Scientists Have Developed a Low-Cost Filter to Remove Arsenic From Drinking Water

By: | March 16th, 2017

Image courtesy University of Technology Sydney

Millions of people around the world are facing health risks due to arsenic contamination of their drinking water. Arsenic is very poisonous, and it can result in many health problems like gastrointestinal disorders, nerve tissue injuries, and even cancer.

To solve this problem, a team of researchers from the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) has created a new filtration system to remove arsenic and deliver clean drinking water using very simple technology. The best part is this filtration system is cheap, and it can be made using recycled parts.

The team is led by Distinguished Professor Saravanamuth Vigneswaran and Dr. Tien Vinh Nguyen. The team received a $500,000 “Technology Against Poverty” prize for this noble job.

Present water purifying systems like reverse osmosis are neither cost effective nor efficient, so UTS scientists have created this new purifier which is affordable and simple to create.

Of the project, Professor Vigneswaran said, ‚ÄúThere are three key components to this system: an organic membrane, a tank/drum in which the membrane is inserted, and an absorptive cartridge made from locally available industrial waste products. This sustainable system will both maximize locally sourced resources and minimize arsenic waste and environmental pollution, improving health and quality of life. The filtration can be powered by gravity or solar or by hand pump. Membranes will last up to three years, while the cartridges absorb the arsenic and are periodically replaced with new ones (every three to six months). The waste cartridges will be turned into safe building materials, so the system safely disposes of arsenic waste.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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