Water is all that matters
@ May 31, 2009
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5 May 2009, 2134 hrs IST, Binay Singh, TNN

VARANASI: The availability of safe drinking water has been a major concern for both the government authorities and the people. It is because of seriousness of issue that the UN has declared the decade (2005-2015) as the Water for Life Decade, to highlight the magnitude of the problem and bring all stakeholders together to apply solutions.

The problem of water contamination can be solved to a great extent by applying nano technology, said prof ON Srivastava, coordinator of Nanoscience and Technology Centre BHU. The scientists of BHU have devised a method to produce carbon nanotube (CNT) filters that efficiently remove micro-to nano-scale contaminants from water and heavy hydrocarbons from petroleum. Made of carbon nanotubes, the filters are easily manufactured using a novel method for controlling the cylindrical geometry of the structure. If used properly, the CNT filters can help in reducing the burden on drinking water missions leading to the availability of safe drinking water that will result in minimising the water borne diseases.

The CNT filters could be used for various purposes like desalination of sea water and removing bacterial as well as heavy metal contamination from water, Srivastava told TOI on Tuesday. These filters could remove polio viruses from water as well as pathogens like E. coli, added Srivastava. He said the application of nanotube filters in desalination of sea water could provide fresh water in coastal areas.

The paper, on development of carbon nanotube filters, of BHU scientists was published in Nature (materials) magazine. This tube was used for filtration of E-coli bacteria and polio virus from polluted water along with filtering heavy hydrocarbons. This tube can also be used for other filtration may be in filtering HIV virus. According to studies, a common pollutant of drinking water is the faecal bacterium Escherichia coli that is responsible for many water borne diseases. The nanotube filters could be used successfully to obtain bacteria-free water for human consumption. A major advantage of using the nanotube filters is that they can be cleaned repeatedly after each filtration process to regain their full filtering efficiency. Though the basic work was done by Dr Anchal Srivastava in his PhD thesis, some of the supplementary work was done by Dr PM Ajayan, former student of Metallurgy department of BHU, and his group.


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