International Workshop on Water Sanitation and Resource Recovery Solutions for Sustainable Development, NUST Islamabad, April 6-7 2017

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The Institute of Environmental Sciences & Engineering (IESE) organized a two-day International Workshop on Water Sanitation and Resource Recovery Solutions for Sustainable Development at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad from April 6th – 7th 2017. The workshop brought together experts, researchers and professionals from various sectors including government, development sector and academia. During this two-day international workshop, the speakers and presenters shared their research outcomes, experiences and as well as discussed the most significant developments and challenges in the area of Water Sanitation and Wastewater Treatment technologies. Engr. Khalil Raza, Scientific Officer, ECO Science Foundation participated in the workshop on behalf of the ECOSF.

The workshop provided an opportunity to students, researchers and development professionals to discuss ideas and solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6.1 (universal access to safe drinking water) and 6.2 (access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene). The workshop included presentations by well known international researchers and speakers and as well as local speakers that discussed key challenges and issues of Water, Sanitation and Wastewater treatment in the developing and emerging economies.

Prof. C. Visavanathan, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand presented his key note address. He presented the AIT’s research directions on Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Approaches for Asia. He emphasized on the role of decentralized wastewater treatment technology for emerging economies and potential for reuse of wastewater. Decentralized wastewater treatment can be a low cost solution with a potential for scaling up in operation, especially in the areas where space is limited or constrained, he added.

Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman, Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) during his Chief Guest address, emphasized on the role of academia and its potential to contribute towards addressing the challenges and development of solutions in the water sector, particularly the wastewater treatment technologies. He appreciated the efforts taken by IESE-NUST for organizing the workshop and he encouraged the students and researchers to fully utilize the findings of the workshop in developing low cost wastewater treatment solutions for developing countries, including Pakistan.

Prof. Hung Suck Park, University of Ulsan, South Korea made a presentation on Korea’s Green Growth Strategy for SDGs in the 21st Century. He highlighted the importance of Eco-Initiative Programs (EIP) implemented by Industrial Parks in South Korea. He provided insights into the tools used as Korea Green Growth Strategy to identify the challenges and develop solutions for pursuing green growth strategy in other developing economies, including Pakistan. Green growth strategy promotes innovative development of solutions that integrate economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness. He stressed that in order to increase competiveness for industrial companies, the technological solutions should be backed by legislation with sound and attractive business model.

Dr. Haroon Rashid, Avecenna Consulting Pvt. Ltd, delivered his presentation on wastewater Treatment – Worrisome Trends in Pakistan and Strategic Needs. Dr. Haroon presented a case study which showed a direct correlation between diarrhea and worsening water quality in urban regions of Pakistan. He stressed that role of academia is critical to address global development challenges, including water crisis. The regulatory authorities such as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have sufficient backing to enforce laws and regulations and there is a need for close collaboration and merger of environmental and health regulatory policy makers and institutions, he added.

The event also included a virtual visit to NUST Membrane Bioreactor Technology. Dr. Sher Jamal Khan, Professor IESE gave a brief overview of this technology and its applications. This bioreactor technology is well suited for treating wastewater, where space is limited and it has a high social acceptance, as it does not produce foul smell. The technology has been improving and its cost has been declining with innovations in membrane technology.

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