Subh-e-Nau Magazine

Water Issues Poisoning Life    

Drinking a simple glass of water, if one is lucky enough to have such a luxury, could lead to anything from a painful stomach to a death sentence in our country. The “country of the pure” is experiencing a water crisis that has literally hit rock bottom – no available water, much wasted and the rest too contaminated to be considered water in the first place. .   

The river system of Indus and its tributaries provides Pakistan some of the most fertile land in the Indian subcontinent. Under the Indus Water Basin Treaty of 1960, three eastern rivers namely, Sutlej, Beas and Ravi were agreed for exclusive usage by India. This Treaty allows Pakistan control over the western rivers which are the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. The water availability in our rivers is highly erratic. The highest annual water availability in the recorded history, from 1922 to date, was 186.79 MAF (million acre feet) in the year 1959-60, as against the minimum of 95.99 MAF in the year 2001-2002.
Presently, one of the major sources of water to the country, Pakistan’s river flows are heavily dependent on glacial melt (41%), snowmelt (22%) and rainfall (27%). The Indus River System receives an annual influx of about 134.8 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of water and snowfall only happens in the Northern Areas of the country during winter. Erratic rainfall and weather patterns due to massive deforestation and global warming is further exacerbating the situation.
An estimated 976 million gallons of water goes waste yearly, which perpetually results in varied degrees of water crisis each year in the backdrop of long summer spells and fast depleting water resources. Global data reveals that this is leading to a situation where Pakistan may be officially declared a ‘water deficit country’ by 2025. Though we already quite water scarce today, with an alarming rate of 1017 cubic meters water available per capita annually, which is nearly at the threshold of water scarcity which is set at 1000 cubic meters. Ironically, the wasted amount is sufficient to help generate five billion kilowatts of electricity, in a country compelled to resort to load shedding in hot, sweltering seasons, and meet the current needs of water.
Groundwater and rainfall, a “renewable resource” – something that will be continually available, and which constitutes the bulk of available sources in Pakistan, is now sadly a “declining resource.” A declining resource simply implies that the resource is being consumed far more quickly than it is replenished. Since the leakages in the water supply system and in the irrigation channels are on the order of 30-40%, the decline is at its unprecedented high.
Massive deforestation in our country and lack of forest cover are also contributing to the lack in rainfall in various areas of the country. We are merely above 2% forest cover than a required 25% for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Changing weather patterns and unpredictable rainfalls are signs that we are losing our place in the water cycle due to our own actions. Deforestation contributes heavily against this replenishment as trees induce rainfall and cutting these down produces desert like conditions.
As is the case, no meaningful development nor poverty alleviation if the issue of safe and readily available water is not addressed on war footing. As one sustainable strategy, by working extensively on rainwater harvesting and related strategies across Pakistan, we will make sure that we are not only addressing dry seasons by storing the monsoon rain, but, in addition taking into stock the most pure form of water naturally available to us from the skies above.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rain from roofs or from surface catchments for future use. The concept of capturing rainwater and storing it for later use is well documented from pre-Roman times and on all the major continents, although in industrialized countries, until recently, the practice had largely died away with the introduction of reliable mains-supplied water. With the ever-growing demand for water (and subsequent increases in cost), and the known adverse impacts this can have on local environments, the demand for rainwater recycling systems all over the world is on the increase. This is being done in many parts of the world, such as Britain, China, Brazil, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Germany and India, where there is enough rain for collection and conventional water resources either do not exist or are at risk of being over-used to supply a large population.
The water is generally stored in rainwater tanks or directed into mechanisms which recharge ground water. Rainwater harvesting can provide lifeline water for human consumption, reduce water bills and the need to build reservoirs which may require the use of valuable land. Traditionally, rainwater harvesting has been practiced in arid and semi-arid areas, and has provided drinking water, domestic water, water for livestock, water for small irrigation and a way to replenish ground water levels. This method may have been used extensively during the days of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Currently in China and Brazil, rooftop rainwater harvesting is being practiced for use for all the above purposes. The Gansu province in China and semi-arid north east Brazil have the largest rooftop rainwater harvesting projects in the world. In New Zealand, many houses away from the larger towns and cities routinely rely on rainwater collected from roofs as the only source of water for all household activities. This is almost inevitably the case for many holiday homes. 

