State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Natural means of water purification

Although chlorine (and other products) has been used for a long time as a traditional form of water disinfection,  it is recently coming under attack due to the adverse effects it has on health and also because of potential ecological concern. A more environmentally friendly way of cleansing drinking water may be to use the ultraviolet component of natural sunlight. The method, solar-assisted water disinfection, takes advantage of the ultraviolet (UV) component of natural sunlight to kill water-borne bacteria and break up undesirable chemical contaminants. This can be a useful life-saver especially in remote and rural areas or during an emergency situation. Scientists at the University of Texas (Arlington) confirmed after field and lab tests that exposing water which contained E-coli and titanium dioxide to sunlight started to eliminate these bacteria within minutes.

How to do it.

1)      Find a source of clear water with a little suspended material as possible and a few bottles.  Rinse the bottles with to clean them. Remove the labels. If the bottles are heavily scratched or marked do not use them.

2)      Fill two thirds of each bottle with the water. Screw on the caps and shake each bottle for 20 to 30 seconds to improve oxygen saturation. Fill each bottle to the top with the water and screw on the caps.

3)      Place the corrugated iron sheet (if you have can find one) on the ground outside. Position it where it has greatest exposure to the sun. If not, find a surface with high reflective properties Lay the bottles horizontally on their sides on the surface.

4)      Leave the bottles for six hours if it is a sunny day. If there is more than 50 percent cloud cover, leave the bottles for two days. After the allotted time the water will be ready to drink.

Caution: Although Scientists indicate, that this means of water purification is versatile, the warn though, that more work needs to be done before the method could be applied for large-scale water disinfection.

So, the next time you find yourself out of clean water, and have a transparent container with you, (preferably glass), do not panic !


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