Monday, June 13, 2005

Moringa Oleifera- The Miracle Tree for Clean Water

A Nigeria-based NGO recently won a World Bank award for the most creative idea by using the natural coagulative properties in the seeds of Moringa Oleifera tree to purify water.

Moringa Oleifera, a native tree, has a removal efficiency of 99.5 percent for turbidity, 98 percent for suspended solids, 90 to 99 percent for bacteria of 1 to 4 log units, and 100 percent for water hardness. The adoption of Moringa in water treatment will increase demand for Moringa seeds thus economically empowering local Moringa farmers. Using local resources will also conserve foreign exchange currently used in the importation of purifying chemicals. Moreover, the project will encourage the cultivation of 2000 acres of Moringa, which will help to firm up the soil and check erosion as well as contribute to environmental greenery and shade , according to the World Bank report.

I did a quick google search and there were tons of information on Moringa. Literally tons! Trees for Life, a non-profit, people-to-people movement that helps plant fruit trees in developing countries, in collaboration with University of Leicester, conducted an extensive study on the use of Moringa for large-scale water purification. There are other used of for the seed.

Millions of Nigerians and other Africans lack regular and safe pipe-borne water and many suffer and die from water-borne diseases. According to WHO via VOA, waterborne disease is the world's leading killer. So how come this information, the usefulness of Moringa, is not on the front pages of every newspapers in Nigeria and Africa. I wonder how many market women, any students or health care workers have heard of Moringa in Nigeria. Why hasn’t there been adequate social marketing for the Moringa seed? If anyone out there knows the answer(s) to these please leave a comment.

This is an efficient and effective low-tech, low-cost concept, and talking about paradigm-shift; this is can potentially benefit millions. So why spend millions importing expensive water treatment chemicals, when Moringa is a ready substitute for some? (I know the answer to this one- contract means money in the pockets of the politicians and bureaucrats! ---this is no-brainer!).

Moringa is a native tree to Nigeria and many regions of Africa. It is known by the following names in Nigeria:

Ewe ile, Ewe igbale, Idagbo monoye ("the tree which grows crazily")
Gawara, Habiwal hausa, Konamarade, Rini maka
Bagaruwar maka, Bagaruwar masar, Barambo, Koraukin zaila, Shipka hali, Shuka halinka, Rimin nacara, Rimin turawa, Zogall, Zogalla-gandi
odudu oyibo, okwe oyibo