Protect our environment from improperly disposed meds on this World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day. This isn’t a take-off-from-work holiday and probably a lot of folks may not even be aware of it at all. But as more awareness grows about climate change, the growing worldwide drought and ensuing water scarcity, it’s important to note that what we do has an impact on our surroundings – on our environment and particularly on the availability and drinkability of clean water.

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Saving our ancient giant redwoods could help save the planet

David Milarch The Man-Who-Planted-TreesAs the genetics versus Nature controversy rages on, one related issue may prove crucial to the survival of the planet.

Trees have an enormous impact on our planet. They act as natural filters, capturing carbon dioxide, help clean pollution from the air, and provide critical habitat for wildlife. They also contribute to the overall well-being and health of humans, our oceans and all life.

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Encouraging test process helps remove drug residue from wastewater

Pharmaceuticals and fishThe proliferation of drug residue in our waterways has become an increasingly challenging health hazard, one that until now has seen no large scale solution, other than educating the public to dispose of unused medications properly.

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Drinking reclaimed wastewater – the pros and cons

Several years ago I got to tour the local wastewater treatment plant. Towards the end of the tour, the group I was part of was shown the machinery that did the final “scrubbing”.

In explaining the process, our guide mentioned that one of the final steps included putting the “cleaned” water through reverse osmosis. That brought the former wastewater up to drinking standards!

But is reclaimed wastewater really safe for drinking?

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Senate passes pharmaceutical take-back bill

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would amend existing federal law dealing with the disposal of controlled substance medications, making it easier to safely get rid of unused medications.

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Pharmaceutical product stewardship moves towards greater reality

Drugs on tapAlmost a year ago I wrote about the growing problems of medications in our nation’s water supply.

Since then, the problem has grown. At the same time, a number of states and organizations have been pushing for product stewardship from manufacturers. To date, Maine holds the distinction of being the first state to pass Extended Producer Responsibility legislation. It’s widely held that the first products recommended for manufacturer “take backs” will be pharmaceuticals.

Today, Coventa Energy– which develops, owns and operates waste-to-energy facilities throughout the U.S. and Europe – announced it has begun a a free service to local governments as part of its national program to collected unwanted and unused pharmaceuticals.

It’s a good next step. But what’s really needed is standardized, mandated national EPR legislation. Without this, manufacturers can and will continue to drag their collective heels, waving their “not my problem” banner and sidestep what is rapidly becoming a safe drinking water crisis. Surely the politicians can find time to address this potent issue sometime soon.