Approximately 663 million people lack access to safe and clean drinking water. As a result, people are vulnerable to diseases such as diarrhea, bacterial infections and cholera. You might have seen that picture of an African kid drinking water from a muddy pond – did your heart cry a little? If only we could do something for them. *sigh*
Well cheer up because Theresa Dankovich, a PhD student at McGill University, has come up with a technique to purify dirty water simply by running it through a specialized filter paper. She has collaborated with ‘WATERisLIFE‘ (a non-profit organization) to manufacture books with pages that not only enlighten the people regarding the hazards of drinking dirty water but also act as filter papers that purify water. In an interview with Tech Insider, Dankovich said that, ‘My passion for this research comes from a desire to do good work for helping others and cleaning up the environment.’
Named as ‘The Drinkable Book’, the book has 100 pages, each with the same message written in either Swahili or English that says: The water in your village may contain deadly diseases. But each page of this book is a paper water filter that will make it safe to drink.
So, how does it work? All you need to do is slide the paper onto the book’s two trays and pass the water through it. The filter paper not only prevents particles from passing through but also absorbs contaminants thanks to the bacteria-destroying silver and copper nanoparticles. According to the team’s IndieGoGo page, the paper can kill “99.9999% of bacteria under the ideal circumstances of the laboratory.”
Step 1: Tear out one of the pre-perforated paper sheets out of the drinkable book.
Step 2: Place the page in the slot, located in the base of the custom filter-box
Step 3: Place the pressure plate, and pour water through. Water collected in the lower reservoir is safe to drink.
At the moment, Dankovich and her team are trying to raise funds in order to up-scale the project and market their product. The funds raised will cover the travel as well as the equipment costs required to provide clean water to two villages for a month. According to research, the book has the potential to clean 10,000 liters of water which is equivalent to four years’ worth amount for an individual.
To make the operations streamlined, Dankovich has formed a non-profit organization called the ‘pAge Drinking Paper’. Her partner, Jonathan Levine (an earth and environmental engineer by profession) said that, ‘Right now all the filter papers are made by hand by Teri or a student in a local church kitchen.’ And once the project is successfully launched on a larger scale, it will be able to accommodate millions of people.
Even though the cost of the paper is only a few pennies, the team desires to raise as much as possible in order to make this book available to millions of people who need it. Dankovich said that, ‘Ultimately we hope to reach millions to 100s of millions of customers and to make pAge filter papers as ubiquitous as soap and soda, at least we aim to try.’