Will Terry Dankovich’s “Drinkable Book” finally solve the reliability problem of safe drinking water supply for the world’s poorest citizens?
By: Ringo Bones
By last count, as many as 358-million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have a reliable access to safe clean drinking water. The good news is researchers have just come up with a book on water safety whose very pages can be used to filter water to make it safe to drink. Results of the trials done in 25 contaminated water sites in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Haiti and Bangladesh showed that the said book, which contains tiny particles of copper and silver, could eliminate over 99-percent of disease-causing bacteria as stated in the results of the project unveiled at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting that began back in August 16, 2015.
Teri Dankovich, from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, who has been leading the research on what she calls “The Drinkable Book”, said in one trial that they tested a ditch contaminated with sewage that contained millions of disease-causing bacteria. Dankovich said: “even if highly contaminated water sources like the one we tested, we can achieve 99.9-percent purity with our silver-and-copper nanoparticle paper, bringing bacteria levels down comparable to those found in United States’ tap water”.
Each paper of the pages in the Drinkable Book is embedded with silver and copper nanoparticles. The pages contain instructions in English and the local language the book is destined to. Water is poured and filtered through the pages themselves. One page can purify up to 100 liters – about 26 gallons – of water and one book can supply one person’s drinking water needs for about 4 years, the researchers said. The researchers currently make the books themselves – but are now looking to ramp up production and send the books to local communities.