By Chieka Kasimpu
At a time when most countries treat waste simply as waste, Brussels is charting a different path and perhaps setting an example by treating waste as a resource.
Brussels, the Belgium capital has taken steps to extract gold and silver from sewage despite being one of the areas in the world endowed with a number of mineral resources, such as: zinc, coal, carbonates, and others.
The city’s hunger for higher growth and development thereby turning waste into valuable resource will earn it €1.1m annually from the metals extracted from waste.
The researchers are of the hope that the metals will pay for the cost of clean water at a point in time in Brussels.
The metals usually end up in the sewer through various channels such as; the use of metals in medicine and disinfectants, the slow erosion of jewelry, and the emissions from diesel engine catalytic converters. And usually on treating the waste water, they become sludge and the sludge is used as fertilizer. However, the practice of using sludge as fertilizer has been banned in parts Belgium due to the high metal content.
The ban has caused researchers and scientists to explore alternative means of extracting the metal. They have resorted to more eco friendly ways such as; the use of bacteria to wash the metals out of the sludge, and they are also considering using magnets to extract metals bond with gold which can be attracted to the magnet.
The mining of gold is said to be the highest source of emissions among in the mining sector, recycling gold is around 300 times less carbon intensive.
Watch the video below:
The puzzling question for you, our dear reader is, would you wear a jewelry made from gold mind from sewage?