Have you ever thought for a while about millions of human beings who are deprived of safe drinking water, while you waste litres and gallons of water? We always take things for granted, especially the ones that are easily available. Only when one faces difficulty in accessing something, they realize its importance.
Anna Luisa Baserra, a Brazilian, is on a mission to provide safe drinking water to remote semi-arid communities. This 21-year-old realized the power of technology and the impact it can have on others’ lives at a very young age. And, this is what prompted her to use scientific skills to invent novel technologies that can be of use to poor communities.
“It is a basic right that everyone should have clean water to drink,” she says. “But in the semi-arid northwest of Brazil, water scarcity is a problem. I always lived in big cities. But these rural communities need to store water during rains, so that they don’t have to walk long distances in drier seasons. Sometimes, the water becomes infected with disease and often it’s not clean,” she said.
To curb the situation and bring about some positive change, Baserra invented an innovative filter that purifies rainwater collected in a cistern installed in rural areas. The water that has been collected in the cistern will be purified with the help of rays from the sun. When the water is safe to consume, an indicator changes colour.
“I started talking with local communities who told me about sickness in their families, probably due to the lack of clean water. I wanted to do something to help solve the problem. I started researching and found a solar water disinfection method using solar radiation to kill disease. Together with the community, we tested it to create a product they can use which is efficient and durable”, says Beserra.
According to Lis Mullin Bernhardt, Freshwater Expert at the UN Environment Programme, said, “With increasing competition and water stress in many parts of the world due to overconsumption and climate impacts, it’s essential that we find innovative ways to protect and provide safe water for one of our most basic human needs: drinking. Technologies such as this one are a good example of a local solution to solve this problem.”