Native Village
Youth and Education news
 APRIL 1, 2010 Volume 4

World's Most Useful Tree Purifies Water, Too
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 water purification.

The World Health Organization estimates that diarrhea due to unsafe water caused 1,580,000 deaths in 2004. Most were children in developing countries.

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 hour.

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