Public perceptions of nanotechnology-enabled water treatment in a mining community in South Africa: A study of Bekkersdal

Show simple item record Gxaba, Siyasanga Zinzi 2020-11-16T22:23:42Z 2020-11-16T22:23:42Z 2020
dc.description A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020 en_ZA
dc.description.abstract A considerable proportion of the global population lacks access to safe drinking water. Several factors are responsible for this situation including pollution by acid mine drainage due to mining activity. Nanotechnology is a relatively new approach at addressing water contamination. It involves the use of materials in the nano-scale (1-100 nanometres), as adsorbents or catalysts to remove or degrade pollutants. However, as with many new technologies, public perceptions are key to its successful deployment in water treatment. This study investigated the key factors that influence the perceptions of laypeople about nano-enabled water treatment. Using the mental model’s approach, data were collected using in-depth interviews and focus groups. Fourteen experts in the nanotechnology domain (researchers, nanotoxicologists, manufacturers) and forty-five laypeople from the Bekkersdal community took part in the study. Results show that laypeople had limited knowledge of nanomaterials and nanotechnology, or their application is water treatment. An analysis of the data nevertheless, revealed themes around the safety of these materials, the cost of nanotechnology-enabled water treatment devices, environmental implications of these materials, as well as health implications of accidentally ingesting them. Importantly, however, the ranking of these concerns amongst experts and lay people differed. These findings are discussed in nanotechnology development in the water domain in developing country context. These results suggest that people’s opinions about an innovation result from interplay of benefits and risks together with psychological and socio-economic factors associated with the outcome of the application en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.title Public perceptions of nanotechnology-enabled water treatment in a mining community in South Africa: A study of Bekkersdal en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.description.librarian CK2020 en_ZA
dc.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Sciences en_ZA

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