Research

MERA

Wastewater, Environment, and Health in Coastal Tourism Areas:  Wastewater pollution contributes to environmental degradation and creates public health risks for people who recreate at the beach. How can we protect human health and environmental futures by improving collaborations between anthropologists, engineers, and biologists and bettering design for wastewater management technologies that mitigate and remediate wastewater pollution?  Visit the MERA Website to learn more.

Transboundary Watershed Management and Pollution in the Western Balkans

Multiple Waste Streams in Transboundary Systems: Transboundary (multi-country) watersheds are difficult to manage collaboratively. In these spaces, plastic waste, wastewater, mining waste, and toxic substances flow in and out of different countries’ jurisdictions, and inappropriate upstream disposal causes downstream problems. How do we address both the sources of pollution, as well as the collaborative policies and built infrastructure necessary to safeguard surface water in these regions?

Alternative Nutrient Management Strategies in Cape Cod

Nutrients from human waste can harm coastal ecosystems.  There are several strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of this pollution, but low-cost and alternative strategies can be difficult to implement and people can have strong opinions about which strategies to use.  For instance, would you use a composting toilet? Would you put one in your house? How do we address wastewater pollution by re-thinking infrastructure? What would it take to make these alternative strategies work for communities on the Cape?

Human Health and Wastewater Reuse for Agriculture:

Many farmers rely on river water for irrigating their crops—and simultaneously droughts and wastewater pollution make river water risky to human health.  Often times, this polluted water is the only source of irrigation water available. What are the risks to human health for farmers and consumers of crops grown with polluted water? How do we support the treatment of that water? Do low-cost, indigenous

technologies to treat river water work effectively?

Infrastructure and Environment in Rural Areas

A home in BolivaWhen development agencies and rural communities work in tandem to construct & manage water, sanitation, and wastewater treatment systems, there are a lot of areas where environment, infrastructure, and health intersect.  How well do systems implemented by NGOs work for communities? What issues may arise with ensuring that these systems are sustainable? What are the politics of infrastructure placement in these areas?