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Don’t discard fruit peels, they could save a lake

From The Hindu | MAR 2017

Two students have come up with an innovative idea to alleviate two of Bengaluru’s problems: disposal of organic waste and frothing of lakes due to pollution. Mohammad Athiq and Abhishek B., final year students of Sapthagiri College of Engineering, have created a filter using fruit peels, that can reduce flouride content in lake water by approximately 92.5 per cent

Their claim has been verified by the Central Water Testing Laboratory of the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board, using samples from Bellandur lake. “We initially designed a filter to purify groundwater from Peenya Industrial Area a year ago using orange and watermelon peels,” said Mohammad.

After reading media reports about lake pollution and frothing due to high fluoride levels, they hit upon the idea of designing a filter to purify lake water. Since Bellandur lake has high flouride content, the students used sweet lime and pineapple peels, which have high affinity to fluoride ions.

After the fruit peels are treated with a mild acid, they can be used in the place of activated carbon for filtering. “When five to six liters of water is passed through the filter, it reduces all solutes from 537 mg/L to 64 mg/L (approximately 88 per cent),” said Mohammed.

Fluoride content is reduced by approximately 92.5 per cent. Their prototype utilises about 150 to 200 g of fruit peels to filter five to six liters of water.

The students are confident that the process will work with all kinds of vegetable and fruit peels, which account for a major portion of organic waste in the city. “The college management has sought a detailed project report for presentation to the Ministry for Small Scale Industries,” said Prashanth Kumar H.P., one of the professors who guided the team.

(Reproduced with permission from The Hindu)

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