Class of 2022

Risha Nathan

Science Innovators

34 / New Delhi, India

The Indian scientist cleaning water with fruit and vegetable peels

Dr Risha Jasmine Nathan is on track to invent a new, sustainable solution to the problem of water contamination. The Indian forensic scientist's ground-breaking technique has been recognised as potentially gamechanging in developing countries, where the removal of contaminants such as heavy metals from water supply is a big issue demanding affordable solutions. And with Risha’s research, the key could be found in fruit and vegetable peels. 

While working as assistant professor of forensic science at Galgotias University in Uttar Pradesh, Risha came across a technique called ‘biosorption’, where agricultural waste products are used to remove metals from wastewater. It was from here that she got the idea that fruit and vegetable peels could be turned into ‘green filters’ to clean drinking water.

As well as potentially providing a low-cost, environmentally safe and viable drinking water decontamination method, Risha’s idea also offers a solution to the problem of landfill dumping, as it helps recycle the tonnes of peel waste that end up in landfills every year, in turn causing land pollution and generating methane gas.

Having achieved her Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Otago in New Zealand in 2020 thanks to this idea, Risha is now researching the topic in more detail, hoping to change the lives of millions of people in developing countries who still don’t have access to clean water.
“My goal is to make use of the science of toxicology to work towards the creation of a safer and healthier world, a place where justice is served to all.” – Risha Nathan

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