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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

2.8 Public education (Topic h)

Public attitudes in most West Asia countries have lately been oriented towards the issues of water quality and pollution prevention. Depletion of the precious water resources especially groundwater and deterioration of its quality causes people to be aware of the problem. The number of incidents of groundwater contamination due to seepage from septic tanks or cesspools has increased during the last ten years. People have also realized the need for wastewater services and projects have to be accompanied by environmental impact assessment (EIA). Public participation in EIA studies and location of the treatment plants have been seriously considered by the water authority. Many projects have been rejected or postponed due to people's objections about location and treatment method. People think that installation of a treatment plant in a location will reduce the value of land adjacent to that plant. Many cases in Jordan have shown that people are more likely to respond positively to treatment plants if they have participated in decision making.
NGOs in many countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and the West Bank are active in public education by organizing and promoting environmental awareness and resource conservation. The Jordan Environmental Society is an active NGO carrying out a national campaign in water conservation, pollution prevention measures including those related to wastewater treatment methods. The Environmental Protection Agency in Egypt is directing its programs of public education toward lower income populations to encourage them to use safe sanitation facilities to improve their health and protect surface and groundwater from pollution. The role of NGOs in the Palestinian Territories is equal to if not more than the role of the local authorities with the new trend in treated wastewater reuse. It is felt that there is a great need to educate farmers about their health and the health of others. They need to be educated on how to use wastewater safely and avoid cultivation of crops that can be used raw. It seems that there is no objection by the people to reuse of wastewater as they consider it as an alternative water resource to satisfy the increasing demand and sustain economic and social demand. This trend is supported by the rulings of the religious scholars that the use of wastewater is an acceptable practice in agriculture or in industry.

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