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Saturday, May 14, 2011

H2O Detox !!

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Named after the river Indus, India has provided a fertile ground for the genesis of various religions in the past 2500 years. Water has always been an important aspect of the religious activities, and We, The People of India for thousands of years have always considered river and water bodies a source of life, abode to various gods, most holy and the god itself. Look, where are we now, what have we done !!

The exponential growth of human population in 20th century has led to tremendous increase in the demand for food and water. The resources are limited, and so arises the need to judiciously utilize the available resources, find out innovative ways to reduce wastage and recycle. As per latest satellite images from NASA, ground water table in Northen India will dry up by 2030. What plan of action our government of India has to address this issue? Is it even considered an issue at all by any political parties, who invest time and resources to ensure that they get votes and seats in next state, central elections !

By innate nature, we Indians are not spendthrift. And so when it comes to per capita consumption of water, we are once again very low down the order, which is a good omen for a change. But the need is to go beyond the numbers and see, is it because millions of people cant afford to wash clothes or take bath everyday. Unfortunately more than 800 million people (both in urban and rural India) rely heavily on the water supplied by the government. They filter it using piece of cloth, alum etc because they can't afford to buy and install any sort of water purifiers. People living in rural India and in not so expensive areas hidden behind the shining glass facade of high rise towers in Mumbai, Gurgaon or Hyderabad, get water supply once in three day. In almost all the studies conducted in past decade, India has been consistently ranked in bottom five when it comes to air and water quality. So a safe and secure public water supply and distribution system is The need of the hour !

Driven by high profitability Electricity production and distribution has hogged the government agendas in the past few years. 'Water' a fundamental need has never been a priority perhaps due to lack of 'huge' money making opportunities for various stakeholders involved.

Having sold public and industrial water chlorination systems for 3 years, I have designed, repaired and sold systems which produce a chlorine derivative Sodium Hypochlorite in liquid form ! Chlorine still remains the cheapest and most widely used source for water disinfection when it comes to disinfecting millions of liters of water per day. Other oxidizing agents such as Ozone are not commercially viable still. Unfortunately there exists a huge mafia of suppliers of Chlorine in the form of Chlorine gas or in powdered form as Sodium Hypochlorite ! These suppliers guided by their hidden or I should say main motive to make money at all cost, keep injecting excessive quantities of chlorine in the water so as to get the next order asap. Very rarely any sorts of audits are done by 3rd party agencies to measure the level of chlorine in the public water supply. On other end, to save cost, these guys supply such a useless quality of chlorine that it is of no practical importance. In such case the public is at least saved from the over exposure of this dangerous chemical but is then prone to using, drinking contaminated and impure water.

In order to tackle this problem, I strongly feel that local community should start participating in such matters. In addition to government officials or the company responsible for supplying chlorine/ equivalent chemicals for water disinfection, 3-4 members of the community should be provided with the kits and made responsible to measure the quality of the water. For measuring the level of chlorine and overall purity of water, several easy to use kits are available in the market. Within 15 minutes almost anybody can be trained on how to use such kits. The PPP (Public Private Partnership) model should not just be restricted to profit making private corporations but also to private individuals and community at large. By doing so, the community will also feel responsible and will play a active role and so will the government officials and suppliers.

Several similar schemes have been floated in the past, but were not advertised and promoted effectively by the government. Most of such schemes which are for the benefit of the masses gets a mere lip service from the government when it comes to marketing and promotion. Need of the hour is to make people aware by organizing camps, drastically improving the visibility of such schemes using TV ads, internet, social media etc.

Water purifiers based on three methods are widely available in the market - Ultra Violet Purification ( combined with multistage filters), Reverse Osmosis based purifiers and Multistage water purifiers. While the first two methods need electricity and are more effective methods, Multistage water purifiers are gaining popularity because of low initial as well as recurring costs. None of the three methods are not very technology intensive and so are easy to we have witnessed emergence of several national and regional players in addition to multinational players selling water purifiers of one of the three types. So it is important for customers like us to learn about the background of a regional or local company selling purifiers at very low prices. It is high time also for our Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to step in and verify the claims made by these companies. Any company found making unverifiable claims, misguiding the customers should be immediately blacklisted. Not just the company but the people running such companies should also be barred and if possible should be put behind the bars for conducting such criminal offense against the society.

Its time to rise above the habit of pissing on the neighbor's wall, its high time to stop disposing dead human and animal bodies and excreta in the holy rivers, its time for the youth of the nation to think beyond your and my cans, its time to stop pondering and start acting so as to ensure a healthy and bubbling tomorrow.

This article is written as an entry for 'Crusade against chlorine' contests organised on Indiblogger that can be accessed here.


  1. very informative post. thanks

  2. Hey Harish, thanks for the comment. So what do you think, what else needs to be done to address this problem!

  3. Really an informative post. Thanks for sharing. Promoted your post too.

    Hope you find my post informative enough too - Say no to chlorine

  4. Hi Romeo, Great post indeed. Based on my understanding 4-8 ppm (parts per million) levels of chlorine are not harmful for human body. An overdose of chlorine is harmful so is the overdose of almost anything ! As I stated above unfortunately chlorine still remains the most powerful, cost effective method to treat (and not purify in totality)water.

  5. So useful post. I am following detoxmatters. Is it useful?


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