What is it about?

Access to clean drinking water is one of the most basic human needs. But in remote places, this need can be difficult to fulfil. There isn't enough water, and it isn't always clean. There are ways to purify water and make it fit for human consumption, of course, but these are not foolproof. Take filtration, for example. Current filtration methods do not remove all harmful contaminants from water. We do need better ways to purify water in remote areas. So, a group of scientists has stepped up to solve this problem. They used coconut coir dust to make a small and effective water filter. They treated coir dust with phosphoric acid and heat to create phosphate-functionalized activated carbon (FAC). FAC has tiny pores and is well-suited for water purification. The compound was thus used to create the first sachet water filter to have been reported. The process used by the scientists to make FAC allows greater control of the material's surface structure. It also allows them to control the acidity (pH level) and conductivity of the filtered water.

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Why is it important?

The FAC filter is better at adsorbing surface impurities than other, more common filters. It is also quick. A sachet with 1 gram of FAC can lower water hardness and fluoride levels to a level acceptable by the World Health Organization standards, in just 20 minutes. And lastly, it can kill harmful bacteria. This filter is portable. One only needs to insert the sachet into a water bottle and wait for it to act. The process to make it is scalable, economical, and sustainable. KEY TAKEAWAY: Scientists have produced a sachet water filter. This portable filter uses FAC, and it could provide clean drinking water in low-income, remote regions, or for travelers. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production • SDG 15: Life on Land

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This page is a summary of: Phosphate functionalized activated carbon sachet filters for drinking water purification, Environmental Science Water Research & Technology, January 2023, Royal Society of Chemistry,
DOI: 10.1039/d2ew00623e.
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