Rainwater Harvesting Systems

There are many types of systems to harvest rainwater. The type used depends on physical and human considerations. A mechanism can be used to send the initial water flow to waste, usually the first few liters. Simpler, lower cost versions can also be made using a bucket which fills up, the weight of which is used to change the direction of water flow. A small hole in the bucket allows the water to drain before the next rain. These methods avoid most of the impurities collected on the roof, and some of the pollutants washed out of the air. In India, reservoirs called tankas were used to store water; typically they were shallow with mud walls. Ancient tankas still exist in some places.
Rainwater may also be used for groundwater recharge, where the runoff on the ground is collected and allowed to be absorbed, adding to the groundwater. In India this includes johads, or ponds which collect the run-off from small streams in wide area. As rainwater may be contaminated, it is often not considered suitable for drinking without treatment. Following treatment, rainwater is being used for drinking as well.
Rainwater harvested from roofs can contain animal and bird feces, mosses and lichens, windblown dust, particulates from urban pollution, pesticides, and inorganic ions from the sea, and dissolved gases. The water may need to be analyzed properly, and used in a way appropriate to its safety. In Gansu province, for example, harvested rainwater is boiled in parabolic solar cookers before being used for drinking. Appropriate technology methods such as solar water disinfection provide low-cost options for treatment of stored rainwater for drinking. Subh-e-Nau has installed many such systems including those for personal use in its office and other government buildings. 

Water quality issues

Putting the quantity issue aside, the supplied water’s low quality carries most diseases encountered in the country. Contamination levels across 369 water sources collected by the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) in their latest report from 2016 shows that 253 sources are unsafe which is 69% of the total sample. Ranging from our capital city, Islamabad to the most under developed areas, the level of contamination is anywhere between 40 to 100%. The type of contamination also ranges from arsenic to dangerous microbial bacteria, and these are responsible for causing life threatening cancers to deaths in children due to diarrhea.
A key toxin and contaminant in this regard is arsenic. Present PCRWR and prior work had revealed that groundwater contained high levels of this poison. The extent of these risks were unknown until Joel Podgorski, an environmental scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Dübendorf found dangerous levels of arsenic in a study published in 2017 by the journal “Science Advances.”
The experts of this study estimate that approximately 50 million to 60 million people use dangerous groundwater poisoned with arsenic, with most affected areas around Lahore and Hyderabad. About  two-thirds is above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended threshold with concentrations greater than 200 micrograms per liter were measured along the Indus River valley. This is twenty times greater than the safety threshold of 10 micrograms per liter set by the WHO.
This study aligns with some even argue that the situation is worse than what is depicted by the authorities. In 2016, contamination in Hyderabad is above 90%, while in Karachi 86% of the water was found contaminated. There has been a continuous decline in this direction which has culminated in recent water related tragedies like that of Hyderabad, Islamabad and many other places around the country. Needless to say, the situation warrants urgent serious action from the authorities and public alike.

