In the age of tablets and e-books, there is one book everyone should have a hard copy of.
It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are, millions of people die each year from drinking contaminated water. That’s why the humanitarian organization WaterIsLife has partnered up with the advertising agency DDB to develop The Drinkable Book.
The Drinkable Book looks normal on the outside and is just a few inches thick with about 20 printed pages, but on the inside the book contains the gift of fresh water.
The book not only contains step-by-step instructions on how to purify drinking water, including simple things like washing hands and not leaving trash near a water source, but its pages are also filters to help purify water around the world.
“One of WaterisLife’s biggest challenges (beyond providing clean water) is teaching proper sanitation/hygiene, so this was a perfect opportunity to not only introduce the new filters, but also to do it in a way that meaningfully addresses both problems,” said Brian Gartside, the senior designer of The Drinkable Book in an interview with Slate.
Each page of The Drinkable Book is coated in bacteria-killing silver nanoparticles and can be torn out and used as a water filter. The pages kill the bacteria that cause cholera, E.coli and typhoid, among other diseases and can last up to a month each time they are used.
“A lot of water issues aren’t just because people don’t have the right technology, but also because they aren’t informed why they need to treat water to begin with,” says Theresa Dankovich, the chemist who developed the filter paper.
To use the book, you rip one of the pages in half and slide it into the filter box — which doubles as a cover for the book — and pour contaminated water through. After a few minutes, the bacteria in the water is reduced by 99.9% and is comparable U.S. tap water.
“Our main goal is to reduce the spread of diarrheal diseases, which result from drinking water that’s been contaminated with things like E. coli and cholera and typhoid,” Dankovich says in the interview. “And we think we can help prevent some of these illnesses from even happening.”
Trying to prevent diseases caused by contaminated water truly aids in the fight against global poverty. Helping those people without access to a clean water source fight contaminants and battle disease means the people who would have previously been ill have a chance to live.
This chance could mean they have the opportunity to work, to open a new business, to expand to new markets or even visit other countries, and have more resources to make life better for themselves and the place they grew up in.
WaterIsLife printed an initial run of 100 copies in English and Swahili to be sent to Kenya and distributed among the impoverished people there, but the brand also plans to distribute The Drinkable Book around the world.
– Cara Morgan