Scientists Have Developed a Book That Filters Dirty Water Through Its Pages

So far, during trials conducted at contaminated water sites, the paper filters have reduced bacteria by 99 percent
Scientists Have Developed a Book That Filters Dirty Water Through Its Pages

Photo courtesy Brian Gartside

A single page from each book can clean up to 100 liters of water. 

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Theresa Dankovich of McGill University, has successfully designed a method of water filtration that relies on the perforated pages of a book to decontaminate the water to suitable drinking standards.

Presented this year at the 250th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the book tested well during its early trials. Dankovich’s team has partnered with two international water charities to distribute the book, called “pAge.”

“All you need to do is tear out a paper, put it in a simple filter holder and pour water into it from rivers, streams, wells, et cetera, and out comes clean water  — and dead bacteria as well,” Dr. Dankovich told BBC News.

So far, pAge has been tested at contaminated water sources in regions including Bangladesh and Ghana, successfully removing 99 percent of bacteria. One page can be used to clean up to 100 liters of water.

“There was one site where there was literally raw sewage being dumped into the stream, which had very high levels of bacteria,” Dankovich said. “But we were really impressed with the performance of the paper; it was able to kill the bacteria almost completely in those samples. And they were pretty gross to start with, so we thought, if it can do this, it can probably do a lot.”

Currently, the paper is made by hand, but the team is working to create quicker methods of production, as well as teach communities in need how to use the filters.

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