A responsible everyday contact with water

Water that we use in our everyday life can be recycled, for example we can save this precious resource after completing Wudu (ablution for prayers) for plants. In the same manner, after washing clothes the same water can be used to wash the floors and toilets. Instead of washing cars with a pipe, use a bucket of water or wipe it with the help of a wet cloth. By doing so, we will not only save lots of water but will also secure our cars from rust and the roads from deterioration.
Whenever we need hot water, the cold water already in the pipes is wasted. We can save this water by using a bucket or other container. This clean water can be further used for watering plants and trees. This water can also be utilized in the pipes can be kept warm if the pipes are insulated.
Latest technology must be availed to reduce the water consumption, for instance low volume flush tanks can reduce the water consumption to one third. Our dietary choices also inflict water losses. If we consider moving towards a vegetarian diet and cut down on meat consumption, then we save an estimated half of the water in the process.
Tankers that provide water from public or private hydrants have unfastened gate-valves which drop water on their way and cause accidents. New laws must be introduced to check the leakage from water pipes and sewerage systems in multi-story buildings, which not only wastes the water but also damages the building.
The existing system for taxation of water does not discourage water wastage, since everyone has to pay a fixed amount for the water they consume and thus nobody cares for it. For this authorities can install meters so that people can be charged according to their water consumption. This step will ensure a certain degree of responsibility amongst the public when usage of water arises.

Water Conservation: our first line of defense

Water and air are the most vital links to preservation of life on Earth. These resources have played a significant role in various aspects of our development since the dawn of human civilization. Almost all the civilizations of past survived due to the presence of rivers, for instance, the civilization of Indus, Nile and Ganges are still recognized by their water resources.
With the growth in human population, demand of water is increasing and water shortage is also being deeply felt. It may be possible that in future, water would replace land as a cause of war. Now the question that arises is what to do in such a situation? What can be done is to utilize it economically and introduce new ways to save water. The aspect of water conservation is especially relevant in the case of Pakistan, where estimates place 30-40% losses.
Pakistan is drying up. No amount of consolation can change this fact. Neither can fancy hotels, money or new cars. Amongst the myriad issues that exist and multitude of solutions, the simplest common sense remedy is conservation of water. This should be at the forefront of any authority or individual who seeks to alleviate the water crisis of Pakistan. The crucial step towards understanding the importance of conserving water requires the thought that as humans we have only a finite amount of water on our planet.

The Water Cycle

The total quantity of water on our planet is about 1.33 billion cubic kilometers which covers 80% of the earth. Out of this total quantity, oceans consists 97 percent but excessive minerals in the sea water do not allow humans to consume this sea water. Out of the remaining three percent, glaciers contain two percent. A mere 0.6 percent is under the surface of earth and only 0.2 percent is inland water including rivers, dales and streams. However, only 0.02 percent of water can be utilized easily.
What makes this finite amount of water go around in the form of rain, oceans, rivers and ground water? We have to come to grips with the so called “water cycle” that allows for this precious resource to be distributed around the planet. This cycle is crucial to life as it allows freshwater to be to start as a key contributing factor in the first form of life in the food chain, namely plant life. These plants form the food chain cycle on our planet via photosynthesis and this cycle also provides water directly to animals.
Simply put, the water or hydrological cycle is the circulation of water from the oceans to the air, via evaporation, to the ground and underground through rainfall and then back to the oceans again. The surface of all the earth’s waters, which includes the oceans, rivers, lakes and wetlands; all release water in the air via evaporation. This water is carried by the wind for tens to hundreds of miles and reappears in pure liquid form as rainfall. Of this water, some is used by the plants to facilitate photosynthesis, and some water vapor is released back in the air.
Some of this water runs into the river systems, some penetrates through the soil into groundwater, only later joining the oceans and thus completing the cycle. The majority of this rainfall water does return back to the oceans which cover 70 per cent of the planet. Hence, oceans are the main reservoirs of the water present on earth (holding about 97 percent of the total) with the rest existing as fresh water, ice or water vapor at any time. It should be remarked that a major attraction point for rainfall are trees which use both the available water vapor and release it during the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. The overabundance of water vapor in the air surrounding tree laden areas causes the precipitation to arise more easily. A major example of this is the Amazon jungle which has an abundant share of the world’s rainfall.
Since water is continually cycled throughout the planet in the manner described above, it is therefore referred to as a “renewable resource”. However, if such resources are used more quickly than they are replenished, then these are aptly termed as a “declining resource”. Deforestation and lack of rainfall leads a slide towards arid conditions also referred to as desertification.

