Previously I shared my dreams with you on how Nereda® bugs can unify the world. However, unifying the world may not solve all today’s problems, since many of those challenges lie within our own borders.  Solving these challenges might be just a stepping stone to world peace after all but can microbiologists help us take that step?

Nereda bugs enhance society | Royal HaskoningDHV | © TU Delft University
© TU Delft University

I previously spoke of the parallels between the Nereda® bugs and human society and this comparison stands up when we examine some of the questions I am frequently asked. For instance, I’m often asked 1) Why are granules better? 2) How can we grow them? 3) Can we speed this up process? And 4) Can these granules fall apart? You don’t really need to be a microbiologist to answer them, once you have accepted that bugs behave just like us.  Therefore these four questions can better be answered from a societal point of view. Let me give it a try…

  1. A society that is not in balance cannot live up to its full potential. Happy people are more productive and create new networks. Those new networks provide solutions that may enhance society. Similarly, to treat our wastewater we require a network of organisms to get rid of our pollutants (that’s a long story, which I’ll save for another time). Obviously, this goes better if these bugs work closely and actively together. Like humans, face-to-face time facilitates cooperation and bug-to-bug time is exactly what we’re improving by containing them in granules. Living in granules not only makes bugs happy, but also makes us happy. After all, granular sludge systems are simpler, smaller, better for the environment and cheaper. Everybody wins!

  2. To granulate our bugs we do require some clear rules of engagement. You may compare this to our own society’s law, in which the enforcers are not our police force, but microbiologists (yeahhhh!). At first these rules of engagement may look a bit draconian, they basically follow the Darwinist principle of “survival of the fittest”.  Only the bugs that can settle fast will be maintained in the Nereda® system and are allowed to develop into granules. As a reward, they can stay and get as much food as they want and become part of a bigger movement that makes a positive contribution to society. Indeed, lazy bugs are rather unappreciated, but as a consolation, they are still important, since they contain a very valuable resource. Everybody wins!

  3. For sure we can speed up the process of granulation; the stricter our fitness club works, the faster our bugs get in a granular shape. However, there is something else we can do to move things along.  In human communities we enjoy the merits of a multicultural society. Likewise in our Nereda® system we may introduce some “migrant” granules to help further improve the overall system performance. This may at first cause a period of acclimatization, but soon enough these introduced bugs will start to pull their weight. If only society would embrace migrants and value their intrinsic capacity to improve society as much as our bugs do! Everybody wins!

  4. People grow old and eventually they make way for new people. Our bugs are not much different. Eventually, they will leave our system and become the valuable stuff I mentioned earlier which I will explain more about in my next blog. However, as a granule they are much stronger than the individual bugs in the conventional systems (in case you are keen to know - they are much better in adsorbing temperature, pH, salt shocks and the like). Again, a parallel can be drawn with how human’s operate. I believe that a cohesive (human) society can resist disruptive forces much better than a divided one. Just switch on any news channel and decide whether some granulation (getting to know your neighbour, embracing migrants) of society may be the answer to today’s challenges. May everybody win!

Our company’s underlying commitment is to “enhancing society together”. To me this means everybody wins; solutions should add value to people, our environment and be profitable for society. Our Nereda® technology shows that this commitment is not an empty one, but one that we continue to pursue… all facilitated by our bugs… and microbiologists…

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