Untreated wastewater and agriculture

Every year, a significant amount of water resources is spent on agriculture, which due to the limited freshwater resources and climate change, one of the proposed ways is wastewater treatment. This shortage of freshwater can be partially compensated by re-treatment of wastewater and use in the agricultural sector.
One of the main problems of using this method is improper treatment and the entry of untreated wastewater into the agricultural sector, which can pose many risks to human health. This paper describes the effects of untreated wastewater entering agricultural waters.

The World Health Organization has described some effects of sewage entering agricultural waters, including gastrointestinal and diarrheal diseases, viral diseases, hepatitis A, worm infections such as ascariasis, and anemia.
Another problem with untreated wastewater entering agricultural waters is that workers and farmers can be exposed to skin diseases due to frequent skin contact with this contaminated water. Also, the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead can cause many health problems. For example, the accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys due to repeated contact with these contaminated waters can cause kidney disease and osteoporosis.

Due to the numerous problems of untreated wastewater entry into agricultural waters, the importance of the study, in this case, has been identified. Some countries in Southeast Asia, as well as sub-Saharan Africa, need to study more closely in this area due to the entry of industrial effluents into the sewage system because the treatment of different materials requires different technologies. One of the issues that different communities are always considering is that It is necessary to whether to do so, given the costs of wastewater treatment as well as the diseases caused by improper wastewater treatment and its entry into agricultural waters.

The answer to this question requires factors such as geographical location, method of using factory effluents, the volume of water resources, as well as the amount of water required for agricultural activities. Based on the mentioned factors and economic estimates, it can be concluded whether in each region, is it economical?

Finally, due to global warming and the scarcity of water resources, humans are forced to use different methods to compensate for the water needed in different sectors, but it should be noted that using treated wastewater for agricultural activities, must be done in principle to prevent acute problems related to human health.

Source: Dickin, S. K., Schuster-Wallace, C. J., Qadir, M., & Pizzacalla, K. (2016). A Review of Health Risks and Pathways for Exposure to Wastewater Use in Agriculture. Environmental health perspectives124(7), 900–909. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1509995

Translator: Maryam Pasandidehnia

Effects of the presence of antibiotics in the environment

Due to the increasing use of drugs in communities, one of the most important problems in the world is the presence of these substances, especially antibiotics, in the environment. The presence of these substances can have devastating effects on the environment and human health. In recent years, these drugs have been continuously discharged into the environment without any restrictions; Although their entry into aquatic environments may be low, their continuous navigation due to their cumulative effect can be considered a major threat to aquatic ecosystems and their microorganisms. The presence of these antibiotics in the environment, including the aqueous environment, can cause various reactions from simple allergies to in some cases direct toxicity; In addition, the presence of these drugs in the environment leads to the resistance of organisms to antibiotics, which seriously threaten the functioning of the ecosystem and human health.

In general, the effects of the presence of antibiotics can be divided into 4 categories, which are:

1. Wastewater

Aquatic environments, including sewage, as the main recipient of intestinal bacteria, are a favorite place for many bacteria to become resistant to various types of antibiotics. Due to the fact that a few antibiotics are biodegradable, most of them go through biological wastewater treatment processes and enter the environment without decomposition and metabolism.

2. Surface water

Substances that have not been removed in the wastewater treatment plant or have been removed in small amounts will eventually reach surface waters, which may affect various organisms. Among the organisms that are sensitive to antibiotics in surface water, we can mention green-blue algae.

3. Sediments and soil

Soil is one of the ecosystems that have large amounts of antibiotics due to receiving animal fertilizers. Antibiotics affect soil-dwelling microorganisms. Antibiotics may affect the quantity and quality of microorganisms and reduce the number of soil microorganisms.

