Biochar for Water Purification



Safe drinking water remains inaccessible for about 1.1 billion people in the world, and the hourly toll from biological contamination of drinking water is 400 deaths of children (below age 5).

This paper reviews the general guidelines for drinking water quality and the scale of the global problem.

It reviews the various water disinfection technologies that may be applicable to achieve the desired quality of drinking water in developing countries.

It then summarizes financing problems that deter extending access to safe drinking water to the unserved population and identifies feasible policy positions for enhancing availability of drinking water in these countries.

Developing countries are most affected by water shortages, flooding and poor water quality. Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are linked to inadequate water and sanitation. In many countries, pollution or rising sea levels are contaminating trusted water sources.

Water stress and lack of sanitation disproportionately affect women and girls. These factors can alter their health, safety and opportunity to engage in economic activities.

Women and girls are often the primary managers of natural resources, particularly for household use and small-scale agriculture. They are key change agents in sustainable water management practices.

Global efforts to address water issues

Together, countries are working toward the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Water targets are included across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 6 specifically aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, setting out the following objectives for joint action:

  • improve the management and quality of water resources, involving communities and including women and girls
  • ensure that people have access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene
  • protect and restore water-related ecosystems

Facilitating water projects investment in Africa

The African Water Facility (AWF) provides grants and expert technical assistance to implement innovative water projects and raise investment for water projects throughout Africa.

Since its inception, the AWF has been outstanding in providing grants for project preparation with measures to strengthen water governance and water knowledge management.

Overall, the Facility’s action is to support projects designed to increase water, energy and food security, enhance regional cooperation and promote socio-economic growth in Africa.

Under the 2017-2025 Strategy, the AWF will focus its activities and operations around three strategic priority areas, which together provide a comprehensive approach to project preparation that creates a favourable investment climate, develops sustainable infrastructure and promotes the financing of investments until they are completed.

Due to its electrically charged surface, Biochar is attractive to chemicals of all types. Only months after a bit of pure carbon biochar has being stuck in the soil, it is covered with scales of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and Sulphur. It’s become a little mineral ball.

When fertilizer is sprinkled on the soil, instead of seeing 50% of it leach away with the rain, that fertilizer, too, will glom onto the biochar, providing long-lasting, slow-release nutrition. If the field is contaminated with heavy metals, soon the cadmium, lead or mercury are all chemically bound or (adsorbed) to the biochar, where plants can no longer take them up and water can no longer wash them away.



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Goodspeed Kopolo
Goodspeed Kopolo
- Former Senior Programme Officer at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification- Former Head of Emissions Trading at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change- Former Industrial Engineer at the United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationFollow the social media links below to read more about the anchor.

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