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Local plants hold great potential for domestic water treatment — Expert

As an alternative to the use of synthetic chemical such as alum with the cost implications, locally available seeds zogale (Moringa olieifera) and Bagaruwa(acacia nilotica) …

As an alternative to the use of synthetic chemical such as alum with the cost implications, locally available seeds zogale (Moringa olieifera) and Bagaruwa(acacia nilotica)  can be used as  natural water treatment agents, Professor Umar Abubakar Birnin Yauri has said.

The Professor of Analytical Chemistry Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, told Caliphate Trust that  they were specially ideal for rural communities where high cost of treated water forced many inhabitants to resort to readily available sources with the attendant risks of exposure to water borne diseases.

Zogale is a popular vegetable in cuisines in northern part of Nigeria while Bagaruwa, is commonly used for medicinal purposes and in leather processing in the region.

“In Nigeria, we use alum to treat water, the problem is alum is imported, it is not manufactured in Nigeria, so we thought of using bioflocculant, a plant product used for flocculating the water. We tried zogale and it is doing very well, we have tried Bagaruwa and we find it is also working well,” Professor Binin Yauri  stated.

According to World Health Organisation:” Globally, nearly two billion people use either unimproved drinking-water sources or improved sources that are faecally-contaminated. Over half a million diarrhoeal deaths in low- and middle-income countries are attributed to inadequate drinking-water,”

But the chemistry expert said plants could offer cheap and environment friendly methods of addressing water contamination.

“Plant can act as water coagulant.”

He described the technologies involved as cheap and easy to use.

“It is very suitable for rural areas”.

Prof Birnin Yauri said in a comparative study on the use of plants as flocculants in water treatment, different plant seeds and leaves were screened to find primary coagulant able to reduce the turbidity of drinking water.

He noted that the plant used in the study to include Moringa olieifera, Habiscuss Sabdariffa and  Corchorus Tridens.

“The study found that raw water can be treated considerably with the use of plant material, noting  that that as a biological process, it does not generate any non-treatable wastes.

“The physical, chemical and bacteriological analysis proved that the performance of the plant as water coagulant was within the world health organization standard limit.”

Professor described seeds of Moringa olieifera as one of the most effective sources of primary coagulant for water treatment.

He   said the outcome of study indicated that Moringa olieifera topped the list in coagulant ability.

The Analytical Chemist harped on the need to exploit the potentials of plants material for raw water and waste water treatment.

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