In developing countries, clean water can mean the difference between life and death. Worldwide, more than 1.8 million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water.
Faculty and students from the School study technologies that will provide clean drinking water to people who need it most. Porous ceramic and biosand filters (in which water filters through gravel and sand) both significantly reduce diarrhea in homes where they are used.
Dr. Francis DiGiano displays two membrane filter samples. These synthetic polymer or ceramic membranes can remove virtually all viruses and up to 90% of organic contaminants in a large-scale water treatment facility.
The LifeStraw, an instant microbiological water purifier developed by a Swiss company and studied by School researchers, uses filtering and disinfectant (iodine) to purify available water. Here a Ugandan woman uses the straw to drink water that otherwise would not be safe.
Photo courtesy of Vestergaard Frandsen. LifeStraw courtesy of Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.