If God ever joined us puny humans on Earth, the first and foremost issue to grab his time and attention, would be clean water. Figures differ, but in general, as many as 1.5 million people die due to diarrhea-related illnesses every year. The unavailability of clean drinking water is the main culprit. In fact, diarrhea kills more children than measles, malaria, and even AIDS. But a new invention seeks to solve this problem forever.
They call it the LifeStraw. It was designed by a Swiss company Vester-gaard Frandsen in 2005. It was named as the Invention of the Century by Gizmag. It was also recognized as the Invention of 2005 by Time Magazine. Forbes called it ‘one of the ten things that will change the way we live’. So how does this widely recognized and appreciated device work? Let’s take a look.
LifeStraw is actually a 23.5 centimeter long tube-like structure made of plastic. It has a string attached to it which allows you to wear it around your neck. How do you use it? Extremely simple. You dip the tube into the water source from one end and simply suck on the other end. When you suck on a LifeStraw, water is pushed through hollow fibers consisting of pores less than 0.2 microns in size. Dirt, bacteria, and parasites get trapped in the fibers allowing clean filtered water to pass.
According to the makers, a single LifeStraw will be able to purify nearly 1000 liters of water. At a rate of around 2.5 liters water a day, the device would last for a year at least. However, there are no replacement parts available for the device. You have to buy a new one every time. There’s also the bigger LifeStraw Family which can provide pure water for a family for almost three years. The best part about LifeStraw is that it requires no electricity or battery power.
The price of a LifeStraw varies but you can buy it for around $20 to $25. However, humanitarian groups and NGOs can get it for a much cheaper price at around $6.50. The bigger model, LifeStraw Family, can be purchased by such groups and organizations for about $25. But in 2011, Vestergaard Frandsen decided to simply give away LifeStraw to Kenyans. At least one million units were distributed in Kenya that year. Kenyans usually burn carbon to boil water in order to clean it. By giving them LifeStraw for free, the company is earning carbon credits by encouraging communities in Kenya to save on wood. When it comes to addressing the global clean water crisis, LifeStraw is nothing short of a revolution.
(Featured Image Credit: eartheasy.com)