I am always on the out look for the simplest idea to solve the biggest problems. I loved the Solar Lights made from a simple pop bottle making it possible for those on low incomes to enjoy light within their homes. I live in a home that has plenty of windows, strong walls and electricity on demand. I am so used to this luxury, that I use it without even thinking. Another luxury that I use, misuse and waste on a daily basis is water. While I think I am fairly conservative with my water use by the standards of those around me (I usually make my kids all share the same bath water, do not water my lawn, and make sure my showers are not too long) I am fully aware of the fact that I waste much of this precious resource that so many in the world work so hard to get. I find it amazing that in South Africa, “the population is growing four times faster than the water supply and where women collectively walk the equivalent of going to the moon and back sixteen times a day to fetch water for their families.” (Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke)
Sixteen times! And here I am able to walk for less than a minute to do laundry, drink clean water, have a bath and even fill a wading pool. Not only is access to water alone an issue for many in the world, the other issue is that much of the water that is available, is unsafe to drink. I admire organizations like “Ryan’s Well” and the LDS Humanitarian Services and all other organizations that have made an effort to help dig wells for remote villages around the world. I am always excited when I stumble across a simple (inexpensive) solution for a big problem. Such was my excitement when I read about SODIS
SODIS, or Solar Water Disinfection is a simple method of purifying water using only a bottle and the sun! You might be thinking that the bottle you will need would be an expensive specialty bottle created for that reason, but it is not. Any simple PET bottle will work. All you need to do is wash out the PET bottle, fill it two thirds full, shake it 20 seconds, fill the rest of the way full and put the cap on. This bottle is now left outside in the sun on a preferably reflective sloped surface (like a tin roof but any surface will do) for 6 hours if it is sunny or 2 days if it cloudy.
After the allotted time, the water in the bottle is safe to drink, having killed 99.4 percent of fecal coliform in water. I love it! The great news is that since 1980 when this method was first discovered by Professor Aftim Acra, there have been millions of lives saved using this simple procedure, making drinkable water just a little more attainable to those who otherwise would be drinking contaminated water.