Other than malunggay’s (Moringa oleifera) reputed health enhancing properties, its seeds can bring down the incidence of water-borne diseases in the country particularly in rural communities.
Researchers at the Industrial Technology Development Institute, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology, has developed a simple and easy to set up water purification system (WPS) that uses malunggay seeds.
The WPS combines ITDI-developed technologies such as ceramic filters and granulated activated carbon. It starts with settling or coagulation. If raw water contains considerable amounts of contaminants like silts, soil, bacteria, and other sediments, raw water is pre-treated with alum or powdered mature malunggay seeds.
Seed kernels of malunggay contain significant amounts of water soluble protein that carry a positive charge. When added to turbid water, it can attract negatively charged particles like contaminants. This results to collection of particles that are easily removed through settling.
After pre-treatment, water is filtered through activated carbon layer and layers of different sizes of pumice, stone, and sand. After filtration, the water is chlorinated to eliminate microorganism. The final step involves the use of locally-developed ceramic filter with 1.0 micron pore size.
The WPS was initially tested in Brgy. Tabon-Tabon, Daraga, Albay. Test results showed that the system could reduce if not eliminate coliform in water from jetmatic pumps. The water is crystal clear with no rusty odor which meets Philippine National Standards for drinking water.
In 2000, the Department of Health reported that there were 770,000 cases of water-borne illnesses nationwide. This ranks as one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country.
The WPS costs about P15,000 including labor and materials like plastic containers, sand, activated carbon, and ceramic filters.
Overall, it can purify tap and deep well water to make it safe for drinking. It can also dispense 10L of potable water per hour. It is ideal for rural communities currently without access to safe drinking water, ITDI said.