Tuesday, March 13, 2012

LifeStraw Brings Clean Water To Almost One Million In Kenya

Most of us take access to clean water for granted. But for nearly a billion people around the world, clean water is a commodity that’s hard to come by.In places like Sub-Saharan Africa where diarrheal disease is a major killer, access to clean water could save hundreds of thousands of lives. LifeStraw, a portable water filter that you sip from, was donated to nearly amillion households in Kenya last April. The water filter is easy to use, cheap to make, and adds to the growing number of technologies developed by wealthy countries to improve the lives of the people living in impoverished ones.

With a filtering tube nine inches long, one inch in diameter, and weighing less than two ounces, even children can easily carry the LifeStraw wherever they go. Just as its name suggests, you simply lower the end into unfiltered water and drink through the mouthpiece at the top. Unfiltered water goes in one end, clean water out the other. It doesn’t need batteries and needs no extra parts. At least 99.9999% of all waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne parasites are eliminated. It doesn’t remove heavy metals, but it will reduce the murkiness of the water by removing particles larger than 0.2 micrometers. The simple filter is good enough to pass US EPA water filtration standards. And if used properly, a single LifeStraw can filter at least 1,000 liters (about 264 gallons), or about what a person drinks in a year. The water flow rate is high too, so you don’t have to struggle to quench your thirst. 

Worldwide, 884 million people don’t have access to clean water and have no choice but to drink from local water sources contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Each year 1.8 million people die due to diarrheal disease, 200,000 from typhoid fever. Of those 884 million without clean water, 37 percent are living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only about ten percent of Kenyans have access to clean water. The other 90 percent will either boil unfiltered water or, because building fires requires firewood that must be bought, drink contaminated water. The nearly 900,000 LifeStraws donated means 90 percent of all Kenyan households will have easy access to clean water. Because they’re using less firewood it will also cut down on local deforestation. The filters are expected to last at least a decade.

It’s clear in the following video that LifeStraw is a godsend for the people of Kenya. Read more@singularityhub.com

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