PCRWR: Working against the tide

The PCRWR is actively working in the direction in alleviating outstanding issues related to water quality and supply. Formed in 1964, under the name of Irrigation, Drainage and Flood Control Research Council (IDFCRC) within the Ministry of Natural Resources this department has recently evolved into an impressive team headed by Dr. Mohammad Akram Kahlown. Under his leadership the department taken a new direction with emphasis on research and this has resulted in rapid progress. According to Mohammad Aslam Tahir, Head of the Water Quality Division, there has been an unprecedented level of growth in the past five years. PCRWR initiated a major program of water quality monitoring in Pakistan in 2001 with the objectives to establish a permanent water quality network nationwide which will address surface and groundwater quality, groundwater levels and document existing sewage disposal practices. Twenty one cities are targeted in all four provinces.
PCRWR has six water quality research facilities and are located in Islamabad, Lahore, Tandojam, Bahawalpur, Quetta and Peshawar. Subh-e-Nau’s team visited the facility in Islamabad and was given a detailed tour of the inner workings of the Water Quality department. The department not only caters to the needs of the public but also provides services at charge for interested parties. They are also developing cost-effective solutions for the general masses which includes field testing kits, various arsenic testing kits and removal technologies. Further, there is active development of low cost chlorinators and nationwide water quality monitoring of conventional and bottled water.

Do your bit

         Using a pot for dish cleaning instead of a running sink tap
         Avoiding shower, using bucket
         Availing ‘used’ water for gardening
         Timely repair of leaking taps and pipes
         Washing cars with bucket instead of pipe
         Using a pot for dish cleaning instead of a running sink tap
         Using smaller flush tanks
         Cut meat consumption, which takes twice as much water to cook than vegetable dishes.
         Plant trees and raise your concern at rapid deforestation.
As an example of how much water is wasted in washing a car, a typical bucket takes 4 gallons whereas about 40 gallons are used when a pipe is employed. This is a tenfold increase in usage and hence stopping such wasteful activities at the level of an individual is of utmost importance.
Overall, among the myriad problems related to water and solutions offered from new reservoirs to desalination plants, the common sense approach demands that we save the water being wasted in our homes, in the supply system and in the irrigation channels. Rainwater harvesting is also key n saving water from precipitation. Conservation and responsible usage should be at the forefront of any authority or individual who seeks to alleviate the water crisis of Pakistan, however we must temper this with a strict adherence to water quality standards.
Writer: Prof. Farrukh Chishtie

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Systematic gardening

Getting to grips with gardening is not a difficult task if you simply take one step at a time and, quite often, it is the very first, all important step that puts people off!  

This is, of course, along with soil preparation, the various planting procedures necessary for different species of plants and seeds. Some new gardeners get totally confused about how to start off and can end up extremely puzzled if they study the widely differing suggestions detailed in the incredible range of often climatically unsuitable gardening books found in book shops and bazaars. Therefore, in this month’s Subh-e-Nau, is providing you with very simple to follow instructions on how to begin vegetable and herb cultivation here in Pakistan. 

Step 1: Soil preparation

Mark out the area/s of garden ground you want to transform in to a ‘kitchen garden’. The simplest way to do this is using wooden/metal stakes and a ball of strong twine. Don’t get over enthusiastic and mark out one huge area which would be impossible to weed without walking on the soil surface as this is something to be avoided; it compresses the soil which, in turn, reduces water penetration plus adversely affects beneficial insects and soil micro-organisms. Try to ensure that all parts of the plot can be reached by stretching your arm to the centre. Thoroughly weed the area, digging out every single bit of roots of perennial weeds and extracting any stones you happen to see.
If you adhere to the ‘no dig’ principle, this is the only time you need to physically dig the plot. Irrespective of the type of soil (clay, sandy or otherwise), you should mix copious quantities of organic matter, in the form of home made compost or well rotted animal manure, in to the soil then rake it level, breaking up any lumps you see. If this is the first time this particular garden area is being brought in to cultivation then nothing more in the way of ‘food’ will be required during the first growing season. If the ground has been used before, however, then later feeds of liquid organic fertilizer are recommended. You may want to edge the plot with bricks or other suitable material but it isn’t really necessary. If you are gardening in clay pots/containers then all you need to do is fill them with a lump/stone free mix of good quality soil and organic matter/compost/well rotted manure on a 50/50 basis. Also ensure that the drainage hole in the base of the pot/container remains unblocked by placing a layer of broken pot/gravel or small stones in the bottom before putting in the soil/compost mix.

