Constructed wetlands - nature's kidneys or cleaning machines?: An analysis of papers on the self-purifying capacity of constructed wetlands
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
This paper focuses on the purifying capacity of wetlands constructed to treat wastewater. Fifty-nine scientific papers about such wetlands, published during the period 1992-1997, were assessed. The aims of the study were, first, to examine how constructed wetlands were described and, second, to analyse the concepts and metaphors related to wetland purifying capacity. In the papers studied, the wetlands were described in terms of self-purifying, biochemical cycles. Particular metaphors, such as "agent", make it possible to convey a specific concept of a wetland's role in wastewater purification. However, the characteristics of self-purification were depicted in three very different ways in different papers. In some cases they were described as simple, stable and effective. In others they were described as complex, dynamic and very variable. Finally, they were sometimes paradoxically described as a combination of the two, for example, as simple and complex, stable and dynamic or effective and with variable efficiency. Thus, there was a conflict in the papers between the idealised view of the intrinsic purifying power of the wetlands and the actual results of purification. The paradox of wetlands being both simple and complex can be explained by the different explanations of the process of purification, as well as by the ambiguous relationship between humans and wetlands.
constructed wetland, purifying capacity, description, concept, metaphor, cycles
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79122OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-79122DiVA: diva2:538349