Solution to water pollution is prevention, says expert

Michael Miller | Phys Org | 30/07/2018

When Dionysios Dionysiou was a child on the island state of Cyprus in the late 1960s, his family got drinking water from a communal fountain each day.

The University of Cincinnati environmental engineering professor has been preoccupied with for most of his life. Today, his Mediterranean hometown has modern plumbing, but water remains a precious and finite resource, especially in drought years.

“I was always fascinated by water,” he said. “I grew up in a place where water stress was an issue. And it’s still an issue.”

Dionysiou, a professor in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, has dedicated his career to studying , pollution and treatment. He is a UNESCO co-chairman professor on Water Access and Sustainability and a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and the International Water Association, a public policy organization.

Dionysiou has studied and conservation from the United States to Egypt to China. This year the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed on him its sustainable water award for his research. And in July, Dionysiou co-authored a paper titled “A path to ” with Oliver Olsson and frequent collaborators Klaus Kummerer and Despo Fatta-Kassinos that appeared in the prestigious journal Science.

Can you tell me about the Science article?

We developed an idea to write an editorial about pollution prevention because we thought that there was too much emphasis on water treatment and not enough on preventing contamination in the sources of . You can treat more and more but there are still micropollutants in the water. In principle, if you create this pollution, there will always be problems down the road. Look at all the microplastics. Now we find that there are microplastics in all the aquatic environments. And now they’re banning straws and plastic bags.