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Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires innovations in education to build key competencies in all learners. Learning objectives for SDGs identified by UNESCO like the “Integrated problem-solving competency,” if integrated properly with high school curriculum, can contribute sustainable development solutions for Belize. Additionally, the 3rd international conference of SIDS http://www.sids2014.org) under the theme, “The sustainable development of small island developing states through genuine and durable partnerships,” stressed investment in education and training, including through partnerships with migrants and diaspora communities, with “concrete, focused, forward-looking and action oriented programmes.” The Sagicor Visionaries Challenge, a sustainability challenge launched by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the Caribbean Science Foundation, and the Ministries of Education across 12 Caribbean countries in 2012, represented an example of such a partnership that fostered many key competencies now needed for meeting the SDGs. It asked secondary school students in the Caribbean to identify a challenge facing their school and or community, propose a sustainable and innovative solution, and show how that solution uses Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as got the support of the school community. For its inaugural year, teacher and student sensitization workshops were organized in each country. Teachers supervised themore »
Environmental impacts associated with inefficient and ineffective land-based wastewater treatment have direct implications for regional governments and local communities in the Caribbean due to the links between environmental quality of coastal areas (e.g. coral reefs) and socioeconomic activities (e.g. tourism, commercial fishing, cultural heritage, recreation). In Placencia, Belize an interdisciplinary team of students and community members investigate the tradeoffs that exists amid a food-energy-water systems (FEWS) case study, in order to co-create sustainable solutions. This work partners with Fragments of Hope and EcoFriendly Solutions to take a systems approach to consider the dynamic and interrelated factors and leverage points (e.g. technological, regulatory, organizational, social, economic) related to the adoption and sustainability of wastewater innovations at cayes where coral restoration work is occurring. This technology can improve water quality issues in sensitive marine ecosystems and productively reuse water and nutrients to grow food. Results show that marketing and technical strategies contributed to incremental improvements in the system's sustainability, while changing community behaviors (i.e. reporting the correct number of users and reclaiming resources – water and nutrients – for food production), was the more significant way to influence the sustainable management of the wastewater resources and to protect the coastal environment. Themore »
Hybrid Adsorption and Biological Treatment Systems (HABiTS) for Enhanced Nitrogen Removal in Onsite Wastewater TreatmentTwenty-five United Nations member states in the wider Caribbean region ratified the Cartagena Convention, which covers the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and some parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The Land-Based Sources and Activities protocol (LBS Protocol) of that convention addresses nutrient pollution from sewage discharges, agricultural runoff and other sources. Unfortunately, most Caribbean people use conventional onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTs), especially septic systems. These systems fail to remove nitrogen effectively, posing a challenge for near shore environments. Passive biological nitrogen removal (BNR) processes have been developed for OWTs that rely on simple packed bed bioreactors, with little energy or chemical inputs and low operations and maintenance (O&M) requirements. This paper provides a case study from Florida on the partnerships and pathways for research to develop an innovative technology, Hybrid Adsorption and Biological Treatment System (HABiTS), for nitrogen reduction in OWTs. HABiTS combine ion exchange materials and BNR to remove nitrogen from septic tank effluent and buffer transient loadings. HABiTS, employs natural zeolite material (e.g. clinoptilolite) and expanded clay in the first stage to achieve both ammonium ion exchange and nitrification. The second stage of HABiTS utilizes tire chips, elemental sulphur pellets and oystermore »