Category: Clean water

Water in an increasingly polluted world

How much do you know about water? It’s all around us and used in pretty much all human activities. This might be as simple as washing our face or as complex as being used in the development of semiconductors for our electronic devices. But how many of us really know the impact of our behaviours on water? What sort of water pollution do we generate? What challenges are we facing in trying to provide all enough clean water for human activity? IMSE’s latest guest blogger, Bioengineering student Naveesha Karunanayaka, explores the topic.


Microplastics: the cost of laundry

When you think about plastic pollution, you probably think of water bottles, single-use plates and cutlery, or food packaging. “Oh well, I don’t litter, so I’m not responsible” you might think. But in fact, you probably do contribute to plastic pollution: every time you wash your clothes. The escape of microplastics from laundry is a substantial problem. This is another guest blog post from an IMSE work experience student, Rolando Charles!


Hydrogel tablets: clean water made easy?

Many of us are privileged to have constant access to clean drinking water. We only need to walk to the nearest tap or if we fancy a cup of tea we can turn on the kettle. Obtaining clean drinking water is a fairly mundane task that requires minimal effort on our part. This is not the case however for many communities around the world. Frances Mak explores new technologies to generate clean water.


Designing sponges to deliver clean water

According to the UN, 2.4 billion people do not currently have access to basic clean water and sanitation, and each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases. Meanwhile, pollution from fertilizers, oil spills and human waste contaminate rivers, lakes and oceans.  More than 80 percent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or seas without any treatment to remove hazardous contaminants (Figure 1).

Untreated sewage being discharged
Figure 1. Untreated sewage being discharged into the environment

Given the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 of delivering access to water and sanitation for all, how can new materials be deployed to help? Pavani Cherukupally is working on developing low-cost sponges which can remove pollutants from water.

Read more about her work