Tag Archives: water

University of Birmingham: Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease

13 Oct

The Food and Agriculture Organization wrote in Chapter 2 – Health risks associated with wastewater use:

The survival of pathogens and how they infect a new host needs to be understood in developing a programme to eliminate or minimize health risks. The importance and complexity of the rural health problem for those living and working where wastewater is used is beyond the scope of this document. The focus of this document will be on the concern with those who handle, prepare or eat the crop after it has been harvested. The health issues associated with wastewater use for the handlers, preparers and consumers of the crop can be broken down into a series of questions (each will be covered in more detail in subsequent sections of this document):
What types of pathogens are likely to be present in the wastewater?
How many and what types of pathogens reach the field or crop?
Are these pathogens likely to survive in sufficient numbers and for sufficient time to be infectious to the handler or consumer?
How significant is the infection route for the various pathogens?
Which crops carry the highest potential for carrying infections to the handler or consumer?
Are there guidelines or limits available to measure the potential for health risk?
Types of pathogens present in wastewater
Wastewater or natural water supplies into which wastewater has been discharged, are likely to contain pathogenic organisms similar to those in the original human excreta. Disease prevention programmes have centred upon four groups of pathogens potentially present in such wastes: bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths. There have been extensive reviews published on the range of these pathogenic organisms normally found in human excreta and wastewater. The most complete reviews are Feachem et al. (1983), Rose (1986) and Shuval et al. (1986a). The following short discussion is extracted from those reviews and is presented to establish a basic understanding of the pathogens and their abundance.
Bacteria. The faeces of a healthy person contains large numbers of bacteria (> 1010/g), most of which are not pathogenic. Pathogenic or potentially pathogenic bacteria are normally absent from a healthy intestine unless infection occurs. When infection occurs, large numbers of pathogenic bacteria will be passed in the faeces thus allowing the spread of infection to others. Diarrhoea is the most prevalent type of infection, with cholera the worst form. Typhoid, paratyphoid and other Salmonella type diseases are also caused by bacterial pathogens.
Viruses. Numerous viruses may infect humans and are passed in the faeces (> 109/g). Five groups of pathogenic excreted viruses are particularly important: adenoviruses, enteroviruses (including polioviruses), hepatitis A virus, reoviruses and diarrhoea-causing viruses (especially rotavirus).
Protozoa. Many species of protozoa can infect humans and cause diarrhoea and dysentery. Infective forms of these protozoa are often passed as cysts in the faeces and humans are infected when they ingest them. Only three species are considered to be pathogenic: Giardia lamblia, Balantidium coli and Entamoeba histolytica. An asymptomatic carrier state is common in all three and may be responsible for continued transmission.
Helminths. There are many species of parasitic worms or helminths that have human hosts. Some can cause serious illnesses and the ones that pass eggs or larval forms in the excreta are of importance in considering wastewater use. Most helminths do not multiply within the human host, a factor of great importance in understanding their transmission, the ways they cause disease and the effects that environmental change will have on their control. Often the developmental stages (life cycles) through which they pass before reinfecting humans are very complex. Those that have soil, water or plant life as one of their intermediate hosts are extremely important in any scheme where wastewater is used directly or indirectly.
The helminths are classified in two main groups: the roundworms (nematodes) and worms that are flat in cross section. The flatworm, in turn, may be divided into two groups: the tapeworms which form chains of helminths “segments” and the flukes which have a single, flat, unsegmented body. Most of the roundworms that infect humans and also the schistosome flukes have separate sexes. The result is that transmission depends upon infection with both male and female worms and upon meeting, mating and egg production within the human body….
Relative health risk from wastewater use
The discussion in the previous sections show that a broad spectrum of pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, helminths and protozoa is present in wastewater and they survive for days, weeks and at times months in the soil and on crops that come in contact with wastewater. Early approaches to measuring the health risk from these pathogenic micro-organisms centred on detection. Based upon the fact that these micro-organisms could survive, detection in any of these environments was sufficient to indicate that a public health problem existed. It was then assumed that such detection showed evidence that a real potential for disease transmission existed (Shuval et al., 1986a; Shuval, 1991). This is a “zero-risk” approach. Throughout the years a number of standards and guidelines have been developed on this zero-risk approach. This led to standards for wastewater use that approached those of drinking water especially where vegetable crops were being grown…. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w5367e/w5367e04.htm

A University of Birmingham study questions the use of waste water in certain circumstances for use in agriculture.

