu, Z., Khan, A., Cheng, W., Yuan, Y., Zheng, Z.,… Luo, W. (2019). Highly efficient degradation of 2, 4-dichlorophenol over CeO2/g-C3N4 composites under visible-light irradiation: Detailed reaction pathway and mechanism. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 364, 635-644. Web.

Kang, D., Hu, Q., Zhang, M., Ding, A., Wang, R., Lu, H.,… Zheng, P. (2018). Deep purification of low-strength ammonium-containing wastewater with ANRE process. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 129, 57-63. Web.

Liu, F., Zhang, S., Luo, P., Zhuang, X., Chen, X., & Wu, J. (2018). Purification and reuse of non-point source wastewater via Myriophyllum-based integrative biotechnology: A review. Bioresource Technology, 248, 3-11. Web.

Qian, J., Wei, L., Liu, R., Jiang, F., Hao, X., & Chen, G. H. (2016). An exploratory study on the pathways of Cr (VI) reduction in sulfate-reducing up-flow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) reactor. Scientific Reports, 6, 1-12. Web.

Wang, S., Zhang, B., Diao, M., Shi, J., Jiang, Y., Cheng, Y., & Liu, H. (2018). Enhancement of synchronous bio-reductions of vanadium (V) and chromium (VI) by mixed anaerobic culture. Environmental Pollution, 242, 249-256. Web.

Wenjie, Z. H. A. N. G., Huaqin, W., Joseph, D. R., & Yue, J. (2015). Granular activated carbon as nucleus for formation of Anammox granules in an expanded granular-sludge-bed reactor. Global NEST Journal, 17(3), 508-514. Web.

Yang, H., Li, D., Zeng, H., & Zhang, J. (2018). Autotrophic nitrogen conversion process and microbial population distribution in biofilter that simultaneously removes Fe, Mn and ammonia from groundwater. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 135, 53-61. Web.

Yang, J., Zhou, L. Y., & Li, H. (2018). Synergistic effects of acclimated bacterial community and zero valent iron for removing 1, 1, 1‐trichloroethane and 1, 4‐dioxane co‐contaminants in groundwater. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology, 93(8), 2244-2251. Web.

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