UNEP/UNESCO/BMU course programme – call for applications

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30 August – 26 September 2018
74th International Short Course on Nature-Based Water Resource Management – Quantity, Quality and Health (SC74)
Application period: 26 February 2018 – 16 April 2018

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10 October – 02 November 2018
75th International Short Course on Sustainable Cities (SC75)
Application period: 06 March – 07 May 2018

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14 November – 07 December 2018
76th International Short Course on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SC76)
Application period: 06 March – 07 May 2018

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10 January – 12 July 2019
42nd International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management for Developing Countries (EM42)
Application period: 02 April – 06 July, 2018

more information: https://tu-dresden.de/cipsem

apply here: https://apply-unep-unesco-bmub-courses.de

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Bicycle excursion in Dresden

by Khusniddin Alikulov

On April 5th, 2018 the CIPSEM EM41 course fellows took part in a bicycle excursion in Dresden under the guidance of Angela Francke and Fabian Heidegger, both from the TU Dresden Institute of Transport Planning and Road Traffic. All fellows gathered on the back side of the CIPSEM building for choosing suitable bikes and helmets. Initial announcement by the guiding staff was about riding rules in Germany such as designated special paths for bikes, right side riding on the roads in Germany, road cross section rules, etc. Subsequently Angela Francke introduced the excursion route to all fellows, which included pit and long stops in seven points of Dresden’s Altstadt (e.g. Grosser Garten, Elbe River shore site, historical places of Dresden etc.). In my opinion, the main purpose of the tour was to educate fellows in good riding of bikes in Germany and to introduce the beautiful streets and landscape of Dresden. Moreover, all fellows enjoyed riding bikes for healthy life style. Now all fellows can rent the bikes of CIPSEM and enjoy upcoming beautiful days in Dresden.


We were also informed by Angela about the important role of Dresden’s bicycle roads for connecting the German bike road system. The most beautiful site in our route was Elbe river shore with its fresh air, attractive landscape and comfortable bike road path. Based on provided information by Angela on speed analysis, our bike excursion team had 9.3 km/h average speed and 26.3 km/h maximum speed. On the way of our route, we could also know about the interesting place in Dresden, which counts number of bicycle passes on the designated road line for statistical data collection. It was obvious that many people prefer to use bicycles for contributing to protection of environment. So it was a good example for us to experience German approach on using green transportation. I am very surprised that people in Dresden are aware of climate change and willing to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emission. I think I will also start to share the CIPSEM bicycle excursion approach in my home country and neighborhood. Thanks a lot to the CIPSEM team for organizing this enjoyable bicycle excursion and teaching us in important transportation movement rules in Germany.

(Less than) 50 Shades of Brown

Most likely, this morning some of us went to the bathroom, brushed our teeth, took a bath, and did our things in the toilet, maybe followed by washing the dishes that have been sitting on the sink since last night dinner. Little did we know, the water (or better we call it wastewater) that we used is flushed and drained to a collection pipe. In the case of EM-41 class, our wastewater is collected by sewer pipes in Dresden which has a total length of 1700 km with diameter of up to 2 meters.

These pipes are laying under the roads of Dresden and deliver our wastewater to a specific plant in Kaditz, an area northwest of Dresden. Occupying an area as large as 25 football fields, the plant was constructed in 1910 to treat the wastewater produced by Dresden’s population. Currently, everyday approximately 120.000 m3 of wastewater coming from 700.000 people is reaching the treatment plant. Since Dresden’s wastewater system applies a combined system, the incoming wastewater is collected together with rainwater and treated together in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

To give you some illustration about the smell that we inhaled that afternoon, here is a picture of raw wastewater which just arrived in the WWTP; a dark-brown water.

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Dirty, hence the dark color. Full of organic materials, which could lead to oxygen depletion in the aquatic ecosystems.  Full of microorganisms, which some are harmful to humans, and of course smelly. And these are the shades of brownish colors of the same wastewater during the treatment processes:

More or less 24 hours later, we will receive this not-even-close-to brown water, which is the treated water from the WWTP.

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Almost like clear water, it is still not safe for drinking, but is now safe to be discharged into receiving water bodies, in this case the famous Elbe River. With only 5 mg/l of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5), and 41 mg/l of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), NH4-N of 0,7 mg/l, N total of ±13 mg/l, and P Total of 1 mg/l, this water won’t be a harm to humans and neither to the environment once it is discharged into the river.

