Although launched several years ago by Vestergaard Frandsen, the LifeStraw is a great reminder of how simple day-to-day products can inspire life-saving products.
The LifeStraw is a water filtration system that purifies water at the point-of-source, meaning if you get thirsty while outside of the home all you need to do is find a water source and drink out of this special straw.
Limited Access to Safe Drinking Water
Statistics from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council state that “more than one billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water – i.e. around 1/6th of the world’s population”.
WaterAid has published statistics from WHO/UNICEF that state “884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world’s population”.
Regardless of which statistic above is the actual figure, the number of people suffering from this water crisis is staggering. Mortality from water-related diseases such as diarrhoea, a leading cause of death amongst children, is stated to be on average over 1.8 million per year.
It’s Not Only About Survival
Having a water purification device will provide more than a chance to live another day. It means:
- Hospital beds in developing countries will be freed to treat patients suffering from illnesses and diseases that are less preventable
- Malnutrition resulting from regular bouts of diarrhoea will be reduced, allowing children to build their immunity to recover and overcome other diseases
- Traveling for 3 to 4 miles to collect potable water can be shortened by the option of drinking from nearby, contaminated water sources
- Carrying large amounts of clean water that can weigh up to 20Kg can be avoided if closer water sources can be consumed. Constantly carrying heavy water containers can severely damage a person’s head, neck and back.
- The time spent on collecting water for household can be used for other important activities – such as attending school for young girls, or income-generating work for women.
LifeStraw has won awards and received accolades for its purpose, design and innovation. Although providing a great, safe-drinking water option for many families in developing countries the product does not filter heavy metals, parasites, or make saline water drinkable.