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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.

Link to full article in The Globe and Mail