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The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed new water sanitation technology.

In a press statement released on Wednesday, the Ministry of Science and Technology said that a new solar-powered drinking water disinfection system has been unveiled. The CSIR-IITR has named the system Oneer.

The technology has been transferred to the Bluebird Water Purifiers in New Delhi in the presence of the Union Minister of Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan.

According to the press release, the technology is expected to reduce the risk of disease-causing pathogens in drinking water; it will eliminate viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cysts. Oneer will provide safe drinking water to domestic communities, following national and international standards prescribed for potable water (according to Bureau of Indian Standards and WHO regulations).

During the launch, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that it is well known that infection through drinking water can result in an increase in morbidity and mortality, particularly amongst children. The Oneer system will attempt to mitigate these risks by providing affordable access to safe and clean drinking water.

The Minister added that the community-level model has a 450 LPH (litre per hour) capacity which can be scaled up to 5,000 to 100,000 litres per day and is also maintenance and membrane free.

This technology is will be especially helpful for the rural areas of India as it can be solar powered. This development is in line with the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Launched in September 2014, the Make in India initiative aimed to promote domestic manufacturing and encourage companies to increase their investments in India.

The press release said that Dr Shekhar C. Mande, Director General, CSIR and Secretary, DSIR lauded the efforts of CSIR-IITR Scientists in developing Oneer-a safe drinking water device, especially for rural areas. He said that currently, a large proportion of India’s rural community is consuming water that does not meet the WHO drinking water quality standards.

According to the World Health Organisation, access to safe drinking water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection. The website notes that WHO regulates the international norms on water quality and human health in the form of guidelines that are used as the basis for regulation and standard setting worldwide.

WHO guidelines for drinking-water quality (GDWQ) promote the protection of public health by advocating for the development of locally relevant standards and regulations (health-based targets), adoption of preventive risk management approaches covering catchment to consumer (Water Safety Plans) and independent surveillance to ensure that Water Safety Plans are being implemented and effective and that national standards are being met.

The CSIR is continually working on translational research through Mission Projects and Fast Track Translational Research Projects to develop technologies and products focussed at unmet needs in the country. One of the components of the programme is to increase the standard of living.

The smaller unit of Oneer is particularly suitable for homes, street food vendors, and small establishments.

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