From Source to Sea to Sustainability

From Source to Sea to Sustainability


Enrol in this course / Access this course

 Course Number ENV002 
 Classes Start January 09, 2023 
 Classes End May 31, 2023 

4 to 8 weeks 

Advanced Certificate: 
2 weeks 

Total 6 to 10 weeks 

 Estimated Effort 7 hours per week 
 Price Free 
 Level Introductory 
 Language English 
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Why focus on wastewater pollution and nutrient management?

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.

What will you gain through this course?

  • 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

Course Options

40 hours of learning covering the basics of the scientific, economic, political, and social issues around wastewater and nutrient pollution. This consists of eight modules geared towards university students, policymakers, managers and professionals who seek to apply this information in their professions.

Advanced Certificate:
Ten to fifteen additional hours consisting of a final assignment for those who want to acquire more in-depth knowledge, insights and skills relating to the applicability of wastewater and nutrient management.

Students can obtain a certificate of participation after the completion of the Foundations component of the course. Those who take their studies further can obtain an Advanced Certificate in the Advanced From Source to Sea to Sustainability.

Last modified: Thursday, 17 August 2023, 1:20 PM