This drinkable book will provide safe water in Africa

Dr. Theresa Dankovich, during her Ph.D. in chemistry at McGill University, Canada, invented a book with pages that can be used to filter water. This book, aimed at providing portable clean water, could be a solution to Africa’s unsafe water crisis.

Drinkable book” is made of treated paper, which contains printed information on how and why water ought to be filtered. The pages of the ‘book’ contain nano-particles of silver, which kills bacteria as they make contact with the paper. This means that the pages serve a dual purpose: a water filter and a source of information.


Photo credit: Brian Gartside

According to Teri Dankovich, the lead researcher on the Drinkable Book Project,“In the ancient times, people store water in silver pitchers to keep it fresh, we’re taking that same idea and applying it to modern problems using nanotechnology.” The nano-particle technology is also highly affordable.

Currently, about 769 million people around the world lack access to clean and safe water; of which 358 million out of them are from Africa. 82 percent of these people live in the rural area, while 18 percent live in the urban area. In addition, according to the World Health Organization, over 3.4 million people die annually from water-borne diseases caused by bacteria.

Access to water in Africa
358 million people lack access to water in Africa

Access to water in the world
769 million people lack access to water in the world

So far, the page filters of the book has been tested with over 25 different water sources in five countries including Ghana and South Africa and it has successfully removed more than 99% of bacteria. It was discovered from the result of its tests that one page can clean up to 100 litres of water, that is, a book could filter one person’s water supply for four years.

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