Of Sludge and Salad: Wastewater Greens the World’s Gardens

In a survey of 53 cities worldwide, the International Water Management Institute (IMWI), a water research and advocacy group, has found that the vast majority of produce cultivated in urban plots is irrigated with what amounts to tainted water, fetched from polluted streams and lakes or wells. True, only a fraction (say 10 percent) of global agricultural output is harvested in the cities, and only a part of that crop is consumed uncooked. Yet in these cities alone, some 1.1 million farmers produce vegetables and fruit for 4.5 million people. Projecting the numbers worldwide, no fewer than 200 million farmers rely on recycled water to sow 20 million hectares, an area twice the size of Hungary. The findings were released during World Water Week, a summit of sages and policy types gathered in Stockholm through Aug. 23 in an effort to rethink the way the world farms and flushes.

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Source: http://www.blog.newsweek.com/blogs/ov/archive/2008

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