SEATTLE, Washington — Worldwide, more than 660 million people live without access to clean water. However, from nonprofit commitments and simple inventions to corporate responsibility and industrial transformations, there is a lot of good news when it comes to clean water access. Here are some examples that are making a positive impact.
- Lifesaver Water Bottle
Michael Pritchard invented the Lifesaver water bottle after seeing people drinking contaminated water after the Asian tsunami of 2004. Prior to the invention of this hand filter bottle, the best alternatives were only able to filter down to 200 nanometers, which is not small enough to block many life-threatening viruses. The pores in the Lifesaver filter are 15 nanometers, so nothing harmful can get through, and the bottle will last for 6,000 liters — enough to sustain one person for five years. Pritchard has plans to mass-produce the technology, making it possible to provide three years of clean water to a family of four at a daily cost of half a cent.
In 2005, Coca-Cola set out to return all of the water used in its products back to nature and communities by the year 2020. It met this goal five years early in 2015, replenishing 191.9 billion liters or 115 percent of the total water it used across its total sales volume. Coca-Cola supports many projects and initiatives that support the sustainability of local watersheds around the world. The company strives to improve access to clean water and raise awareness about water issues.
This nonprofit’s goal is simple: breaking down the barriers to access clean water and sanitation, without which people are more susceptible to disease and communities cannot prosper. For only $25, Water.org can bring someone in need access to clean water. It achieves this with a combination of research, advocacy and microfinance. On average, the amount invested results in a four-fold positive economic return.
- Purdue’s College of Engineering
Student’s at Purdue University recently designed a new water collection plate to be used in slow sand water filters. What makes this design stand apart from traditional water collection plates is the use of a porous plastic that eliminates the need for gravel. With only sand to rinse, as opposed to sand and different sizes of gravel, this design is much easier to maintain. The new design is also easier to transport and assemble, making access to clean water much more feasible for many living in the developing world. Now, one of Purdue’s doctoral students has founded Maki Safi International, LLC (meaning clean water in Swahili), and intends to install groundwater wells and provide slow sand and ceramic filters in Western Kenya.
The daily struggle to fetch clean water for oneself and one’s family is not something many of us find identifiable. Such a fundamental part of life must not continue to be dangerous, difficult or life-threatening for the millions around the world who cannot reliably access clean water. With the help of innovative projects and organizations, and the continued development of infrastructure, we will begin to see improvements in countless lives and communities.
– Ashley Henyan