4. Impact on humans

Antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant genes have been observed in purified water and the distribution system. The presence of antibiotic-resistant genes poses health risks to humans through the transfer of bacteria-resistant genes. Studies have shown that some antibiotic-resistant microorganisms can survive chlorination operations and eventually enter the drinking water system. Although the concentration of antibiotics in the surface water is very low, many people are concerned about the presence of drugs in drinking water because the drugs are designed to act on certain proteins. Among the effects of antibiotics can be allergic reactions. One of the effects of using tetracycline on children is damage to the teeth. Humans are also exposed to these substances by consuming plants and vegetables such as carrot root, lettuce leaves, and corn, which have absorbed antibiotics from water or sediments.

In engineering, there are several ways to remove these materials. Given the destructive effects of the presence of these substances in the environment, the importance of maximum elimination of drugs, especially antibiotics, is obvious.

Some methods of removing antibiotics are:

  1. Advanced oxidation
  2. Adsorption
  3. Use of biosorbents
  4. Biological degradation
  5. Electric coagulation
  6. Pre-treatment with a continuous batch reactor
  7. Secondary sludge treatment

Author: Maryam Pasandidehnia, Study of Separation of Antibiotics from Wastewater by Adsorption Method, 2021

10 GIS applications related to environmental science (2)

In the last part, 5 applications of GIS in environmental sciences were introduced. In the following, the other 5 applications will be introduced:

6. Natural resources management:

With the help of GIS technology, resources like agriculture, water and forestry can be protected and managed. And with that Foresters can easily monitor the conditions of the forests. Agricultural lands and the products that they cultivate are also monitored seamlessly. And also, water is monitored as one of the most important components of the environment in order to determine its distribution in different parts of the environment. The monitoring each of these sections allows the integrated information to be obtained and the environment better managed.

7. Mapping and analyzing the status of the soil:

Mapping and analyzing provides useful information for experts, about a certain area, including the suitability of the soil for various needs and activities. GIS  helps to determine the type of the soil in a specified area and depending on the type of soil the appropriate steps are determined for any project in the area. The soil map (determined by GIS) of a region is widely used for agricultural development and maximizing the use of the land.

8. Pond landslide map:

Wetland play an important role in the health of the environment and surrounding ecosystems and preserve water for dry periods, thereby keeping the groundwater level almost constant. It also reduces the severity of flooding and suspended materials in water. The GIS determines the area where wetlands and artificial lake projects are needed.

9. Irrigation management:

The availability of water for irrigation purposes in different areas, include information that can be obtained by using the GIS tool.

10. Identification of volcanic hazards:

volcanic hazards for humans life and the environment include volcanic eruptions, volcanic clouds and lava flow. The potential hazards of a volcano in an area can be identified using the history of volcanic activities in the area and implement the information gained in the GIS tool. Therefore, the estimation of the economic losses due to volcanic activities in a regain using the GIS tool is possible.

Source: https://grindgis.com/blog/10-importance-of-gis-in-environment

10 Important application of GIS in Environmental Sciences (1)

10 Important application of GIS in Environmental Sciences

The GIS is a tool that is used to collect, analyze and store geographic information using software and computer systems, and then the information is used by a verity of entities or used in decision making and planning. Accordingly, GIS  has various applications in different sectors, one of the most important of which is the field of environmental science and engineering. The following ten GIS applications are of the most important applications that are related to the environment.

  1. Environmental impact assessment:

Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA is one of the most important measures for the conservation of natural resources and the environment. Many human activities have potentially harmful effects on the environment, including building construction, construction of highways, railways, water and gas pipelines, airports and waste disposal centers and ……etc. environmental impact assessment report usually contain specific information about the extent and scope of the projects on the environment and help them to achieve the least environmental damage.

  1. Crisis management:

Today, a developed GIS system is used to protect the environment against potential crises. This system helps to control different types of crises more rapidly, and also to avoid further losses caused by the crisis.

  1. Zoning based on the risk of landslide:

one of the most important and dangerous crises is the risk of landslide, and for this purpose, spatial and geological information related to different layers of the earth and to a seatrain region, and with using these information different regions are classified according to the risk of landslide. This categorization helps in identifying areas with higher risk for eventual incident.

