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A Seriously Astonishing Conclusion

This does just amaze. Where do people come up with such astonishing ideas?

Improve water supply in poorer nations to cut plastic use, say experts

If you could trust the public water supply then you’d not have to – you may, but not have to – buy bottled water. As someone who has lived in places where you can’t trust that local supply this makes rather a lot of sense:

Focusing on improving the water supply in developing nations could be a powerful way to fight the scourge of plastic waste in the oceans, experts have said, highlighting that the issue has received little attention.

People in developing countries, and many middle-income countries, often rely on plastic bottles of water as their piped water supply can be contaminated or unsafe, or perceived as such.

Hundreds of billions of plastic water bottles are produced each year. In rich countries, they are a thoughtless luxury, but in many poor and emerging economies people have few alternatives.

“It is an issue, as the water supply system has problems with water quality in many countries,” said Brajesh Dubey, professor of civil engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, co-author of a new “blue paper” on the problem of plastic waste in the oceans.

“The obvious solution is building a safe water supply infrastructure which ensures quality supply.”

Hey, sounds sensible enough.

So, what needs to be done about this? How to make it happen that is?

Well, the sorts of places we’re talking about – the truly poor places don’t use bottled water either, they just get to die of the shits – are at about the same level of income or wealth as we were when we piped the cities. Two or three thousand current dollars per year per person as GDP. That’s about where we were in those early Victorian days when the great municipal contracts were undertaken. The technology exists, the financing is available – at lower interest rates than our own forbears paid too.

So, what’s missing? Ah, yes, honest governance. Because that is the only part that’s missing. So, to get the parasites out of the water supply get the parasites out of office. Works for me.

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3 years ago

Plus localism. (Drags hobby horse out of stable). In the UK places smaller than London got decent water supplies (private and municipal) before London ‘cos when it’s your brother’s wife’s cousin’s brother who lives a couple of streets down who’s running the Waterworks Department you know where he lives and his wife can give him gyp when they are ostracised by the local community.

dodgy geezer
dodgy geezer
3 years ago
Reply to  jgh

It’s a field I have not done much research on – but if it’s anything like the gas or electric supplies, or the railways, then the initial services were indeed local because they depended on a particular small-scale pioneering supply. When a technology is starting up, it makes sense to invest a small amount of money in installing a small to medium size service where you could be fairly sure that you would get a return, but where you didn’t have problems with scale. The Stockton and Darlington railway primarily shipped coal into a single town. The Godalming Borough Lighting… Read more »

3 years ago

So we’re going to improve governance in Africa so it can build a Water Works that won’t kill its citizens? Along the way, you’d think that honest governance would find a way not to dump the rubbish in the ocean and correct that “scourge” without all the other spending? No, even governance of the “honest” variety, that we know of, builds bureaucracies first and solves problems maybe second.

John B
John B
3 years ago

‘So, what’s missing?’

An effective sewage/sanitation system. If you had that, plastic bottles would end up in the garbage and land-fill or burnt.

If you deliver clean water with no means to remove it after use, the situation is exacerbated as grey and brown water flush into streets, streams, rivers, seeps into the ground contaminating wells and aquifers.

EnvironMENTALists don’t do joined up thinking

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