Thursday, November 12, 2015

Domestic water purification paper-new development

Water borne infectious diseases are a major scourge in many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The problem becomes acute when it comes to rural areas where access to clean water is an exception rather than a rule. A typical human being need about a liter of water for drinking every day and providing this to the citizen is the bounden duty and responsibility of any independent nation. Look at India itself which boasts itself as an economic power close on the heels China with an annual per capita GDP of Rs 72000 per year. But even after 68 years of independence from Britain the country's governing class has not been able to set up necessary infrastructure for supplying protected water to its citizens. Though most towns and cities have democratically elected administering bodies, they are all conspicuous by their neglect of the well being of the citizens residing within their areas. The water supply system is so archaic and under performing that average citizens do not repose much confidence on the safety of water made available sporadically for a couple of hours a day! Imagine the situation in the rural hinterlands where water sources are scarce, most depending on ground water supplied through single outlet at a common place. Water is never treated exposing the population, already with compromised health conditions, to a number of pathogens which can wreak havoc and health damage to them. If boiling water can sanitize the water, shortage and high cost of fuel for achieving the same in these poverty ridden areas is very difficult. Probably same situation exists in hundreds of other poor countries grappling with this huge human problem. Against such a background, development of a low cost water purification gadget is a welcome news indeed. Read further to understand and appreciate this innovative gadget called Drinkable Book.  

"For people in developing nations or rural locations, getting clean water may soon be as simple as opening a book and ripping a page out. That's the idea behind The Drinkable Book, developed by Carnegie Mellon University postdoc Theresa Dankovich. Each of its pages is made from a thick sheet of paper impregnated with silver and copper nanoparticles, that kill 99.9 percent of microbes in tainted water that's filtered through it. Dankovich began work on the technology when she was earning her doctorate at McGill University, continuing it at the University of Virginia's Center for Global Health. She has now formed a non-profit company, pAge Drinking Paper, to get the book into production and distribution. Every page of the book is made up of two filters, each one of which in turn being capable of cleaning up to 26 US gallons (100 liters) of water – one book should reportedly be able to handle one person's water needs for four years. After the filter is removed from the book, it's placed in an included box-like holder which is then mounted on top of a 5-gallon bucket. The dirty water is then poured through."

Some time average denizen cannot help thinking that the governments are not serious about clean water supply because of its involvement with vested interests. To day bottled water market is so huge, making billions of rupees of profit for the industry, that continuing the present situation with just nominal progress in this sector suits the class of politicians, bureaucrats and the industry! Since drinking from a bottle of water is becoming a status symbol, those who can afford, seem to have no complaint either. It is the poor man who suffers with no end in sight to his travail. Though the Carnegie University innovation is a  breakthrough when it comes to eradication of water borne diseases, the million dollar question is whether national governments will be serious in promoting manufacture of Drinking Books in adequate numbers and make them available in the vast rural hinterlands of the country. Probably  this innovation will be relegated to a few honest and sincere voluntary organizations to promote which may not create much impact at national level.      


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