TwoThirds Water may be a small for-profit social enterprise, but they have big plans when it comes to providing some of the world’s driest areas with clean drinking water. The cleverly named venture (two thirds is the ratio of water to land on the earth) has unveiled a remarkably simple water filtration device called Tapp.
Tapp’s diminutive design allows it to be used in a wide variety of applications, making it ideal as a component of a survival kit for those who love escaping off the grid, or acting as a personal water filtration system in areas where water may be plentiful, but also brackish and swarming with all manner of organisms.
The way it works is simple enough: Tapp uses a micro-membrane technology called hollow fibre microfiltration (a technology that was originally developed for medical applications). The advanced filter can be used to quickly remove as much as 99.9% of bacteria and other detritus from the water – turning water that can make you violently ill into a refreshing and hydrating beverage that is nearly completely pure. The best part is, the filter is easy to clean and can be used indefinitely.
Sometimes it the simplest of things that can have the greatest impact, especially in areas that are prone to the greatest amount of suffering. In the developing world, dirty water is one of the leading causes of disease propagation, parasitic and bacterial infection, and death. It’s strange to think how something that the western world takes so much for granted (access to clean water) can be so scarce in certain parts of the world that people are forced to drink from contaminated water sources or drink nothing at all.
Many municipalities in Africa don’t have the resources for building and maintaining proper water treatment plants, nor do they have the resources to procure top of the line membrane filtration or industrial water filters capable of providing clean drinking water for a large number of people.
Many humanitarian organizations raise and contribute funds to the building of wells – but such endeavors aren’t as easy as simply digging a hole in the ground and stumbling on a water source. Nor are they capable of impacting the lives of people on a very large scale.
To that end, a portable water filtration device like Tapp can go a long way to curbing the spread of disease through contaminated water. As much good as it’s capable of a product like Tapp is by no means an ultimate solution to ensuring water cleanliness in the developing world. Until such time as things like infrastructure improves however, Tapp is a fast and inexpensive way to help millions of people drink clean water each and every day.
It’s not only regions in Africa that stand to benefit from a product like Tapp. Think about any of the several major natural disasters that have occurred over the last decade or two. The tsunami in Asia, the earthquakes in Haiti – both calamities resulted in the immediate cessation of services leaving millions of people without things like heat, electricity and of course, drinkable water. A handheld filtration system like Tapp can be quickly disseminated to victims of disasters along with rations and first aid kits, helping to prevent the waterborne illnesses that generally propagate after such disasters. These illnesses put a strain on an already taxed system.
Closer to home, a versatile water filtration system would have been invaluable in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, after which the world witnessed the shocking inefficiencies of FEMA (by some accounts, it took the organization several days to get clean water to the area). With Tapp, residents could have provided themselves with clean drinking water until such time as the authorities could evacuate them.
All told, ingenious innovations like Tapp help to provide the necessities of life in times of great distress; and while it is not the permanent solution to the issue of clean drinking water throughout the world, it’s a start. It gives one hope seeing a low-cost, versatile product that can turn the lives of many around, until such time as every man, woman, and child the world over can turn on a tap and enjoy a clean drink of water without worry.