CONCORD, New Hampshire — Books. Spreaders of knowledge, tools for education. Millions upon millions exist, always the topic of discussion, reviewing and even controversy. But no book has ever quite been like this one.
Usually, water is the enemy of paper. Books – made out of paper – are often ruined when exposed to water. But not this one – cue The Drinkable Book. Developed through a partnership between WATERisLIFE and Dr. Theresa Dankovich at Carnegie Mellon University.
The Drinkable Book servers a dual purpose of educating and purifying. It reads 25 pages in length and is a sort of guidebook for water safety in one sense, while on the other able to filter unsafe water into something people can drink.
The book’s pages are laden with safe water tips that will serve as a tool for education when it comes to the dangers of drinking contaminated, unsafe water. The second use for the book is a little more unorthodox. Each page can be used as a water-filtration tool. Each page can clean up to 26 gallons of water, meaning that the book could be used for up to four years as a water filtration device.
The idea is fairly simple in concept – simply tear out a page from the book, slide it into place on the accompanying filter box, and pour the water over the page. While the length of the process depends on different variables to do with the water, as soon as it passes through it is ready to drink.
Dr. Dankovich began field-testing her idea in South Africa, where she started carrying out trials with her water-filtering paper. Testing the paper herself, she found that it filtered out nearly 100 percent of bacteria originally found in the water. It was in South Africa that the partnership between Dr. Dankovich and WATERisLIFE began, and where the idea of the book becoming an education tool as well as a filtration device.
WATERisLIFE jumped at Dr. Dankovich’s idea for The Drinkable Book. The organization is focused on improving individual’s access to drinking water in the developing world “through community based action groups and the distribution of personal water filters, such as filter straws and, now, The Drinkable Book.”
It is no secret that there are thousands of different ideas, systems, devices and gadgets that specialize in filtering water into a drinkable liquid for people in the developing world. Rightly so, since clean water is such a huge issue and requirement for a healthy and prosperous life. Millions die every year from a lack of access to clean water – drinking un-purified water can lead to numerous diseases that can cause death in developing countries.
What is important about The Drinkable Book is its basicness. The idea is simple, the book can be translated into whatever local language is present in a community and no technical skills are needed to filter the water. This might be The Drinkable Book’s most important quality. There is no worry about whether it will break down or who will fix it, and at what cost. While still in development, The Drinkable Book shows a lot of promise in the world of water-filtration, and has the potential to save countless lives.
– Gregory Baker
Sources: Smithsonian, WATERisLIFE