Purifying and conserving water
Water is a valuable resource and every effort should be made to avoid wasting it. Plastics provide numerous solutions for ensuring water sustainability, from the pipes used in water transportation, through irrigation drippers, reservoirs and greenhouses enabling agricultural water supply, to bottles and filters providing access to safe drinking water. To celebrate World Water Day, PlasticsEurope presented a series of new and innovative water applications made of plastics, showcasing the continuing contribution of plastics to water management, preservation and sustainable supply.
Portable water purification system
Clean water is still a luxury for many people around the world. A new portable purification system made of plastics simplifies the on-site conversion of large quantities of dirty water into potable water. The producer claims that, due to its ultrafiltration plastic membranes, the product even removes viruses and bacteria from dirty surface water, reducing the risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses.
Water filter cap
A newly-invented plastic cap that can be screwed on to any bottle is able to filter the most unsafe water and make it drinkable according to its Swiss inventors. The cap, developed by a 24-year-old student, was primarily designed for people who do not have access to clean drinking water, and is reliable, cheap and easy to use.
Observing that over 200 million people throughout the world have to walk many kilometres to access drinking water, a student invented a simple and innovative transportation device that makes water more portable. The producer states that the plastic device can hold 75 litres of water, can be pushed or pulled, much like a suitcase, and enables the water to be conserved longer.
Floating plastic containers are now being used for the transport and storage of fresh water. They provide safe drinking water to islands and coastal communities that lack a regular water supply, especially during summer. This new system is 50 to 75% cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional transportation in tankers. The floating containers are part of an ongoing EU-funded project.
Water-producing wind turbine
A start-up has recently designed a revolutionary wind turbine that is capable of producing water by sucking in the air and converting water vapour into its liquid state. Thanks to plastics, the filters are easily removable and washable, and the electrical components are safely isolated.
Water purification pyramids
A novel water-sustainability project makes use of simple technology to process clean drinking water out of salt, brackish or polluted water. The system comprises pyramid-shaped structures made of transparent plastic that cleans water using solar energy. The developers say that it is possible to produce up to two litres of water per square metre surface area per day in tropical regions.
Fog collectors are nets made of plastics that collect the water in fog, which is then diverted into troughs and stored in tanks. Such devices were first installed in Chile, one of the driest countries in the world. Fog collecting is a totally passive process, using no pumps or electricity.
Sea water treatment plant
A seawater desalination plant has recently been built in Ghana, a water-scarce coastal country. It uses a polymer filter to achieve reverse osmosis and turn salty sea water into drinking water. The goal is to produce 600,000 cubic metres of drinking water every day, for about 500,000 people.
Fluoride removal filter
The UNESCO-IHE fluoride removal family filter is made of plastic and is based on a locally available low-cost absorbent. It has been claimed to effectively remove fluoride from drinking water. The filter is simple to operate, does not require electricity, and can be produced locally.
An ongoing commitment to ensuring safe drinking water in Europe
You can read more about how the plastics industry and other industry sectors are continually working to ensure the safety of drinking water on the European Drinking Water website.
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