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Nualgi Nano Biotech to save polluted Ulsoor Lake in Bengaluru

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A view of pollution at Ulsoor lake. Photo: mashable.com

Bengaluru: A novel product developed by Nualgi Nano Biotech (NNB), a low-profile biotech company here, is helping clean up sewage-polluted Ulsoor Lake where thousands of fish were found dead last week owing to depletion of dissolved oxygen.

Ulsoor Lake, famous for army rowing competitions as well as for boating among tourists, was seen covered with thousands of dead fish that left people here stunned.

“Called Nualgi, it is a mixture of micro-nutrients in the form of nano-particles, including silica, iron, and manganese,” said Thothathri Sampathkumar, who founded the company which patented the product in India in 2008.

“‘Nualgi’ triggers the rapid growth of a type of algae called ‘diatoms’ and the oxygen released by the diatoms through photosynthesis quickly increases the dissolved oxygen level of water and thus keeps the pond clean,” Sampathkumar told IANS.

According to Sampathkumar, one kg of Nualgi can treat four million liters of water, adding that the affected fishermen — who have the contract for fishing in Ulsoor lake – have purchased 40 liters of “Nualgi” from his company on March 6 to increase the dissolved oxygen level and stop further fish death.

“We can see the results very soon,” added Sampathkumar.

“Nualgi can be used to grow “diatom” algae in any water including sewage polluted water. The growing “diatoms” absorb carbon dioxide from the air and, by photosynthesis, release oxygen at the micro plant level. The oxygen released helps aerobic bacteria breakdown organics in the water into base constituents, thereby eliminating the stinking odour from the water.

The growing “diatoms” are eaten by zooplankton that, in turn, is consumed by fish. “The fish clean up the lakes of all ‘diatoms’, zooplankton and organics, thus restoring the polluted lakes and water bodies to its original glory,” said Sampathkumar.

According to him, the mass fish death in Ulsoor lake took place, perhaps because the fishermen ran out of their stock of Nualgi or missed its timely application.

The tragedy could have been averted had the authorities installed monitors to continuously record the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the lake water and alert them when DO falls below a critical level. These DO monitors, he said, are now commercially available.

“Nualgi has been patented also in the US, Britain, Germany, and South Africa. Five years ago, the three-acre “Duck Pond” in New York state in the US that “was in a highly impaired state with a variety of water quality issues” was restored to normal health thanks to “Nualgi.”

Lake Savers, the US company that tried it out, had acknowledged in an email to Sampathkumar that the water quality of “Duck Pond” showed a “remarkable and sustained improvement” after a single dose of Nualgi application and that “fish productivity and health improved dramatically.”

Encouraged by its successful experiment in New York’s “Duck Pond”, Lake Savers had obtained clearance from the US Environmental Protection Agency for using Nualgi on a large scale in the country.

Nualgi, that requires no skilled labor, is an economical alternative to treat sewage and organic wastes in “eutrophic” lakes and ponds contaminated by nitrogen or phosphorus compounds, such as by laundry detergents, untreated sewage, and fertilizer run-off from agricultural lands.

“Nualgi is being used in many lakes in southern India for the past several years and fishermen are buying the product to increase fish catch in water bodies.

Sampathkumar is hopeful of promoting its use worldwide to revive fresh water “eutrophic lakes” and “dead zones” in coastal regions that are so much deprived of oxygen that they can’t support aquatic life. (K.S. Jayaraman, IANS)

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CSE Study to Identify Sources of Pollution in Real-Time

Delhi-NCR pollution: CSE study to identify sources of pollution in real-time

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People take early morning walk amid smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. In the Indian capital, the air quality hovered between severe and very poor this week posing a serious health hazard for millions of people. VOA

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), in association with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and leading instrumentation company Horiba, Japan launched a pilot study on Wednesday on real-time source apportionment of PM2.5 in Delhi and adjoining areas.

The objective of the study is to identify the signature of various sources of pollution and carry out source speciation in select hotspots in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

The study was launched by the CSE in a round-table meeting here.

The monitoring for the study will begin from January 28 and continue till April 28. In these three months, the study will monitor around a dozen locations in Delhi-NCR.

Delhi. air pollution
A man rides his bicycle in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

CSE deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said: “The pilot study will come out with signatures to identify the major sources of pollution in real time. Once we have established the signatures for various sources of pollution, the real-time elemental analysis will help us identify the source of pollution in an area, which will then help regulators in taking corrective action quickly.”

The study will be carried out using a ‘Real-time PM and Elemental Analyzer PX-375’, which is a product of Horiba, and gives a continuous analysis of PM2.5 concentration and its elemental composition.

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The technology used for monitoring PM2.5 is Beta-Ray Attenuation; the elemental analysis would be done using X-ray fluorescence technology. The instrument for the study will be co-located with the DPCC’s continuous air pollution monitoring stations.

“This is an opportunity to move from static one-time source apportionment to dynamic source identification and realtime mitigation. It can inform the ongoing efforts and processes to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and the Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) for a more effective impact,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE said in a statement. (IANS)