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Treadle Pump Technology: A Potential Improvement


Science is the marvel of the present world and modern technologies are an application of science to fulfill man’s long-cherished dreams to control and manipulate the forces of nature for his relevance. But at the same time, it is also very true that the blessings of science depend upon its application. Let us take the example of a bamboo stick which can be used to make a flute, but the same bamboo stick can also be used to bit a person to death. It is the application and intention that are most important. One such simple technology is the Treadle Pump. It is a very beneficial tool but at the same time, it has a disadvantage too. (Abbey, 2006)

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Treadle Pump

The main usage of the Treadle pump is to use human labor to lift water. However, it has a limitation of 7.7 meters. (NDE, 2008) Nevertheless, it is economical and does not use fossil fuel. This device is used for irrigation and is fast becoming popular in Bangladesh, East Asia, and several parts of Africa. Bangladesh alone uses 500000 treadle pumps daily. (IPTRID, 2000) On average and with optimum labor this toll can lift 7.7 cubic meters of water from underground in an hour. (Laser, 2009)


A treadle pump is a very helpful tool. First, it is very cheap compared to other irrigation tools. It has been reported that this tool is 70% less costly than motorized pumps. This makes the technology most affordable for poor farmers. Secondly, it is very environmentally friendly. This is purely human-powered and therefore it lacks the use of motor and thus no fossil fuel is needed. This is a very good example of green technology. (White, 2007)


However, there is a serious disadvantage. Treadle pump lifts water from underground. This underground water is an essential part of the ecology. With such popularity of the Treadle pump in Bangladesh, East Asia, and Africa, it is assumed that the groundwater storage level would soon fall and cause enough damage to the environment. This is a very serious situation and policymakers should investigate this sooner than later. (Laser, 2009)


Thus, it is clear that technology like the Treadle pump has both advantages and disadvantages. This is completely aligned with the component of technology. There are bound to be good and bad sides at the same time. Modern scientific equipment like television sets, mobile phones, computers, etc. has no doubt improved the living conditions of man and made day-to-day life more comfortable. These devices eased our working conditions, saving time and money, and energy, facilitated remote communications, bringing the entire world under one roof, at the same time entertaining and educating us, keeping us informed about all current affairs, facts, and events occurring throughout the globe, have proved to be a boon on human life. (White, 2007)


Nowadays, with the advancement of technology man are becoming increasingly dependent on it. Thus, the whole generation is in jeopardy of losing the Sovereignty of emancipated thought and self-confidence. Instead of all disadvantages, and shortcomings, it can never be denied that modern technology is the outcome of man’s tireless challenging work, long perseverance. It is a miracle of the human mind and a gauge for measurement of human development. Thus, it can be concluded that modern technology is a blessing to mankind.


Abbey, E. (2006). Polemic: Industrial Tourism and the National Parks. LA: Tucson University or Arizona Press.

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IPTRID. (2000). Treadle pumps for irrigation in Africa. Web.

Laser, M. (2009). Large-scale production, harvest and logistics. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 3(2), 124-141.


White, R. (2007). Are You an Environmentalists or Do You Work for a Living?: Work and Nature. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York, W.W.Norton.

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