Hybrid Clay Could Be The Cost-Effective Answer To Water Purification

On July 1 I will become president of the Rotary Club in my area. That news isn't really all that pertinent to you. But one of the major service initiatives of Rotary International is to provide clean water to developing countries. According to the Rotary International site, an estimated 2 million people die every year from waterborne diseases, and more than 1 billion lack access to clean water.

So when I read about a papaya-clay combo could cut the cost of water purification in developing countries, I took notice – not only as a staff member of Chemical Processing, but as a Rotarian eager to share this news with my club.

A study on “hybrid clay” appears in the journal American Chemical Society (ACS) Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. It suggests an inexpensive new material made of clay and papaya seeds removes harmful metals from water and could lower the cost of providing clean water to millions of people in the developing world.

The ACS journal article notes that technology exists for removing those metals from drinking water, but often is too costly in developing countries. So scientists looked for a more affordable and sustainable water treatment adsorbent.

They turned to two materials readily available in some developing countries. One was kaolinite clay, used to make ceramics, paint, paper and other products. The other: seeds of the Carica papaya fruit. Both had been used separately in water purification in the past, but until now, they had not been combined in what the scientists term “hybrid clay.” Their documentation of the clay’s effectiveness established that the material “has a strong potential for replacing commercial activated carbon in treatment of wastewater in the developing world.”

Be sure to read the full article.


Traci-bio-photo.jpgTraci Purdum, senior digital editor.