RO Water Purifier Ban in India – Should you be concerned?

The Supreme Court of India recently supported the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) ban on RO water purifiers in ranges where the Total Dissolved solids (TDS) measure in water is less than 500mg/litre. The Environment ministry (MoEF) had also issued a draft notification to all the water purifier stakeholders in India in order to get their suggestions on this ban before it became a regulation. But due to COVID-19 this ban is still yet to be put into place by the Indian Government and it is predicted that the verdict of this ban will be decided in January 2021. The NGT had raised many concerns over the delay in compliance with its order as they believe that RO water purifiers are almost present in every household and it was causing harm to public health and environment as the RO water purifiers which did not comply with the TDS levels contained heavy metals which are hazardous for human consumption. Not many people around India were aware about this law that was supposed to come into place as the virus caught everyone’s attention instead.

What’s the problem?

The main issue with RO water purifiers is that during the process of water purification, approximately 70 to 80% of the water being purified gets wasted and isn’t recycled. Due to an increase in popularity and extra use of RO systems with everyone staying at home during lockdown, this was leading to humongous amounts of water getting wasted within Indian households. Furthermore, the de-mineralization process of water is not usually necessary in water being purified if it has TDS levels less than 500 mg/litre. So, the common people who were completely unaware of this fact were using RO water purifiers without testing the TDS levels of water at their homes. In order to control this problem, the NGT had issued the ban on RO water purifiers in areas which had piped water supply TDS levels lower than 500 mg/litre. Although the Water Quality Association of India which represents companies that make RO systems in India had raised concerns over this ban in the Supreme Court. But the Supreme court however declined to interfere and suggested the Water Quality Association of India to raise these issues with the Indian Government who later took this matter into their hands by issuing a notification seeking all the stakeholder’s views on this problem.

Is there anything more you need to know?

Apart from wasting water by using an RO system especially those that do not provide TDS controllers to check the TDS levels in drinking water, usually these RO systems often deprive drinking water of essential salts which are naturally present in the purest water discovered in nature and it also provides us with unnatural minerals which are bad for health.

Let’s take an example into place, if by any chance you install an RO water purifier in an area where the TDS level in water is around 350 mg/litre, then after the RO purification process, the TDS in purified water can drop to 40 to 50 mg/litre which is a very low TDS reading and such water can be acidic in pH, have an unnatural taste and can be bad for human health in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to ban RO water purifiers in areas where Total Dissolved solids (TDS) in the supplied water are below 500 mg/litre.

Will RO water purifiers still be needed?

Yes, they will still be needed, as the RO water purification systems are usually used in places where the source of water is sea water, or bore well/ground water. RO water purification systems are even needed in areas where the water supply is high in TDS or chemical contaminants due to industrial waste or pesticide use.

How does this concern you or your family?

As the final law of the ban on RO water purifiers is still not yet regulated by the Indian government due to the delays, it is expected that the users will not be prosecuted for installing RO systems. However, if someone from your industry, area, society, building, etc puts a complaint of a violation to the pollution control board or to the environmental ministry, then the government may step in by confiscating your RO machine or even impose a monetary fine. The new law is expected to be stricter for the violating manufacturers of the RO water purifiers. They would have to ensure that their water purifiers do not waste more than 40 to 50% of water in the purification process. This would eventually mean that the new RO water purifiers would be way more expensive than current ones as new technology would be needed to be implemented in order to achieve these new standards.

Which other types of water purifiers are good to use?

If the TDS levels of the water being supplied to your home are less than 500mg/litre and you are searching for an automated water purification system, then you should choose one that uses Nanotechnology. Some of the best water purifiers for home use Nanotechnology which revolves around the use of an intelligent semi permeable membrane with pore size in the nano scale of less than 10 nanometres surround by a charge field, which enables the membrane to distinguish between impurities and essential mineral to provide you with the purest mineralised water.

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