Wonder Down Under 2

What makes Lake Rotomairewhenua of New Zealand the cleanest lake in the entire world? It compares to distilled water in its level of clarity and cleanliness. In my last post I covered the possibilities of UV radiation, decreased air pressure, freezing cold temperatures, and limited human interference. After a little digging, I found The Freshwater Project by Michel Roggo from Switzerland. Roggo is a photographer whose passion is photographing clear, beautiful waters.

Membrane filtration as explained by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Continue reading “Wonder Down Under 2”


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.

Image of the lake in New Zealand by Michel Roggo.

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”

Education and Leadership

The Education and Leadership Fellows for Sustainability (ELFs) 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
Photo by Douglas Levere on UB Now.

Above is the photo of President Tripathi and I discussing the future of sustainability at the ELF social event. The article on the campus initiative to reduce landfill waste can be found here. Additionally, 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.

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.

The glass dome from The Simpsons Movie. Photo from Bustle.

Continue reading “Cap It”

Salt Water to Water

Graphic from Lumen Learning.

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 is a video of the DIY salt water purifier in action.


Fish Water?

Image of a plecko cleaning glass from Fishsity.

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. You can read more about fish and their capabilities to clean water online. Here is the link to a discussion forum for this topic.

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.

    All pictures taken by me.