The initiative, operated by the France-based International Office for Water (OiEau), promotes the use of artificial wetland systems or planted filters for wastewater treatment in countries of the European Union and also the Caribbean.
According to Alain Bernard, OiEau representative for the Caribbean region, the resource was successfully applied in Guadeloupe and Martinique and is inspired by nature’s purification capabilities.
It is a simpler and less expensive solution to build and maintain than the classic sewage treatment systems and has better resistance capacity to face tropical climatic events such as cyclones, those involved agree.
From the perspective of Bladimir Matos Moya, first vice president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources in Cuba, the project generates an important benefit for the Island.
“Caribsan arrives at a fundamental moment because we are working to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, where wastewater treatment is a fundamental challenge,” he told Prensa Latina.
Planted filters constitute a sanitation and purification technology that is very appropriate in the environmental conditions, temperature and relative humidity of our tropical country; it will join solutions such as oxidation lagoons, residual treatment plants and methane gas generation, among others, he added.
In addition, its implementation costs are relatively cheap. “They are financed, but they represent an important solution because wastewater treatment, in addition to being complex, is usually expensive,” he added.
On the other hand, next to the planted filter there is a natural wooded area, with the possibility of developing certain biodiversity, which will also be good for Cuba, he pointed out.
The first phase of the project, intended for a quick and short implementation until December this year, includes four stages: coordination, preliminary studies for the development of the constructed wetland systems, capacity building and communication.
Then, there will be times of construction and application of the technology, Bernard added.
During the opening day on Monday, authorities from Dominica, Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe, Martinique and France shared details about the wastewater situation in their nations and the solutions found within the framework of Caribsan.
The mission in Cuba, which will last until May 20, will include training sessions, communication actions and a search for potential places to plant filters in Havana.