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Gamifying sanitation for resource recovery

  • 1 August, 2018
  • Wageningen University, Environmental Technology
  • prof. dr HHM Rijnaarts
  • dr ir K Kujawa-Roeleveld

It is projected that in the near future the majority of the world’s population will live in urban areas located in low income countries. Consequently huge amounts of urban waste(water) will increasingly be produced while most of it is likely to end up dumped untreated, if the current practices continue. Yet, the urban waste fraction, which includes organic kitchen waste and human excreta, is rich in nutrients and organic matter that can be safely recovered for agricultural applications. When properly collected and treated, urban organic wastes can provide hygienically safe fertilizers and soil conditioners, which can reduce farmers’ dependence on expensive chemical fertilizers and contribute to sustainable urban waste management in general.
Making the idea of resource recovery from urban waste work, calls for mobilization of a large number of different actors and applying a combination of approaches to work towards integrated solutions. Technological, economic, institutional, cultural, and social aspects all need to be addressed when aiming at resource recovery. In addition, a range of social factors play a crucial role in acceptance of the use of human waste in agricultural systems.
Serious games can be used to address complex processes and in this research they will be developed to support sustainable urban wastewater management options. Specifically, the role of gamification for assisting decision makers in low-income countries to select sanitation chain technologies for resource recovery will be further explored. The focus is on designing and validating a gamified decision support system (DSS) for sanitation technologies. Work will be executed in close collaboration with a group of potential DSS users from several Sub-Saharan countries that will be consulted when designing and testing the gamified DSS platform.
The FAO databases will be used to calculate nutrients present in different waste streams per capita per country.
The main challenge lies in designing a gamified DSS for sanitation technologies that can be used in real-life settings – thus making resource recovery and circular economy work.


Darja Kragić Kok

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