Banana peels could keep pollutants from slipping into your water.
Current methods for purifying water are expensive, with some materials used in the process being poisonous themselves. However, research is showing that coconut fibres, peanut shells and other plant materials can remove potentially toxic heavy metals such as lead and copper from water. This includes banana peels which are thrown away in their millions.
Compounds in banana peels contain atoms of nitrogen, sulphur, and organic compounds such as carboxylic acids. Their negatively charged electron pairs are exposed, meaning they can bind with metals in the water that usually have a positive charge.
Researchers have found that minced banana peel performs as well or better at removing copper and lead than many other filtering materials and a purifier made of layers of minced banana peel can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-snagging properties. Synthetic materials can be reused more times, but natural materials are dramatically cheaper and do not require chemical processing to work.
However, it’s early days and Gustavo Castro, an environmental chemist at São Paulo State University, warns that, until exhaustive tests are complete, people should not to try to use banana peels as filters at home.
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