By Anupum Pant
Water on Earth
It’s Christmas! On this happy day let’s take a minute to look at what the major part of the world is facing today.
The present situation might not look as bad, but the truth is that we are running out of fresh water. To give you an idea about how much water is actually there on earth, this image of the whole world’s water compared with the size of earth is, in my view, the best thing that could prove it to you.
Fresh water in all the lakes and rivers on the whole planet is represented by the tiniest dot. Yes, there is a third water sphere in the picture. You might have to squint to find it. So, that is the amount of fresh water we have here on earth.
War for water: If this image isn’t much of a proof that fresh water is scarce, probably this will do the trick:
Countries consider fresh water a very precious resource. Several countries all around the world are fighting with their neighbors for this blue gold. Two good examples of that – [India starts water war] and [This]
Today, economically and technologically backward countries require good cost-effective methods to purify water. Scientists are doing a tremendous amount of work in this area and coming out with innovative methods to deal with the problem. Also, it is one great idea for taking up as a science fair project by students. One such recent research regarding this caught my attention.
The fruit peel method
Note: If you are wondering why have I written fruit when we are dealing with a tomato here, this might come as a shock to you that Tomato is actually a fruit. And BTW:
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that a tomato doesn’t belong in a fruit salad. – Miles Kingston
Mr Ramakrishna Mallampati, under the guidance of Associate Professor Suresh Valiyaveettil of the Department of Chemistry at the NUS Faculty of Science, have discovered a new way of purifying water which is both innovative and cost effective. Moreover, it uses the waste product of a fruit, its peel, for something good. They hope that their new technology will comes as a boon to the people living in areas where a water treatment plant cannot be set up.
According to their research, a tomato’s peel, under certain conditions, can remove dissolved organic and inorganic chemicals, dyes and pesticides. Additionally, an apple’s peel was also found to have these wonderful properties. Apple’s peel loaded with Zirconium were found to be effective in removing phosphate, arsenate, arsenite, and chromate anions. This is the first time ever someone has used to remove two different kinds of pollutants using two different kinds of peels. Notably, all their processes can be scaled up for large scale applications.
I hope that this new discovery will come as a respite to all the poor nations where people die everyday due to the unavailability of drinking water – due to diseases.