Science Daily reported in Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease:

Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Experts discovered that wastewater collected from canals used for urban agriculture in Burkina Faso was rich in virulent human pathogens which cause gastroenteritis and diarrhea — a major cause of death in low and middle-income countries.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham led an international team from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Germany in studying wastewater samples from three canals in the capital Ouagadougou — a city of 2.2 million inhabitants.
After identifying a wide range of antibiotic resistance genes in the water, they concluded that using wastewater for urban agriculture in the city posed a high risk of spreading bacteria and antimicrobial resistance among humans and animals.
With the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa expected to rise from 400 million (2010) to 1.26 billion in 2050, according to UN estimates, agriculture in towns and cities is recognised as a vital way of contributing to food security and alleviating poverty….
Dr Blaise Bougnon from the University of Yaounde (Cameroon), commented: “Some 200 million urban dwellers are reported to be engaged in urban agriculture world-wide and, in some cases, produce up to 90 per cent of cities’ demand for perishable vegetables, according to UN research.
“Over 80 per cent of domestic and industrial wastewater generated in low and middle-income countries is discharged untreated into the environment. Because of its low cost, availability and nutrient content, urban agriculture relies on wastewater for irrigation.”
There is an increasing number of bacteria that are multi-resistant against common antibiotics and cannot be treated by current therapies. Antibiotic resistance has led to the need for more expensive drugs, which many cannot afford, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality.
Between 50 and 90 per cent of antibiotics administered to humans and animals are excreted as a mixture of parent drug and metabolite forms, with significant levels of active drug ending up in the environment, where they may persist in soil and aquatic ecosystems.
The study found evidence in the canal water samples of pathogens commonly responsible for waterborne diseases which could lead to people directly or indirectly exposed to these wastewaters suffering from acute diarrhea, chronic gastritis, and gastroenteritis.
In low and middle-income countries 842,000 people die annually from diarrhea, according to the World Health Organisation, because of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181012102225.htm

Citation:

Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease
Date: October 12, 2018
Source: University of Birmingham
Summary:
Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Journal Reference:
Blaise P. Bougnom, Cheikna Zongo, Alan McNally, Vito Ricci, François X. Etoa, Sören Thiele-Bruhn, Laura J.V. Piddock. Wastewater used for urban agriculture in West Africa as a reservoir for antibacterial resistance dissemination. Environmental Research, 2019; 168: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.022

Here is the press release from the University of Birmingham:

Irrigating vegetables with wastewater in African cities may spread disease
October 12, 2018, University of Birmingham

Urban farmers growing vegetables to feed millions of people in Africa’s ever-growing cities could unwittingly be helping to spread disease by irrigating crops with wastewater, a new study reveals.
Experts discovered that wastewater collected from canals used for urban agriculture in Burkina Faso was rich in virulent human pathogens which cause gastroenteritis and diarrhoea – a major cause of death in low and middle-income countries.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham led an international team from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Germany in studying wastewater samples from three canals in the capital Ouagadougou – a city of 2.2 million inhabitants.
After identifying a wide range of antibiotic resistance genes in the water, they concluded that using wastewater for urban agriculture in the city posed a high risk of spreading bacteria and antimicrobial resistance among humans and animals.
With the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa expected to rise from 400 million (2010) to 1.26 billion in 2050, according to UN estimates, agriculture in towns and cities is recognised as a vital way of contributing to food security and alleviating poverty.
Professor Laura Piddock, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, commented: “Using wastewater for agricultural irrigation represents a very serious health risk, not least as it increases exposure to faecal pathogens. Wastewater appears to be a ‘hot spot’ for antibiotic resistant bacteria in Burkina Faso.”
“We urgently need further investigations to determine the extent that exposed populations are affected by this health issue. There is also an urgent need to improve global access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in low and middle-income countries to help prevent bacterial resistance spreading from the environment to people.”
Dr. Blaise Bougnon from the University of Yaounde (Cameroon), commented: “Some 200 million urban dwellers are reported to be engaged in urban agriculture world-wide and, in some cases, produce up to 90 per cent of cities’ demand for perishable vegetables, according to UN research.
“Over 80 per cent of domestic and industrial wastewater generated in low and middle-income countries is discharged untreated into the environment. Because of its low cost, availability and nutrient content, urban agriculture relies on wastewater for irrigation.”
There is an increasing number of bacteria that are multi-resistant against common antibiotics and cannot be treated by current therapies. Antibiotic resistance has led to the need for more expensive drugs, which many cannot afford, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality.
Between 50 and 90 per cent of antibiotics administered to humans and animals are excreted as a mixture of parent drug and metabolite forms, with significant levels of active drug ending up in the environment, where they may persist in soil and aquatic ecosystems.
The study found evidence in the canal water samples of pathogens commonly responsible for waterborne diseases which could lead to people directly or indirectly exposed to these wastewaters suffering from acute diarrhoea, chronic gastritis, and gastroenteritis.
In low and middle-income countries 842,000 people die annually from diarrhoea, according to the World Health Organisation, because of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Explore further: Scientists map the distribution of antimicrobial resistance across Chinese major cities
More information: Blaise P. Bougnom et al. Wastewater used for urban agriculture in West Africa as a reservoir for antibacterial resistance dissemination, Environmental Research (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.022
Journal reference: Environmental Research
Provided by: University of Birmingham

