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The UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from land-based Activities (GPA) has produced a publication entitled ‘Guidance on Municipal Wastewater’. This document aims to provide practical guidance to decision-makers by recommending key principles, practices and procedures for environmentally sound systems of wastewater management. It details an integrated and stepwise approach to environmentally sound wastewater management. It discusses suitable enabling environments, institutional arrangements, financial mechanisms and, in brief, sustainable technologies for wastewater management. It was agreed that the IETC would provide further detail on environmentally sound technologies to augment the guidance provided by GPA.

The UNEP-IETC has prepared an ‘International Source Book on Environmentally Sound Technologies for Wastewater and Stormwater Management’, published by IWA and IETC. The Source Book was the result of collaborative effort by many experts and institutions. The project was launched with an ‘International Experts Meeting on Sustainable Management of Wastewater and Stormwater’ in Osaka, Japan on 6 – 8 May 1998. UNEP IETC and METC (Murdoch University Environmental Technology Centre) refined the proposal from the meeting under the leadership of the Managing Consultant and Editor Dr. Goen Ho of the METC. Several consultants prepared the regional overviews and compiled the lists of information sources. Peer review was conducted internally by all consultants, as well as externally for different sections. In addition, training materials were prepared and feedback was obtained from decision-makers from 18 countries in Central and South America at the pilot training workshop held in Rio de Janeiro 27 – 31 March 2000.

The Source Book consists of three sections:

Section 1: Toward a Framework for Wastewater and Stormwater Management
Section 2: Environmentally Sound Technologies and Practices
Section 3:   Regional Overviews and Information Sources - including Africa, Asia (West), Asia (Pacific), America (North), America (Central and South), Europe (West), Europe (East), and Small Island Developing States (Caribbean and Pacific).

Training Modules have also been prepared based on the Source Book. They are directed at 3 types of audience: Top level decision makers, Professionals and Community leaders.

This document is a summary of Section 2 of the Source Book and provides information on the available environmentally sound technologies as a supplement to “Recommendations for Decision-making on Municipal Wastewater: Practical Policy Guidance for Implementing the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) on Sewage”. It responds to Version 1.0 (November 2000), which states “The high cost of wastewater management warrants a very careful search for low-cost and thus more sustainable technologies and approaches” and lists the following recommendations. UNEP IETC’s contribution in response to the recommendations are indicated alongside.

UNEP GPA Recommendations UNEP-IETC Contribution based on Source Book
  1. Introduce appropriate strategies and incentives that target waste prevention and minimisation, water conservation, and the efficient use of water.
See Section 2 of this document
  1. Apply more cost effective technologies such as lagoons, natural systems, anaerobic treatment, and reuse schemes.
See Section 4 of this document
  1. Adapt land use policies and financial and other regulation to promote the segregation of industrial effluents unsuitable for municipal wastewater treatment by relocating industries, recycling waste streams, and using the best available technologies.
See Sections 3 and 6 of this document
  1. Promote the exchange of experience with the implementation and operation of different technologies.
UNEP IETC will assist with the dissemination of information and the exchange of experience by conducting workshops using the Training Modules of the Source Book

This document, the Source Book and the practical guidance for the implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the protection of the marine environment from land based activities, bear essentially the same message.  Much of the pollution from land based activities are directly attributable to wastewater and stormwater. Sound environmental management of these systems is essential.

Dr Steve Halls
International Environmental Technology Centre
Division of Technology Industry and Economics
United Nations Environment Programme

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