Biological Alternatives to Chemical Pollutants at Home

Biological Alternatives to Chemical Pollutants at Home

Introduction

At the household level itself, several chemicals are used which contribute to water pollution. Excessive use of soaps, detergents, shampoos, chemical fertilizers, insecticide etc are causing various problems related to health.

Objectives

  1. To make the students realize the importance of curbing at their household levels.
  2. To make them aware of the easy biological alternatives available at hand for the chemical pollutants used at home.

Materials Required

  1. Soap & shampoo samples
  2. Chemical fertilizers
  3. Various plants like five-petal Hibiscus, Neem, Garlic etc.
  4. Distilled water
  5. Glass beaker
  6. Measuring cylinder

Methodology

  1. Identify areas in your homes where chemical water pollutants are usually discharged. Make a rough sketch of the places viz. kitchen, bathroom, garden with the corresponding cause of water pollution. ( e.g.  Kitchen- Soap / Liquid detergents, Bathroom - Shampoo / Detergents / Toilet soaps, Garden- Fertilizers)       
  2. Carry out a comparison of the chemicals and the natural products, e.g. soaps and shampoos in the bathroom.
  3. Take a beaker and fill it with 100 ml of distilled water. Add 2 ml of shampoo and mix it with water. Also dissolve a small part of soap into it.
  4. Test the different parameters of water quality like pH levels, presence of nitrates and phosphates etc.
  5. To compare the different solutions, take a beaker and fill it with 10 ml of distilled water and soak 5-6 hibiscus leaves in it for half an hour. Rub the leaves with hand and put it back in water so that the lathering properties are discharged into the water.
  6. Carry out a similar test for nitrates, pH and phosphates.

Data Interpretation

  1. Nitrates and phosphates are higher in which sample?
  2. Try to find out other similar alternatives to replace household chemicals and carry out your own tests.

Activity

  1. Carry out an activity to test the effects of besan or flour on oily spots as a natural cleaning agent.
  2. Compare the shine effects of certain chemical-cleaning agents like Brasso with a mixture of tamarind and salt for cleaning brass utensils. (If found comparable, the natural product would be preferred as it is low in cost and environment friendly.)

Suggestions

The students could be asked to find out newer alternatives to harmful household chemicals and carry out similar tests. Cheaper, natural and easy to access alternatives must be popularized by students by conducting classroom and street demonstrations.

 

Source: Harness water resources for a better future - Activity Guide for the 13th National Children's Science Congress 

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