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-irrigating-vegetables-wastewater-african-cities.html#jCp

The International Water Management (IWMI) Institute researches water issues.

The IWMI listed crucial research issues in the safe use of waste water in agriculture:

Studies in Pakistan, Ghana, Vietnam and Mexico have examined both the positive and negative impacts of wastewater reuse for agriculture. Current IWMI work on wastewater can be found here http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/publications/briefs/wle-towards-sustainable-intensification-briefs/
Key research questions
• What are the dangers of uncontrolled wastewater irrigation in terms of public health and pollution?
• How can the nutrient value of wastewater be assessed?
• What sustainable practices are being used that can be transferred to benefit poor rural areas in other countries?
• From a public health perspective, which crops are the best candidates for wastewater irrigation and which should be avoided? http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/issues/water-and-health/wastewater-use-for-agriculture/
The Water Project researches issues related to water supply and sustainabliy.
According to the Water Project’s article, Facts about Water: Statistics of the Water Crisis:
783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide. 2
319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without access to improved reliable drinking water sources 16                                                                                                              Sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions with the greatest drinking water spending needs, with the greatest investment needs in rural areas. 17
Two thirds or about 102 million of the 159 million people still using surface water live in Sub-Saharan Africa 14
1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. 13
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases. 4
In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. 5
1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are without improved sanitation facilities. 14
695 million of a global 2.4 billion people living without improved sanitation facilities live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 16
Exposure to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene is a leading cause of cholera and a variety of infectious and tropical diseases in the African Region. 15
Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. 8
Of Sub-Saharan healthcare facilities, 42% lack an improved water source within 500m, 16% lack improved sanitation, and 36% lack soap for hand washing. 14
Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching water. 2
The physical and time burden of water hauling was found to fall primarily on women and girls who make up 72% of those tasked with fetching water. 14
Women and girls are responsible for water collection in seven out of ten households in 45 developing countries. 14
Over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have access to water and sanitation facilities. Without toilets, girls often drop out at puberty. 3
Less than one in three people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet. 2
In Sub-Saharan Africa, in the 38 countries for which data is available, hand washing prevalence is at best 50%. 16
84% of the people who don’t have access to improved water, live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture. 2                                                              The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 lbs when full. 9
Almost two-thirds, 64% of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home. 2
Globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation, and only 10% on domestic uses. 1
Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. 6
According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34! 12
By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health! 7
The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year’s labor in all of France! 10
Research has shown that for every 10% increase in women’s literacy, a country’s whole economy can grow by up to 0.3%. 11
• Citations
1. AQUASTAT. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “Water Use.” http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/water_use/index.stm
2. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010.” Available at http://www.wssinfo.org/
3. UNICEF. “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” Updated May 2010. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45481.html
4. United Nations Development Programme. “Human Development Report 2006: Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.” 2006. Available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006/
5. United Nations. Statement by Secretary General Koffi Annan. June 2003. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm8707.doc.htm
6. WHO/UNICEF. “Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done.” 2009. available at http://www.unicef.org/health/index_51412.html.
7. World Health Organization. “Costs and benefits of water and sanitation improvements at the global level.” http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/wsh0404/en/
8. UNEP / UN-Habitat “Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development. Available at http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/sickwater/
9. Jerry cans carry approx. 5 gallons of water so if a single gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, 5 gallons are 41.5 pounds.
10. United Nations Development Programme. “Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change.” 2009. Available at http://www.undp.org/climatechange/library_gender.shtml
11. UNICEF. “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” Updated May 2010. http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45481.html
12. World Health Organization. Executive Summary of “Costs and benefits of water and sanitation improvements at the global level.” http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/wsh0404summary/en/
13. Based on 87% of the global population using imprtoved sources. Found in WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010.” Available at http://www.wssinfo.org/
14. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation “2015 Report and MDG Assessment” Available from: http://www.wssinfo.org/
15. World Health Organization “WHO in the African Region” Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/en/clusters-a-programmes/hpr/protection-of-the-human-environment/programme-components/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=122
16. World Health Organization “Key Facts from 2015 JMP Report” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/JMP-2015-keyfacts-en-rev.pdf?ua=1
17. World Health Organization “Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach MDG target and universal coverage” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2012/globalcosts.pdf

