Land-based sources of pollution have a major impact on planetary health and on the oceans, evidenced by the development of a Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA). Growing populations, increasingly intensive and large-scale agriculture, and booming urbanization mean a growing amount of wastewater discharge into aquatic ecosystems and nutrient runoff to waterways. Together, these lead to eutrophication, toxic algae blooms, greater incidence of water-borne disease, lowered resilience of ecosystems to environmental change, and harm to species, including humans. Wastewater pollution and nutrient runoff are evident in freshwater and fluvial systems, but in this MOOC we also aim to focus on the impacts and solutions that pertain to coasts and oceans.
This course will offer a holistic conceptual and practical approach to the issues, covering the scientific basics of nutrient cycling and pollution impacts, methodologies and assessment tools, financial mechanisms to protect our waters, policy and governance issues, as well as technologies for turning waste into resources. It will demonstrate that wastewater treatment and nutrient management can be cost-effective, improve farm productivity, ensure clean drinking water for communities, and preserve vital habitats. For all the complexity inherent in these issues, this course will show that wastewater and nutrient management should be viewed as an opportunity to utilize this pollution as a resource with which we can pursue greater sustainability and community resilience and ensure the health and integrity of the aquatic ecosystems upon which we depend.
- A broad understanding of the key actors, drivers, impacts, and challenges involved in wastewater and nutrient pollution, the establishment of satisfactory monitoring systems, the development of funding mechanisms, and the negotiation of policy
- The ability to see wastewater and nutrient problems from various scaled perspectives, from local to national to regional to international, including perspectives that consider social justice and gender issues
- An understanding of water and nutrient cycles and how human activity influences them
- An appreciation of the need for management of activities that pose pollution risk to freshwater and coastal and marine ecosystems
- Awareness of the human and ecosystem health impacts of wastewater and nutrient pollution
- An understanding of measurement techniques for nutrient use efficiency and its assessment
- Knowledge of both conventional and innovative recovery and re-use technologies, economic mechanisms, and government policies
- Comprehension of basic fiscal policy and funding mechanisms related to wastewater and nutrient management
- Awareness of case studies and a practical understanding of “best and worst practices” with relation to wastewater and nutrient management
- An opportunity for extensive global networking with other students and professionals from around the world
- Case studies from around the world
- Expert faculty and distinguished visiting lecturers
- Open to all without restrictions
- FREE of charge, including access to all course material on a 24-hour online platform