By Comrade Rohan
Water is life. It is the single substance needed in order to survive and thrive in this world. Despite there being an overwhelming need for water, there are many places in the world—even in so-called “first-world” colonizer countries—that struggle to provide their citizens with fresh water to drink. I’m sure most of us have been following the news about Flint, Michigan’s colonial water crisis and how it’s horrendously been mishandled for a very long time. You may have seen the articles about the water crisis being “over” and that Flint’s residents are somehow thriving. Despite having “access” to the clean water—stolen from those Indigenous to Turtle Island—many Flint residents refuse to drink the water. We must keep in mind that this town had to bear hearing years of lies from this illegitimate, white supremacist, settler colonial state and that somehow this genocidal system gave a damn about their drinking water.
The residents, not to be fooled by white power again, express distrust, anger, and hatred. But Colonized folks across the entire united snakkkes are suffering in this same way; our Missouri Chapter, being affected closely by this colonial water contradiction, has set forth on a mission to regain dictatorship of the water and liberate it from the kkkolony. Our Science and Technology Committee has been hard at work, diligently researching Indigenous ways of water filtration, deepening our understanding and knowledge of the earth, so that we can assist in delivering the land back to those who have kept it in harmony for thousands of years. We don’t need the illegal settler nation of amerikkka to help us; we can build and create for ourselves.
It’s been discovered that copper is an element that has shown to be an antimicrobial agent and has proven very useful in purifying water. Its usage has been dated as far back to the Ayurveda in their ancient texts. They went with copper because it was more commonly found, abundant, and easier to obtain in those areas. Its antimicrobial properties were also used by the ancient Greeks, which is where we get its latin name, cuprus. They even used copper by sprinkling its dry powdered form on wounds in order to prevent infection. Despite the numerous benefits of copper during this time, its usage slowly diminished due to not fully understanding its properties and how exactly it worked.
In regards to its water purifying properties, a study was done where scientists filled a copper pot with water and then introduced bacteria to test copper’s effect on the bacteria. After adding bacteria to the pot, the pot with the mixture was then incubated at 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours. After the incubation period, not only were all of the bacteria samples gone, but even after the addition of an enrichment agent, the samples failed to resurface. This shows that the copper pot left behind no evidence of the bacteria and the bacteria lost all abilities to culture, not allowing the bacteria to return. The way copper actually works as an antibacterial agent still isn’t fully understood, but there are many methods in which it could work.
There is literature to suggest that copper interacts with bacteria on many different cellular levels, all of which cause cell death. When copper ions are released from the surface, this will typically increase the copper concentration around microorganisms. This will then cause decreased barrier function of the organisms’ plasma membrane, causing it to become increasingly permeable, resulting in vital cell components leaking out and ultimately killing it. The many pros of copper, such as it being easy to obtain and very good with killing off deadly diarrhea causing bacteria, is why it would be an asset in filtering water, but all good things come with a price. Some cons of using copper is that the water would need to be kept in copper for hours or even days for it to be useful, even going as far as heating it up to speed the process. Exposing water to constant copper can lead to an unhealthy amount of copper in the water supply which can cause copper poisoning, which is why copper containing pipes are not at all recommended.
It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that a series of plants would be a good method for filtering and purifying water. Plants have been used as a method for water purification in multiple historic instances. They’re primarily used in cleaning the water in fish tanks and in ponds, but nothing says it can’t be used for drinking water. Water lilies, particularly their roots, absorb nutrients and other things in the water which helps to filter it. They’re used because they’re easy to care for and to obtain. To test their purification skills, scientists placed water lilies in a pot of just regular water in order to test the pollution. An additional experiment was also done with soap added to the water to see how the lilies fared with the addition of extra pollutants. The water quality was assessed using factors such as dissolved oxygen (DO) content and chemical oxygen demand (COD) as they are considered indexes of water pollution levels. Dissolved oxygen is the amount of gaseous oxygen that’s dissolved in the water.
Dissolved oxygen is considered good for the water quality. With a low DO content, the aquatic environment is put under more stress and could kill off fish if it stays too low for too long. This means that the DO level decreases, then the pollution level increases and if the level increases, pollution decreases. With chemical oxygen demand, it is considered to be a measure of the amount of oxygen being consumed to oxidize organic water contaminants and can also tell us the measurement of chemicals (both organic and non-organic) present in the water. With an increased COD, there is an increase in water pollution, so a decreased COD would show us less water pollution. When the water lilies were added to the pot in the experiment, the DO decreased, but that was due to the oxygen being consumed by the plants. Once the plants started to produce their own oxygen, the levels began rising again. As time went on, the COD slowly decreased once the water lilies were added. When it came to the addition of soap, the lilies could still help maintain good COD and DO levels, but it just took longer. Being easy to obtain and care for aren’t the only reasons that lilies would make good filters, they have also been shown to absorb large quantities of heavy and poisonous metals that could be found in the water. Even with the pros, some downsides could be that there isn’t very extensive research done in how well these plants would be at filtering water and not very many scientific articles assist in singing their praises, which could make some of us wary about using something like this. Also, the lilies are temperature dependent. The colder it is, the less effective they are.
These with many other techniques are all good methods to purifying or filtering water. The way that Indigenous people could take advantage of their material surroundings and supply themselves with drinkable water is not lost information. This just shows that we do not require or even need assistance from the kkkolonizer’s illegitimate white power state for the necessities to life. There is no need to resort to difficult or expensive methods to solve this colonial contradiction either, Colonized people understand that we can’t trust these colonizers with purifying our water sources. We must take advantage of this knowledge that those Indigenous to the land left for us so that we can liberate the land and ALL Colonized people!
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