Research about use of waste water is crucial because of the challenges the world faces about adequate water supply.

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Carnegie Mellon University study: The seed that could bring clean water to millions

24 Jun

Life Water wrote in Water and Poverty:

How Access to Safe Water Reduces Poverty:
Water and poverty are inextricably linked. Lack of safe water and poverty are mutually reinforcing; access to consistent sources of clean water is crucial to poverty reduction. Currently, 748 million people live without access to safe water and 2.5 billion live without adequate sanitation.[1]
When we talk about poverty, we primarily refer to the economically disadvantaged groups of people across wide swaths of the globe, mainly in Africa and Asia, that survive on subsistence farming or incomes of less than $2 per day. There were 2.4 billion people living in this situation in 2010. The global rate of extreme poverty, defined as the percentage of those living on less than $1.25 per day, was halved between 1990 and 2010.[2]
In that same twenty-year period, the global proportion of people living without access to clean water was halved as well, with 2.3 billion people gaining access to improved drinking water between 1990 and 2012.[3] Safe water means consistent access to and adequate supply of clean water suitable for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. According to the World Health Organization, this means safe drinking water from a source less than 1 kilometer (.62 miles) away and at least 20 liters (5.28 gallons) per person per day.[4] In some cases, safe water for irrigation or animals might be necessary to the extent that it affects individual human health and dignity. https://lifewater.org/blog/water-poverty/

Carnegie Mellon University scientists reported about their water research which could bring water to those suffering from water poverty.

Science Daily reported in The seed that could bring clean water to millions:

According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, the majority of whom live in developing nations. Carnegie Mellon University’s Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professors Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien recently co-authored a paper with Ph.D. students Brittany Nordmark and Toni Bechtel, and alumnus John Riley, further refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process, created by Tilton’s former student and co-author Stephanie Velegol, uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations to create a cheap and effective water filtration medium, termed “f-sand.”
“F-sand” uses proteins from the Moringa oleifera plant, a tree native to India that grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. The tree is cultivated for food and natural oils, and the seeds are already used for a type of rudimentary water purification. However, this traditional means of purification leaves behind high amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from the seeds, allowing bacteria to regrow after just 24 hours. This leaves only a short window in which the water is drinkable.
Velegol, who is now a professor of chemical engineering at Penn State University, had the idea to combine this method of water purification with sand filtration methods common in developing areas. By extracting the seed proteins and adsorbing (adhering) them to the surface of silica particles, the principal component of sand, she created f-sand. F-sand both kills microorganisms and reduces turbidity, adhering to particulate and organic matter. These undesirable contaminants and DOC can then be washed out, leaving the water clean for longer, and the f-sand ready for reuse.
While the basic process was proven and effective, there were still many questions surrounding f-sand’s creation and use — questions Tilton and Przybycien resolved to answer.
Would isolating certain proteins from the M. oleifera seeds increase f-sand’s effectiveness? Are the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds important to the adsorption process? What effect would water conditions have? What concentration of proteins is necessary to create an effective product? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180620150246.htm