How could the wastewater be turned into clear water? The answer is because of several physical, biological, and chemical processes that were taking place in the plant. At first, the wastewater was treated with physical and mechanical treatment with bar screens and grit chamber to remove the trash and to remove sand subsequently from the wastewater. The water then underwent a sedimentation process in which its floating and settle-able solids sink to the bottom of the tank. Afterwards, the water was transported to aeration tanks. In these tanks, air bubbles were introduced to the water to be used by the microorganisms which “eat” the organics. The water then again settled in secondary sedimentation tanks, from which it can then be safely discharged to receiving water bodies.

The sludge coming from the primary and secondary sedimentation tanks was also treated in a series of sludge treatment units. Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to visit all the units, but we could see from afar the two giant egg-shaped anaerobic digestion tanks.

We had fun during the visit, especially since the weather was rather nice today. And since 81% of the energy used is produced by the plant (mainly from anaerobic sludge treatment units and small amount produced by solar systems), we proudly took a picture in between the solar panel systems.

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by Vika Ekalestari (Indonesia)

special credit to Tamara Karp (CIPSEM) for the title idea 😉

An excursion to the BMUB and 3rd German Future Earth Summit in Berlin

After a month of studies in Dresden at CIPSEM, we (EM41) had an opportunity to go to Berlin for a visit to the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and attending the 3rd German Future Earth Summit. As scheduled, we left Dresden in the early morning of February 7th heading to Berlin by train. As soon as we arrived, on the way to our first stop, we encountered an old piece of the Berlin Wall and the line that used to divide the city. We got to the Ministry of Environment. Ms. Königsberg received us and told us about the history of the house, Berlin and The Wall. She showed us maps and old photos from that time. We did a tour of the building, through the patios and the standing Wall. We proceeded to the conference room where we met with Mr. Contius, head of the division “United Nations, Agenda 2030, Cooperation with Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries” at the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Mr. Contius talked to us about Germany’s Multilateral Work for Sustainable Development and its relevance on the national level. He explained that the main goal of his division involves narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, and help businesses go green. That way, there will be a change of course in order to achieve as many SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) as possible by 2030. Germany mainly focuses on 3 issues: energy, agriculture and traffic; through the “5 Ps”: people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace. After having lunch at the Ministry, we went to the greywater recycling project station at Block 6. Mr. Nolde, manager of the project, explained the history and the overview of his project on how it operates. The facility is a decentralized recycling station, which according to Mr. Nolde is the best way for water treatment and reutilization in order to maximize energy efficiency. In the evening, Dr. Lindner gave us a quick tour around Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag, on the way to a wonderful dinner at Hopfingerbräu im Palais.

On the following 2 days, we joined the 3rd German Future Earth Summit – From Knowledge to Action at the Umweltforum. This summit provides a platform for researchers, scholars, NGOs, practitioners to discuss and figure out the challenges, especially in science, regarding the agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development. This year, the focus of the Summit was on KANs or Knowledge-Action Networks, in order to build bridges between the scientific community and other stakeholders and decision makers.

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During the summit, we were divided into different roundtable discussions and sessions according to our professional and academic expertise and interests. This helped us understand, discuss and share ideas among all attendees. It was a great opportunity for us, EM41 Fellows, to meet many scholars and researchers, and build networks with them for future cooperation.

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Overall, the Berlin Excursion gave us a great opportunity to understand Germany’s Environmental Policy, build networks and explore a vibrant city.

by Josefina Achaval-Torre (Argentina) & Chandara Yem (Cambodia)

13th February – 360° Panorama Fascination in Dresden

written by Melano Sirbiladze

On February 13th, 21 CIPSEM participants visited the 3600 panorama museum with German teacher Dr. Breuls. This day is a historic day for German people and especially for Dresden citizens. On 13th February 1945 British and United States Army Air forces dropped more than 3900 tons of bombs on the city. Dresden’s city center was severely destroyed.

