A book with pages that can kill more than 99% of bacteria while also educating communities on safe water habits has passed multiple trials in countries such as Ghana, Bangladesh and South Africa. What's more the book is very cheap to produce and one copy can filter sufficient water for an individuals needs for a full four years!

This extraordinary concept is the result of Dr Teri Dankovich's work over several years. Dr Dankovich, now a postdoctural researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh developed and tested the concept at McGill University in Canada and at the University of Virginia. Like Liter of Light, the concept is wonderfully simple:

  • Impregnate paper similar to that used in coffee filters with nanoparticles of silver or copper that kill bacteria.
  • Print advice on safe drinking habits on to the pages.
  • Bind the pages into a book.
  • Provide the book to any one of the 663 million people around the world without access to safe water, along with a simple filter holder designed to fit local containers.
  • Watch severely contaminated water be transformed into water of similar purity to that which comes out of US taps (with only tiny amounts of silver and copper leaching into the water, well within safety limits).

This is the future that Dr Dankovich and her team envisage. At the moment they are still making the paper in the lab by hand, but considering the apparent overwhelming success of the trials, let us hope that these "books" are soon in wide distribution where needed.

More on this at the BBC and waterislife.com

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