Citation:

The seed that could bring clean water to millions
Date: June 20, 2018
Source: College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Scientist are refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations.
Journal Reference:
1. Brittany A. Nordmark, Toni M. Bechtel, John K. Riley, Darrell Velegol, Stephanie B. Velegol, Todd M. Przybycien, Robert D. Tilton. Moringa oleifera Seed Protein Adsorption to Silica: Effects of Water Hardness, Fractionation, and Fatty Acid Extraction. Langmuir, 2018; 34 (16): 4852 DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b00191

Here is the press release from Carnegie Mellon:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 20-JUN-2018
The seed that could bring clean water to millions
COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
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According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, the majority of whom live in developing nations.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering Professors Bob Tilton and Todd Przybycien recently co-authored a paper with Ph.D. students Brittany Nordmark and Toni Bechtel, and alumnus John Riley, further refining a process that could soon help provide clean water to many in water-scarce regions. The process, created by Tilton’s former student and co-author Stephanie Velegol, uses sand and plant materials readily available in many developing nations to create a cheap and effective water filtration medium, termed “f-sand.”
“F-sand” uses proteins from the Moringa oleifera plant, a tree native to India that grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. The tree is cultivated for food and natural oils, and the seeds are already used for a type of rudimentary water purification. However, this traditional means of purification leaves behind high amounts of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from the seeds, allowing bacteria to regrow after just 24 hours. This leaves only a short window in which the water is drinkable.
Velegol, who is now a professor of chemical engineering at Penn State University, had the idea to combine this method of water purification with sand filtration methods common in developing areas. By extracting the seed proteins and adsorbing (adhering) them to the surface of silica particles, the principal component of sand, she created f-sand. F-sand both kills microorganisms and reduces turbidity, adhering to particulate and organic matter. These undesirable contaminants and DOC can then be washed out, leaving the water clean for longer, and the f-sand ready for reuse.
While the basic process was proven and effective, there were still many questions surrounding f-sand’s creation and use–questions Tilton and Przybycien resolved to answer.
Would isolating certain proteins from the M. oleifera seeds increase f-sand’s effectiveness? Are the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds important to the adsorption process? What effect would water conditions have? What concentration of proteins is necessary to create an effective product?
The answers to these questions could have big implications on the future of f-sand.
Fractionation
The seed of M. oleifera contains at least eight different proteins. Separating these proteins, a process known as fractionation, would introduce another step to the process. Prior to their research, the authors theorized that isolating certain proteins might provide a more efficient finished product.
However, through the course of testing, Tilton and Przybycien found that this was not the case. Fractionating the proteins had little discernible effect on the proteins’ ability to adsorb to the silica particles, meaning this step was unnecessary to the f-sand creation process.
The finding that fractionation is unnecessary is particularly advantageous to the resource-scarce scenario in which f-sand is intended to be utilized. Leaving this step out of the process helps cut costs, lower processing requirements, and simplify the overall process.
Fatty Acids
One of the major reasons M. oleifera is cultivated currently is for the fatty acids and oils found in the seeds. These are extracted and sold commercially. Tilton and Przybycien were interested to know if these fatty acids had an effect on the protein adsorption process as well.
They found that much like fractionation, removing the fatty acids had little effect on the ability of the proteins to adsorb. This finding also has beneficial implications for those wishing to implement this process in developing regions. Since the presence or absence of fatty acids in the seeds has little effect on the creation or function of f-sand, people in the region can remove and sell the commercially valuable oil, and still be able to extract the proteins from the remaining seeds for water filtration.
Concentration
Another parameter of the f-sand manufacturing process that Tilton and Przybycien tested was the concentration of seed proteins needed to create an effective product. The necessary concentration has a major impact on the amount of seeds required, which in turn has a direct effect on overall efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The key to achieving the proper concentration is ensuring that there are enough positively charged proteins to overcome the negative charge of the silica particles to which they are attached, creating a net positive charge. This positive charge is crucial to attract the negatively charged organic matter, particulates, and microbes contaminating the water.
This relates to another potential improvement to drinking water treatment investigated by Tilton, Przybycien, and Nordmark in a separate publication. In this project, they used seed proteins to coagulate contaminants in the water prior to f-sand filtration. This also relies on controlling the charge of the contaminants, which coagulate when they are neutralized. Applying too much protein can over-charge the contaminants and inhibit coagulation.
“There’s kind of a sweet spot in the middle,” says Tilton, “and it lies in the details of how the different proteins in these seed protein mixtures compete with each other for adsorption to the surface, which tended to broaden that sweet spot.”
This broad range of concentrations means that not only can water treatment processes be created at relatively low concentrations, thereby conserving materials, but that there is little risk of accidentally causing water contamination by overshooting the concentration. In areas where exact measurements may be difficult to make, this is crucial.
Water Hardness
Water hardness refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. Although labs often use deionized water, in a process meant to be applied across a range of real world environments, researchers have to prepare for both soft and hard water conditions.
Tilton and Przybycien found that proteins were able to adsorb well to the silica particles, and to coagulate suspended contaminants, in both soft and hard water conditions. This means that the process could potentially be viable across a wide array of regions, regardless of water hardness.
Tilton and Przybycien recently published a paper on this research, “Moringa oleifera Seed Protein Adsorption to Silica: Effects of Water Hardness, Fractionation, and Fatty Acid Extraction,” in ACS Langmuir.
Overall, the conclusions that Tilton, Przybycien, and their fellow authors were able to reach have major benefits for those in developing countries looking for a cheap and easily accessible form of water purification. Their work puts this novel innovation one step closer to the field, helping to forge the path that may one day see f-sand deployed in communities across the developing world. They’ve shown that the f-sand manufacturing process displays a high degree of flexibility, as it is able to work at a range of water conditions and protein concentrations without requiring the presence of fatty acids or a need for fractionation.
“It’s an area where complexity could lead to failure–the more complex it is, the more ways something could go wrong,” says Tilton. “I think the bottom line is that this supports the idea that the simpler technology might be the better one.”
###
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Compassion International explains why water is important in eliminating poverty.