The museum is very impressive and the atmosphere with emotional music takes you back in time. The amazing 3600 panoramic view, so-called “Dresden 1945” was created by the very famous artist – Yadegar Asisi. The artist dedicated his work to “people thinking about creativity and abysses of human nature, about grim logic and insanity of war in the world” (Yadegar Asisi).

 

In the museum, we “met” people from the past, people who experienced adversity during world war second. For example, we “met” Arno Wend, who was the youngest member of the Dresden City Parliament and unfortunately, was forced to go to Hohnstein concentration camp because of the Nazis. We also saw Jenny Schaffer’s profile. Jenny was an active member of Dresden Semper Opera House. She was Jewish and because of her origin, Henny Schaffer along with her husband was deported to extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were murdered.

We also listened to the stories of the people who experienced bombing during 13-15 February. Ordinary Dresden citizens talked about the unbelievable days they had in 1945. And one might think that these people have only sad, tragic memories but surprisingly in every person’s talk, you will find hope to rebuilt and renew the city.

Overall, for me and I think for every CIPSEM participant, 13th February was full of history, emotions, people, tragedy, and hope. And how surprising it may sound, I still managed to find the beauty in these tragic stories. The Dresden Beauty is that love continues even after death and the impact of that trauma brought people closer together due to the love they shared for the city. In other words, Dresden citizens had carried and still carry the amazing feeling of hope and the feeling to start over. So, as our guide told us, we saw not only the tragedy of Dresden, but people’s strong faith for a better future.

Excursion to Waste Management and Recycling Facilities

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In Saxony waste management involves many stakeholders (including private, public and PPP`s) and has a very interesting social aim. Led by Dr. Dietmar Lohmann, we had two days of excursions (January 31st and February 1st) to many waste management facilities.

It was very interesting to know more about the German management model, in which consumers and producers are economically responsible for waste management. The inclusion of handicapped people in waste business was nice and surprising, becoming definitely a role model to be analyzed and implemented in developing countries.

We had the opportunity to see new technologies for bio-waste treatment, like the quick fermentation chambers at the composting facility. Although it is important to mention that some other processes at this facility, like compost maturation and marketing, surely can be improved.

In developing countries may be difficult to find waste to energy projects, but here in Germany we had the chance to visit a landfill-gas utilization project, in which biogas was transformed into energy for the grid.

Also we were impressed by the willingness of Germans for buying recycled products, as we saw the success of PAKA, a cardboard recycling company with more than 100 years of history. We have to highlight the way they market their products and find specific and lucrative niches.

These excursions were a wonderful experience for us, but also a great chance to have nice moments with our fellows.

by Gabriela de Jesús Fernández Tay (Cuba) & Eduardo Esteves (Ecuador)

River chief system in China

To better water protection

written by Liu Zhuo

There are numerous rivers and lakes in China, including a total of 45,203 rivers with a catchment area above 500,000 square kilometers and 2,865 natural lakes with a perennial surface area above one square kilometer.

China has a long history of water control and management. In ancient times, the administrators appointed special officials in charge of river affairs. During the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) governor of Shu prefecture, Li Bing ordered the building of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System in today’s Sichuan province in Southwest China, which is a famous example of water conservancy and could be regarded as the precursor of the river chief system.

Dujiangyan irrigation system

With the rapid economic and social development, some new issues have occurred in management and protection of rivers and lakes in China: the emissions of pollutants into rivers and lakes remain high in some areas, while encroachment of river courses, reclamation of lakes and illegal sand mining often occur in some places.

Water pollution

To solve the problems, in some areas, government leaders at the four levels – province, prefecture, county and township – serve as river chiefs, and the province level is led by general river chiefs, to manage, protect and govern rivers through inter-agency coordination and cooperation.

On the basis of the practice of some provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities in the last ten years, in December 2016, the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council promulgated the opinions on the All-Around Implementation of the River Chief System. By the end of 2018, the River Chief System will be implemented all around for rivers and lakes nationwide, with providing an institutional guarantee to maintain the healthy life of rivers and lakes and to achieve their sustainable use.

The river chief system today is a management system for rivers and lakes and is linked to the accountability system of environmental protection and performance evaluations of top officials. River Chief is the first person responsible for river management, and his/her main duty is to urge the river chiefs at the lower level and relevant agencies to complete the ecological protection tasks of rivers and to coordinate to solve major issues in river protection and management.