An affordable, compact water purifier launched in India this month could save millions of lives from waterborne diseases.
Just two feet tall, the Tata Swach — swach is Hindi for 'clean' — is being marketed as the 'water purifier for the masses' by India's Tata Group.
Each filter consists of a 19-litre plastic box and has a lifespan of 3,000 litres, which can supply enough drinking water for a family of five for a year.
The filter does not require running water, electricity or boiling. It uses rice husk ash, a by-product of the rice industry, as a framework on which silver nanoparticles — which kill bacteria — are mounted. Paddy husk ash is used for cleaning teeth and India produces around 20 million tonnes of it annually.
"This [filter] is opening up a completely new market," said Tata Chemicals Ltd managing director R. Mukundan.
Tata Chemicals will initially produce one million filters a year, with the aim of scaling up production to three million within the next five years. It also hopes to export the filter to Africa.