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Clean and safe drinking remains a global concern with growing population and increasing pollution especially in remote areas without access to improved water systems reside. Sand Filters or biological filters, are ideal water treatment solutions for these low-resource regions, utilizing a bed of sand that remove impurities and suspended particles due to porous structure of the sand, effectivity reducing the odor and taste problems in existing solutions involving usage of chlorine or other disinfectants for water purification which are harmful for aquatic ecosystems. This article highlights the positive impact of sand filters on the aquatic environment and their sustainability with respect to a green solution for water purification.

Positive Environmental impact of Sand Filters

Sand filters are natural water purification solutions that utilizes a bed of sand to remove the impurities and other suspended particles from the flowing water making it clean for drinking usage. Compared to traditional methods including chlorination or other disinfectants, this technique is cost effective in terms of economy as well as reduced environmental impact. Water pollution poses a risk to aquatic ecosystem and marine life as polluted water contains harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and toxic wastes. These pollutants lead to poisoning, spread of disease or even death of aquatic organisms. The world health organization estimates that the unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions contribute to over 1.3 million deaths annually. Additionally, a study by UNEP highlights that water pollution costs the global economy billions of dollars per year. Clean water is therefore essential for:

· Maintaining the diversity in ecosystems

· Climate regulation

· Adequate Carbon Absorption

· Maintaining balance of climate patterns

· Reduced risk of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts

· Reduced risk of water pollution diseases

Considering the importance of clean water in ecosystems, sand filter plays a vital role in producing fresh and clean water resources. A study reveals that on average a medium sized sand filter-based water treatment plant has a capacity of 10 gallons per day. So, on average such filter can produce 3650 gallons of clean water over a year which verifies its positive impact on the environment. Moreover, A sand filter system properly designed, operated, and maintained reduces the risks of diseases by removing bacteria and other pathogens from water bodies. Successful implementation of such systems helps to maintain the diversity of ecosystems.

Challenges and Considerations

Although sand filtration has several benefits over traditional techniques regarding ecosystems, there exists some uncertainties related to the sand filters.

Riverbeds are a common source of sand mining for developing sand filter systems. But excessive mining disrupts the natural flow of rivers, harm aquatic life and can lead to riverbank erosion. Beaches are another potential source of sand mining, but removing beach sand disrupts coastal ecosystems while weakening the natural defense against storms and erosion., can harm marine life. Excessive sand mining from these resources without any sustainability criteria can lead to depletion in some regions.

· Transporting large quantities of sand can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution depending upon the source and location of the filter project.

· Disposing of used sand is an essential challenge regarding sand filters. Improper disposing can lead to harmful effects on the ecosystem.

Mitigation of Uncertainties

The aforementioned uncertainties must be resolved to maintain the reliability of sand filter systems. To mitigate these uncertainties, proper maintenance and mitigation strategies are required to enhance the positive environmental impact of sand filters. The strategies include:

· Regular inspection of filter mitigating issues related to clogged inlets/outlets.

· Backwashing is the procedure for the reusability of sand filter involving the reverse flow of water through the filter to dislodge trapped particles. Its frequency depends upon the filter and water quality but must be done periodically.

· Sand replacement in the filter must be done overtime as sand media can become clogged overtime. Therefore, partial, or complete replacement is crucial.

· Sustainability strategies including efficient water usage, energy efficiency techniques, sustainable sourcing and proper filter design could enhance the sustainability of the sand filters.

There are some recent advances to mitigate the issues with sand filters. These advances can enhance the sustainability of the sand filters regarding their positive environmental impact. For example:

· Research has been made to explore the self-healing sand media to avoid clogging issues. The additives can react with impurities to form narrow channels, thus preventing clogging and extending the filter's life span.

· Introducing specific bacteria strains can enhance the removal of ammonia, a common wastewater contaminant. This biological process reduces the usage of chemicals for wastewater treatment.

· Research has been carried out to utilise electric current and sand filters to destabilize metals and organic compounds in resource water. This hybrid approach can significantly improve water quality.

In conclusion, the positive impact of the sand filters on the environment is accompanied by the challenges associated with it but it must be weighed against its benefits. Sand filters offer a low energy, sustainable water treatment solution, especially for limited-resource regions. When considering the benefits of clean water for human health and aquatic ecosystems, responsible sand sourcing and proper maintenance practices can reduce these minor negative impacts of sand filters. 

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