Innovation That Matters

Water filters made from clay, sawdust and water boost South African economy

Sport & Fitness

The University of Virginia's PureMadi filter is made mostly out of local materials and can be constructed by workers in the local communities.

While there are numerous devices designed to help those in the developing world have access to cleaner water – take the Eliodomestico for example – not many can boast the ability to also boost local economies. The University of Virginia’s PureMadi filter is made mostly out of local clay, sawdust and water and can be easily made by workers in the communities that use them. The filter is produced by mixing the three materials and pressing the mix into a mold. When fired in a kiln, the sawdust is burned off leaving miniscule pores to allow water to seep through, but not the impurities often found in natural water sources. A coating containing silver or copper nanoparticles is then applied to disinfect the water that passes through the device, removing disease-causing pathogens. The PureMadi filter is bowl shaped, enabling users to place it on top of another bucket to collect the water. The project has also produced the MadiDrop, a smaller tablet-shaped version of the filter that can help clean untreated water. In addition, the University of Virginia has already established a factory in the Limpopo province of South Africa that is operated by local workers, with aims to create around ten similar ventures in and around the country. The video below explains the project in more detail: Considering that a fair number of products intended to help those in developing countries come from innovators from outside the community, PureMadi aims to also boost the local economy by providing work and income opportunities to the citizens who use the devices. How else can non-profits look to lay the foundations for local enterprises in poorer countries? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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