Babbage: How snooping on sewage could save lives

During the pandemic, wastewater monitoring became a valuable tool in spotting covid-19 infection waves and the arrival of new variants. But sewage surveillance can help track the spread of all kinds of diseases—and measure a population’s consumption of everything from vegetables to cocaine. The Economist’s Gilead Amit examines how spying on sewage could offer health agencies an unprecedented insight into the lives of local populations, and considers the privacy concerns that could arise. Plus, we speak to the founder of a company that monitors wastewater to track the opioid crisis in America. Alok Jha hosts.


For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions, subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.