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Nanomaterials for Water purification

Water is the source of life, and one of the most important material resources for human survival and development. Although 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, freshwater resources that can be directly used by humans, such as river water, freshwater lakes and shallow groundwater, account for only 0.03% of the total water amount. Moreover, with the rapid development of industries and increasing human activities, such as metal plating, fertilizers, tanneries, mining, paper, batteries, pesticides, and etc., many harmful inorganic and organic pollutants are released into water, which seriously endangers the freshwater resource and ecological environment.

Heavy metallic ions in water are difficult to biodegrade, and they can enter the human body through the food chain, causing a series of irreversible physiological diseases. For example, mercury ions can damage the central nervous system, leading to headaches, stomatitis, and gastroenteritis. Lead ions can cause an inadequate supply of nutrients and oxygen, resulting in brain tissue damage. Especially for children in their growth and development stages, excessive lead ions in their bodies would lead to developmental delay, loss of appetite, and hearing impairment. Cadmium ions can replace calcium ions in the bones, hinder the normal deposition of calcium in the bone, and result in cartilage disease. These organic pollutants need to consume a lot of oxygen in the process of oxidative decomposition, which will reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen in water, thereby endangering aquatic organisms and ecosystems. In addition, some harmful microbes in water such as algae, fungi, planktons, virus, bacteria, and amoebas are responsible for causing illnesses called waterborne diseases. Therefore, developing efficient water purification materials and green wastewater treatment methods are urgent issues that need to be solved by governments and scientists.