© 2019 Centre for Science & Technology Innovations

We link scientific innovation to the benefit of every day people: climate adaptation, biochemistry, biotechnology

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Blue Economy and Waste Water Management

July 26, 2018

Blue Economy is a transboundary issue. Rivers flow through multiple counties (sometimes countries - e.g. Nile River across Africa and Danube River across Europe). Lakes often supply fresh water across multiple countries and the underground acquifers that keep the lakes full of fresh water have inputs from multiple sources. Oceans connect us across continents.

 

Just about every land-based industrial activity has an impact on the quality of our water systems. Waste water management is as important as reducing plastic pollution. There is no point in sending dirty waste into clean water systems then spending money to clean what should be clean water so that we can drink it.  

 

What we should be doing is cleaning our waste water and sewage so that any discharges are clean enough to drink. This way, we don't waste money trying to clean what was originally clean water. Namibia has one of the world's first successful waste water purification plants (in operation since 1968).  

 

https://www.cnn.com/2014/05/01/world/from-toilet-to-tap-water/index.html

 

The driving question: why don't we have more such plants across Africa and across the world? These are manufacturing jobs with very high positive social and environmental impact. 

 

Most importantly, if we clean up our waste water and sewage, we know we are eating healthy fish and swimming in safe environments. Blue economy activities we very much enjoy. We also ensure healthy eco-systems that will enable our grandchildren to enjoy the same delicious fish and refreshing swim we love to tell stories about.

 

More details about Blue Economy activities 

 

Keynote: Blue Economy - Environmental and Behavioural Aspects Towards Sustainable Coastal Development (2013)

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813020685

 

With respect to innovation, synthetic biology offers exciting opportunities for us to learn how to use microbial life in our acquatic systems to develop new biologically sustainable industrial materials and products. 

 

Here are some benefits of cellfree biological research 

 

An in vitro synthetic biology platform for emerging industrial biomanufacturing: Bottom-up pathway design (2018)

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405805X18300255

 

"The in vitro synthetic biology platform has some distinctive advantages, such as high product yield, high volumetric productivity, high product titer, high tolerance in toxic environments, substrates, and/or products, easy product separation and easy process control and optimization, and so on. These features make it feasible to become a disruptive biomanufacturing platform"

 

Check out our early stage research on commercial uses of water hyacinth (see Level 4 section) 

 

https://www.csti.or.ke/circular-economy-info

 

Sooo, while we plant trees and hug trees, while we switch to renewable energy, we also need to switch to sustainable water use and improve our Blue Economy activities.  

 

Think of it this way, fish get their nutrients from the water ecosystems in which they live. What do you want your fish to have eaten before you eat it? 

 

Images Courtesy of Pixabay.com

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 CSTI - What inspires us:

 

We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners who believe that the scientific and technological knowledge we develop is a legacy trust we create for the community.

Some people are artists, others give inspirational speeches.  We deliver understanding that can be adapted to solve ecological and industrial problems.  The eagerness with which this understanding is received and used is what inspires us to do our work.

We  must treat the earth well. It was not given to us by our parents, it is loaned to us by our children.

Mtunze ardhi vyema. Hamkupewa na wazazi, bali mlikopeshwa na wazawa wenu. (Swahili)

 csti milestones: 

 

Sept 16, 1998:   Micro-Science kits were developed for schools and are still in use.

 

1997 to 1999:  Micro-Science kits were developed for schools and are still in use.

 

2010:  Conclusion of our Sakai Community Resilience to Drought project in which over US $300,000 total funding was leveraged to develop a replicable model for community resilience to drought.  The model was adopted by Kenya government. (See IISD website for additional details)

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