With water scarcity on the rise, a little Swiss engineering may go a long way.
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For years, residents of the developed world have enjoyed access to clean, on-demand drinking water. It's a privilege not shared by those in poorer countries, who often struggle to avoid dehydration and waterborne disease. And as continued climate change and population growth strain supplies across the globe, water scarcity will likely affect 50 percent of the world's population by 2030, including many in Europe and North America.
But a team of Swiss engineering students aim to fight these issues with a new, reusable water filter called DrinkPure. It's a small mouthpiece that screws onto the top of any standard PET water bottle. All you need to do is fill the bottle with non-potable water, screw on the filter, and squeeze. Clean, filtered water is instantly available.
The DrinkPure has a three-step filtration process. Water passes through a prefilter to remove plant matter and dirt, then an activated carbon filter removes chemicals, odors, and heavy metals. Lastly, the water passes through a special polymer membrane that filters out bacteria. The membrane was developed by the students themselves, while the other two filters are essentially off-the-shelf parts.
With a working prototype in hand, the students have turned to Indiegogo looking for $40,000 in crowdfunding, and with 26 days to go in the campaign they've already exceeded their goal. They plan to use the funds to mass-produce DrinkPure and deliver filters to African families in need of clean drinking water.
While DrinkPure's main purpose is to provide clean water to those who have long gone without it, the team notes that the filter is also great for hikers and adventurers. If you want a filter of your very own, you will have to pledge $89 to the campaign, but you can take comfort in the knowledge that your money is going to a good cause.
The group adds that their long term goal is to create local production of water filters in impoverished areas, thereby creating jobs and giving people independence from charitable organizations. It's an ambitious goal, but given the team's incredible crowdfunding progress, it's definitely achievable.
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