The Stream, July 28: Netherlands Looks To Wastewater For Novel Products

The Global Rundown

A pilot project will harvest cellulose from wastewater in the Netherlands, turning it into building materials. Officials in India’s Assam state are proposing to build a highway along the Brahmaputra River to control flooding. Forecasters expect the monsoon, which has brought widespread flooding to northern India, will weaken slightly next month. Actions to stop fuel tankers from reaching ports in Yemen may worsen the cholera crisis, according to the United Nations. A project in Inner Mongolia could be a model for fighting desertification around the world.

“Welfare work alone is not sustainable. It may last five or ten years but not 100 years. So we had to make sure local people made a profit alongside us.” –He Pengfei, secretary general of the charitable foundation of Elion Resources Group, referring to the Kubuqi Ecological Restoration Project that the company began in cooperation with local residents in 1988. Planting drought-resistant trees in degraded areas of the desert, the project has since helped grow the local economy and is seen as a model for combating desertification around the world. (Time)

In context: Desert’s stronger grip shakes Inner Mongolia.

By The Numbers

1,300 kilometers Length of a proposed $620 million highway along the Brahmaputra River in India that officials in Assam say will help reduce flooding, though critics warn it is a “flawed way to manage floods.” Reuters

71,000 metric tons of fuel Amount carried by four oil tankers that were denied access to a port in Yemen, prompting warnings from the United Nations that such actions could worsen the cholera crisis and food insecurity. Fuel is required, for example, to run pumps that supply clean water — a necessity for stopping the spread of cholera. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A pilot project in the Netherlands aims to collect cellulose from the thousands of metric tons of toilet paper flushed into the country’s sewage systems each year. Reflecting efforts to re-evaluate wastewater as a resource, the project will strain the cellulose from wastewater at the Geestmerambacht treatment plant and turn it into products for use in asphalt and other building materials. Guardian

On The Radar

Forecasters expect the Indian monsoon to weaken slightly in August, but say rainfall totals for the monsoon season will still reach near-normal levels. The monsoon provides more than 70 percent of the country’s annual rainfall, and this year it has caused extensive and deadly flooding. Bloomberg