More than 50 wastewater treatment plants were opened to the public on Saturday as part of an effort to highlight sanitation problems in developing countries.
An initiative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Wastewater Treatment Day saw plants opened in 57 communes in the German, French and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland.
Events included guided tours, lectures and exhibitions on water purification issues facing Switzerland and developing countries.
According to the SDC, 40 per cent of the human race live without access to minimal sanitary services, resulting in high rates of preventable diseases and infant mortality.
“The lack of sanitary installations constitutes a major obstacle to the social and economic development of the countries in question,” the SDC said in a statement.
In Switzerland, some 1,500 cubic metres of wastewater are treated each year.
Although water purification plants have a high potential for energy saving and producing green electricity, the Swiss system is facing challenges from micropollutants such as hormones and drugs, and financing for infrastructure renewal.