Seeds of Moringa Tree Used to Purify Water

An ancient technique for purifying water may offer new hope for the over 1 billion people who have no access to clean drinking water.  The Moringa oleifera tree has been used for hundreds of years by people in Sudan to purify water, as well as for food.  The method has never been widely disseminated, but in 2010 a publication by Michael Lea revealed the Moringa tree’s properties.  According to Lea, when the seeds of this tree are crushed into powder and mixed with surface water, a reduction of bacteria by 90-99 percent can be achieved.

This news provides great hope for those living in areas where the tree is widely grown, including Africa, Central and South America, India, and Southeast Asia. In Ghana, the Moringa tree is grown on plantations, and its leaves are used for food and the seeds used as a spice. According to the UN site IRIN, the tree grows quickly and resists drought, and can be grown in many areas.  The seeds are soft and can be easily crushed, the IRIN site further states.  The fact that the tree is already widely grown, and the ease with which the seeds can be crushed, make this method ideal for those without other sources of water purification.

Kebreab Ghebremichael, a water purification expert with UNESCO, states that using the seeds of Moringa tree is probably best employed at a household level.  According to him, the seeds would pose problems with odor and taste if forced to sit for extended periods of time when used on a large scale basis.  He further states that this method would work better for surface water than with underground water, and that it is best used for emergencies and where other methods of water purification are not available.

Cool Benefits of Clean Air Filters During the Heatwave

“Something told me to change my air filter!”

Do you feel like jumping in a pool of ice water just to cool off from this scorching heat? But then again, what chance does the ice stand before it quickly becomes lukewarm water? It’s not just sweat that we have to be concerned about or how uncomfortable the heat makes us feel, but the health risks that result from the intensity of how hot it is outdoors.

As we watch record-breaking temperatures rise across the country and around the world, we are also witnessing our electricity bills skyrocket from simply trying to stay cool indoors. Outside temperatures are sweltering even before you factor in the heat index. High ozone level warnings and heat strokes are contributing to serious illnesses, breathing difficulty and in some cases proven fatal. Two common denominators that seem to be an ongoing problem with air conditioning systems include routine HVAC maintenance checks and regularly changing your air filters.

Here are four benefits for maintaining clean air filters during this heatwave:

1.      Saves you money

2.      Improves indoor air quality

3.      Allows for better airflow to cool your indoors more effectively

4.      Helps your system to perform with optimal results

Airborne pollutants and allergens such as dust, smoke, pet dander, mold spores and dirt clogs your air filter, reduces your airflow and puts a strain on your air conditioning system. For optimum performance, based on usage, your indoor air quality and the type of furnace air filter you use, be sure to change your air filter regularly, especially during this summer heat.

Choosing the air filter that best suits your personal needs can include one of the following:

Fiberglass/Polyester Air Filters are the most economical and probably the least effective. Their media captures large particles, but are not effective for capturing smaller airborne particles.

Polypleated Air Filters are generally made from polyester or cotton media. This filter is denser and captures more airborne pollutants than fiberglass air filters or washable and reusable filters.

Permanent Electrostatically Charged Air Filters like the Filtrete Ultra Allergen Air Filter are made of electrostatically charged fibers that help to capture airborne particles magnetically drawn to the air filter.

Electronic Air Filters are permanent fixtures in your HVAC systems and require an electrical connection.  They may capture smaller instead of larger particles. Electronic cleaners however, can produce ozone, which is a lung irritant.

HEPA Air Filters like the IQAir HealthPro Hyper HEPA Air Filter Replacement is thicker than standard sized HEPA Filters. It captures many airborne particles and allergens such as pollen, dirt, dust, pet dander, hair, mold spores, bacteria and other indoor air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns.

According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. Be sure to check your evaporator coils if you have access to them and your ductwork to make sure they are clean every time you change your air filter. Although this intense heatwave will zap you of your energy and dehydrate your body, don’t allow your air conditioning system to suffer performance fatigue by neglecting to change your air filter frequently.

 

The World of Water Education: Project WET

Instead of focusing on a Water Charity this Tuesday, we chose nonprofit organization Project WET. This organization focuses on water education through reaching out to teachers, community members, children, and parents in the United States and around the world. Project WET achieves this goal through publishing informative water materials in different languages, creating school curriculum for different age groups, and sponsoring trainings around the world. Project WET also organizes community water events such as the Global Water Education Village. This event is held every three years at the World Water Forum, the last one was held in Istanbul, Turkey. The goal of the Global Water Education Village is to discuss local actions in water education that are successful at reaching children.

Project WET is committed to reaching out to audiences around the world and in ushering water education into the twenty-first century.  Most recently, Project WET has teamed up with the National Park Service.  In a press release issued on June 22, 2011, Project WET and the National Park Service announced that they would be collaborating on an educational series titled, “Discover the Waters of Our National Parks.”  This science based program will include hands-on activities, videos, special workshops, online courses, guides and an internet portal. Project WET President, Dennis Nelson stated, “Water connects our national parks to each other and to the people of the United States through the water cycle, making national parks a perfect springboard for educating people about water.” This project is going be launched at select national parks within the next year, so keep a look out at your local park!

Project WET’s website offers lots of links for parents, educators, corporations and museums.  If you want to get involved, there are plenty of avenues for that, too. Of course, you can donate on their secure website in any amount you choose, but you can also choose some more innovative ways as well. For example, you can sponsor a classroom and provide a Water and Sustainability Kit which includes copies of various activity and educational booklets for every child.  If you want to be more hands on, you can train to become a Project WET facilitator. After completing the course, you can deliver workshops to teachers and educators in your area. A great way to get involved in your community for a worthy cause!

So this week, Project WET is our pick for a great water focused organization. If you’re a teacher, parent or just someone interested in making a difference through water education, be sure to check out Project WET!