Bengaluru: Fruit peels could end frothing menace at Bellandur Lake?

Bengaluru: Can peels of watermelon, banana, citrus fruits and pineapple stop frothing of Bellandur Lake? It seems so. At least in the experiment conducted on a smaller scale by an engineering student from the city.

Pavan, who is a second-year Aeronautical Engineering student at MVJ College of Engineering, has successfully conducted the experiment to contain froth and the results, which were checked at the lab attached to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), have been encouraging. Using mere fruit peels, which are thrown out as waste, he has removed fluorides, nitrates and phospohorous elements that enter the lake through untreated sewage from industries surrounding the water body.

“My aim was to remove froth from a sample collected from the most-polluted lake. My research tells me that frothing is caused due to detergents and effluents from industries surrounding the lake,” Pavan said.

The samples before and after the experiment were tested at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) laboratory. “The sample after the experiment showed 90% reduction in frothing. Fluoride and phosphorous elements too came down,” he said.

He explained that fruit peels act as a semi-permeable membrane that reduce toxic froth in lakes, caused due to effluents containing fluorides.

Bellandur Lake is surrounded by industries that release halides, volatile compounds, lubricants and oils, which have caused repeated fires at the water body.

Pavan was interested in the project as fire and frothing of Bellandur Lake was widely reported in the media, and was a topic of discussion in many international journals. The Indian Institute of Science too brought out a report on the strange incident.

Pavan said, “The mechanism of this experimented can be replicated at the lake. My study is still on. I have spent one year on this experiment already.”

An activated semi-permeable biotic membrane made of acidified watermelon, banana, pineapple and citrus peels is a low-cost alternative to remove frothing agents from the lake, he said.

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