According to the UN 884 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. Approximately 80% of the diseases in developing countries can be traced back to the consumption of contaminated water; each year more than 2 million children die due to this cause.
Africa is especially affected. In rapidly growing cities, up to 60% of the population does not have access to sufficient clean water. In Kenya the problem is even more acute because of the ongoing drought, meaning that approximately 15% of Kenyans will suffer permanent damage due to the scarcity of drinking water.
In order to get clean drinking water, women often have to walk long distances. Even then, water is often only available in open sources – such as rivers or waterholes – and is contaminated with dirt and pathogens.
CLEAN WATER WITH THE HELP OF THE LIFESTRAW®
In the course of the project, over one million LifeStraws® Family units from the company Vestergaard Fransen will be distributed in 19 districts of the Western Province of Kenya as part of an integrated provision campaign. This will give over four million Kenyans the opportunity to purify their water quickly and safely. LifeStraws® effectively eliminate dirt particles and pathogens, thereby helping prevent waterborne illnesses. LifeStraws® purify water without the need for heat, electricity or additional tools. This means that LifeStraws® are not only good for Africans’ health but good for the environment as there is no need to combust non-renewable biomass such as firewood as required by conventional water purification. Thus, this project leads to a more than 2 million ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year and helps prevent deforestation.
TECHNOLOGY BRIEF – HOW IT WORKS
The LifeStraw® Family system consists of two main components: a container, in which the contaminated water is filled, and a filter cartridge, which is connected to the container through a pipe. Through the filter cartridge, the purified water can directly be bottled or drunk.
The system works with a microbial filter which enables users to purify the water without any additives or electricity. Thereby up to 18,000 litres of water can be filtered with one single LifeStraw® Family system. The quality of the water is at least as good – or even better – as water that has been purified by heating. The system only has to be replaced after a lifespan of three years, making the LifeStraw® a safe and cost efficient way to purify water.
In addition to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, this project goes further towards aiding sustainable development in the region by:
Reducing the cases of illness and death caused by contaminated water, especially among children thereby increasing the rate of school attendance
Employing thousands of locals during the project phase and creating several hundred permanent jobs
Reducing the time and costs needed for the procurement of drinkable water. The time saved can be used for more productive activities such as the education of children or economic or agricultural tasks
Reducing poverty and giving people hope for a better future by yielding health and economic benefits
Reducing deforestation and desertification by reducing the use of firewood to boil water