Water pollution is a serious environmental issue because water scarcity might become a universal matter of discord. Contaminants, toxins, and impurities that are either man-made or natural eventually find their place in water. The reason could be given that water covers 97% of the globe. 3% of water comes under freshwater including glaciers, ice caps, aquifers, surface water such as lakes, rivers, etc.
Human activities such as mining, fossil fuel combustion, land-use changes, urbanization, industries, and agriculture have degraded the water quality of freshwater as well as marine water bodies.
Scientists and experts are doing experiments and developing innovative ways to improve water quality and reduce contaminants.
Check out: Negative Environmental Impacts of Bottled Water
WATER POLLUTION CAN BE CLEANED UP USING SUNLIGHT?
Researchers are trying to detect that how water pollution can be cleaned up using sunlight and one such research has proven to be successful. There are several ways of treating wastewater. Sunlight is a blessing to the inhabitants of the Earth. The harmful radiations coming from the sun are also reaching the Earth due to human activities otherwise ozone layer is there to absorb harmful ultraviolet radiations. Sunlight is a source of Vitamin D, helps in photosynthesis, and has enormous benefits.
SINGLET OXYGEN MODEL
Researchers are preparing a singlet oxygen model to assess the decomposition of chemical components present in water bodies by sunlight.
Read: Climate Change Is Increasing Water Scarcity Around The World
PHOTOCHEMICAL TRANSFORMATION PRODUCES SINGLET OXYGEN
Plants that grow along the water bodies produce debris that gives color to the water surface. Sunlight gets absorbed by the plant debris and creates reactive oxygen known as singlet oxygen. Photochemical transformation takes place in the presence of sunlight and chemicals and an oxidation reaction occurs.
HALF-LIVES OF CONTAMINANTS
It is reported that half-lives of contaminants are estimated to brief out about how long sunlight would take to break down water contaminants.
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SUNLIGHT BREAKS DOWN CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS PRESENT IN WATER BODIES
Water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and streams vary in their chemical composition depending upon their surrounding habitats. The type of vegetation that is contributing to the organic matter in water resources is also important. What kind of effluents and toxins are being released into water bodies also alter the decomposition process.
Agriculture runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorus contamination is also disintegrated by sunlight. Basically, sunlight generates reactive species of oxygen that initiate the decomposition process. From a research point of view, this singlet oxygen can be used for various purposes.
Read: Thermal Pollution – Causes, Effects, and Solutions
Researchers are also interested in evaluating the status of by-products that are generated as a result of photochemical reactions. Whether the by-products are harmful or toxic in nature is another center of attention in this study. Scientists are hoping that a thorough understanding of this project would be helpful in providing safe water for human use.
Water is essential for life. The increasing competition between industries has caused huge damage to water bodies. The matter of consideration is polluted water is getting discharged into rivers, oceans without pre-treatment. Saving water from pollution should be first priority in day-to-day life. Wastewater treatment methods include the use of oxidants and other chemicals. These methods are expensive as well. In such a scenario, using natural sources i.e. sunlight for water purification is a sustainable approach. Further researches are being conducted to expand the project.
Also read: 10 New Innovative Water Purification Ideas and Techniques
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Thanks for your attention to natural treatment.
I am Hassan Teymouri and I active in water and wastewater treatment industry.
I interested about your article in firm of using sunlight for contamination removal from water bodies. Please give more information for example case study or full scale project if possible.
Thank you for urgent response.
Hello Mr. Hassan,
One such research paper is the following:
Benjamin Barrios, Benjamin Mohrhardt, Paul V. Doskey, Daisuke Minakata. Mechanistic Insight into the Reactivities of Aqueous-Phase Singlet Oxygen with Organic Compounds. Environmental Science & Technology, 2021; 55 (12): 8054 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c01712