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Using Agricultural Waste to Purify Water through Nanotechnology

Guest Speaker at the seminar, Professor Benjamin S. Hsiao, presenting on the topic “Learning how to Use Agricultural Waste to Purify Water through Nanotechnology.”

BITRI hosted a public seminar on International World Water Day at Avani Hotel in Gaborone. Professor Benjamin S. Hsiao, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Co-founding Director of Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center was the guest speaker and the seminar topic was “Learning how to use agricultural waste to Purify water through nanotechnology.”

Prof Hsiao’s presentation focused on how biomass, which includes agricultural wastes and plants can be used as filter media to remove a variety of contaminants such as heavy metals, bacteria, viruses in order to purify water.  Prof Hsiao also demonstrated, through the use of videos, how nanotechnology is being used to produce practical solutions for water purification in specific parts of the world.

Prof Hsiao also added that the advantages of using the plant derived water filters is that they are sustainable, more efficient, easy to clean, biodegradable and that less pressure is required to pass water across the filter, as compared to conventional filters. Conventional filters, usually require connection to conventional power sources, while the nanofiber water filters can use gravity since they are very porous and hence can be used in areas do not have access to electricity, as in some cases in rural parts of Africa.

Head of Department of Chemistry at the University of Botswana, Professor Ishmael Masesane, in his Closing Remarks, thanked BITRI for having convened the seminar and implored all to recognize the importance of water and its conservation for the sustenance of life. He further urged stakeholders to hold International World Water Day in high regard as with other commemorative days, and to an audience comprised of senior diplomats, government officials, corporate executives and well as pupils, implored for inclusion of the youth and pupils in the agenda for water conservation and help them come up with solutions for present and future problem issues.

The Water Utilities Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mmetla Masire, gave the Welcome Remarks. The BITRI Board of Directors, staff and private sector were also represented.

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