Science

How about a purifier made of clay for safe water?

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on May 28, 2019 Published on May 28, 2019

Blending traditional wisdom with natural materials   -  The Hindu

Jain has also developed a ‘clay coin’, which, he says, can disinfect the water and make it safe for drinking

In India, 163 million Indians have no access to clean water, according to WaterAid, a global advocacy group on water and sanitation. India also tops the list of countries with people having no access to safe water.

“While accessing drinking water continues to be a problem, assuring that it is safe is a challenge by itself. Traditional water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea continue to take a heavy toll, particularly on children aged below five years,” said Chandan Jain, founder of Nano Cera Enviro India, who is developing a water purifier made of clay.

“While boiling water is considered safe, it can be time-consuming. I wanted to find a technological solution,” said Jain, pointing to a water purifier made of locally sourced clay on his table.

“It is a unique combination of traditional wisdom and natural material. This filter requires no electricity, is easy to maintain, retains the natural minerals in the water and, above all, the infused nano particle filtering disc (fitted in the top container of the water purifier) – Swach neer Ag-Mittifil – is designed to treat biologically contaminated water,” Jain said.

Jain has also developed a ‘clay coin’, which, he says, can disinfect the water and make it safe for drinking.

He has engaged women potters of Nagercoil to make the container (water purification jars) and the coin from locally sourced clay and rice husk.

During firing in a kiln, the rice husk burns away, leaving behind microscopic holes. When water is filled in the top container, it seeps through the holes. Physical contaminants are trapped in the process, and the silver-coated nano particle filtering disc fitted in the filter (coated on the coin) removes 99.9 per cent of biological contaminants. Further, clay has the property of turning water alkaline, he said.

Jain, a post-graduate in microbiology, is doing research at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. He was recently selected for the NIDI Prayas Fellowship.

Stating that the product is still in the development stage, he said, “In the testing phase, I’ve supplied 25 purifiers to households in this region (Sivakasi) and the feedback has been encouraging. Each swach neer Ag-mittifil filtering disc can filter up to 4,500 litres of water or usage validity of six months.

The clay coin, which is priced at ₹90, can be used for 90 days, after which it has to be replaced with a new one. Both products are environmentally safe, he said.

Published on May 28, 2019
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