Tag Archives | Waste

China is Turning Fecal Sludge Into ‘Black Gold’

Who knew that human waste (a/k/a fecal sludge) was so valuable? From Bloomberg News:

Heinz-Peter Mang is obsessed with turning human waste into gold. As millions of Chinese move to cities, the German engineer is convinced the country is on the way to hitting the jackpot.

ShaTinSewageTreatmentWorks BirdEyeView 2.jpg

Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works. Photo: Chong Fat (CC)


A growing portion of China’s toilet waste is converted into fertilizer and biogas. In Beijing, 6,800 tons of human excrement are treated each day by some estimates: enough to fill almost three Olympic-size swimming pools.

Over the past decade, China’s economic ascent has driven millions of rural workers into its cities in the largest migration in human history. In 2013, the number of urban dwellers crossed 731 million, overtaking the rural population by more than 100 million. Some fallouts: water shortages in the North and toilet waste routed into rivers in the south.

That’s forcing city planners to get creative in dealing with toilet refuse, and drawing engineers like Mang to help refine models.

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All the World’s Oceans Have Plastic Debris on Their Surface

1271349466-plastic_patchVia ScienceDaily:

The Malaspina Expedition, led by the Spanish National Research Council, has demonstrated that there are five large accumulations of plastic debris in the open ocean that match with the five major twists of oceanic surface water circulation. In addition to the known accumulation of plastic waste in the North Pacific, there are similar accumulations in the central North Atlantic, the South Pacific, the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

However, central surface waters of the oceans may not be the final destination of plastic debris since, as indicated by the study performed by the Malaspina Expedition, large amounts of microplastics could be passing to the marine food chain and the ocean floor. Results of the study, led by the University of Cadiz (Spain), have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Andrés Cózar, researcher from the University of Cadiz, explains: “Ocean currents carry plastic objects which split into smaller and smaller fragments due to solar radiation.

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