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GIST donates technology to supply drinking water to area affected by climate change

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  • GIST donates technology to supply drinking water to area affected by climate change


    GIST Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim (center) has donated water treatment equipment to local

    residents during a visit to a village on the island nation of Kiribati, which is near Fiji.



    □ Last year at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) donated water treatment equipment to Fiji after the island nation was devastated by a cyclone. GIST has now returned to the region in the Pacific Ocean to donate the same equipment to a village on the nearby island nation of Kiribat.


     ∘ In conjunction with the GIST International Environmental Research Center (Director Joon Ha Kim) Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim and Professor Yunho Lee of the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Engineering have led a research team to Kiribati on February 27, 2017, to donate six water purifying systems to local villages.


     ∘ Kiribati, with a total population of about 100,000, is at risk from water pollution and waterborne illnesses due to rising sea level from climate change.



    The donated water purification systems can selectively remove waterborne contaminants, including pathogenic bacteria, through membrane filtration that utilizes micro-pores.


     ∘ A suitable technology * that can be used for disaster relief does not require the use of electricity because the water is purified by passing through a membrane with the assistance of gravity.

     * Water Treatment Membrane: It filters foreign substances from the water through numerous fine pores (1nm ~ 1μm) contained within the polymer membrane, and the types of substances that can be removed depends on the pore size.

     * Appropriate technologies enable continuous use in a region by taking into account the political, cultural, and environmental conditions of the community in which the technology is used.


     ∘ Developed with support from the GIST International Environmental Research Center, this device promotes a new approach for efficient water treatment technologies because it can be used semi-permanently without any special maintenance, and it is highly effective at removing contaminants (e.g. being able to remove more than 99.9% of E. coli).


     ∘ In addition, membrane pollution, which is the limit of membrane technology, can be controlled through ecological purification, and water purification facilities can be made with light and simple equipment, so that it can be utilized for supplying drinking water to developing countries and disaster areas.


    GIST researchers have installed a membrane water treatment system inside a water tank

    that will be used to provide the local water supply in the village of Birgeneka, Kiribati.



    GIST Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim explains the principle and advantages of the

    membrane-based water treatment system to the Kiribati Ministry of Health.



    □ In particular, the donation was upgraded in terms of on-site applicability so that residents could procure the goods in the installation area and use them directly.


     ∘ In the case of donation of Fiji last year, GIST researchers assembled the entire water treatment system in Korea and then transported it to the local area. This time the GIST researcher only brought the special membrane filter units (manufactured by AMOGRAPHY CO., LTD.), which were connected to the water treatment systems with the help of local experts.


     ∘ The research team along with the Kiribati Ministry of Health also educated the local residents on how to assemble and use the GIST water purification systems.


     ∘ The donation of 'GIST Hope Purifier' was made at the request of Dr. Chang-gyo Yoon, a Korean health technology expert who is involved with Kiribati as the World Health Organization's Western Pacific Secretariat.


    □ Professor Kyoung-Woong Kim said, "We plan to maximize science and technology by developing various projects in solidarity with various domestic and foreign companies that will enable us to help provide clean drinking water to countries that may be adversely harmed by climate change, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu."





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