A team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur have devised a filter called 'Kharagpur filter' for providing clean water to children of village schools, where students mostly rely on well water for drinking.
"This filter is economical in design and requires no maintenance. It does not need any electricity,” says Dr Jayanta Bhattacharya, the lead researcher.
The idea to have such a filter for the villages was mooted four years ago after seeing flood in West Midnapur where people, particularly children, could be seen standing on water, yet not being able drink a drop of water. The filter is initially being tried in three villages where children drink water from wells. The filtered water in these schools is also used for cooking mid-day meals. After testing for a month, the filter will be tried in slum areas.
The micro-level tests on the filtered water has shown that the bacterial level reduces by nearly 50% and the dissolved oxygen level has improved by 30-50%., Dr Bhattacharya said.
"One major way this filter differs from the domestic water filter is that while in the latter there is a continuous water column, in this, we have broken the column so that water mixes with air and oxygen gets enhanced in water. This reduces the pathogenic microbes."
Dr Bhattacharya said he was open to partnering with an agency to market the product. "But more than commercialisation, I would like that it is used in more places where there is no continuous flow of water.
"The school children drink water from the well which is unhygienic. We will find this very useful on a long term basis," said Rakhi Bisus of a primary school.