Swiss would pay
Here it is a very interesting scientific paper, and it is for many different reasons.
First one, its topic, highly attractive since, as long as the concerns about water micropollutants and their potential effects on human health and environment increase, the search for technological and management solutions starts (although slowly) to be included in some political agendas. Secondly, it highlights the economic feasibility and even the benefits of upgrading the current technology running in municipal STPs (more concretely 123 STPs along the country which I forgot to mentioned, but it is Switzerland -easily of being guessed, due to the nature of the proposal-) in order to reduce the concentration of this type of pollutants, as PPCPs or substances with endocrine disruptor activities. It is also interesting to check how the worry about the environmental status decreases when the measures are designed for the whole national territory instead of at caton level. All these data can be considered quite positive. But there was a "small" detail, not explicit but latent within the text, that took my attention and made me think,once more, in the -as minimum paradoxical- idea of recovery of costs and the subject on which it is founded, which strangely seems to be…us!
This paper aimed to estimate the " public willingness to pay (WTP)" for the removal costs, since " the cost will ultimately be borne by Swiss population "…Really? Does Swiss population "will to pay" for treating an -out of control- increase of substances whose impacts are still unknown; which they do not know anything about ; and which they cannot reject or exert a free choice on them? What about the costs charged on the companies "generating" and "promoting" the use of these compounds? Yes, the primary source of PPPCs and EDCs is the domestic wastewater, but there are several additional ways for micropollutants to enter into the water ecosystems, including atmospheric deposition. Really the blame for the increasing concentration is on "the citizens"? What about the principle of " the polluter pays "? Should we assume that we are "the polluters"?
Swiss population seems to agree -or at least they would not complain or request clarification- with this approach. They would do it, but more important, they COULD do it. But my question is, what about the removal of micropollutants, the vanguard water treatments, the potential risks in those populations which cannot afore to pay for them? Once more, the debate on who must pay for the water quality, and how much it must be paid, results crucial…and urgent.