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Whiskey Waste Used to Purify Water Saves Lives in Bangladesh

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shutterstock_126818078-668x288Lack of clean drinking water in many parts of the developing world is threatening millions of lives every day. Not only that fresh water resources are depleting rapidly, but even if the liquid gold is present, the heavy contamination makes it toxic and unsafe to consume.

This is the reason why for a number of decades now, scientists have been trying to develop the cheapest, fastest and most effective mean to clean the water bodies. In their search for a solution, a team from University of Aberdeen came across a compound, which might well be that ever-so-needed water purifier, and it is produced as part of the whiskey making process.

The miracle organic chemical is essentially a mix between the residue from barley husks and a mysterious ingredient, which the team led by Dr. Leigh Cassidy is not ready to reveal yet. This new compound is called Dram, and it is made specifically for Bangladesh, where the levels of arsenic in water are much higher than anywhere else in the world. What makes it area specific is the fact that local products, such as rice husks and coconut shells are used as natural filters for arsenic, completing the purification process.

To pump out the contaminated groundwater and send it to the purification zone, the team had to design a connecting piece out of stainless steel. Once the water flows through the piece and the natural filters, where Dram is introduced, it can be collected and distributed for safe consumption.

Such technology is extremely needed in Bangladesh, where arsenic in drinking water is present in concentrations higher than anywhere in the world. This is probably why as soon as the method was perfected, PurifAid, a Canadian relief program, expressed a huge interest in it, and made sure it was quickly put into action.  With the help of local villagers, PurifAid is hoping to be able to introduce the model across the country and supply arsenic-free water to all rural areas.

Image (c) Shutterstock

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