Pakistani scientists nominated for Nature International Award

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Pakistani scientist Dr Muhammad Afzal has developed green swimming mats that can clean the most polluted water.  Photo courtesy of Nature
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Pakistani scientist Dr Muhammad Afzal has developed green swimming mats that can clean the most polluted water. Photo courtesy of Nature

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Karachi: An important invention of Dr. Muhammad Afzal, a prominent scientist of Pakistan, has been shortlisted for the Global Impact Award by the weekly scientific journal ‘Nature’.

Dr. Muhammad Afzal belongs to the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering where he is the Principal Scientist. It should be noted that his invention is important for the whole world, which is also acknowledged by the weekly Nature. He is the first Pakistani to be nominated for the award. Interestingly, his invention was also featured on the cover of Nature Sustainability.

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Dr. Afzal heads his group’s ‘Polluted Water Treatment Group’, which is also a subsidiary of the Environmental Laboratory.

He not only introduced the concept of floating water mats but also created models that are now treating contaminated water in many parts of Pakistan. These mats are called ‘floating wetlands’ and do not require external assistance or electricity to operate.

Another highlight of locally grown Pakistani vegetable mats is that they cost up to 500 times less than international mats. Therefore, they offer an excellent solution for cleaning up contaminated water reservoirs.

In addition to many international awards, Dr. Muhammad Afzal has also been awarded a Gold Medal from the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. That’s why Nature ranks him first on a list of eight international experts.

These swimming mats have been tested in a pond in Faisalabad in which 60 per cent of the water belonged to houses and 40 per cent to the textile, chemistry and leather industries. Various pollutants made the pond a perfect place to test technology.

In the second year, the magic of swimming pools began and all the signs of purification of water appeared which can be described in three levels: reduction of physical chemicals ie oil, sulphate, grease and other dissolved solids, secondly microbiological ie human waste particles. There was a decrease in and metals such as cadmium, chromium, and nickel. The technology reduced the chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 79%, the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) by 88% and all soluble solids (TOD) by 65%.

The total amount of naturally occurring, non-biodegradable or non-biodegradable ingredients in clean or polluted water is IGed by COD, while biodegradable ingredients are counted in BOD. Is. The cleaner a water is, the less COD and BOD it contains. Their amount in drinking or other clean water is usually zero.

Although FTWs are available and in use around the world, Pakistani innovation is also 500 degrees cheaper than the market due to its extremely low cost. Over the past six years, the green mats have treated a total of 57,947,400 cubic meters of contaminated water, equivalent to more than 31,000 Olympic swimming pools at a cost of a few paise per cubic meter.

Due to its durability, a system can be operational for another 15 years, which will further reduce costs.

Other scientists in the weekly Nature Global Impact Research Award are from the United States, China, Australia and New Zealand.

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