Step 2: Seed sowing

Once you have worked out what to plant and when (an earlier edition of Subh-e-Nau contained a comprehensive Planting Chart covering the entire country) then proceed as follows:
Very small seeds such as those for many varieties of herbs should be carefully sown just under the soil surface as tiny seeds will not germinate if planted too deeply. Simply scattering them on the soil surface and then lightly raking them in is one solution.
Otherwise, in an attempt at avoiding overcrowding which wastes an incredible amount as seeds as only the strongest emerging seedlings will survive, mixing a pinch of seeds with a handful of fine sand (not sea sand as this contains salt) or with coarsely ground atta prior to ‘broadcasting’ them, will help you to see exactly where the seeds have fallen and help you to distribute them at a reasonable space.
Larger seeds such as those for carrots, turnips, cabbages and celery should be sown in lines, approximately a quarter of an inch deep at the very most. Distance between the seeds and the rows vary from species to species so try picturing the diameter of the mature vegetable and sow the seed with this in mind. If sowing carrots for example, individual seed is best sown about 3 inches apart all round.
Medium sized seeds, spinach and Swiss chard are good examples, should also be planted about a quarter of an inch deep and are very easy to space out at approximately 3 – 4 inches apart so that the plants have lots of space to grow and thrive.
Species like peas and beans are even easier to handle: Peas can be sown 2 – 3 inches apart and beans from 3 – 6 inches apart depending on variety. Both of these popular vegetables can simply be pushed down in to prepared soil to a depth of 1 inch which is just about the length of your first finger from tip to its first joint. Climbing varieties, as against bush ones, will need strong supports of mesh/string, canes/sturdy branches which can be arranged in rows or ‘wig-wams’ which should be constructed and emplaced prior to sowing the seeds.
Seeds for all kinds of pumpkins, squash, ‘kudoo’ and cucumber should be sown, standing on edge (this means on their sharp side rather than being laid flat down), being planted so that they are covered with an amount of soil equaling the on-edge height of the seed. This means that large pumpkin seeds are sown deeper than relatively small cucumber seeds.
Potatoes can be planted in trenches 6 – 12 inches deep, with lines about 2 feet apart. The trenches can be lined with well rotted manure/compost for an extra boost. Some people advocate planting only pieces of potato with sprouts on (emerging shoots) but, in my own experience, this method does not result in good crops. I recommend planting whole potatoes which have sprouts forming somewhere. Planting very large potatoes is not necessary but avoid planting very small ones, selecting medium size tubers instead. There is absolutely no need to purchase expensive ‘seed potatoes’ from a seed merchant, just select nice, firm potatoes from the bazaar instead, keep them in a dark place until they begin to sprout and then plant those.
As potatoes grow they should be ‘earthed up’. This means carefully, without damaging new green leaves, draw up soil on either side of the plant, covering as many as the emerging leaves as possible and keep on doing this at regular intervals until the plants are too tall to cover when you can then let them be. The reason for this ‘earthing up’ is to encourage the plants to form stronger growth, both above and below ground, to maximize tuber production. Potatoes can also be grown on ‘the flat’, without constructing ridges over individual plants/rows but, instead, keep on covering the entire potato bed with additional compost or mulch. This method can be easier in some ways, plus, it ensures that the developing tubers are fully covered at all times (ridged up plants can end up with some forming tubers exposed to light if you are not careful, exposed tubers turn green in color and are poisonous!) and, in the long term, adds a vast amount of nutrients to the soil for follow on crops.

