BY: KHADIJA KHAN
Imagine sipping dirty water filled with feces, bacteria, disease and dead insects but instead tasting pure, clean, filtered water. Instant filtration is impossible, right? Now the LifeStraw by Vestergaard is rapidly changing the way we think about water filtration. It makes even the filthiest toilet water drinkable. It was first introduced in the market in 2005 after the Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.
The water filters embedded inside the straw turn contaminated water into safe, clean, drinking water. The LifeStraw is a 25-centimetre plastic pipe filter that can be used to filter 1,000 litres of water effectively by passing the water through a hollow fiber membrane at high pressure. The execution is simple, there is no pumping required – just insert the straw into a water source and drink.
Most would agree that access to clean water is a basic human right, but according to the UN, nearly 783 million people are without clean drinking water and 2.5 billion are limited in their access to proper sanitation. Thousands of people, especially children, pregnant women and those living with HIV die each day from consuming unsafe drinking water.
Its ability to filter out deadly pathogens, parasites and infections like typhoid, Salmonella and E. Coli have made it a revolutionary tool for the one billion who are currently without clean water in Western Africa, India and Latin America. The LifeStraw can also filter saline water, although it reduces the life of the straw significantly from 1,000 liters to 350 litres.
Currently, 37 million filters have been put towards reducing the number of diseases and deaths attributable to unsanitary water consumption. The innovative thinking of LifeStraw proves that a little creativity and simple application can go a long way in eradicating some of the largest problems plaguing developing nations.