What is it about?

This study clarified the three paradigms of mangroves in disposing wastewater contaminants: natural mangroves, constructed wetlands (including free water surface and subsurface flow) and mangrove–aquaculture coupling systems. Plant uptake is the common major mechanism for nutrient removal in all the paradigms as mangroves are generally nitrogen and phosphorus limited. Besides, sediments accrete and provide substrates for microbial activities, thereby removing organic matter and nutrients from wastewater in natural mangroves and constructed wetlands. Among the paradigms, the mangrove–aqua- culture coupling system was determined to be the optimal alternative for aquaculture wastewater treatment by multi-criterion decision making. Sensitivity analysis shows variability of alternative ranking but underpins the coupling system as the most environment-friendly and cost-efficient option. Mangrove restoration is expected to be achievable if aquaculture ponds are planted with mangrove seedlings, creating the coupling system.

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Why is it important?

To date, there are a growing body of studies reporting different uses of mangroves in wastewater treatment. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the paradigms of mangroves in disposing anthropogenic wastewater pollution, especially which paradigm is optimal for the ubiquitous aquaculture wastewater pollution in developing and undeveloped countries. This study fills in the knowledge gap.

Perspectives

It is imperative to prohibit the un- managed discharge of aquaculture wastewater. Mangrove seedlings are suggested to plant in current aquaculture ponds to create man- grove–aquaculture coupling systems, and fulfil mangrove restoration after aquaculture ponds are abandoned.

PhD Xiaoguang Ouyang
Chinese University of Hong Kong

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This page is a summary of: Paradigms of mangroves in treatment of anthropogenic wastewater pollution, The Science of The Total Environment, February 2016, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.12.013.
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