Best ways to purify water and make it drinkableApril 15, 2018
|Best ways to purify water and make it drinkable|
Water is a basic need to which all people have the right to have access to it. But, unfortunately, that is not the case for many countries and areas in this world. Besides it being a fundamental right, you may also find yourself in a situation where you’re forced to turn to natural (but not always fresh) sources of water which you would need to purify it before you can drink.
Best ways to purify water and make it drinkable
The ways in which you can purify water to make it drinkable that will be discussed in this article aren’t all possible for individuals alone and are also solutions for the governments of countries without clean water. Purifying water can be a lengthy and costly process, but it will always be a necessary one as long as there are people around who need it.
Before we get to those ways, we’ll be looking over the dangers of unclean water and how to know if water is unclean to drink. Clean drinking water is used daily to keep us alive, prepare and cook our food and keep us clean. Everyone needs it.
Dangers of drinking unclean water
Many people have no alternate water source to go to and have no choice other than to drink unclean water in order to survive. The problem is that there are many dangers to drinking unclean water.
When we talk about unclean water, we’re referring to water that has been contaminated. This can be anything from untreated sewage, leaked chemicals, agricultural runoff, pollution (plastic, oil, glass, etc) and even as a result of urbanisation. And consuming these types of water can cause many health issues for those who drink it.
Unclean water becomes a home for a range of harmful bacterias such as E.coli and total coliforms. Besides from bacteria, they may also contain traces of lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorinated solvents and dangerously high levels of fluoride and arsenic which are already naturally present in water.
Diseases and health concerns that arise from drinking unclean water include (but are not limited to):
- Cholera: You’ve probably all heard of cholera and how serious it is. The culprit bacteria is Vibrio cholerae which is commonly found in contaminated water. The symptoms include severe diarrhoea and vomiting which lead to dehydration. The treatment plan for cholera includes hydration and antibiotics but, if left untreated can result in shock and death. There are in many places (should be all places) where there are water and medical solutions to address cholera outbreaks in rural areas.
- Dysentery: There is Shigella and Amoebic dysentery to be aware of, both of which entail an infected intestinal tract, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and dehydration (which, again if left untreated, can be fatal). Fluids are an essential course of treatment and antibiotics only if necessary.
- Typhoid fever: Headaches, fever (go figure), abdominal pain and constipation are onset symptoms which can lead to bronchitis as well. Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics but can persist for up to four months without treatment.
Signs that a water source is unsafe to drink
The dangers are undeniable and the worst part is that you can’t always help it. What you can do is make sure you know what the signs are of contaminated water.
- Murky, cloudy or discoloured water
- A strong smell of chlorine or sulphur
- Tasting anything chemically or bitter
- Any water from a stagnant water sources
If you are wary of the water running from your taps, you can buy a home-test kit and test the water for any signs of contamination.
Different ways to purify water
There are a few good ways to purify water and make it safe to drink and use.
- Desalination: The process of converting seawater to freshwater by extracting the mineral components is called desalination. Through desalination plants, freshwater can be distributed to areas where no clean water is available, so much as two megalitres a day. The problem is that these plants can take up to three years to build.
- Boiling: For at-home water purifying solutions, the easiest route is through the boiling of water. Boiling may be effective in getting rid of bacterial organisms, but may prove ineffective in removing any metals or chemicals. In those cases, you will need to look at other purifying methods.
- Chemicals: Water treatment via chemicals has to be “just right”. Too little and the water won’t be cleaned enough and too much and you’ll likely fall ill anyway. Yes, you may taste the chemicals you use, but it will be safe so long as you’re aware of correct dosages. Types of chemicals used to purify water include chlorine bleach, iodine and chlorine dioxide tablets.
- Filters: There are a variety of ways you can filter water – cloth, plant material, carbon filters – and all can be effective. You even get bottles with built-in filtration systems and filter-straws that filter water as you drink it (these are ideal if you’re hiking in the middle of nowhere and run low on your water supply).