Current Research and Project
Pharmaceutical residues from human as well as from veterinarian use are polluting the aquatic environment. Some substances have already been traced in drinking water. During my PhD I address the topic by modelling the Grey Water Footprint (GWF) for different pharmaceutical substances in the Vecht river catchment, which is shared by Germany and the Netherlands. The GWF is an indicator of the volume of water pollution and will be estimated for a selected number of pharmaceuticals and spatially mapped, distinguishing between GWFs related to wastewater from households and hospitals and to various types of livestock farming. GWFs will thereby also be expressed as polluted water volumes per unit of household, per patient, and per unit of animal product, like meat, milk or eggs.
The second part of my PhD work deals with studying alternative pathways for a societal transition towards a more sustainable handling of pharmaceuticals. Here I will follow a bottom up approach with high stakeholder involvement. After interviewing the stakeholders to get insight on their opinion, I will develop strategies together with them that show pathways how the pharmaceutical emissions into the environment can be reduced. The strategies will be evaluated by using the GWF model.
The PhD is conducted within the INTERREG project “medicines unwanted in water” (MEDUWA). The project consortium consists of 27 partners who are working on the topic along the entire medicine chain. For more information about the MEDUWA project see: www.meduwa.eu