Eitan Yosef Benson, BMI Fellow

Academic Advisor

Prof. Hadas Mamane, Faculty of Engineering

Research project:

Heavy Metal Contamination in Developing Countries & Affordable Self-maintaining Ultrafiltration Home Water Treatment

Over the winter of 2022, Eitan conducted research at IIT Madras in Tamil Nadu, working in the research groups of Professor Kumar and Professor Pradeep. The bulk of the research conducted in Tamil Nadu was the thorough assessment of the environment surrounding the Hindustan Unilever thermometer factory site in Kodaikanal. This factory was found in 2001 to have been – for 18 years – dumping large amounts of mercury-contaminated material into the adjacent forest, selling mercury-contaminated scrap without disclosure, and storing said scrap on its own property to ensure it leaked to poison the surrounding environment. A 3D map of the sampling sites assessed is provided in Figure 1. Eitan proposes a new and highly critical policy perspective on this topic, ‘The Right to Remediation,’ for both the environment and its residents. This policy perspective will be supported by insights from ecological chemistry and environmental engineering and will be applied to the intersection of national and supranational policy that dictates the regulatory framework in which mercury continues to poison our world. Furthermore, Eitan worked on three other projects during the year: Development of Novel Recyclable Platform for the Removal of Mercury from Water combining nano, meso, and macroporous materials to generate high performance, high throughput, mercury selective reactive medium; the platform Eitan developed for mercury could be adapted for lithium, and applied to the brine produced by existing desalination processes, where the concentration is up to three times higher; and Affordable Self-maintaining Ultrafiltration Home Water Treatment, for which Eitan developed an entirely mechanical solution to this problem in the form of a device that requires no electronic components, and thus can be manufactured at very low cost.