Water Treatment: A Grudge Purchase.

Photo by Frederick Dharshie, CIWEM, Environmental Photographer of the Year Gallery

When broken down, the most fundamental purpose of any business is to sell goods or services to generate profit for its owner/s or shareholders. In addition to this, businesses also create jobs, train, and upskill employees and help develop local communities. Thus, the two main objectives of any business is to 1: generate profit and 2: contribute to socio economic development.

What about the environmental impact of conducting business? The third main objective of any business should be to conduct its operations in a sustainable environmentally conscious manner! Almost all businesses are environmentally conscious to some degree but not because they want to be. Because they are forced to be by legislation. If there was no environmental legislation governing the levels of pollution acceptable, 90% if not more of businesses would simply pollute voluntarily – which sad to say is what we are seeing in South Africa and Africa.The cost of compliance is far reaching. The fact is that conducting environmentally conscious business has significant financial implications. “If it makes money, it makes sense” and disposing of waste correctly, treating effluent, ensuring that you are compliant and not polluting. None of this makes money. Which is why when businesses are forced to comply and treat water and achieve effluent discharge limits, they look to specialized industrial wastewater treatment companies such as ourselves. The tricky part is that a complex water problem very seldomly has a simple solution, and very seldomly a cheap one. This makes buying a water treatment system a grudge purchase, since businesses don’t want to spend the money because a water treatment plant will in all likelihood not increase production or sales.

Governments and cities need to adapt and change to provide incentives and tax breaks to ensure that the economies of the world embrace Sustainability and compliance becomes profitable. We know this is easier said than done. To overcome this, businesses need to shift their mindsets from only focusing on profits to seeing the necessity that treating and respecting water has. Without water there will not be business or profit or even life. We need the ecocentric shift.

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