Recently Australian based sustainability expert Kevin O’ Grady took part in a Water Stewardship audit of a Health Authority in Scotland.  Their key issue was pharmaceuticals in wastewater.  He learned that less than 30% of medicines we take are absorbed by the body and that there is a phenomenon called “Crush and Flush” where people dispose of unused pills.  Wastewater treatment currently cannot remove residues of common drugs like Ibuprofen so they remain in the environment.

Surely this is a global issue?  Yes it is, all over the world.  Even in here the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission runs a National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program to use levels of illegal drugs in wastewater as a measure of banned drug use.

What are the issues and what is a small health department in Scotland doing to address it?

Lister to the interview at 6PR in Perth.

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