According to a 2010 study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, 4.1 billion people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation. This includes lack of flush toilets and exposure to untreated sewage. Throughout the earth, 1.5 billion people do not have sewage systems that include treatment. This exposure to untreated sewage, often ending up in lakes and rivers, annually causes 1.6 million people to die from waterborne diseases directly caused by unsanitary water.
Why are we doing this?
What makes this venture unique and valuable is the educational emphasis. Students are the key operators for the WASTE project. The multivariate complexity of the pond-system quickly corrects the faulty view of science as simple cause and effect. The same young practitioners struggling through experimental problems are well positioned to become successful in working through the many political, economic, and social-cultural vagaries that will complicate planning.
This unique collaborative opportunity has provided not only an excellent academic experience for students but has also engaged these students in the effort to provide water reclamation and improve sanitation for the world’s needy. The project has attracted a student and faculty team who see the potential to improve the lives of global poor and change, for the better, the ongoing degradation of God’s Creation.
WASTE serves as a supreme opportunity for the Wheaton College community to integrate faith and learning, as well as become globally minded and engaged Christians.