  1. Determine the type of land cover and its use:

land cover is the feature that makeup the surface of the earth. Using land means using it for specific purposes. The GIS tool has a role in determining the use of the land, the type of land cover and the changes that occur in different areas of the land. Also the GIS tool determines the changes that occur both naturally and through human activities, and the effects of those changes.

5. Estimating flood damage:

GIS helps to estimate the amount of funds needed to compensate for flood damage. This application is of great importance for providing assurance for companies, because the tool helps to insure their property, assets and etc. in a seatrain area at a reasonable probability level, and the amount of insurance payment needed after a crisis is calculated.

To be continued…

GIS, a Tool for Moving toward the Sustainability

GIS, a Tool for Moving toward the Sustainability

 The GIS is a system that is rapidly becoming a tool used for achieving sustainability and sustainable planning and with the increase of researchers focus on raising the environmental performance of humans and sustain it as well as maintaining health and the availability of job opportunities in a modern economy, the application of GIS is also in a state of increase. People that are currently working in the field of sustainability know that it is necessary for various elements to be combined together in one way or another in order to bring the world around to the desired direction and to achieve that the GIS tool helps to assimilate these different elements in design and planning simultaneously. Now the question that may be asked about the GIS software is how it works and why it matters so much.

The reason for the ever growing importance of GIS is the ability to integrate and collect a wide range of information on a simple geographic platform that makes information available to individuals equally, easily and transparently, information that is isolated may may not be easy to interpret and users may face difficulties. Another important point is to speed up the analysis of various subjects, because the various information is provided in a simple and simultaneous form to the user allows him to get an understanding of the desired design. For example someone who is responsible for designing a waste management plan may need to provide complete information in his proposal to different individuals and justify his proposal to environmentalists and address their concerns. For this purpose, in using the GIS software, you can provide an overview of your design and describe the details in a simple and straightforward way.

Because of the unique features of the GIS software, these days, many of the top universities in the world are adding GIS software study into their courses, either as an optional or compulsory coarse. If you are studying in the field of sustainability and sustainable science such as engineering and environmental science, water resource management and urban and regional planning and management, and so it is strongly recommended to learn this software.


Sustainability Ambassador

  • Do you want to play a role in the sustainability of Amirkabir University of Technology?

  • Do you want to teach sustainable development to your friends and students in the same field and be the link between the office and the faculty?

    From now on, you can act as a sustainability ambassador in your faculty and maintain the connection between the faculty and the Office of Sustainability with the aim of improving the university environment.

    For this purpose, send your details and resume to the office e-mail (sustainability@aut.ac.ir) and write the subject of the e-mail as “[name of university] – [name of faculty] – [student number] – the name of the ambassador of sustainability”.

    Our Ambassadors to date

NameFacultyUniversityMembership year
Hanieh KianiPolymer EngineeringAmirkabir University of Technology2018

Report (2): How to move toward healthier and more sustainable cities?

Some Principles for Building Better and More Sustainable Cities

At the same time that we’re solving for climate change, we’re going to building cities for three billion people. That a doubling of the urban environment. So if we don’t control it properly, none of the climate control solutions do not help the humankind.  Hence, an appropriate urban planning paradigm is needed to control the climate change.

One of the wrong city development paradigms is the city sprawls. This paradigm has lots of downsides and drawbacks which should be cared. In the following, some of main disadvantages of sprawl paradigm will be discussed. The key attribute is that it isolated the people. It segregates people into economic enclaves, land-use enclaves and separate them from the nature. It does not allow the interaction that makes the cities great places and that make society thrive.

Secondly, it can cause more land consumption which environmentalists are really concerned about this. Destroying the nature and vegetation, can have adverse effects on the air pollution situation and biodiversity of the region.

Another negative point about the sprawl is the more distances that the people have to ride to get different places. This issue will lead to lots of knock-on effects. One of them is the increase of air pollution level that has a direct impact on global warming. Also, this more ride causes more expenditure for the citizens who have to traverse a long distance to get their destinations. Furthermore, when the people use cars or other vehicles, they have less this opportunity to walk which can improve the health condition and physical and even mental situation.

