2018 | Malaysia | Nishaanthini Mohan, Prevena Ramakrishnan

A Novel Way To Reduce Chlorine In Drinking Water By Using The Seed Of Trigonella Foenum Graecum, Cynodon Dactylon And Charcoal

Water issue adressed: Too much

‘There is no life without water. We do not inherit water from our grandfathers, but instead borrow it from our grandchildren. There is no alternative to water’. We often hear water managers and policy makers chanting these mantras. Yet millions of people on this planet are still without adequate access to clean and drinkable water. Technological solutions and economic instruments have so far been unable to provide a solution to tackling water problems. On the contrary, solving water issues always involves (difficult) political considerations as well as (rigid) institutional reforms that need to balance the socio-political (including environmental) interests of the state, the economic interests of market factors and the interests of consumers, civil society and nongovernmental organizations. This innovation focuses on the reform of the Malaysian water sector.

  The growing demand for water supply – from 7,108 million litres per day (MLD) in 2014 to 7,628 MLD in 2016 – forced water utilities to produce more water which eventually led to an increasing the amount of water treatment sludge being produced (MWA, 2014, 2016). Approximately 600 tonnes of sludge were produced daily by 29 water treatment plants managed by Puncak Niaga Sendirian Berhad in Selangor alone, while the Langat 2 Treatment Plant (under construction) is expected to produce another 400-500 tonnes of sludge daily in 2015 (PAAB, 2009). The presence of toxic materials such as aluminium and arsenic requires sludge to be properly treated and disposed of (Makris & O’Connor, 2017). The presence of organic pollutants in Malaysia’s rivers increased from 187,555 kg/day in 2014 to 208,441 in 2015 (World Bank, 2015). Most water utilities do not have the sludge treatment facilities (at least sludge lagoons) and as a result directly discharge their sludge into the environment. This damages the environment and threatens the future availability of raw water sources. Water utilities had (and have) little interest in sludge recycling and reuse as there are no incentives from the government and no commercial demand for the materials.

 Acquiring information about the Malaysian water sector posed a considerable challenge and much of the data that was available suffered from validity problems. Several factors contributed to this: the absence of a clear governmental policy relating to information management; the absence of a single body entrusted to coordinate information management; and funding shortages among public water which prevented them from installing information management systems. Moreover, public disclosure of information was prevented by laws (i.e. The Official Secrets Act 1972 and Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989). The Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia (2017) reported that (environmental) information on water privatization, river pollution and drinking water quality is kept from the public. Most of information in the water sector was in the possession of the private water enterprises. These information problems prevented the regulator from fulfilling its regulatory function.

We face problem of drinking chlorinated water. Our available water filter removes rust, leads, carbon and other particles.  One of the simplest ways to purify water is to boil it, but although the heat kills off many different bacteria, it doesn’t remove chemicals, limescale, and other contaminants. Distillation goes a step further than ordinary boiling: you boil water to make steam, then capture the steam and condense (cool) it back into water in a separate container. Since water boils at a lower temperature than some of the contaminants it contains (such as toxic heavy metals), these remain behind as the steam separates away and boils off. Unfortunately, though, some contaminants including chlorine,  boil at a lower temperature than water and that means they evaporate with the steam and aren’t removed by the distillation process.

 Nowadays, the cancer patients have drastically increased in Malaysia. My aunt, was effected with oral cancer. We went through tough time during that period. I had made a few bio researches with the help from Doctor Palanisamy from Gleangles Hospital, Penang. I found that Nepeta cataria works as chemotherapy and  Moringa oleifera helps to prevent from recurrences. One of my close friend, Panimallar Balan’s father died of oral cancer. 


This is how I came up with the idea for this project:

The Increase of cancer patient and people consuming chlorinated water

Chlorine free water with health benefit

These incidents have made me wonder why are cancer patients increasing in Malaysia. Patients are generally referred to oral cancer centres from general medical or dental practice, with typical signs and symptoms including white or red patches in the mouth, persistent sores, and bleeding. The main treatment modality is surgery, with or without post-operative radiotherapy. "If a patient is diagnosed with frank carcinoma, then it will be surgically removed, however small it is", says Zainal Ariff, a surgeon in the Faculty of Dentistry at University Malaya. "Patients diagnosed with precancerous oral lesions, such as white patches, will be followed up closely and, where appropriate, given advice on changing their diet and habits." Sadly, however, few patients are seen at such an early stage. More than seventy percent of cancer patients in the database had been diagnosed with Stage III and Stage IV disease, where the cancer has already spread at least to the lymph nodes. "About half the cases I see will be inoperable, and these patients' prognoses are very poor", says Ariff. Most of the patients diagnosed with early cancer are picked up through "watching and waiting" precancerous lesions. Over 90% of the cancers Ariff sees are squamous cell carcinoma, with the majority occurring in the cheek mucosa: this site is particularly closely associated with the habit of betel quid chewing, as this is the location in the mouth where the betel quid is stored. Cancer of the cheek mucosa is less common without betel quid as a risk factor. It is proven that my mother or my friend’s father are not alcoholic or using betel. Why Me myself couldn’t drink water which is unbearable with chlorine. So I and my friend did survey to some people regarding chlorinated water. Similarly, we use this technique to remove chlorine and also provide water with health benefit to the consumer. After a few researchers we got the best results that 1. Fenugreek is the seed of the Trigonella foenum graecum plant species most commonly used as a dried spice ingredient in East Indian cuisine. It has Health benefits: Improving digestion Relieving symptoms associated with menopause Stabilizing blood sugar Reduce body heat Remove Chlorine 2. The charcoal has carbon which absorbs the chlorine, making the water free from chlorine. This method removes chlorine almost completely and very fast. Compared to all the three methods, charcoal filtration is the best because it is fast and does not leave an unpleasant taste in the water. Most water filters at home use carbon as a base to purify water. 3. Cynodon Dactylon also commonly known as Bermuda Grass is a grass originated in the Middle East.BENEFITS:•Immediate remover of Chlorine •Recover damages quickly •Rich in calcium, phosphorous, protein and fibre •Good for the nervous system •Remove toxin from the body


Ania Andersch

Programme manager ania.andersch@siwi.org +46 8 121 360 59