Thursday, September 13, 2012


A simple technology that can rejuvenate water bodies which have become morbid due to senseless dumping of organic wastes, causing depletion of the vital oxygen needed for life, is receiving rave attention in the US, if recent reports are to be believed. It is no secret that the most polluted water body in the world happens to be Cuyahoga river in Ohio, USA, though some of the major polluted water bodies are distributed among Russia, Argentina, China, Bangladesh, Israel and India. Rivers Ganga and Yamuna in India come under the top ten polluted water bodies category in the world. The new technology developed by an Indian company seemed to have captured the imagination of one of the water reclaiming agencies in the US which used the Indian technology to bring about dramatic changes in terms of clearing the treated bodies free of oxygen choking substances and generate the much needed oxygen which is the elixir of life in this planet. Here is the report that gives further insight into this new technology.

Nualgi is a mix of micro nutrients in the form of nano particles including silica, iron and manganese, which triggers the rapid growth of a type of algae called diatoms, explained Mallimadugula Bhaskar, a collaborator of Sampathkumar. The oxygen released by diatoms through photosynthesis increases the dissolved oxygen level of water and thus keeps the pond clean and the diatoms converted into 'zooplanktons' provide food for the fish. One kilogram of Nualgi can treat four million litres of water, he said. Apart from India, Nualgi has been patented in the US, Britain, Germany and South Africa. Encouraged by its successful experiment in Duck Pond, Lake Savers has obtained clearance from the US Environmental Protection Agency for using Nualgi on a large scale in the US. "We are now aggressively embarking on more intensive studies and applications of Nualgi in a variety of water bodies from 5 to 120 acres," Tucci said. The Lake Savers which has so far purchased 350 kg of Nualgi, has expressed intent to buy another one tonne this year, Bhaskar said. According to Bhaskar, Nualgi is an economical alternative to treat sewage and organic wastes in "eutrophic" lakes and ponds as no skilled labor or energy is required. It is inexpensive and can be mass produced, he said. An eutrophic lake is characterized by excessive growth of algae resulting from contamination by nitrogen or phosphorus compounds such as by laundry detergents, untreated sewage, and fertilizer run-off from agricultural land. "One obvious solution is to reduce these inputs but this is unrealistic," Bhaskar said, adding: "The other solution is to remove the nutrients from water. The Nualgi-diatom-zooplankton-fish food chain is the best way to achieve this. Thus all the polluted lakes and rivers can be restored to their original glory using Nualgi."

What is not understandable is why countries facing problems of water pollution are not coming forward to whole-heartedly apply this technology to rejuvenate their water bodies? Is it a case of lack of financial resources or lack of will that inhibits taking a decision to apply this technology on a wide scale? Or is it the fear of using nanotechnology, with some safety questions still remaining unanswered, coming in the way of using the same for treatment of the water bodies? Whatever it is, a technology with such a high potential to regenerate dying rivers and lakes in the world remains grossly under utilized is a reflection of the lethargy and insensitivity on the part of the governments concerned.


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