The mentioned issues are just some cases in point that demonstrate the negative aspects of city sprawl paradigm. Therefore it is necessary to plan and assign an appropriate solution as an alternative to this paradigm. For this purpose, there are 7 general principles proposed by experts in urban planning that can help to overcome the global sprawl as following.

  1. Preserve natural ecosystem, agrarian landscapes and cultural heritage sites
  2. Create mixed-use and mix income neighborhoods
  3. Design walkable streets and human scale neighborhoods
  4. Prioritize bicycle networks and auto free streets
  5. Increase the density of road networks and limit the block size
  6. Develop high quality public transportation
  7. Match density and mix to transit capacity

As a final point, it should be noted that majority of the urban problems are origin from our wrong habits and approaches to different issues and the cities condition are a demonstration of life style. Consequently, our life manner has a direct impact on our life environment in the cities.

This essay has been inspired and written based on the speech of “Peter Calthorpe” in TED talk, Vancouver, April 2017. The link of the speech has been presented in the following:

Link of Speech:


         Prepared by Iman Dorri

Report (1): How to move toward healthier and more sustainable cities?

During last decades, cities has gained an increasing attention. The main reason of this issue is the alteration of specialists, policy makers and even folk viewpoint to the cities and urban life. Cities are comprised of more than just buildings and people and they have a significance impact on quality of human’s life. Hence, one of the assigned goals among sustainable development goals by United Nations is “Sustainable cities and Communities” (Goal #11) which is just a case in point to show the importance of cities.

Nowadays, urban planning and management is one the main challenges for governors and various strategies and plans has been utilized to make cities healthier and more sustainable. In the following, some of the most important ones has been investigated.

The most “liveable” cities – and some of the world’s most famous cities – are as known for their open space as they are for their culture. Hyde Park in London, Central Park in New York, the Bukit Timah Nature Preserve in Singapore, Phoenix Park in Dublin… all are attractions in their own right for inhabitants and visitors alike. Open space in urban environments provides many advantages: formal and informal sport and recreation, preservation of natural environments, provision of green space and even urban storm water management. Thus green space must be a key consideration in urban planning if the health of a city and its people are both considered important. A new, broader view of parks has also recently been emerging. This new view focuses on how policymakers, practitioners, and the public can begin to think about parks as valuable contributors to larger urban policy objectives, such as job opportunities, youth development, public health, and community building.

As the world’s cities continue to grow, continuing to value green space in cities is vital: but is also a challenge, particularly in developing nations where there is pressure for space, resources and development.

Another important strategy, is to reduce the using cars. Over the past four decades, cars have become far less polluting. Their fuel efficiency has practically doubled and their tailpipe emissions have been reduced by more than 95%. Yet lots of metropolitans are still battling smog and pollution. Therefore, it seems moving toward the strategy of less using cars by citizens is a more effective solution compared to cleaner cars. Nowadays, lots of plans has been presented by specialists which can materialize the goal of healthier and more sustainable cities more efficiency. In the next essays, some of the most significance ones will be investigated.

Adapted from:



Prepared by Iman Dorri

Note: May 22 (Khordad 1), the national day of productivity and consumption optimization; how has our performance to date been?

According to the calendar, the first day of Khordad (May 22) is the national day of productivity and consumption optimization. If you’ve searched this title in the past day, you will find less contents related to this title. The title that has been neglected so far and has a lot to do. For this purpose,we take a brief look at some of our country’s statistics on productivity and efficiency:

  • Iran’s Rank in Efficiency enhancers subindex in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI 2014-2015): 98th out of 144 countries
  • Iran’s rank in agriculture value added per worker (2016): 72th of 155 countries
  • Iran’s rank in energy use per $ 1,000 of GDP: The 23rd most energy consuming country in the world from 127 countries
  • Iran’s rank in terms of the share of clean energy in total energy use: 94th out of 133 countries
  • Water utilization efficiency in Iran’s agricultural sector: about 33%
  • Average water losses in the urban water supply network of Iran: about 29%
  • Efficient daily working time in Iran’s public sector: 22 minutes

Quoted from Khabaronline news agency, According to experts, “The pathology that has taken place indicates that the dependence of the Iranian economy on the sale of oil, gas and raw materials is one of the main reasons for the decline in productivity. This has led to the formation of oil-based economy with big government and the private sector in the country has been weakened as a result. Therefore, at best, we are witnessing the formation of a 25% share of the private sector in the economy.

