Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Scientists transform black soot into a boon for water purification


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievement of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Black Carbon Soot

Mains level: Effective treatment of Waste water


  • A group of Indian scientists have come up with a new process which promises to help utilize black carbon soot, which is a major air pollutant, for treating industrial waste containing highly poisonous organic dyes.

What is Black Carbon Soot?

  • Soot includes the fine black particles, chiefly composed of carbon, produced by incomplete combustion of coal, oil, wood, or other fuels.
  • Soot can consist of acids, chemicals, metals, soils, and dust.
  • It is emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and other processes that involve burning of fossil fuel. It is known to be highly carcinogenic.
  • Organic dyes, in turn, are an important component of industrial waste and are generally non-biodegradable and deadly.
  • They enter water bodies and make them not only unfit for human consumption but also highly poisonous.

What has scientists transformed?

  • The scientists have converted black soot into graphene nanosheets.
  • They utilized the nanosheets to remove organic dyes such as crystal violet, rhodamine B, and methylene blue from industrial waste.
  • Treatment of waste water with organic dyes has remained a major challenge. The available methods are generally costly and cumbersome.
  • Black soot is available everywhere and even a lay person can convert it into graphene nanosheets at home.
  • The scientists tested the sustainability and the suitability of the overall process by using the treated water for growing wheat.
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