Across the world, 2.4 billion people don't have proper sanitation, 663 million people don't have access to clean drinking water and as many as 20% of deaths for children under the age of 5 are caused by water-related diseases, according to UNICEF.
But Theresa Dankovich, a young chemist, has come up with a revolutionary solution. Dankovich invented The Drinkable Book, made with filter paper that can turn sewage-infested and contaminated water into drinkable water comparable to tap water in the United States.
"Each page is coated with silver nanoparticles which kill diseases like cholera, E. coli and typhoid," the Drinkable Book's official video explains. The book functions like "a scientific coffee filter" and eliminates upwards of 99% of bacteria from dirty water. The sheets of paper are so successful, they meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines for filtering and drinking standards.
Dankovich has been conducting her postdoctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University and working in conjunction with McGill University and University of Virginia during the development of this special paper. The Drinkable Book and its results were presented at the 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition, which is currently underway, reports the BBC.
Dankovich recently partnered with the nonprofit WaterIsLife to take the product to the next level. Trials at different water sources across Haiti, Kenya and Ghana, conducted with the help of WaterIsLife, all had similarly successful results regarding filtration.
Many people living in poverty are simply uneducated about safe water habits — like keeping drinking water away from trash or sewage — so each page of the book also contains information on how to safely use and consume water, according to the book's video. The text is printed with a special ink that will not contaminate the water as it filters through.
"At the end of the day, the most important thing, and really the hero of this whole project, is the technology behind it," Brian Gartside, the book's designer, said in the video.
The book costs just "pennies" to manufacture, according to the Drinkable Book website, making it affordable and accessible to millions across the world and giving it the potential to revolutionize access to clean water.