Tanzanian engineer invents low-cost water filter

Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:02am EDT
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(Reuters) - It looks good enough to drink but just seconds before, this water was full of dirt and bacteria.

    Dr. Askwar Hilonga is a Tanzanian scientist who has created a water filter that he says can remove 99.9 percent of bacteria, micro-organisms and viruses.

    The invention uses nanotechnology to filter out contaminants and produce clean water.

    The idea was inspired by a visit to his parents' village outside Arusha in Tanzania, where many people still risk their lives drinking dirty water and often suffer from water-borne diseases.

    Catherine Nanyaro is a housewife and lives in Arusha. She says the filter has also helped her save time as she goes about her chores.

    "Before I had this filter, I used to fetch water from the river, and sometimes I used it without boiling it because it is very time consuming to boil the water. I had many problems, like typhoid, and other diseases from the water," she said.

    The filter can be tailored to absorb anything from copper and fluoride to bacteria and viruses. Gravity pulls the water down through a series of buckets connected by tubes. The buckets contain sand with a layer of 'good' bacteria on the top, which eat the microbes that contain diseases like Typhoid.

    The magnetic quality of the sand also kills other bacteria as the water filters through it.

    The final bucket uses nanomaterials to filter out any remaining microbes. In short, an invisible biological 'net' which stops bacteria from passing through, but allows the water to reach the final bucket bacteria free.   Continued...