Healthy Waters - Identification, Elimination, Social Awareness and Education of Water Chemical and Biological Micropollutants with Health and Environmental Implications
Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER), através do NORTE 2020 – Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (Norte2020 - Projetos Integrados ICDT). Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte
Adrián Tavares da Silva (LSRE-LCM)
Equipa de investigação CIIE/FPCEUP
Data de início: 1-4-2021
Data de fim: 30-6-2023
Our planet is facing new threats with the spread of pollutants in water bodies (oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters). Water is a highly sensitive natural resource and alternatives to analyse these pollutants and to minimize water contamination are required, aiming an enhanced quality of life in Northern Portugal, a societal challenge and an expected impact of the Structured R&D&I project "Healthy Waters - Identification, Elimination, Social Awareness and Education of Water Chemical and Biological Micropollutants with Health and Environmental Implications.
In this context, Healthy Waters aims to identify and prevent the occurrence of contaminants with health and environmental implications (emerging pollutants, antibiotic resistant bacteria and their associated antibiotic resistance genes, viruses and other relevant contaminants) in water that is currently treated as waste and that can be reused in sustainable food production. Specifically, the project aims to exploit the potentialities of the tailor-made smart design of materials and methodologies to identify micropollutants and compare ways for their elimination in waters and wastewaters by using oxidation/separation and bioremediation processes. The transfer of knowledge to the civil society (Citizen Science) is also considered in the project, so that citizens can identify where these pollutants exist in their daily routine and consumption habits, becoming not only aware of this theme, but soon being able to identify and discuss specific environmental problems in their community. This knowledge transfer will take place in the context of formal education (primary and secondary education, involving researchers, students and teachers), using a participatory research-action logic.
The project is led by the Associate Laboratory LSRE-LCM (FEUP), in collaboration with LEPABE and CEFT (FEUP), and CIIE (FPCEUP), and consists of one Research Line strongly aligned with the specific Mission Area "Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters" under Horizon Europe (also covering the Mission Area "Soil health and food"). The activities aim to IDENTIFY contaminants and RISKS (Activity 1), ELIMINATE contaminants and VALORIZE resources (Activity 2), and EDUCATE and promote SOCIAL AWARENESS (Activity 3). If we demonstrate that we can easily identify a large number of multiclass micropollutants (already highlighted as relevant in the EU) by using new analytical tools and methodologies, these will certainly have a high demand for routine analysis in the monitoring of EU natural water bodies and wastewaters, empowering ways to follow the recently launched EU legislation (Activity 1). If we discover the way to eliminate many of these micropollutants and biological threats in those waters, the new solution is expected to derive into a commercial product (Activity 2). Moreover, if we disseminate the knowledge outcomes to the broad society through science-based environmental educational programs, the awareness and understanding of the community will increase and changes in attitudes and dispositions related to water management and preservation can be generated (Activity 3). This will hopefully change the behaviours towards the preservation of our oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters. The forecasted results and impacts of Healthy Waters will be relevant at societal, academic, environmental and economic levels.