Tata Water Filter Purifies Water with Ashes


Image from the Globe & Mail

Safe clean water is in dire shortage in India and other developing countries. Without it disease is rampant: typhoid, cholera, jaundice and diarrhoea (which will kill about 380,000 children in India alone this year). Leave it to India's Tata Group to figure out a way to deliver a really cheap water purifier to the masses. They understand their market: lower income rural people who have been ignored by many other companies.

Having already developed the Nano, a cheap car for the people, they have now launched a water purifier, the Tata Swach, that doesn't need running water or electricity to be effective. This could be a major development for the world's poor .


Image from webnewswire

The purifier, called the Tata Swach ( Hindi for "clean") needs no running water or electricity. It stands 2 feet tall and looks like a water cooler and is entirely portable. It was originally developed in response to the needs of people affected by the tsunami.

Water is poured into the top and flows through a filter made of paddy husk ash. This ash has long been known for its cleansing properties--poor villagers use it to clean their teeth. The use of the natural rice husk material is a key part of the process

The filter uses the ash as a matrix, to which particles of microscopic silver are attached. This kills 80% of the waterborne bacteria that causes disease. It can be used to purity 3,000 litres of water before it needs to be replaced. It could last as long as 200 days for the average family of five.

They will sell two versions of the 19-litre Swach container, priced at 749 rupees ($16.11) and 999 rupees ($21.48), depending on the material. This makes it cheaper than boiling water ( if you have electricity) and 2.5 times cheaper than the competition.

This could be a revolutionary life saver for the poor in developing countries. According to one report, "Some 1.2 billion people globally don't have access to safe water, according to a 2006 UNDP report. Almost 80 per cent of diseases in developing countries are associated with water, causing some 3 million early deaths, according to a 2009 UNESCO report. In India alone, 380,000 children die each year from diarrhea, according to UNICEF."

Tags: Communities | Conservation

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