What if our waste could help to improve the health of our household, our community and our environment?

Wastewater is a very honest data source – it holds up a mirror to our health. Since humans secrete biomarkers into sewage days before medical symptoms develop, wastewater monitoring is not dependent upon who came forward to get tested or got an appointment with a general practitioner.

While data captured from wastewater monitoring can be incredibly valuable in understanding societal health, what is less clear is how we can use this data. What kind of health-related responses might such data support in the future? How could it help us make more informed decisions about our personal and collective health? What new services, spaces and urban infrastructure could be developed to respond to rapid health shocks?

The report unpacks these questions through four future scenarios, allowing us to consider whom we are designing for and why, the benefits to users and communities, and implications that may arise. It also explores how wastewater monitoring could support our broader health and wellbeing in the future.

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Wastewater: A reflection of our health