Photo above: the Team in Iraq (Jassim Al Asadi, Dr. David Tocchetto, and Thomas Smith) with members of  the MOWR (Ministry of Water Resources) and CRIMW (the Center for Restoration of Iraqi Marshes and Wetlands) in Baghdad.

August 10th 2021 was an historic day. We reached a significant milestone in our ten year effort to realize the Eden in Iraq Wastewater Garden at El Chibaish in the southern Iraq marshes. We signed an agreement with the Center for Restoration of Iraqi Marshes and Wetlands (CRIMW) to implement the first stage of our 30,000 square meter wastewater garden: a surface flow wetland system that begins the sewage treatment process.

This first phase begins with machinery, labor, and other engineering resources which the Iraqi government is providing through CRIMW. So shortly, the physical construction will begin!

In previous years, we networked widely in the region, gaining the support of local Marsh Arab town councils, the provincial government in Nasariyah and the ministries of the Environment and Water Resources. Local people know all too well the disastrous situation with discharge of untreated sewage and were equally enthusiastic about a low-cost, ecological approach to sewage treatment by creating beautiful constructed wetlands. The Iraqi government appreciates that after the pilot project in El Chibaish, this approach can be used throughout the country, which in general lacks effective sewage treatment.

Our team (photo left) with CRIMW  engineers and the Ministry of Science member, in El Chibaish.

The Eden in Iraq Wastewater Garden team (right) at the project site in El Chibaish with the pipe from the sewage switch plant which will fill our site growing marsh plants. It currently is discharging this untreated, raw sewage into the marshes, as it did into the Euphrates River, endangering human health and the environment.

Our project will bring important health and environmental benefits by pioneering the ecological treatment and reuse of wastewater which currently pollutes the marshes and rivers, endangering the Marsh Arab people and the marshes they depend on. But we have a long way to go in fund-raising and in-kind donations to implement the final stages of the designed garden (approximately $1.7 million).

In the second phase, we will create a culturally and aesthetically significant environmental and cultural heritage site in the heart of the Fertile Crescent. Last October the Eden in Iraq Wastewater Garden project was chosen as one of UNESCO’s Green Citizen Projects. This is an important worldwide award that has highlighted our efforts to implement the project.

Please see our website (www.edeniniraq.com) for detailed information about the rest of our team, garden design, numerous events, activities, and many articles in our bibliography section.

Professor /Artist Meridel Rubenstein and Dr. Davide Tocchetto

Co-Directors, Eden In Iraq Wastewater Garden Project

Our sponsoring organizations:

The International Team: