IFORHER’s Women Empowerment Series capture real stories of heroic women, who are stepping out of their comfort zone to make this world a better place. And, one such woman is Shneel Malik.
Shneel, a Barlett doctoral candidate, has created Indus – a modular wall system that cleans water polluted with dyes and chemicals. The cleaning system cleans the polluted water with the help of ceramic tiles and algae.
She is being applauded for conceptualizing this cost-effective water cleaning system, as many people in our country still don’t have access to clean water.
The ceramic tiles in this modular wall are layered with microalgae and seaweed-based hydrogel. When the water is passed through this modular wall, all the toxins are eliminated because of algae’s natural bioremediation capabilities.
In case of high toxicity in the water, one can pass the water through the system multiple times.
While traveling to certain parts of India, the Amity University graduate, noticed how small-scale jewelry workers and textile dyers were releasing dangerous toxins in water like cadmium, arsenic, and lead. These chemicals are not only toxic to soil and water but also could threaten the lives of humans.
Through this project, Shneel’s objective was to design a cost-effective and less-technical system that takes down water and soil pollution through textile dyes.
In a statement to FastCompany, Malik says,
“With the support of NGOs such as Pure Earth and CEE in India, who are involved in tackling pollution, we were able to visit multiple sites in Kolkata (bangle-makers) and Panipat (textile dyers) in India. These site visits made us better understand the site- and context-specific constraints and challenges in wastewater treatment.”
She further added,
“Neither the artisan workers have any space available for Westernised high-tech water treatment solutions, nor do they have the economic capacity to get additional support. Therefore, we started to design a system-which is both spatially compatible, but more importantly can be constructed and maintained by the artisans themselves.”
In the current system, the hydrogel infused in the tiles needs to be replaced every few months. But, Shneel and her team are working hard to find ways to make it more sustainable and cost-effective to enhance longevity and detoxification.
At IFORHER, we are so proud of Shneel Malik to design a system that would give access to clean water to the segment of the population, who couldn’t afford expensive water cleaning systems.
We wish her all the best for her future endeavors and hope more young minds will seek inspiration from her.