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Suck for clean water

The Lifestraw - created by a Danish inventor Torben Vestergaard Frandsen to produce inexpensive, safe drinking water - has been launched. The Lifestraw is a plastic tube, 30cm long and about 3cm wide, that filters and treats water, eliminating bacteria and grit, producing ...

The Lifestraw - created by a Danish inventor Torben Vestergaard Frandsen to produce inexpensive, safe drinking water - has been launched. The Lifestraw is a plastic tube, 30cm long and about 3cm wide, that filters and treats water, eliminating bacteria and grit, producing drinking water. The system does not produce a permanent supply of clean water, but around 700 litres, which is approximately a six-month drinking supply for an average adult or a year for a child. The device has been designed to be simple, and consequently has no moving parts. Water enters through a very fine filter - this prevents some contamination. The water then passes through two chambers - each containing a different resin filter - one iodine based, the second active-carbon-based. 'You basically just suck the water through it,' Alan Mortensen, business director of the Public Health Water-Bourne Disease Control, which produces the LifeStraw, told the BBC. 'You just need to suck a few times to get the water through all the filters,' he said. Because the device has no moving parts, sucking provides the energy required to make it work. In tests with common bacteria, such as shigela, salmonella, enterococcus and staphylococcus aureus, all common water contaminants that can induce dysentery, the device removed 99.92 per cent of contaminants in its worst performing test. The device is currently undergoing tests to see whether the polio bacteria is also effectively eliminated. The straw is so effective that the company's website suggests it could be used with saline water, and still provide up to three months of effective use. In the filthiest of water, 'You'd definitely have a bacteria-free drink,' said Mr Mortensen, when asked if water from London's Thames could be used, although, 'You might still taste some of the algaes,' he said. The device has already won an Index 2005 international design award, and has now gone into production.

Countries

Switzerland, Denmark