Wonder Down Under

Blue Lake or Rotomairewhenua of New Zealand contains the cleanest natural water in the entire world. It is protected not only by Nelson Lakes National Park but also by a local tribe for its sacred waters.

rotomairewhenua-6
http://www.aotearoa.ru

If you’re anything like me, you probably wonder why and how Rotomairewhenua came to be this way. Although only seven meters deep, you can see straight through it. Students at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland conducted a study called “New technology purifies waste water by freezing it first: Possible applications in mineral extraction industry”in January of 2015 that helped me connect the dots on this lake. Continue reading “Wonder Down Under”

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Education and Leadership

The ELF (Education and Leadership Fellows for Sustainability) program at my University (SUNY at Buffalo) was recently featured in the UB Reporter. While at the event I had the pleasure of conversing with President Tripathi on some ideas I had for sustainability on campus. He shared some useful advice on how to succeed in University that I definitely will apply to my own career here at UB.

Earth week event
President Tripathi and I discussing the future of sustainability at an ELF social event.

The article on the campus initiative to reduce landfill waste can be found here: Sustainability at UB

One last note: Please take a peek at my current news page! You can access it on the right side bar under “Current News”. While on the menu be sure to follow me to hear more about water treatment in the developing world, or if you are just open to new environmental ideas. Click here to read more: Current News Page

Cap It

In the early 1900s, Onondaga Lake had a lot to offer. There was entertainment, like rowing, canoeing, strolling, swimming, fishing, and even amusement rides. Now some call it “The Most Polluted Lake in America”. Detrimental chemical dumping took place in Onondaga Lake from the 1920s to the 1990’s primarily by a company called Allied Chemical, later renamed Honeywell. Starting in 2000, Honeywell began a study and clean up of the lake to reverse its 70 years worth of contamination. Now, the environmental harm caused earlier in the lake’s history has been somewhat undone with a simple method. A quite literal version of this method appears in The Simpson’s Movie, but the actual process is what environmental engineers call “capping”. Continue reading “Cap It”

Salt Water to Water

water.jpg
Graphic from cnx.org

This isn’t my most favorite method of purifying water, but it works. People complain that this method uses too much energy to be efficient, but in places like California where there is never-ending drought but a continuous supply of salt water, DIY desalination might start to become more commonplace. To paraphrase the method from WikiHow, I rewrote the steps to making your own water from salt water:

  1. Pour your salt water into a bowl.
  2. Place a cup in the bowl.
  3. Thoroughly cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Place the setup in a sunny spot.

This method takes an estimated three to four hours to produce about a quarter of a liter of water.

Here’s a video of the DIY salt water purifier in action:

Homemade Solar Water Distiller

 

Fish Water?

algae-eating-fish
http://www.thinkfish.co.uk

When I visited the famed underground cistern of Istanbul, which once provided a constant water supply for a massive palace, I noted that fish swam around in the water to “reduce bacteria”. Of course we’ve all owned algae eating fish at one point or another that kept our goldfish tanks clean, but these were massive fish that took the form of catfish or maybe even koi. After much wonderment I had the chance to look further into this method of decontamination myself. It turns out that even scientists debate the effectiveness of using fish to clean water. With a little reading I discovered that fish might consume algae in reservoirs in developing countries, but they certainly don’t purify water enough to drink it. Fish catalyze a reaction that reduces ammonia from rain water, making the water more suitable for life but not quite drinkable. Frankly, it sounds like an experiment I’d really love to try.

Please read the forum! Here is the link: fish-water forum

What a Trip

Wow. I have learned so much from studying abroad in Turkey! Although I was unable to use the WaterBobble due to a lack of background information on the efficiency of its bacteria removal, I was able to bring back lots of knowledge on environmental issues abroad. It is impossible to recount my experiences perfectly but I can attempt to share what I learned with pictures and words. Here are the most important conclusions that I developed from this trip:

  1. Studying abroad is possible even for people of limited resources! Scholarship funding from organizations like the Turkish Coalition of America, Fulbright Scholarship, Rhodes Scholarship, grant proposals, and scholarships specific to your school contribute to students who want to broaden their scope. Click on each scholarship opportunity to find out more about it.
  2. While we explored the countryside of Turkey I noticed hundreds, maybe even thousands of solar cookers from my previous post on rooftops. Sometimes a condominium had five or six solar cookers all crammed on one rooftop. I thought it was amazing that even in very poor neighborhoods efforts were made to conserve energy and harness solar power.
  3. Environmental solutions like wind and solar power have become more frequent in Turkey, but some issues continue to arise due to new projects like the 3rd Bosporus Bridge and highway project as well as air pollution due to open fires and disregard of the inversion layer. Since Turkey connects multiple continents, it is a crucial land crossing for many species. Large industrial projects hamper the ability of species to migrate to other parts of the world.

Simple Solar Water Heating

Black tarp, plywood, plexiglass, tubes, clamps, and a bucket is all you need to make a thermosiphoning Simple Solar Water heater according to Renewable Energy UK at http://www.reuk.co.uk/Simple-Solar-Water-Heating.htm. This set up looks a lot like a maze. Except instead of a little ball, water shoots up through the small space between the plexiglass and the tarp. As it heats up, the water passes over the hot black tarp surface, disinfecting it. It travels upwards (known as thermosiphoning) as the temperature increases which increases the flow and therefore gives pollutants in the water a longer time to decay.  The tubes connect the water in the bucket to the “maze” and are clamped in place. This setup is an estimated $30 but can also be made out of recycled parts. Some designs attach the water tank directly to the “maze” without using tubes. Shown below is a Simple Solar Water Heater in Pakistan:

builditsolar.com