Water is the essential element that connects us all – both as human beings and lovers of aquatic sports, and we want to take active part in protecting it as a precious life source. Today we asked Andreas Fath, professor in the Faculty of Medical and Life Sciences at Furtwangen University, water protection expert, open water swimmer and arena ambassador, for some tips on how we can take care of water and make a difference in everyday life.
“In general we can say that our water in Europe, especially in rivers, is no longer in intensive care as it was in the 80‘s, but it‘s still a patient. Droughts and water shortage, as well as high nitrate concentrations, antibiotic concentrations and increasing PFAS concentrations in ground waters, are the challenges of our time. The lack of water in rivers leads to higher concentrations of pollutants being released into our waste water. We need a radical change from centralised wastewater treatment to decentralised treatment. In other words, not treatment at the end of the pipe, but at the beginning of the pipe, involving all our institutions, industries, hospitals, nursing homes and even private households.”
“Just remember that old Native American saying: “Water is the most precious loan from nature“, so we have to treat it and appreciate it as such. Let me answer this question with the song “The three R’s“ by Jack Johnson: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This also applies to water consumption and its treatment and plastic usage in general. The way we deal with plastic nowadays has a direct impact on water quality because of the transformation of macroplastic, mainly plastic litter, into microplastic, which ends up in waters, reducing biodiversity and contaminating food“.
Photo credits: Tim Kiefer
More about Prof. Andreas Fath
Andreas Fath has been a Professor at Furtwangen University since 2011. He teaches chemistry-related subjects in the Faculty of Medical & Life Sciences with a focus on environmental engineering and water protection. From externally funded projects, he was able to develop a REACH radar system for businesses in partnership with Ökoinstitut Freiburg and implement several environmental protection projects (www.cleandanube.org). As co-founder of the gGmbH H2Org (www.h2org.de), he develops interactive environmental education modules with students.