‘Drinkable Book’ Makes Sewage Water Fit For Drinking, Aims To Solve Water Crisis In Developing Countries

Image credits(left): noemalab

Follow Us On

When two entirely unrelated words as ‘drinkable’ and ‘book’ are put together side by side, it takes us quite a while to grasp the practicality of the product it designates. However bizarre it might sound, the ‘ Drinkable Book ’ is undoubtedly a revolutionary invention.

Manufactured by a group of researchers in the USA, in collaboration with non-profit organisation WATERisLIFE, the ‘Drinkable Book’ is ensuring clean drinking water in developing countries of Africa and Asia.

Drinkable Book in the Science Museum, London

So what exactly is ‘ Drinkable Book ’?

It’s the first ever manual that provides safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education — all in one! Each page is a literal water filter inscribed with hygiene and sanitation education,” reads the description of the book on the WATERisLIFE website.

Drinkable Book

The book is the brainchild of Theresa Dankovich, a researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University, who designed an efficient filtration system with silver nanoparticles infused on a page made of cellulose. Later, she also upgraded the design by introducing copper nanoparticles, which give the same result, but at a lesser expense.

Drinkable Book
Theresa Dankovich

The advanced paper filter is capable of eliminating nearly 99.9% of disease-causing bacteria present in sewage water. When sewage-contaminated water is sieved through the filter, harmful bacteria like E.coli are killed by absorbing the silver and copper ions, which have noted antibacterial properties.

Each book can last up to four years

The filter has undergone several field tests in areas like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Haiti and Bangladesh, which face consistent scarcity of clean drinking water. At all places, the result has been astonishingly successful, ridding the polluted water of over 99% of contaminants.

Drinkable Book
Communities using Drinkable Book in Bangladesh

The ‘Drinkable Book’ is a compilation of 25 pages of such filters, with information on sanitary hygiene printed on each page with edible colour. Each page can last for weeks and one book has the ability to solve an individual’s or a family’s water woes for up to four years.

The challenges and future prospects

Though the cutting-edge technology is turning heads in the scientific community, its sustainability in actual zones of need is yet to be ascertained properly. One main roadblock happens to be educating the people about how to use and replace the filters in time. Also, the book is still being developed further by researchers and would take some time before being commercially launched. In an interview with Washington Post, Dankovich had shared that her target was to bring down the cost of each filter within 10 cents (approx. INR 7) so that the underprivileged communities can afford the book easily.

At present, the filters are handcrafted which increases the production time and cost. The creator is aiming for automated bulk production of these, without compromising on the quality and efficiency.

If the ‘Drinkable Book’ is made available globally, it will certainly transform the dynamics of water wastage and recycling, helping the population take a big leap towards sustainable usage of this priceless resource.

Also Read: India’s First 100% Blast-Proof LPG Cylinders Launched; Will Build A Safer Kitchen For You

Love this story? Want to share a positive story?
Write to us: [email protected]
Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

A Group Of Karnataka Women Pushes Alcoholic, Abusive Husbands & Social Stigma Aside, Earns Through Recycling Workshop

Image credits(left): noemalab

Follow Us On

At thirteen, Neela was married off to a husband much older than her. At sixteen, she became a mother, and at nineteen, she was a widow. Despite having no regular income, she was faced with the daunting task of taking care of her in-laws, her own parents and of course, her little daughter. For young Neela, life has never known a trajectory where her voice is heard and her destiny is not blamed. That was until she came under the ambit of Hosa Belaku Artisan’s Foundation and discovered a new identity for herself. The taste of financial independence was indeed delightful for her, but her zeal to work hard for a newer, better life stood at the helm of it all.

No one has ever become poor by giving – Anne Frank

Founded by Kameshwari from Bengaluru, the foundation works with distressed women in three Karnataka villages, helping them to earn their livelihood by handcrafting a wide range of decorative or daily-use household items. Like Neela, nineteen women with struggles similar or worse, have found a new lease of life at Hosa Belaku Artisan’s Foundation. Every piece of item created at Hosa Belaku is recycled from leftover fabrics, paper, dry waste or scrap metals.

Hosa Belaku – a new dawn

“I have been working in the social sector for the past two decades. Since 2013, I got associated with Belaku Trust, who was working with rural women in Karnataka,” shares Kameshwari, a former legal executive. 

