Water Purification — A Young Scientist’s Answer
“People are dying because there is no low-cost portable solution for clean drinking water,” writes Sabera Talukder, a sixteen-year-old junior at Los Gatos High School, California. “The top 40 waterborne diseases kill 3.4 million people every year, mostly children.” While visiting Bangladesh with her family in 2011, Talukder decided to help, collecting and testing water samples to reveal that the top waterborne diseases included bacterial, parasitic, viral and protozoal infections. Then, spending less than $25, she created a water purification system. It consisted of a jute bag filled with clay to filter solid materials like twigs, leaves and mud out of the water, a brass or copper mesh to kill insect larvae, a UVc light to kill bacteria, a filter for the membranes and organelles of the dead bacteria, and 30-watt solar panels to power the system. Talukder’s simple but effective project was one of fifteen finalists in the international Google Science Fair competition, and although she recognises that the system is not yet perfect, she hopes to return to Bangadesh soon to implement her project in three different locations. As she puts it, the people suffering don’t need perfection—“the people need a solution now.”
When Bill Moyers, Keith Olbermann, Mayor Bloomberg, and Rupert Murdoch are all in favor of something—in this case, tougher gun laws—and there’s still no chance of it being enacted, you can rest assured that forces other than reason and partisan politics are involved.