Metallic Iron as a Solution for Safe Drinking Water

Metallic Iron as a Solution for Safe Drinking Water

Student submission by Karina Finlayson 

 

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 targets the availability and management of water and  sanitation. A key issue in achieving this goal is the availability of safe drinking water, particularly  for rural communities and underdeveloped countries. The United Nations (UN) states that in  order to reach the 2030 goals, there must be a drastic increase in the progress being made to  meet drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene targets [1]. This need calls for new and innovative  techniques to be introduced in order to combat water contamination globally. 

The use of iron for water treatment has been investigated by chemists over the last three  decades, and as such offers a well-researched solution for SDG 6. Previous solutions for safe  drinking water have utilised iron as a decontaminant within a centralised plant. One such  solution investigated the use of an iron wall within an aquifer, which allowed ground water to  pass through. Over a five-year period, the water quality was tested, and it was conclusively  found that the iron wall effectively worked to break down contaminants within the ground water  [2]. A review of iron in a number of experiments utilising a similar set-up revealed that while the effectiveness of decontamination decreased over time, sites were able to effectively meet  decontamination goals in this way [3]. 

When considering this solution for use in rural communities, it is necessary to consider the cost  and logistics of implementing a large-scale solution within an aquifer. Additionally, such  communities are often ill-equipped to deal with natural disasters which may impact a  centralised solution such as this. As such, a de-centralised solution using metallic iron is  proposed [4]. 

Metallic iron can be sourced locally within communities, and the decontamination process does not require any energy requirements or in depth chemistry knowledge [4]. This small-scale solution utilises gravity, sand, gravel, and rock alongside the metallic iron. As water passes through the system, it can be effectively treated similarly to passing water through an iron wall in an aquifer. This is shown in Figure 1, where the  ‘influent’represents contaminated water, and Fe0 represents metallic iron.

 

Figure 1 Diagram of Filtration System Using Metallic Iron [4]
 

The primary concern raised in training  communities on treating water with metallic iron is the potential for the iron to reach dangerous levels. As such, a detailed plan must be  developed to ensure that communities are aware of methods for testing iron levels after  undergoing the decontamination process. 

 

By introducing the knowledge and basic systems required to treat ground water with metallic  iron, safe drinking water can be made accessible to a larger number of communities globally.  With an emphasis placed on the importance of testing the iron levels of the filtered water, the  simple design of a metallic iron filter will allow communities to manage their water resources  without any expertise in chemistry. This step forward in access to clean drinking water will aid in making global strides towards achieving SDG 6. 

References 

[1] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “The Sustainable Development  Goals Report 2022,” United Nations , 2022. 

[2] S. F. O’Hannesin and R. W. Gillham, “Long-Term Performance of an In Situ “Iron Wall” for  Remediation of VOCs,” Ground Water, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 164-170, 1998.  

[3] A. D. Henderson and A. H. Demond, “Long-Term Performance of Zero-Valent Iron  Permeable,” Environmental Engineering Science, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 401-423, 2007.  

[4] C. Noubactep, “Metallic Iron for Water Treatment: A Critical Review,” Clean Soil Air Water,  vol. 41, pp. 702-710, 2013. 

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Empowering Sustainable Energy: Leveraging Australia’s Mining Industry to Achieve the UN’s SDG 7

Empowering Sustainable Energy: Leveraging Australia’s Mining Industry to Achieve the UN’s SDG 7

By Christian Heil

 

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute a framework of 17 global  objectives adopted by all UN member states as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable  Development. These goals encompass a wide range of critical issues, including poverty alleviation, mitigation of climate change, promotion of peace, and ensuring access to justice. Goal 7 specifically  focuses on the need for affordable and clean energy solutions. In order to contribute to this goal, we  can use the research being done in Australia’s mining industry to propose a practical and effective  solution. 

The mining sector plays a pivotal role in providing the essential raw materials for clean energy  technologies, however it also accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions,  amounting to 10% of the energy-related global total in 2018. Mining operations in Australia are  incredibly remote, and running these mines off anything other than fossil fuels is unrealistic and  impractical. However, a potential solution involves using carbonate mineral formation to offset  these emissions. This method utilises mine tailings (leftover waste materials from the processing of  ore) to facilitate the carbonisation reaction, and the formation of these minerals is a safe and  permanent means of carbon storage. 

