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South Eastern Kenya University pioneers making water purifiers using local materials

By - MARTIN MUTUA
Updated Sat, July 6th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

By MARTIN MUTUA

The South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) has taken a lead position in the making of water purification gadgets using local materials.

The move has seen the University on the Machakos-Kitui highway set pace for Kenya’s industrial revolution, starting with the unveiling of cottage industries.

The porous clay ceramic filters are manufactured from moistened suspensions containing black clay, red and sand soils.  The team, led by a volunteer Korean, Prof Dong Hun Chung, has also established several water projects, ceramic art works and research in water purification techniques.

Prof Chung’s works are premised on making filters to purify water for drinking. The university has also distributed low-cost ceramic water filters to more than 1,000 locals. The move is aimed at improving the socio-economic parameters and health of the locals by having them access clean water.

Good research

Prof Chong has been assisted by Josephat Kimatu, of the department of Fisheries Management and Aquaculture Technology.

Dr Kimatu said their research had produced efficient physiological and biological gravity operated by smoked pots for water purification.

 “We used well calculated volume rations of black clay, red and sand soils, and soil balls, all baked at different smoke infusing kiln temperatures for efficient water purification,” added Prof Chung.

He says the flow behaviour through clay ceramic filters shows that they are effective on microorganism, solids and solutes removal, adding that purifying water using ceramic filters was the most effective way of reducing costs.

“This ceramics can be crucial for nomadic tribes and in times of disaster and guarantee a continued supply of clean water for better health amongst the low income earning societies,” he noted.

Of little help

“The traditional approach has been of little help in industrial growth in developing counties. This course is designed to bridge the gap between the traditional approach and the modern dynamic market-demand, a course that shall act as a suitable stimulus for spurring economic growth.”

SEKU Vice-Chancellor George Muluvi said Chung has been instrumental in research and student exchange programmes with Korean universities. “This is innovative of low cost and small scale ceramic water filters and other analysis of the biological and physical water purification efficiencies,” said Prof Muluvi.

Prof Chung, who has worked in Congo, Gabon and Kenya for the last seven years assisting in water projects, said Kenya has a death rate of 20 per cent in children and is therefore in need of assistance with clean water. About 60 per cent of the rural people in Sub-Saharan region cannot afford electric water purifiers.

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