BY PATRICK JARAMOGI
Uganda has been selected as the only country in Africa to pilot a project that will provide cheap and pure drinking water. Appropriate Technology (AT) Uganda, together with Enterprise Works/ VITA, with funding from the Diageo Foundation, has introduced CrystalPur water filters. The filters remove bacteria and parasites from contaminated water, thus preventing water-borne-diseases.
â€œThe gadget does not need electricity or chemicals and has no effect on the taste of water,â€ says Michael Oketcho, the project manager.. Oketcho explains that Uganda was selected because of its high usage of open surface water.
â€œMost rural people use water from lakes, rivers, wells, rain water and swamps, while in urban areas, 95% of the wells and springs contain faecal matter,â€ says Oketcho.
The gadget filters between four and six litres of water per hour. It is suitable for schools, households, hotels, health centres, camping teams, and disaster and emergency hit areas.
Last week, The New Vision published a story that most schools in the country do not provide safe drinking water to students.
The garget is less than 500g and can be carried in a small bag. It can filter up to 7,000 litres of water (350 jerrycans) before the filter is replaced.
Dr. Rita Laker Ojok, the AT Uganda executive director, says the gadget is environment-friendly: â€œFor less than the cost of one bag of charcoal, you can get 7,000 litres of pure, disease-free, drinking water.â€
She says the filter has been tested and approved by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
Diageo Foundation has donated 3,500 units which have been distributed in over 150 primary and secondary schools in Kampala and Wakiso districts. Beatrice Turyasingura, the headmistress, Buganda Road Primary School says: â€œThis filter has made safe and pure drinking water accessible to my over 1,000 pupils.â€
Other beneficiaries are Kabowa Church of Uganda, Makerere University Primary School, Nsambya Parents, Namirembe Hill, Police and Children School.