KOTA KINABALU, April 4 (Bernama) -- The man who invented hollow blocksfrom oil palm shells has come up with a new invention which he says willsolve the problem affecting the drainage system in tropical countries --drains becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes because of stagnant water.
Dr Mohamed Abdul Mannan, associate professor at the School of Engineeringand Information Technology of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), said thatthe new drain system uses "interlocking blocks" which are stacked togetherto form the drain wall.
In between the stacks are small openings, which allow the surrounding soilto absorb whatever water remaining in the drain, he said.
"This is a self-drying drain system. With this system, the stagnant waterin the drain as found in many conventional drain system will no longer bea problem," he told Bernama.
Showing pictures of stagnant water in the conventional drain system in thestate, he said that he was sure that such problem could be addressed bythe new drain design.
Besides the self-drying features, the new design is also cost-effectiveand easier to maintain.
"Unlike the conventional drain system, the new design does not need anyrod to strengthen the wall. Rather, it strengthens itself by the force ofgravity," he said.
Other benefits of the system is that it will be easier and faster tomaintain.
Dr Mannan estimated that two persons will be able to complete 30 to 35 sqm of wall area a day without the use of any machinery.
"If there is any damage to certain sections of the drain walls, you onlyneed to dismantle that portion, take out the block and put in a new one,"he said.
It also has its aesthetic value because the block creates a "wavy effect"on the walls and if one wishes to beautify it further, they can paint theblocks with colours, he said.
"But, most importantly, the system is environmental-friendly...it preventsthe breeding of mosquitoes," he said.
Mosquito-breeding in the conventional drain system in Asia and Africaposes serious global health concerns, he said.
Besides conventional crushed stone or bricks, oil palm shell solid wastecan also be used as the coarse aggregate to construct the blocks.
Dr Mannan, whose oil palm shell hollow blocks won UMS a gold medal at lastyear's 32nd International Exhibition on Inventions in Geneva, said thatthe drain design would also be one of UMS' entry into this year's Genevaexhibition to be held from Wednesday to Sunday.
"It feels so good having invented something useful. Winning in Geneva willbe a bonus but if not, the feeling will still be good because theinvention brings benefit to the people," he said.
Dr Mannan hoped his invention would attract the attention of the releventauthorities in Malaysia and would consider implementing it in the country.