In Water Facts Compassion International explains the importance of water:

One of the most critical needs in the fight against poverty around the world is the need for clean water.
Deaths from diseases caused by dirty water are easily preventable. Even so, lack of access to clean water continues to complicate life for those in poverty.
• In 2015, 71 percent of the global population (5.2 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. 1
• Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with faeces. 1
• By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. 1
• Since 2000, 1.4 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services, such as piped water into the home or a protected dug well. 3
• Over 10 percent of the population still relies on untreated surface water in 22 countries. 4
• At least 10 percent of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by waste water. 2
• 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. Of these, 892 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water. 2
• The countries where open defection is most widespread have the highest number of deaths of children aged under 5 years as well as the highest levels of malnutrition and poverty, and big disparities of wealth. 2
• Almost 60 percent of deaths due to diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation. Hand washing with soap alone can cut the risk of diarrhea by at least 40 percent. 5
• Diarrhea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year. 6
https://www.compassion.com/poverty/water.htm

The importance of the Carnegie Mellon research cannot be understated.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

What are Key Urban Environmental Problems?
http://web.mit.edu/urbanupgrading/urbanenvironment/issues/key-UE-issues.html

Understanding Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Poverty
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/winter11/highlight2.html

Where We Live Matters for Our Health: Neighborhoods and Health
http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/888f4a18-eb90-45be-a2f8-159e84a55a4c/Issue%20Brief%203%20Sept%2008%20-%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Health.pdf

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The 10/27/13 Joy Jar

28 Oct

Moi watched this very troubling story, Biologists search for cause of sea star deaths:

Divers were out in Puget Sound waters Saturday to see if they can help solve a mystery. Scientists are trying to figure out what’s causing one species of starfish to die in parts of Puget Sound and the waters off of Canada.
http://www.king5.com/news/environment/Biologists-search-for-cause-of-sea-star-deaths-229408861.html

The oceans are essential to sustain life on earth. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the fervent hope for a healthy ocean ecosystem.

