Local communities in Columbia are lacking access to safe drinking water, principally due to mercury pollution and pathogens. Circumstances are such that access to a well-managed piped water supply system are not possible and therefore the communities require local low-cost point-of-use treatment. The objectives of the adsorbing Filters for REmoving pathogenS and Heavy metals in WATER project (FRESHWATER) are:
(i) to cocreate/codesign with local community members in deprived areas in Colombia adsorbing filters, sourcing local plant and other materials as feedstock;
(ii) to integrate these into adsorbing filters creating a robust and reliable water filtration system able to produce safe and clean drinking water, monitored by easy-to-use and easy-to-read quality control mechanisms, and
(iii) to develop a two-way working relationship with a “community champion” to outlast the duration of the project.
Using the engineering skills and knowledge of the Experienced Researcher and the host supervisory team at the University of Bath, UK, the project will lead to improve the quality of the water in low-income communities as well as in humanitarian crises, thus lowering the burden of waterborne diseases. This approach will be adoptable in a wider context in other poor communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. To cocreate/codesign the adsorbent, frequent field studies in one low-income community in Colombia will be undertaken during the project, in partnership with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota.
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