Step 3: Maintenance

Regular weeding is of prime importance as is the systematic removal of any plants showing evidence of stress, disease or unhealthy infestations of insects such as aphids. All fallen leaves, broken or rotting plant material should be picked up and disposed off. If plant debris is disease and pest free, it should be added to the compost heap. Infected plant material should be disposed of otherwise. Keep a sharp eye open for insect problems and treat with organic solutions immediately and well before things get out of hand. Slugs and snails can create havoc so either collect them up by hand for disposal or set out organic slug/snail traps details of which, along with other organic controls, we will go in to next month.

Step 4: Commonsense

Overcrowding any type of seed/plants leads to poor growth – high losses and increased diseases as well as insect infestations. Strongly growing, healthy plants, properly spaced out, weeded and tended are more disease resistant than their weak counterparts.
All weakly growing, obviously unhealthy plants should be pulled up and disposed of.
Watering, preferably with recycled ‘gray water’ or harvested and stored rainwater, is of prime importance, particularly at seedling, flowering and ‘fruiting’ stages of growth. Watering is best done in the evening so that plants have all night long to drink their fill before the sun rises and heat evaporates the moisture away. Morning watering is a complete waste of time and increasingly precious water.
Watering by hand uses less water than other problem prone methods of irrigation.
Do not spray water on top of plants; apply it only to the soil around their roots. View your gardening time as therapy not as a chore that must be done!

Indigenous American Indians applied the ‘Three Sisters’ growing method, sowing pumpkins, sweet corn and beans on small mounds of soil. The nitrogenous roots of the beans help both pumpkins and corn to thrive and the beans climb up the support provided by the corn. In northern regions of Pakistan, corn, beans and cucumbers are traditionally grown together with pumpkins planted around the boundaries of this mixed crop. Such intercropping is beneficial to plant and soil health plus assists in keep harmful insects at bay by confusing their sense of smell. The mounds in the photograph are composed entirely of homemade compost and planted with pumpkins and corn only (I had already sown beans on wig-wams before deciding to use this method. The area surrounding each mound is regularly mulched with grass clippings to retain soil moisture, keep down weeds and improve soil fertility long term.
Writer: Zahrah Nasir


7 smart ways to repurpose your old smartphone 

In today’s world, we cannot live without smartphones but they have also become the largest source of electronic waste due to their quick release and upgrade cycles. 

Pakistani users are holding onto their smartphones longer than those in devolved countries but we are still producing piles of e-waste in Pakistan. While the government should make rules and regulations for safe disposal of old electronics, socially responsible people also need to find better ways to minimize the amount of e-waste going to landfill and unregulated recycling plants. Here is a list of 7 smart ways to reuse your old smartphones:

1. Use it as a Backup/Emergency phone

This is a very basic yet practical reuse of your old phone. Uninstall all unnecessary applications on your phone, turn off mobile internet and insert an active SIM card with enough credit. You may also need to buy a new battery to make it a reliable emergency ready phone. You can keep one at home and another one in your car to be able to call for help if you ever fall victim to a street crime as they would snatch your cell phone.

2. GPS Navigation

Some disadvantages of using your new phone for navigation in the car are; calls and apps notifications interrupt the navigation app, it drains battery and the phone mounted on car dashboard often overheats. Besides these technical reasons, a phone in car holder, or in your hands in case you are walking, is an easy target for mobile snatchers. That is why you should avoid using an expensive phone for navigation purpose. Here are few quick steps to turn your old GPS enabled phone into a navigation device:


