Drink­ing wa­ter for all with just a pinch of salt

CityPress - - News -

The Geneva-based An­tenna Tech­nolo­gies Foun­da­tion, cre­ated by De­nis von der Weid, is de­vel­op­ing tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions adapted to pro­vide for those most in need.

“Half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion does not have ac­cess to ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties,” says Von der Weid.

“And yet sci­en­tific re­search is not in­ter­ested in this. In 1989, I there­fore de­cided to cre­ate An­tenna Tech­nolo­gies, with the ob­jec­tive of dis­tribut­ing types of tech­nol­ogy fo­cused on pro­vid­ing for the world’s most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties.”

Twenty-five years later, the foun­da­tion now sends its so­lu­tions to all four cor­ners of the planet. As a good ex­am­ple of this, their Wata sys­tems are used to pu­rify large quan­ti­ties of wa­ter with only a pinch of salt and an elec­trol­y­sis process that trans­forms salt wa­ter into chlo­rine.

How­ever, the com­pany has its work cut out for it. Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO), 663 mil­lion peo­ple in the world did not have ac­cess to clean, safe wa­ter last year, with the ma­jor­ity of th­ese peo­ple re­sid­ing in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa (319 mil­lion) and south Asia (134 mil­lion).

By im­prov­ing the qual­ity of drink­ing wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and ba­sic hy­giene in th­ese re­gions, the WHO has es­ti­mated that about 842 000 deaths from diar­rhoeal dis­eases could be avoided each year.

With 2 000 Wata de­vices hav­ing been sold through­out the world, the An­tenna Foun­da­tion es­ti­mates that 15 mil­lion peo­ple have so far been given ac­cess to 4 litres of pu­ri­fied wa­ter a day.

“And we could do the same for 50 mil­lion peo­ple, if we had fur­ther re­sources,” he says.

– Bertrand Beauté, Geneva Tri­bune, Switzerland

City Press is the South African part­ner of Im­pact Jour­nal­ism Day, a global ini­tia­tive that col­lects so­lu­tions-based sto­ries from around the world. See page 15

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

FLOW Com­mu­nity mem­bers fill buck­ets from a com­mu­nal tap, at times trav­el­ling 1km to fetch wa­ter. A Swiss com­pany has a high-tech so­lu­tion to the prob­lem

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