Purified Water Made From Ashes

According to UNICEF’s numbers, 380,000 children in India will die in this year alone. Safe clean water is in dire shortage in India and other developing countries. Something that we American’s take for granted as we leave it running while we brush our teeth, but elsewhere in the world the water is making people sick. Diseases such as typhoid, cholera, jaundice and diarrhea will kill about 380,000 children in India alone this year. Thankfully, India’s Tata group is catering to the low income market. They have developed a water purifier that not only is cheap- but doesn’t need running water or electricity to work.

Aptly named the Tata Swach, (which is Hindi for clean) the machine stands about 2 feet tall, looks like a water cooler and is totally portable. Originally design for those affected by the tsunami, this device uses a filter made of paddy husk ash. This ash has long been known for its cleansing properties–poor villagers use it to clean their teeth. The use of the natural rice husk material is a key part of the process.

The filter creates a matrix between the ash and the rice husk. Through this matrix, particles of microscopic silver are attached. This kills 80% of the waterborne bacteria that causes disease. It can be used to purity 3,000 liters of water before it needs to be replaced. It could last as long as 200 days for the average family of five. This small filter is something that is desperately needed in these underdeveloped nations.

The filter will be sold in two versions; both hold 19 liters. They will be priced at 749 rupees ($16.11) and 999 rupees ($21.48); a price based on the material the purifier is made out of. The cost of this filter is cheaper than boiling water (that is, if you have electricity) and 2.5 times cheaper than the competitors filter.

This could be revolutionary for the poor in developing countries. According to one report, “Some 1.2 billion people globally don’t have access to safe water, according to a 2006 UNDP report. Almost 80% of diseases in developing countries are associated with water, causing some 3 million early deaths, according to a 2009 UNESCO report. With a simple invention of a filter that just about any family can purchase, there is hope to see a decline in waterborne diseases such as Typhoid, Cholera, jaundice and diarrhea.

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