World's Most Useful Tree Purifies
by Dave Thier
Condensed by Native Village
The Moringa oleifera tree has been called "The World's
Most Useful Tree." In addition to
producing oil, fertilizer, rope and
paper, its seeds can
purify water. One researcher claims
it could reduce bacterial contamination
in water by 90%.
"From a cost-on-the-ground
standpoint, this is the cheapest
method of household water treatment;
this is not a moot point for the
poorest of the poor," said
researcher Michael Lea. Lea works
for Clearinghouse, a Canadian
organization that studies low-cost
World Health Organization estimates that
diarrhea due to unsafe water caused
1,580,000 deaths in 2004. Most were
children in developing
The process of using the Moringa
seeds is simple: crush the seeds and
mix them in water. A compound
in the seeds causes a chemical
reaction that draws impurities out
of the water.
The idea is similar to sedimentation:
letting water sit while the solids and bacteria
sift to the bottom. But
sedimentation takes a day. Using
moringa seeds cuts the time to an
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