  1. Uninstall all unwanted apps except Google Maps, if it is already installed. Old phones are slower so they perform better with fewer apps running.
  2. Install/update Google Maps on your device. This is the best free navigation app for Pakistan, you can also give Sygic a try but it is not free to use
  3. You would need a data SIM or WiFi device, a phone holder, a car mobile charger and an *aux cable (optional, if your car audio does not support Bluetooth)
  4. Mount your phone in the holder, plug in the charger and pair it with car’s audio system via Bluetooth. You can connect an aux cable to hear instructions on the audio system if there is no Bluetooth.
  5. Connect your phone to the internet over WiFi if you have one in the car. Normally a single WiFi hotspot can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, so you can use the same device for both phones.
  6. If you do not have a WiFi device, then you need to buy an internet SIM card with a data Insert the SIM in your phone and you are ready to go!
Watch out!
Distracted driving can cause an accident, pull over to the shoulder if you need to use your cell phone including navigation maps. Always remove your phone from car holder before parking and hide it in the car or put it in your bag or pocket.


3. Gaming Machine

Video game addiction is bad for your health but short periods of gaming could improve your learning skills. You can also play games for pain distraction or just to kill time when you are traveling alone on public transport. Playing video games rapidly drains your smartphone battery. If your old phone has at least 1 GB RAM, then you can convert it into a small gaming machine. Install your favorite games from Play Store, App Store or Windows Phone Store and enjoy gaming on the go. You may need to replace the battery if it is worn out. You can also buy a gaming controller and connect it to your phone wirelessly via Bluetooth for a rich mobile gaming experience. 


4. Universal Remote Control

Most of the modern appliances come with a remote control. We keep and maintain multiple remotes and losing or breaking a remote means we can’t control that device. Fortunately, there is an easy hack to fix this problem. You can convert an old smartphone into a universal remote to control almost any appliance! Just download ‘AnyMote’ app which is available on Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS. This amazing app lets you control your TV, A/C, audio system, home entertainment, satellite receiver and a lot of other things. It can be configured with thousands of devices made in Japan, China, Europe and The free app lets you configure only one remote at a time, so you need to buy the app to have multiple remote controls for as many devices as you want. Your old phone can also be used to run dedicated apps for smart A/C and TV without disrupting important phone calls and messages.

5. Digital Notepad & Multimedia Device:

Nowadays we make grocery shopping lists and other notes on smartphones and we also use them for keeping recipe collection. It is always a clever idea to spare your outdated smartphone for taking notes and watching cooking videos in the kitchen. It can be shared with other family members since you do not have any private data to hide on this phone.

6. Wi-Fi Hotspot

If you have an old smartphone with a shattered front glass, it has a dead battery or it is too slow to run the apps, then this hack could be helpful for you. Windows and BlackBerry phones have very few useful apps, so this one could make the best use of these old phones. Make sure the phone can connect to the internet using mobile data and it must be at least 3G/HSPA enabled, 4G/LTE would be even better. Insert a data SIM in your old phone, go to the settings option to configure the WiFi hotspot and set up a password to keep your connection secure from unauthorized use. Plug in the charger as it consumes a lot of energy on hotspot mode and connect your desired devices e.g. computer, another cellphone and tablet etc. to the WiFi.

7. Donate or Sell it

If you must get rid of an old phone, then you can either sell it or donate it to charity. Online classified ads can help you find a customer or you can go to a local mobile phone market and sell it there instantly but at a lower Donating your phone to someone who deserves it is also a very good idea. She could be your housemaid, any friend or relative or you can give it to some nonprofit organization working for health and education, etc. 
  • Do not forget to sign out of Google account (Android) or Apple ID (iOS) and erase all personal data including contacts, messages and call history etc. before giving it to someone. It is highly recommended to perform hard/factory reset which will delete everything stored on the device and it also fixes minor bugs in OS.
  • It is morally wrong to sell a defective product to someone. You should always tell the customer truth e.g. if some feature is not working or software issues etc.
  • Have your phone repaired by a technician and replace the battery if needed before donating it to charity.
Writer: Sultan Kiani
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