Numerous studies have demonstrated the viability of this method. For instance, the Mt Keith nickel mine in Australia has found that its mine tailings are naturally sequestering carbon through the precipitation of a mineral called ‘hydromagnesite’,  which actively absorbs atmospheric CO2 as it forms. This natural process has enabled the Mt Keith mine to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by 11% annually, just by leaving the mine waste out in open air and without any additional human interference. Importantly, the research has concluded that this rate of carbon uptake can be significantly increased  using existing technology, which means a greater  offset for the mine. 

Ultramafic rock tailings, (that is, rocks that are low in silica content), have proven to be particularly  efficient in storing carbon through this mineralisation process. The Mt Keith mine mentioned above,  for example, is situated in such ultramafic rock sequences like olivine cumulate rocks and basalts. 

Unfortunately, the widespread adoption of this technique faces financial challenges due to the  current low carbon pricing, and companies aren’t incentivised to implement optimised carbon  sequestration reactors. However, large companies such as BHP are implementing steps to reduce  their carbon footprint, and seeing as how the mine waste is already sequestering atmospheric  carbon passively, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to optimise this process for a greater  reduction in net emissions. 

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Bridging the Divide: Empowering Every Educator, Enlightening Every Learner

Bridging the Divide: Empowering Every Educator, Enlightening Every Learner  

By Samantha Osborn

 

As we navigate the path towards inclusive and equitable quality education, as outlined in Sustainable  Development Goal #4 (SDG 4), we confront a critical challenge: the disparity in the distribution of quality  teachers.  

Inequities persist in the education system, where teachers with varying levels of training and ability find  themselves teaching students of varying circumstances. This divide is exacerbated by significant salary  discrepancies, with educators in affluent areas earning more than those serving disadvantaged communities.  Moreover, teaching conditions vary widely, with well-resourced schools boasting smaller class sizes and  abundant materials, while underprivileged schools struggle with overcrowded classrooms and inadequate  resources. Compounding these challenges is the lack of mentoring or on-the-job coaching in many  communities, leaving teachers without the support they need to enhance their skills and address the needs of  their students effectively (1). 

As a result of this, research suggests that experienced educators are disproportionately found in more affluent  schools, leaving students in less privileged areas at a significant disadvantage (2)(3). This inequity not only  deepens socio-economic divides but also contradicts the core objective of SDG 4 — to ensure equitable quality  education for all.  

Understanding the Discrepancy  

The preference of skilled educators for more affluent schools is influenced by factors such as better working  conditions, higher salaries, and greater resources, contributing to an educational gap that limits the potential  of students in disadvantaged areas (4). 

A Comprehensive Strategy  

Addressing this challenge necessitates a multifaceted approach, including policy reform, incentive schemes,  targeted teacher training, and infrastructure development.  

Policy Reform and Incentive Structures  

Adjusting policies to make less privileged areas more appealing to quality teachers is vital. Introducing  incentives like competitive salaries, housing benefits, and professional development opportunities can help  equilibrate the distribution of teaching talent (5). 

Empowering Educators  

To improve job satisfaction and professional job growth, ongoing mentorship programs and professional  development opportunities should be offered to teachers in underserved areas. These sessions would cover  contemporary teaching methodologies, classroom management, and culturally responsive teaching (4) seen to  improve both education quality and the personal lives of educators. 

Infrastructure development  

Develop infrastructure in underserved areas. This could include implementing transport to and from school,  installing accessible internet and building greater school facilities. By enhancing school infrastructure, working  at lower socio-economic schools will become more appealing to teachers, improving the overall quality of life  for both educators, students and families.  

Technology as an Equaliser  

Providing technological access to all students where possible. Technology can facilitate access to quality  educational resources and training for teachers, irrespective of their location. Digital platforms can help bridge  geographical and socio-economic barriers, fostering a more inclusive educational landscape (6).  

The Path Forward  

Achieving a more equitable distribution of quality teachers demands concerted efforts across policy,  institutional, and technology sectors. By creating a supportive ecosystem for educators in all communities,  hopefully over the next 6 years we become closer to achieving “inclusive and equitable quality education” for  all.  

#sdg4qualityeducation #teachermotivation #EqualEducation 

References 

  1. Darling-Hammond, L., & Ducommun, C. E. (2007). Recruiting and retaining teachers: What matters most and what can government do. Washington, DC: The Forum for Education and Democracy.
  2. Luschei, T. F., & Chudgar, A. (2011). Teachers, student achievement and national income: A cross national examination of relationships and interactions. *Prospects*, 41(4), 507-533.
  3. Ferguson, T., & Roofe, C. G. (2020). SDG 4 in higher education: Challenges and opportunities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 21(5), 959-975.
  4. Bruns, B., & Luque, J. (2014). Great Teachers: How to Raise Student Learning in Latin America and the  Caribbean. World Bank Publications.
  5. King, E. M., & Ozler, B. (2018). What’s Decentralization Got to Do with Learning? The Case of Nicaragua’s School Autonomy Reform. *Economic Development and Cultural Change*, 67(1), 1-30. 6. Muralidharan, K., Singh, A., & Ganimian, A. J. (2019). Disrupting education? Experimental evidence on technology-aided instruction in India. *American Economic Review*, 109(4), 1426-1460
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Health Education Online: Empowering Wellness Worldwide

