APRU’s Sustainable Waste Management (SWM) Program managed to elevate sustainability as a key focus area for research and teaching despite the pandemic-related distortions in 2020 and successfully started into the current year with a virtual three-session SWM Winter School in January-February.
Led by Korea University, the APRU SWM program is designed to play a vital role in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with many of its works focusing on microplastics, heavy metal-related soil pollution and biowaste.
The research outcome and studies of the program were featured on Science and Nature, the top two world leading publications, as comments, reviews and letters respectively. The latest Nature article, for example, highlighted the APRU SWM group under the lead of program director Professor Yong Sik Ok currently developing a new technology that can collect plastics from soils and convert them into smart carbon-based materials for a variety of industrial applications, such as air purification filters.
The SWM Winter School focused on wastewater treatment and recycling, biochar for sustainable development, and plastics and sustainability. It attracted students from Europe, Asia and North America.
“Unsustainable waste management is a pressing environmental and public health problem, and there is growing concern over how to mitigate pollution, achieve sustainable plastic management, and ultimately achieve the SDGs,” said Ok.
“I am very grateful that APRU’s SWM program facilitated the Winter School, as its valuable panel discussions helped identifying key problems and provide solutions,” he added.
The Winter School followed the APRU SWM co-hosted events Engineering Sustainable Development 2020; The 2nd Australian Circular Economy Conference (ACEC); and the Nature Forum: Plastics and Sustainability, all of which held in December. The APRU SWM also organized the 20th International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment (ICHMET) 2020 and the Sustainable Waste Management Workshop: Microplastics in the Environment in October and January 2020 respectively.
Next in line are the Nature Forum at 2021 P4G Seoul Summit (May 30-31); the 3rd Sustainable Waste Management Conference co-hosted by AIChE-APRU (August 4-6); and the Nature Conference: Waste Management and Valorization for a Sustainable Future (October 26-28).
Moving forward, the SWM program aims to develop joint-virtual events and credit-bearing courses.
The program also decided to strengthen its partnership with Nature this year. Two articles, A global approach to a greener future and A private university with a global outlook, just published at nature portfolio showcasing the SWM program and its lead, Korea University.
Find out more about the Program here.