Scientists in South Africa have discovered a tea bag filtration system that allows third world countries to easily turn contaminated river water into purified drinking water. In 2010, the research team at Stellenbosch University developed a nano-fiber-filled tea bag that safely removes toxic bacteria from a liter of water. The tea bag, which costs less than a cent, could be the next great invention to save the world.
According to the United Nations, contaminated water kills 3.3 million people annually and nearly a billion others have no access to clean water. In 2010, UNEP said contaminated and polluted water was responsible for more deaths than all forms of violence including wars. Zimbabwe Community Radio reports that Aquacure, a South African company, has signed a licensing agreement with the University to commercially develop and manufacture the tea bag water filter. The company is targeting to produce 9,000,000 tea bags per month, and is said to release the product in supermarkets this month (January 2012).
Cost effective and environmentally friendly, the reusable water bottle will be sold for $8 which includes a one month supply of tea bags. Additional replacement bags will be sold in monthly quantities for $2. When asked about his goals, Aquacure’s managing director said, “Our focus is on supplying safe clean drinking water to the less fortunate and in fact everyone at an affordable price.”
Below, Gen Y scientist, Doctor Marelize Botes, explains how the tea bag filtration system works.