Purifying Water - On Draft Notification on Reverse Osmosis (RO) System - Editorial

Purifying Water - On Draft Notification on RO System - Background Context 

Indian Environment Ministry’s devised notification to implement and regulate the deployment and use of semi membrane-based water purification instrument mainly worry the manufacturers of reverse osmosis (RO) water strainer but functionally prohibits domestic users from installing RO water purifying systems.

Purifying Water - On Draft Notification on Reverse Osmosis (RO) System

The Central government has involved plans to prohibit the utilization of membrane-based water purification systems (MWPS) - mainly Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems – in locations where the freshwater sources align the Bureau of Indian Standards’ consumable water policy and norms.

Draft notification that functionally bars home users to deploy MPWS

The notification seems the curtailment of a lawful disputation & argument before the National Green Tribunal, which had prohibited RO water filter used in Delhi and the suburb because the RO purification actually wastes more water.

The notification primarily pertains (concerns) with protocols for commercial suppliers and for the unification of systems that inform the user about TDS levels, a consequential determinant of water quality.

This is expected at both operations, firstly before the water gets into filtration systems and secondly after it's been filtered out completely.

The syndicate (association) of filter manufacturers confronted this order and therefore the prosecution led to the current pan-India notification, where the intent is to save water and minimise the water waste.

What is Reverse Osmosis? 

Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology is employed to eliminate an outsized majority of contaminants and harmful parasites from water passing the water with well-maintained pressure through a semipermeable layer of the membrane.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) is commissioned by utilising a high-pressure pump to extend the pressure on the salty part of the RO system and compel (pressure) the water through the semipermeable RO layer of membrane, removing (eliminating) most (around 95% to 99%) of dissolved salts behind in the discarded stream.

The amount of pressure needed actually depends on the salt concentration of the input water. The more concentrated the input water, the more pressure is exerted to beat the osmotic pressure.

The final outcome (RO water) is desalinated water, without any minerals or any ionization, and the outlet that carries the concentrated harmful contaminants that encounter the RO membrane is discarded (or concentrated) outlet.

Problem with Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems 

Firstly, In Reverse Osmosis (RO), the entire dissolved solids or popularly known as Total dissolved solids (TDS) in water, which accommodates trace chemicals, varied viruses, harmful bacteria and variety of salts are often minimised or eliminated, to match potable water standards. Home filters have been found to waste nearly 80% of the water during treatment. Now the situation being in India, the real question here is, who is guilty? The water or the RO. Will make you think.

Secondly, some research analysis and testing results have shown that the method can reduce or entirely eliminate the amount of required calcium and magnesium, which are crucial nutrients for the human body.

The call on to disallowing (to prohibit home filters) may cause consumer concern and agitation to some extent, but it's unlikely and doubtful that they're going to be taken to task for using Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filters.

For one, the notification suggests or indicate, these filters are only disallowed or banned, if the regular household receives water supply that, satisfy and practice water filtration process according to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for potable water.

Whilst, several State, urban towns and metro city water boards affirm to employ and practice BIS standards, yet the water at homes may require the test parameters.

World Health Organization issues, Reverse Osmosis (RO) water warning

Popularly known to everyone that Reverse Osmosis (RO) purification systems standout and beat at eliminating water impurities and contaminants, but very less are known and educated about, how RO systems also decrease or entirely eliminate the beneficial minerals. There needs to be more awareness about the demerits of RO systems as well.

A disturbing fact, the Reverse Osmosis (OS) system eliminates 92-99% of needed calcium and magnesium. 

After the assessment and evaluation of many scientific researches, universities studies and test analysis from various labs in regards to Reverse Osmosis (RO) and demineralized water, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an assessment report mentioning that such water “has a particularly detrimental and harmful effect on the animal and human beings.”

Consumers are so anxious with eliminating as many things possible from water that they actually neglected to ask and check if the resulting RO water will even enhance health or causes any health problems in the near future.

It is presumed, that the absence of toxins in water equal enhanced health, but ultimately, it’s the pure and healthful contents of water than water with fewer toxins, clearly pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Official water system quality by BIS 

Last year the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) on drinkable water, ranked Indian cities on the quality of water supply received in regular household. The ranked facts were disturbing, yet partially satisfying, Mumbai (capital of Maharashtra) seem to satisfy all BIS standards for drinking water and national capital struggled to secure the last place.

BIS had set 28 mandatory testing parameters for drinkable water, and as a result, national capital Delhi failed 19/28, Chennai failed 9/28 and Kolkata failed 10/28. These protocols and norms set by BIS are voluntary for piped water supplied by public agencies, but mandatory for producers of drinking waters.

From the context of drinking water situation, there are issues. Firstly, half of the nation seem to lack the basic requirement of piped water. Secondly, the combined report from NITI Aayog and Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), mentions that the country’s 70% of the water supply is polluted and contaminated with harmful chemicals and parasites.

As a result of these issues, a series of barriers and lack of education pushed Indians rank to 120th/122 WaterAid’s Quality Index. Currently, the measures to prohibit people from utilising the methods they practice for potable drinking water are bleak and inefficient.

Conclusion 

The primary goal is additionally to warrant that after 2022, less than 25% of water being treated is wasted (washed away), and measures for ensuring residential settlement to collect and recycle the residual wastewater for another pursuit, including gardening, except drinking.

After implementation, the notifications primarily goal should be to instigate and push authorities to upgrade and enhance the BIS framework towards the betterment of water at the consumption end.

To activities should be employed at not overhead or additional cost, especially on millions of masses who lack the basic access to freshwater supply to their household. 

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