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Don’t waste the wastewater

News: A recently published study in The Lancet Global Health has reiterated the effectiveness of using wastewater for public.....

News: A recently published study in The Lancet Global Health has reiterated the effectiveness of using wastewater for public health surveillance.

What is wastewater surveillance? 

Wastewater surveillance is the process of monitoring wastewater for contaminants. It was originally proposed to monitor the spread of poliovirus and played a role in confirming India’s victory over poliovirus.

Recently, it was identified as an approach for tracking the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Key Highlights:
  • Over the last decade, cities in India have grown vertically as well as horizontally.
  • In spite of this enormous growth, our water infrastructure has remained more or less the same.
  • The distribution of water in India’s cities is based on rainfall. We monitor the level of water in our reservoirs/dams and adjust our distribution accordingly.
  • As rainfall patterns change, it is becoming more challenging to rely solely on rainwater for our water demands.
  • One of the ways to manage this is by tapping into unused wastewater.
Benefits of Wastewater Surveillance
  • Early Outbreak Detection: Wastewater surveillance detects disease-causing agents early, allowing swift response and containment measures.
  • Community-Level Monitoring: Analyzing wastewater samples offers insights into overall community health, aiding in disease trend identification and targeted interventions.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Wastewater surveillance eliminates the need for individual samples, reducing costs associated with collection, testing, and analysis.
  • Complementary to Clinical Data: Wastewater surveillance provides additional information beyond clinical data, capturing asymptomatic cases and enhancing disease prevalence understanding.
  • Early Warning System: Specific genetic markers or pathogen fragments found in wastewater samples can serve as an alert for potential disease outbreaks.
  • Surveillance in Resource-Limited Areas: Wastewater surveillance helps monitor disease occurrence in areas with limited access to healthcare facilities, enabling prioritized resource allocation.
  • Evidence-Based Decision Making: Integrating wastewater surveillance data with other sources informs data-driven decisions for disease control, resource allocation, and targeted interventions.
How can wastewater surveillance be effectively implemented in India?
  • Wastewater surveillance in India could involve analysis of samples from varied sources such as wastewater ponds in rural areas and centralised sewage systems in urban localities.
  • These samples would then undergo testing in laboratories to identify disease-causing agents such as genetic fragments of bacteria or viruses.
  • The data could be integrated with other health data sources to provide real-time insights into community-level disease patterns, sometimes even earlier than clinical data.
  • Moreover, the integration of wastewater surveillance into existing surveillance mechanisms has the potential to enhance India’s epidemiological capabilities.
  • A report by NITI Aayog indicates that nearly 600 million people in India are facing high to extreme water stress.
  • The report states that India’s water quality ranks 120th out of 122 countries, with approximately 70 percent of the water being contaminated.
  • As cities grow, we should depend less on fresh water and rely more on treated high-quality wastewater.
  • Using freshwater from rivers by cities can leave the agricultural belt without water.
  • Wastewater has great potential to address water shortage and bring solutions to India’s water crisis.
FAQs Related with wastewater
Ques 1: What is wastewater?

Answer: Wastewater is used water with pollutants that needs treatment before release or reuse.

Ques 2: How is wastewater treated?

Answer: Various processes, including physical, chemical, and biological methods, treat wastewater to remove contaminants and ensure its environmental safety.

Ques 3: Why is wastewater treatment important?

Answer: Wastewater treatment is crucial for protecting public health, preventing water pollution, preserving ecosystems, and ensuring the sustainable use of water resources.

Don’t waste the wastewater,Don’t waste the wastewater

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