Banana peels: good for a lot more than pratfalls! As access to clean water is one of the world’s most pressing issues (884 million people worldwide don’t have access to clean drinking water, according to the WHO), researchers have been working harder than ever to find ways to purify water. And it turns out that the humble banana peel may be an ideal vessel for removing metals from polluted water.
Banana peels contain sulfur, nitrogen, and carboxylic acids. Researchers at Sao Pãulo State University in Brazil have found that when dried banana peels are ground, pressed into a tablet, and added to water (or used as a filter), they can remove copper and lead, making the water a lot purer than it was before. Consuming heavy metals like these can have devastating side effects; lead has been proven to affect the brain and nervous system.
Unfortunately, banana peels won’t remove pathogens like parasites, bacteria, or viruses, but it’s very cool to think that something as unassuming as a banana peel can have potentially world-changing effects.