There are numerous projects unfinished in the country as an example of wasted capital counts which By aggregating them, they need a great deal of capital to complete, and with their prolonged build time, the economic justification for their completion disappears and leads to the formation of vacant and unused capacity in the country, where there are potential capacities that are not actualized, meaning a weakness in infrastructure.

Energy loss is another factor affecting the decline in productivity in the country, according to current statistics, per capita energy consumption in Iran is more than 10 times the per capita consumption of energy in the world, given that it is considered one of the income areas of the country, It affects the export rate.

The weakness in knowledge, technology and the use of old technology and inefficient methods is another issue that has been neglected which has a high contribution to the formation of productivity and increasing the efficiency.”

The above statistics show an alarming level of productivity and consumption in Iran. I wish that part of the incompleted plans and projects would end on this particular day, or a new scheduled plan aimed at improving productivity and optimizing consumption began. However, if some parts of the community and the administrative system do not take a step, we can start with ourselves. We can increase the efficiency of energy use and water consumption in our workplaces or our houses with simple methods. If these methods are costly, at least we can increase our efficient daily work time to distance ourselves from the above disappointing statistics. This is something that our country and our public offices are in desperate need of.

Naming a day in the calendar and continuing the past process is the easiest task that will not solve any problem. Today’s calendar sheet turns over and we are still in the state of the past days.\

Prepared by Amirhosein Abdorrezayi

Analytical Report- Act I: Sustainable Development; for human or for the environment?

In 2015, the United Nations announced the sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years, which is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. The Iranian president (Dr. Rouhani) also represented the country at the meeting on September 25, 2015, and promised to cooperate to fulfill these goals in Iran. Leaders from more than 150 countries attended in this summit.

But what is the real definition of “sustainable development“? In 1987, the Bruntland Commission published its report, Our Common Future, in an effort to link the issues of economic development and environmental stability. In doing so, this report provided the oft-cited definition of sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Sustainable development is about finding better ways of doing things, both for the future and the present. We might need to change the way we work and live now, but this doesn’t mean our quality of life will be reduced. The Sustainable Development Agenda includes 17 major goals (SDGs), the main focus of which is people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

The first question that comes to mind upon hearing the concept of sustainable development is whether sustainable development only speaks of the environment? The answer is that the concept of sustainable development is far broader than just the environment. It’s also about ensuring a strong, healthy and just society. This means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity.

More precisely, as long as there are livelihood problems in the community, until there is a significant population living below the poverty line (with a daily income of less than $1.25), as long as the state of health of the country has not improved, until a million people have a permanent drug abuse, as long as accidents and communicable diseases claim the lives of many people fall every year, as long as no city is prepared to deal with earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, achieving sustainable development is only a dream which will never come true.

On the road to sustainable development If everyone reacts and regrets when a few trees are cut off to build a tower or when the water is wasted by a person, the poor economic, social and cultural situation is more regrettable. It’s not possible to have a poor society (either economically or culturally), and talk about the great problems of water and air pollution. Poverty is not solely economic. Cultural poverty will also leave us out of the path of sustainable development. Culture-building practices is not only possible through the design of banners, animations, slogans and holding conferences. These tools are effective when their adoption is provided in the community. Occasionally, providing this platform can take many years and involve people from the very early decades of their lives.

From now on, we have about 12 years to realize the goals of sustainable development in 2030. Meanwhile, eight goals out of 17 refer directly to humans and their basic needs. So it is necessary to consider human rights and needs as much as the environment, and look at sustainable development as an interconnected package.

We should remember that if we have not sowed anything, we cannot expect reaping in the harvest season.\

by Amirhosein Abdorrezayi