Safe drinking water isn’t a given. The statistics are grim: 3.4 million people die every year from water-related diseases like cholera and E. coli; 99 percent of those deaths happen in developing countries.
In recent years, more charities and philanthropies–such as Matt Damon’s Water.org and Charity:water–have grown attentive to the problem. Now, the organization Water Is Life has come up with a clever solution to combat water-related diseases: The Drinkable Book.
The pages of The Drinkable Book are made from a special paper developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia. Described by one of the scientists as a “scientific coffee filter,” it’s coated with silver nanoparticles that, when used to filter water, can trap a reported 99.99 percent of the bacteria found in cholera, E. coli, and typhoid. Each book comes packed in a custom filter box that has a slot and fenestration for the pages. Slide one page of the book in, pour water over it, and get up to 5,000 liters of clean water.
The Drinkable Book goes beyond simple water purification. The philosophy at play is more in line with the “teach a man to fish” proverb than it is with straightforward relief aid. Printed on each page in beautiful type are rules and guidelines that teach people safer water-drinking habits. (Sample text: “Water contamination is usually caused by human waste, animal waste, or garbage.”) The text comes in different languages, depending on the distribution country.