“Most of these women were victims of alcohol abuse and harassment on the domestic front. Some were widowed, single mothers or differently-abled – making life all the more hard for them in a patriarchal society. Unfortunately, circumstances led Belaku Trust to close their operations in 2015. The women were left in a lurch,” she narrates.

Some of these women desperately pleaded with Kameshwari to let them sustain their only source of income and independence. Moved by their plight, Kameshwari resolved to do her best to help as many women as possible. Investing a sizeable proportion of her own savings, she launched the Hosa Belaku Artisan’s Foundation in 2017.

At present, the foundation has active workshops in three villages in the suburbs of Bengaluru, namely, Halasuru, Achalu and Kadahalli. 

Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
Work in progress

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,505 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

The gritty women of Hosa Belaku

At the prime of her life, Pavithra’s husband left her for another woman. Heartbroken and devastated, she was clueless about how to earn her living. The story is similar for many other women in these villagers, with careless, abusive or estranged husbands, most being alcohol addicts. The pangs of poverty would sometimes become more unbearable than the constant physical abuse by their husbands. Yet, they had no way to have some respite from the ordeal. Few women did work seasonally as agricultural labourers. The backbreaking toil in the sun would take a toll on their health, while the deplorable situation at their homes would haunt them for the rest of the year.

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

Kameshwari mortgaged her jewelery for Rs 6 lakh to start Hosa Belaku Artisian's Foundation. Most of the women employed in this foundation face domestic violence in their homes. Kindly donate here : bit.ly/hosabelaku

Posted by Efforts For Good on Sunday, July 21, 2019

Society, with its primitive doctrines, only made it worse for these women. For instance, nobody was willing to marry Shivlingi because she had a facial deformity. After a point, her own brothers abandoned her as if she had become a liability.

If one visits these women now, they would be found basking in their newfound success with Hosa Belaku. But, not only the women, Hosa Belaku’s workforce comprises a 19-year-old young man as well. All his life, Yogi, who is affected by Polio, had accompanied his mother everywhere. She used to work with the foundation until she recently passed away in an accident. Yogi’s father is visually-challenged, so the entire family received a major emotional and financial setback after his mother’s sudden demise. A helpless Yogi would painstakingly drag himself from door to door in search of work. “We took him in and trained him in toy-making. Now you would find him in a corner, making beautiful toys for children,” shares a proud Kameshwari.

Sunshine, Lamp and Dawn – Illuminating lives

The women groups at the three villages are designated with three unique names and assigned with a unique task each. Kirana (Sunshine), the group at Kadahalli is involved with paper products, making notepads, bags and jewellery.

The Halsuru group Deepa (Lamp) has adopted the art of block printing. Vibrant, stylish and beautiful handbags, cushion covers, stoles and notebooks are curated with the utmost care and precision by the women.

At Ushe (Dawn), needle and thread rules. Women who were already skilled in sewing and embroidery now earn by making stuffed toys, patchwork products and embroidered fabrics.

True to their names, the groups have indeed brought new light into the lives of their employees.

Suma and Jayamma are both senior workers at Kirana who have succeeded in constructing small concrete houses for themselves, a huge step up from the dilapidated huts they spent their youth in. Another aged lady in the same group has another compelling achievement to be proud of. Bearing the taunts and trauma from her drunkard husband all her life, she has single-handedly raised a son and a daughter with proper education. Her son, who is currently an aspiring engineer, was supported with a laptop from Hosa Belaku. Honamma, a young widow from the group Deepa is treading a similar path, raising her son all on her own.

The only solace

How much gratitude these women have towards Hosa Belaku is perhaps evident from Shri’s unwavering dedication. Diabetes is taking a toll on her eyesight yet she refuses to give up and continues etching her grit on the ornate block-printed fabrics.

The reason for such gratitude is manifold. For the conscious urban consumers, Hosa Belaku is striving to save the environment with their 100%-recycled policy. But, for the workers, it is the lifeline which not only offers them economic security but also allows them a place to voice, share and resolve the problems plaguing their lives.

“They come here and find a peaceful break from their household obligations. Some still face domestic violence regularly, the workshop is an escape for them. They discuss their issues and try to find feasible solutions. It takes the load off their tired minds. The work here is a breath of fresh air for them,” Kameshwari asserts.

“We have been assisted time and again by established non-profits and retail chains across Bengaluru, who have graciously showcased and marketed products made by our artisans. We would like more people to know about Hosa Belaku and its incredible women, and respect their brilliant spirit by purchasing their crafts,” Kameshwari expresses her wish.

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
Next Click right arrow to read the next story Previous