Health Education Online: Empowering Wellness Worldwide

By Clarice Wong

 

Health influences all aspects of our lives – it impacts our daily activities, work, studies,  relationships and our happiness. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 intends to  promote good health and wellbeing for everyone. The main health issues worldwide are  preventable communicable diseases such as malaria in low-income countries (Rowe,  2017). However, I believe it is also important to address common non-communicable  diseases including cardiovascular disease which is more prevalent in middle- and high income countries.  

Access to healthcare services and education are two main factors influencing rates of  prevalent diseases. For example, educating individuals who live in tropical countries  about wearing mosquito repellent or long-sleeved clothing can significantly reduce  rates of malaria. These simple preventative measures can reduce healthcare expenses in treating malaria. Similarly, access to healthcare services including regular check-ups  for people with chronic health conditions can help them in maintaining a healthy  lifestyle. Research demonstrates that reducing sugar intake and regular exercise can  prevent a wide range of common conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity (La  Sala & Pontiroli, 2020). 

Digital health-promoting content can improve global health and wellbeing (Asi &  Williams, 2018). My proposed solution is online educational health campaigns. A range  of people in the healthcare and education sector will be involved. Firstly, healthcare  professionals including doctors and medical staff will be part of the primary care team  to treat individuals with health conditions. For example, doctors can schedule online  consultations with patients who live in rural areas to increase accessibility to  healthcare services. Secondly, medical educators and teachers can provide free online  educational seminars to prevent common health conditions. For instance, presenting  seminars in schools about healthy foods that improve cardiovascular health can  prevent a range of heart-related diseases. These campaigns will also have websites  where individuals can access digital health checklists as an online resource to take  steps in maintaining their wellbeing. Steps include vaccinations, exercising daily and  eating a balanced diet. Additionally, resources can include region-specific health advice and resources to prevent common diseases. For example, actionable steps to prevent  malaria will be included in health checklists for countries with warmer climates. 

Online educational health campaigns can assist with maintaining good health so  everyone can be in good health and wellbeing, which meets the target of SDG 3. Free  digital resources created by a global community of health experts can significantly  prevent rates of diseases ranging from infectious to non-infectious illnesses.  Educational resources can be especially helpful in low-income countries as many  common conditions are preventable (Rizvi, 2022). 

Overall, being in good health is an important aspect to live a good life. Together, let’s  team up and contribute to a healthy global community.

 

 

References 

Asi, Y. M., & Williams, C. (2018). The role of digital health in making progress toward  Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 in conflict-affected  

populations. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 114, 114–120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2017.11.003 

La Sala, L., & Pontiroli, A. E. (2020). Prevention of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease  in Obesity. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(21), 8178.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218178 

Rizvi, D. (2022). Health education and global health: Practices, applications, and future  research. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 11(1), 262.  

https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_218_22 

Rowe, A. K. (2017). Assessing the Health Impact of Malaria Control Interventions in the  MDG/Sustainable Development Goal Era: A New Generation of Impact  Evaluations. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 97(3), 6–8.  https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.17-0509

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Best Foot Forward Series: Study Tips for Science Students

Join us for our panel event in Week 2!

You will get the opportunity to hear from high achieving senior students who will share the strategies they use to succeed in their studies and their advice on making the most of your time as a Monash science student.

This event is a unique opportunity to connect with fellow students, ask questions, and learn from their experiences. You’ll leave with a better understanding of how to approach your studies and a toolbox of tips and tricks to help you succeed.

Don’t miss out on this chance to achieve your academic goals and become a top-performing science student.

Date: Tuesday the 5th of March (Week 2)

Time: 5:00-6:30PM

Venue: Room 331, Level 3,19 Ancora Imparo Way (LTB)

Catering: Light refreshments will be provided

Register HERE

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Winter Industry Internships

  • Complete an internship over Winter and gain valuable industry experience + course credit 
  • Source your own placement with your preferred industry partner 
  • Develop your professional skills and meet industry professionals

Join the online information session to find out more!

DATE: Wednesday 13 March 2024 

TIME: 2PM – 3PM 

JOIN: Click here 

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