Committed to the Water Vision for Europe by initiating, supporting and enhancing initiatives and projects, giving water a common voice in Europe.
  • Bookmark and Share
  • Increase Font
  • Decrease Font

EWS Symposium ‘Water & Health’ launches MediClean

Nov 1st, 2017 |

Shifting demographics, longer lifespans and a rise in prosperity has led to the discharge of more complex wastewater higher in medicines and pharmaceuticals, in the last decade, traces of pharmaceuticals are increasingly found in surface waters.  Even at low concentrations, their presence has raised concerns regarding the potential risks to human health. In response, EWS had joined forces with Leeuwarden Medical Center (MCL), Water processor Omrin, Leeuwarden Pharmacists, Wetsus and Water Alliance to launch the initiative ‘MediClean’ (in Dutch:’MediSchoon’).
On Thursday, October 19th, the symposium Water & Health in the MCL addressed the complexities of dealing with pharmaceuticals in our waterbodies, particularly in the face of longer lifespans, increasing drug consumption and lower water flows due to climate change. With new studies showing the likelihood of antibiotic resistance and hormone disruptors, the demand grows for stronger political will to address water contaminated with drug residues and other micro-contaminants. Said Marc de Rooij, responsible for the Dutch approach for drug residues on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment.  “At the core of the problem is that drugs often aim to stay a long time inside the body and not break down,” said the official. “We notice this downstream in the environment: fish in the water are the first victims where tissue damage, hormone disturbances and behavioral changes are demonstrable”.
The symposium also aimed to highlight the work that has been done so far. Hospitals are already well aware of the role they must play in addressing these challenges. Dr. Peter Peter Yska, hospital pharmacist of the MCL, presented measures taken by the MCL to ensure that difficult to degrade drugs (i.e. acetylsalicylic acid in antidepressant, carbamazepine and metformin, two antidiabetic agents, and diclofenac an anti-inflammatory analgesic) don’t end up in the water. He painted a picture of the complexity of the challenge, with “680,000 people in the Netherlands using metformin daily, which is then excreted through the urine into the environment, totals a load of 300 tons per year”.
Mrs. Omayra Nooitgedagt, Policy Advisor Sustainability & CSR spoke about the opportunity for MCL to become a Pharma Filter, a facility that allows hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare institutions to clean and process waste water. However, investment costs are high, said Nooitgedagt. “And an underground construction would require an investment of five million euros. The return would only be realised in eleven years. “
To respond to these challenges, the start of MediClean took place with signature from various representatives recognizing the need to address the entrance of these pollutants into surface waters. As a first step in this commitment residents of the Municipality of Leeuwarden are invited to hand in unused medicines at all public pharmacies to ensure their proper disposal.

Shifting demographics, longer lifespans and a rise in prosperity has led to the discharge of more complex wastewater higher in medicines and pharmaceuticals, in the last decade, traces of pharmaceuticals are increasingly found in surface waters.  Even at low concentrations, their presence has raised concerns regarding the potential risks to human health. In response, EWS had joined forces with Leeuwarden Medical Center (MCL), Water processor Omrin, Leeuwarden Pharmacists, Wetsus and Water Alliance to launch the initiative ‘MediClean’ (in Dutch:’MediSchoon’).

On Thursday, October 19th, the symposium Water & Health in the MCL addressed the complexities of dealing with pharmaceuticals in our waterbodies, particularly in the face of longer lifespans, increasing drug consumption and lower water flows due to climate change. With new studies showing the likelihood of antibiotic resistance and hormone disruptors, the demand grows for stronger political will to address water contaminated with drug residues and other micro-contaminants. Said Marc de Rooij, responsible for the Dutch approach for drug residues on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment.  “At the core of the problem is that drugs often aim to stay a long time inside the body and not break down,” said the official. “We notice this downstream in the environment: fish in the water are the first victims where tissue damage, hormone disturbances and behavioral changes are demonstrable”.

The symposium also aimed to highlight the work that has been done so far. Hospitals are already well aware of the role they must play in addressing these challenges. Dr. Peter Peter Yska, hospital pharmacist of the MCL, presented measures taken by the MCL to ensure that difficult to degrade drugs (i.e. acetylsalicylic acid in antidepressant, carbamazepine and metformin, two antidiabetic agents, and diclofenac an anti-inflammatory analgesic) don’t end up in the water. He painted a picture of the complexity of the challenge, with “680,000 people in the Netherlands using metformin daily, which is then excreted through the urine into the environment, totals a load of 300 tons per year”.

Mrs. Omayra Nooitgedagt, Policy Advisor Sustainability & CSR spoke about the opportunity for MCL to become a Pharma Filter, a facility that allows hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare institutions to clean and process waste water. However, investment costs are high, said Nooitgedagt. “And an underground construction would require an investment of five million euros. The return would only be realised in eleven years. ”

To respond to these challenges, the start of MediClean took place with signature from various representatives recognizing the need to address the entrance of these pollutants into surface waters. As a first step in this commitment residents of the Municipality of Leeuwarden are invited to hand in unused medicines at all public pharmacies to ensure their proper disposal.





Feedback Form