How can we help with state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technologies in Slovakia?
In one of my previous blog posts I have been writing about why we have very few top technologies beeing commonly used in the field of wastewater treatment in Slovakia and how it the state might be helpful. In an article that you are now reading I'll outline few ideas that can raise awareness in this direction not only from company´s point of view but also from the side of investors.
Let's start bringing together more specialist practitioners
An important step for the overall development of the waste water treatment area in Slovakia is the establishment of an organization associating a group of professionals who would cooperate with each other. Something already exists under the term Association of Wastewater Treatment Experts.
This community of people (I think the concept of the community is a complete meaning, as membership would not involve many, and therefore everyone should know each other) should meet regularly, share their experiences and discuss what might help to solve the problem more quickly and with more ease. But that is also, more or less, already beeing done.
So why not move the level even higher by doing, for example, courses for WWTP operators? Operators and technologists at various communal or industrial plants would have room to improve, to deepen their knowledge to better understand and identify processes and identify biological and physicochemical processes which might help them work better.
With the growing professionalism of specialists, the satisfaction of our employers, our nature and our citizens would grow.
It would be interesting to extend this community and link experts from, for example, Research Institute of Water Management (www.vuvh.sk), professors, fishermen, soil remediation specialists to industry specialists, who are in some way in contact with water purification and treatment. This would create a wider group of people from different backgrounds and with a different view of the issues which could benefit from a discussion about problems. There would be a greater diversity of opinions and if this potential was used, much greater variety of possible solutions would be available.
Discuss with the public
People can put pressure on the state, the legislators, but pressure is never there where there is no interest and information. Therefore, society needs to be informed and educated.
It would be very beneficial if the themes were to be formulated in easy to understand, as well as engaging lectures, presentations, debates. After all, filling a hall with people is not at all an easy task.
A similar event is, for example, Ekotopfilm - where it is possible to discuss between professionals and the wider public. Another example is the music festival where waste separation was introduced, even separating the biological component of the waste and then processing it. Why would not it be possible to present even wastewater treatment?
Let´s get the knowledge gained from heads into practice
Why is not the model from developed western countries not taken and applied? Why there are little or none contests organised by schools in projects from practice? There is one competition where students have to design their own oil refinery. Why are such competitions not in every field?
For example, in the field of wastewater treatment, it could combine several divisions where people from the chemical, engineering and construction sectors could be introduced, even the economic and marketing line could be involved. And that's just one of many possible benefits. It would need a bit of enthusiasm, initiative and support.
Why our school do not work or do too little to educate students for a specific business? Why companies don´t “hunt“ for talented students already during their studies?
Mentoring for students - a mentor as a guide to a younger colleague. This model could be offered by companies and motivational scholarships could be created from similar student activities. Nowadays, scholarships are mainly awarded for scholarships for grades-average and/or extraordinary achievements. Of course, it is important to get the knowledge into the head but it is also important to get the knowledge gained from head into practice. And it's not that fancied and appreciated in Slovakia.
Points are earned for various activities to allow the student to get a place to stay at the dormitory but for organizing a discussion with specialists it is not possible to even think about any kind of reward. In this respect, progressive steps could be taken by schools, professors and companies as well.
Call for Responsible
I am aware that it is easy to write these ideas on a piece of paper and that it is much harder to flip everything into reality. But let this text be an encouragement and inspiration to those who have a real impact on these things. The positive impulse is just that the interest in improvement exists at least for the author of this blog. And I'm 100% sure I'm not alone.
Perhaps these ideas will once again fits in with dust, but it is also possible that they will fall into fertile soil in the future and bring at least a slight shift forward.
Author: Ing. Matúš Palguta, chemical technology engineer