Context: A group of researchers from Nalanda University Bihar, have investigated the potential of renewable biochar produced from rice husk biomass to absorb fluoride pollutants from groundwater.
About the ‘Waste-to-Energy’ Approach
- Groundwater pollution:
- Fluoride, one of the pollutants in groundwater, is primarily caused by geological processes, whose prolonged consumption in drinking water can cause dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, kidney diseases and arthritis.
- In the state of Bihar, groundwater in 31 out of 38 districts have high concentrations of arsenic, fluoride and iron, constituting a serious health risk.
- The role of rice husk-modified biochar in treating fluoride-contaminated surface and groundwater:
- Surface and groundwater samples collected from Rajgir reported removal efficiencies.
- Comparative analysis for fluoride-contaminated water using modified biochar showed that fluoride removal was achieved under the WHO and BIS permissible limits.
- Further applications of the new innovation:
- Biochar-mediated sand columns can be used for defluorination, for water from hand pumps and tube wells.
- For in-situ applications in treating surface and groundwater at high pH (alkaline conditions), co-occurring ions and under varying salt strengths at a commercial scale.
- Column fixed-bed saturated experiments can be applied to sand-based filtration units in wastewater treatment plants, riverbank treatment and soil amendment.
- In a similar manner, the government must promote cheaper, more accessible household-level filtration techniques so that households have a remedy for serious health problems.
- Such sustainable solutions are also needed to prevent further social marginalization from Environmental Impacts.