Contamination of water bodies by heavy metal ions is a challenge many developing nations like Zimbabwe face, with negative environmental and socio-economic repercussions. Treating affected bodies usually requires a costly consignment of chemicals and activated carbon. This research investigates the possible use of an abundant waste resource – poultry feathers – to make activated carbon for heavy metal ion removal. Poultry consumption in this nation generates more than five million tonnes of feathers a year, with very few uses of this by-product. This research was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of activated carbon synthesized from poultry feathers with sodium hydroxide as the activating agent. It was tested for removing heavy metal ions from waste water at Lake Chivero and the experimental work done showed that it had a removal efficiency as high as 97%, with a high affinity for lead ions as compared with chromium ions. Upon characterization, the activated carbon showed an iodine number of 520 mg and it worked best at a pH value of 8. The efficiency removal also increased with increasing adsorbent concentration as well as contact time up to a period where these factors ceased to be the limiting factors of the reaction.
Chiramba, R., Charis, G., Fungura, N., Danha, G., & Mamvura, T. A. (2019). Production of activated carbon from poultry feathers for waste water treatment. Water Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2019.388