If you have access to the Internet to read this blog, you probably also have easy access to clean drinking water. Here in Boston, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority conducts tens of thousands of tests on over 120 contaminants to ensure that the tap water is as safe as possible. Having clean water to drink, bathe in, and cook with is something that many of us take for granted. But did you know that according to the WHO, nearly 900 million people worldwide are not using an improved source of drinking water? Having improved sanitation and clean drinking water could save the lives of 2.2 million children! Fortunately, this problem has come to the attention of many people who have the knowledge and resources to come up with affordable and effective ways to solve this urgent problem – take a look at two new inventions that innovators have come up with:
One new water filtration gadget that looks like a tea bag could be a feasible way to help people clean their water. The bag filters water and is coated in a substance that kills bacteria, while the inside of the bag is filled with activated carbon to remove chemical contaminants. The entire contraption is biodegradable and its inventor even claims that the activated carbon filling is a good soil conditioner. It costs between one and five cents per liter, and each tea bag can filter one liter of water. However, there are some downsides to this incredible technology. Each tea bag can only filter one liter of water, so a family may need to use many bags per day, which can add up in cost. Watch the short video below to learn more about how it works.
Another technology that is being investigated is the use of silver in killing bacteria that may be present in water. This filter has a mesh of tiny carbon cylinders called nanotubes that works in conjunction with silver wires. The silver kills bacteria, and adding an electric current can allow this device to kill up to 98% of bacteria. The amount of silver needed for each filter is so small that it would not be much of a concern. However, this technology is still being developed. The electric current requires a device such as a solar panel to supply it with 20 volts of power, but hopefully its developers will soon have it run on a 9-volt source.
Clean water: Silver threads of life | The Economist. (n.d.). . Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.economist.com/node/17305326?story_id=17305326&
MWRA – Annual Drinking Water Test Results for 2009 – Published June 2010. (n.d.). . Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/annual/waterreport/2009results/2009results.htm
Nanotech and ‘tea bag’ to clean up drinking water – CNN.com. (n.d.). . Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/innovation/01/02/nano.water.filter/index.html?iref=allsearch
WHO | UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS). (n.d.). . Retrieved February 27, 2011, from http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/glaas/en/index.html