Water contamination is a major problem in various parts of the country. Be it the addition of impurities from industrial effluents or fluoride contamination in bore wells, people have been suffering in search of clean water. While state and central governments have been working in tandem to provide clean drinking water, one professor and his team from IIT-Jodhpur have developed a process in which water can be purified by using a natural clay available in Rajasthan.
Water Purification Using Natural Clay Pot
“The motto of the project is to find a mechanism for purification of contaminated water at low cost using natural process without affecting the environment, and after eight years of research, we processed a mechanism to purify contaminated water using natural clay found here,” told Associate Professor Rakesh Kumar Sharma of Chemistry department at IIT Jodhpur to The Logical Indian.
“This clay pots acts like ceramic filters. We have used the metal nanoparticles inside the galleries of the clay. When water travels through the galleries it absorbs on the metal surface which exists in the gallery. Since this metal is highly dispersed, they act as an isolated catalytic centre for the impurity and then it gets trapped inside. Roughly one clay pot can purify 100 liters of water. Once the filter gets saturated, it will be choked and we can cook the pot once again for reuse,” told Rakesh Sharma.
Sand for Various Applications
“The clay used in this is Quartz which is found in sand. We have developed a process to make the clay out of sand which is useful for this application. This clay is not only used for water treatment, but for multiple applications like; we have developed biofuel out of that by converting the algae floating on water into diesel grade hydrocarbon and making Lithium-ion batteries,” added Professor Rakesh. IIT Jodhpur has tested this process on clay from 16 different countries and it is successful. They have received appreciations from international conferences and the research got published in a global science journal.
He said that the process by which the clay is made useful is what is more crucial. The sand undergoes a treatment process. IIT-Jodhpur has patented the treatment, he informed. It took alone five-years for them to develop that treatment.
Presently for purifying water, we use Reverse Osmosis (RO) Purifiers which everyone cannot afford and it also utilises a lot of power energy to function. “This clay has been existing in the world since the inception of the earth, but there is no report and ours is the first publication. In order to make our country energy dependent, we should look for solutions available in nature here itself, instead of depending on the western countries,” Rakesh said.
Presently, the clay pots are being used in the campus for drinking purposes. “We are testing on different concentration of water for purification treatment and the process is successful. We do not want to change the fundamental process of making pots. We have spoken to few potters for manufacturing this clay pot so that potters will also benefit financially,” Rakesh explained.
Rakesh, who has an expertise in catalytic agents and reaction said that he gets funds from various firms to work on his research.
“In India, we have only around two per cent of drinkable water, not everyone can afford RO purifier to drink purified water, the main motto and target behind this research are to make peoples life easy and for those who cannot afford money this innovation will be the solution,” he added.
Recently, IIT Jodhpur was in the news for creating hydrogen fuel using sunlight and water by reversing the method of “photosynthesis”.
Lack of access to safe water
More than two billion people lack access to safe water in the world, says United Nation Secretary General.
“In India, around 2 lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. The country is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history, and millions of lives and livelihood are under threat,” said a NITI Aayog report.
In North Karnataka, many health issues have been reported for drinking contaminated water. Dr Harshavardhan Patil, the Ortho physician at Lingasugur taluk, 90 km from Raichur, said, “Every month 10 to 15 people consult him for Fluorosis. Due to Fluorosis, back becomes stiff and bones turn fragile further leading to fracture.” He added, “The best and the only way to cure this disease is by preventing it.”
This technique of purifying can help many places like Raichur in the country which are affected by an abnormal mineral ratio in the drinking water.
The Logical Indian Take
We feel proud of our country saying we have achieved a lot, but at present millions of people in India have no access to clean drinking water. IIT-Jodhpur made a significant innovation for the well being of the people. The Logical Indian wholeheartedly applauds the IIT Jodhpur team and hopes that young Indian researchers and scholars will continue with their researches which can help in the benefit of the nation.