Monday, August 22, 2005

Wow! Ain't Science Great?

Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping has a good write-up of a simple solution to an age-old problem, clean drinking water.

Gizmag is touting the LifeStraw as possibly the invention of the century. That is an astounding claim, seeing as how we're only into the 5th year of the century. But as a self-powered 25 cm long by 29 mm diameter plastic tube capable of providing an individual a years supply of safe drinking water (700 liters), at an individual manufactuing cost of around $2.00 USD, that may not prove to be an outrageous claim. Gizmag suggests possible vehicles for acquisition and distribution (emphasis mine):

If we (as in the big WE) can find a way of manufacturing and distributing one of these to each human at risk, every year, we could save countless lives (now there’s a noble outcome for the tech blogs and mags of the world to work together to promote this). Each LifeStraw lasts for one person’s annual needs of clean water – a simple straw costing a few dollars will ensure that one at-risk person will not die for a year - now that's a donation we can all make with a serious kicker!

Mr. Sensing offers additional distributive networks:

This sounds like the kind of device that American churches could easily buy and supply to churches overseas for distribution.
I'm wondering how many lives might have been saved in the aftermath of last years' Indonesian tsunami disaster. I don't have any figures at hand relating to illness/death attributed to waterborne diseases during that period, but if memory serves there were numerous reports of outbreaks in the weeks and months following.

In addition to Third World usages, the LifeStraw also sounds like an item that needs to be added to standard disaster kits.

Additional information on the LifeStraw available here.

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