Home/ News / India/  CSIR-NCL lab leverages Ayurveda for safe drinking water technology

NEW DELHI : With water-borne diseases majorly contributing to India’s disease burden, the CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) at Pune has come up with a new technique for disinfecting water by using natural oils.

“Disinfection of water is essential for removing pathogenic microorganisms that are responsible for causing a number of water-borne diseases. However, the common drawbacks of chemical methods of disinfection, such as chlorination, include the formation of harmful or carcinogenic by-products," according to a statement issued by the ministry of science and technology on Wednesday.

This comes against the backdrop of the National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) issuing an advisory to states and Union territories to monitor and survey water quality to ensure potable water in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across India.

“Scientist Dr V.M. Bhandari and his group at CSIR-NCL Pune, with support from the Water Technology Initiative of the department of science and technology (DST), government of India, has developed the novel hybrid technology called "SWASTIIK", which involves boiling of a liquid as a result of pressure reduction (cavitation) and also uses natural oils having antimicrobial properties," the ministry stated.

Given the importance of safe drinking water, the government under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims to ensure assured tap water supply to all rural households, or "Har Ghar Jal", by 2024. Four crore households have been provided with tap water connections since the JJM was announcement on 15 August 2019.

“This technology can eliminate harmful bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, economically. It not only integrates Indian traditional knowledge of Ayurveda for complete disinfection of water but also may offer possible health benefits of natural oils," the ministry stated.

An investment of around 1 trillion is to be made this year for drinking water supply in rural areas. In July 2019, the government had formed a new ministry, Jal Shakti, to address all water issues in the country. The Jal Shakti ministry was formed by integrating it with other existing ministries, such as water resources and the ministry of drinking water and sanitation.

“The technique used—hydrodynamic cavitation—combines chemistry, biology, and chemical engineering, along with natural resources in the form of natural oils and plant extracts. The process, which draws inspiration from Indian traditional knowledge, has resulted in increased efficiency and reduced cost of water treatment. The team achieved complete elimination for gram-negative E. coli and gram-positive S. aureus bacteria, and even antibiotic-resistant or difficult opportunistic pathogenic bacteria typically in 5-10 minutes," the ministry added.

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Updated: 02 Jun 2021, 12:54 PM IST
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