Looking up and out, how can we not respect this ever-vigilant cognizance that distinguishes us: the capability to envision, to dream, and to invent? the ability to ponder ourselves? and be aware of our existence on the outer arm of a spiral galaxy in an immeasurable ocean of stars? Cognizance is our crest.
Vanna Bonta

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mahatma Gandhi

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Mother Teresa

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.
John F. Kennedy

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.
Saint Augustine

I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.
B. R. Ambedkar

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
Ryunosuke Satoro

The progress of rivers to the ocean is not so rapid as that of man to error.
Voltaire

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
Blaise Pascal

Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts. Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment.
Morihei Ueshiba

You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.
Alan Watts

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man – who has no gills.
Ambrose Bierce

The 08/19/13 Joy Jar

19 Aug

This wonderful Seattle summer actually had what the meteorologists call measurable precipitation. Rain in Seattle means the air gets cleaned. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is clean air.

Every man needs slaves like he needs clean air. To rule is to breathe, is it not? And even the most disenfranchised get to breathe. The lowest on the social scale have their spouses or their children.
Albert Camus

“The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.”
Elizabeth I Tudor, Letters

“oxygen

Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine

stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a

stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your

right shoulder which aches
all day. You are breathing
patiently; it is a

beautiful sound. It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know

where to drop the knife of
separation. And what does this have to do
with love, except

everything? Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame. Then it settles

to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest, sweet necessity: the air.”
Mary Oliver, Thirst

“What keeps earth air breathable? Not oxygen alone. The earth is a freer place to breathe in, every time you love without calculating a return — every time you make your drudgeries and routines still more inefficient by stopping to experience the shock of beauty wherever it unpredictably flickers.”
Peter Viereck, Unadjusted Man in the Age of Overadjustment: Where History and Literature Intersect

“To keep the air fresh among words is the secret of verbal cleanliness.”
Dejan Stojanovic

“Water belongs to us all. Nature did not make the sun one person’s property, nor air, nor water, cool and clear.”
Michael Simpson, The Metamorphoses of Ovid

“The demons don’t like fresh air. What they like best is if you stay in bed with cold feet.”
Bergman, Ingmar

The 05/07/13 Joy Jar

6 May

 

It was 87 today in Seattle and in terms of Seattle weather, it was approaching hot. Other parts of the country might say it was downright pleasant. Ice is wonderful on a warm day because it cools everything. Moi is grateful that ice is so readily available. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is ice.

If I offer you a glass of water, and bring back a cup of ice, I’m trying to teach you patience. And also that sometimes you get ice with no water, and later you’ll get water with no ice. Ah, but that’s life, no?
”

Jarod Kintz, Ah, but that’s life, no?

He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.”
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Human, All Too Human

Like there’s actually a need for Greenland. You can get ice at 7-Eleven.”
Steve Kluger

ice contains no future , just the past, sealed away. As if they’re alive, everything in the world is sealed up inside, clear and distinct. Ice can preserve all kinds of things that way- cleanly, clearly. That’s the essence of ice, the role it plays.”
Haruki Murakami,
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

One of the reasons there are so many terms for conditions of ice is that the mariners observing it were often trapped in it, and had nothing to do except look at it.”
Alec Wilkinson, The Ice Balloon: S. A. Andrée and the Heroic Age of Arctic Exploration

You never really know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks”

Eskimo Proverb

If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance”

Unknown

The 01/20/13 Joy Jar

19 Jan

We are living in what used to be a first world nation. Because the economy has driven so many out of the middle class and into survival, there are still things that one takes for granted.  Seattle has a wonderful municipal water system and the tap water is quite good. But, even bottled water is plentiful. We don’t realize that in many parts of the world clean and safe water that won’t make one sick or dead is a rarity. Today’s deposit in the ‘Joy Jar’ is clean water.

“Five million people die unnecessarily each year because of illness related to lack of potable water. Half of them are children under the age of five. To bring it home, think about this: one child dies from lack of clean water every twelve seconds.”

         Thomas M. Kostigen, You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet

By polluting clear water with slime you will never find good drinking water.

                                         Aeschylus quotes

“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.”

                                                                            Benjamin Franklin

“When you drink the water, remember the spring.”

                                                                             Chinese Proverb

“We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this. What are we waiting for? This is the commitment we need to make to the world, now.”

                 Jean-Michel Cousteau

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.”

  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

 “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

                                                                         W.H. Auden

“Water links us to our neighbor in a way more profound and complex than any other.”

  John Thorson