Applaud Ingenious Water Filtration System


Target: Water Is Life Chairman Ken Surritte

Goal: Applaud cost-effective water filtration system working to end waterborne illnesses

Working with nonprofit organization, Water Is Life, scientists from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Virginia have created a breakthrough, cost-effective water filtration system that can be used across the globe. It comes in the form of a book, whose pages can kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, while providing clean water tips in multiple languages and nontoxic ink.

According to Water Is Life, 1 billion people lack access to clean water and roughly 4,100 children die every day from water-related diseases. Figures from the World Health Organization show that 3.4 million lives are claimed by waterborne illnesses every year. The problem often isn’t a lack of filtration systems, but a lack of education. Many people in areas with the least sanitary water aren’t educated in safe water practices, says Theresa Dankovich, creator of the filter paper.

The book is made of sheets of treated paper, which are torn in half and slide into the book’s cover—which doubles as a filter box—and the water is poured over the sheet. Each half sheet can last from weeks to months, and it is estimated that every book can provide at least one full year of water filtration for a small village. The paper acts less like a filter, catching unsafe bacteria and particles, and more like a disinfectant, killing harmful bacteria as the water passes through. Dankovich says that after the water has run through the paper, it is about as clean as U.S. tap water.

The paper uses the same technology used in socks designed for athletes to deter fungus growth. Silver nanoparticles are attached to the paper through a series of treatments, and when the nanoparticles interact with harmful bacteria, the silver renders them inert. According to Dankovich, the book is cheaper than most other filtration systems and relatively easy to manufacture. The Drinkable Book is expected to become available as early as 2015.

Applaud this innovative approach to providing clean water globally.


Dear Mr. Surritte,

The Drinkable Book is cost-effective, easy to use and does not require energy. The book also provides those without clean water something equally important: education about water sanitation. The filtration system makes water as drinkable as U.S. tap water and can last a household or a community anywhere from one to four years.

According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die every year from water-related illness and Water Is Life reports that one in five children under five years of age die each day from waterborne diseases. This is not a crisis our global community can afford to ignore, and Water Is Life and the scientists behind the Drinkable Book know that better than anyone.

I support and applaud the Drinkable Book and the efforts and commitment of those behind its creation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bob Metcalf via Wikimedia Commons

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