In Tanzania, clean drinking water is a rare resource because the water most locals have access to is contaminated. Current filtering systems get rid of only 97 per cent of contaminants, that is until local chemical engineer, Askwar Hilonga invented his own water filtering system, which removes 99.999 per cent of contaminants and is significantly cheaper than what’s on the market.
Recently awarded with London Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, the filtering system provides a low-cost and accessible solution to Tanzania’s water problem. It operates with sand and nanotechnology – a field Hilonga is particularly interested in having obtained a PhD in nanotechnology in South Korea.
The water is first filtered through sand buckets to catch all the larger debris and organisms before it goes through nano materials to remove heavier metals and chemical pollutants, bacteria or viruses. Hilonga is using the prize money to purchase the materials in bulk, which will enable him to greatly reduce the cost of the filter. For those who still cannot afford the filter, there are stations available to purchase filtered water at a low price.