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Cotton sari water filter: An indigenous water purifier for rural India that costs only Rs 1500

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By Shilpika Srivastava

Talking about facts, there are 13% of inhabitants in Delhi who do not get water supply every day. If India’s national capital is dealing with such water crisis, think how acute the problem is in the rural areas.

Millions of people are still compelled to drink contaminated water leading to a series of health issues.  In rural India, thousands of infants die each year only due to diarrheal diseases, which are both preventable and treatable. According to World Health Organization (WHO), diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death in children under five years old.

The problem is so critical that even if we achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the population who do not have access to drinking water and sanitation by 2015, there will still be 244 million people in rural India and 90 million in urban India with no access to safe and sustainable water supply.

Keeping in mind the high cost of water purifiers available in the market and unavailability of electricity in rural areas, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), an NGO working in rural Maharashtra, has developed a unique and low cost solar water purifier (SWP) for rural households. The best part is that it does not even require electricity or wastes precious water unlike the Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems.

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“It took us about three years to develop SWP and total cost was Rs 20 lakhs. However, the major cost was spent on the staff,” told Anil K Rajvanshi, Director and Hon. Secretary, NARI, to NewsGram.

“We live in rural area and we have observed that because of poor drinking water there are a lot of diarrhea related health issues. More so with children and so we thought of providing a solution to it and hence the solar water purifier,” added Rajvanshi.

The low cost water purifier consists of four tubular solar water heaters attached to a stainless steel manifold. Unclean water is then filled in SWP after being filtered with a four-layered cotton cloth and then it is heated up in the stagnation mode by solar energy to make the water potable.

How it works?

SWP was developed in two steps essentially. The first step required a four-layered cotton sari cloth to filter unclean water. NARI explained that the tests done in its labs showed that such filtered water heated either to 60C for 15 minutes or 45C for 3 hours suspends all the coliform bacteria.

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Therefore, in the second step, the filtered water was then heated using the tubular solar collectors in the SWP in order to achieve a temperature of 60C for 15 minutes to kill the existing coliforms.

SWP has been tested extensively by NARI and it was found that even on a completely cloudy and rainy day, water is heated to high enough temperature to make water clean and drinkable.

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How much it cost?

The main goal of NARI was to create a water purifier that could be easily afforded by the rural inhabitants.

SWP costs about Rs. 1,500 ($25), and is so simple that any small rural workshop can manufacture it.

The fact that should be highly appreciated is that NARI has not patented this technology since it believes that the purifier should be made freely available for rural population.

“I have always believed that availability of clean drinking water to every citizen is a birth right and every government of the day should provide it. You may be able to live without food for 5-10 days but cannot live without water for more than 5 hours. Clean drinking water is extremely important for health. The difference between poverty and affluence is the availability of clean drinking water,” said Rajvanshi.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s Take on Climate Change

Trump's backpedaling on the U.S. commitment raises questions about the prospects.

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Pollution, U.S., Trump
The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyoming. VOA

“I’m not going to put the country out of business trying to maintain certain standards that probably don’t matter,” President Donald Trump told VOA when asked about the economic impacts of climate change.

When not denying its existence, the Trump administration’s approach to
climate change essentially comes down to three arguments: the United States has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions more than other countries, regardless of any international agreement; regulations to cut emissions come with high costs and few benefits; and those regulations would put the United States at a disadvantage because other countries will not follow.

“When you look at China, and when you look at other countries where they have foul air,” Trump added, “we’re going to be clean, but they’re not, and it costs a lot of money.”

As U.N. climate negotiations get under way in Poland to work out rules for implementing the Paris climate agreement — from which Trump intends to withdraw the United States — experts weigh in on the administration’s claims.

Pollution, Trump
A bus gives off exhaust fumes in Alexandria, Virginia. VOA

Emissions cuts

It’s true that the United States has reduced its greenhouse gas production more than any other country. U.S. emissions peaked in 2005. In the last decade, they have fallen by about 13 percent, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

But the United States was the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gases until 2006. And, others have made bigger cuts by percentage. Hungary’s levels, for example, decreased 14 percent.

U.S. emissions started to fall when the fracking boom took off.

The new technique of hydraulic fracturing turned the United States into a major natural gas producer. As the price of natural gas has dropped, it has been steadily replacing coal as the dominant fuel for electricity generation. Because burning natural gas produces far less carbon dioxide than coal, greenhouse gas emissions have decreased.

More recently, renewable sources such as solar and wind power have started to make inroads on the power grid.

Donald Trump, democrats, government,
U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

While U.S. emissions have fallen since the 2000s, China’s have soared.

The country pursued astonishing economic growth with an enormous investment in coal-fired power plants. China is now the leading producer of greenhouse gases by far, roughly doubling U.S. output.

Cost-benefit

Trump has argued that regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions would hobble the U.S. economy. He has moved to undo the Obama administration’s proposed rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, among others.

Critics question whether those regulations would cost as much Trump suggests.

“None of these policies were going to have dramatic increases in the prices that consumers would see,” Duke University public policy professor Billy Pizer said. He added that normal price swings would likely swamp the cost of the regulations Trump targets.

Trump, pollution
Paris depends on countries following through on increasingly ambitious emissions cuts. Pixabay

The emissions reductions the Obama administration pledged in Paris “were built largely on a continuation of the coal-to-gas transition and a continuation of growth in renewable energy that’s already happening,” said Alex Trembath of the Breakthrough Institute research center. As such, he added, they “don’t imply a large cost. In fact, they imply a marginal increased benefit to the U.S.”

Those benefits come, for example, because burning less coal produces less air pollution, which lowers health costs.

Not to mention the direct results of climate change: wildfires, floods, droughts and so on.

“We have enough science and enough economics to show that there are damages resulting from us releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. We know that that is not a free thing,” University of Chicago public policy professor Amir Jina said. “And yet, we are artificially setting it as free because we’re not paying the price of that externality.”

He said economists nearly unanimously support a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade program or some other way to put a price on carbon emissions.

Collective action

Few nations have taken the necessary steps to meet the emissions reduction pledges they made in Paris, according to the most recent United Nations emissions gap report.

Paris Agreement, CLimate, trump
Developed countries are being urged to honour Paris Agreement. Flickr

Even those pledges would fall far short of the Paris goal of limiting global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, the report adds. Reaching that target will take “unprecedented and urgent action.” A 2016 report said an additional $5.2 trillion investment in renewable energy will be necessary worldwide over the next 25 years.

Trump’s statement — “we’re going to be clean, but they’re not, and it costs a lot of money” — sums up why nations are reluctant to act: no one wants to take on burdens that they think others won’t.

“It’s the thing which has been dogging action on climate change for generations,” Jina said.

“We only really solve the problem if everybody acts together,” he added. “And if enough people are not acting, then we don’t.”

Paris depends on countries following through on increasingly ambitious emissions cuts.

Each country decides what it is willing to do. Every five years, countries come together and show their progress.

Climate Change, Trump, disasters
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

“You over time build confidence in each other,” Pizer said. “Ideally, you ratchet up the commitments as you see your actions reciprocated by other countries.”

Trump’s backpedaling on the U.S. commitment raises questions about the prospects.

However, the first of these check-ins is five years away. Trump can’t formally withdraw the United States from the agreement until 2020.

Also Read: Paris Adopts Climate Action Plan, Aims to Achieve a ‘Zero-Carbon’ Future

Pizer notes that the predecessor to the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, failed in part because it imposed caps on countries’ carbon emissions, and most of the world balked.

“In my mind, this is the best we can do,” he said. “If there were a different way to do it, I’d be all over that.” (VOA)