Haoxuan Li

"Mediating the sewage pollution condition in China"

Section MS6, Ifor Duncan

Keywords: pixel-art animation, moving image, health, rivers/hydrology

Water pollution has become one of the most urgent environmental challenges we are facing today.

Regarding this, three questions came up through the research:

  • What is the current water pollution condition?
  • What is the current sewage treatment condition?
  • How to describe these conditions? The key to this project would focus on the last question.

Based on the fact that most of the descriptions of water pollution are enormous figures, which cannot understand effectively by the general audience. The project tries to illustrate the conditions in a more comprehensible way.

My first attempts at mediating this condition include:

  • Piece of text to describe water pollution conditions in China in 2100.
  • A rendered image shows how much wastewater has been discharged in one second (same volume of an Olympic pool) in China in 2018.

Even though these attempts seemed to be powerful and more understandable than numbers, there are still some weaknesses:

  • The texts only contained numbers, the imaginary image it described is still not strong enough.
  • The quality of water in the rendered swimming pool doesnā€™t convey the sense of sewage.
  • Neither the rendered image nor the text described the wastewater treatment condition.

Regarding these narratives, the project tries to represent the volume of both treated and untreated wastewater discharged by cities in China through one or two animations.

The further efforts on the animation making would be based on what the rendered swimming pool presents. Several adjustments have been discussed. Firstly, the animation should produce a more precise sense of wastewater in order to evoke the uncomfortable feeling toward the sewage. Secondly, the animation should be able to present the quantity of wastewater discharged through time rather than focus on one second. Lastly, the same method should be applied to the representation of water treatment conditions, to make a great contrast of the volume difference between treated and untreated water.

The animation consists of four parts. It starts by describing how water is polluted by different sources of pollution and becomes sewage. After that, a small portion (according to data) of wastewater is treated by the factory. Then both treated and untreated water discharge into 2 Olympic pools with a different rate in order to indicate the contrast. In the end, once the swimming pool is full, it will poor down into an icon building in China to emphasise how fast wastewater is discharging today (and how weak the water treatment is). The animation will stop and start another loop when the building is fulfilled with sewage water.