Approximately 3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases, and about 5,000 children worldwide die everyday. 894 million people do not have access to clean water. The water crisis that plagues many developing nations is something that, while difficult to eradicate completely, can at least be managed with the help of foreign aid. There are many recent innovations to solve these water-related issues that are both cheap and cost-effective.

One of these innovations, the ceramic water filter, has already been implemented in nations such as Cambodia and Nigeria. However, the filter is also being used in poor areas of rural Texas near the Mexican border. B. Stephen Carpenter II, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, has recently become involved in producing ceramic water filters, which are made by a combination of claw and combustible material (e.g. sawdust) and then fired in a kiln. The ceramic filters are estimated to remove 95% of particulate matter (any types of bacteria or harmful substances that may carry diseases) from the water. The video above shows how Carpenter makes the filters.

Carpenter claims that the ceramic water filter is one of the most cost-effective types of water filtration. One filter, which costs about $15 US dollars, is enough for a family of four to have access to clean water for five years. It is no surprise that this effective filter has found success in developing countries as well. Since the introduction of the ceramic water filter in Cambodia in 2002, there has been a 50% drop in diarrheal illnesses. The program is already being expanded to become accessible to even more Cambodians who are in dire need of a simple way to make their water clean. UNICEF and the Water Sanitation Program (WSP) were given the Project Innovation Award Grand Prize in 2008 for their efforts in Cambodia.

– Sagar Desai

Sources: Inhabitat, Penn State News