Broadcast in seven languages by the EuroNews channel, Futuris is a TV magazine about the latest research projects in Europe. It consists of short reports that only last a few minutes. The episode screened at the Festival takes us to Kenya, Africa, where water-disinfection techniques developed in Europe have been used by a community of 40,000 Masai for 11 years now.
The process starts with water fetching, traditionally a woman’s chore. The village women set out for the nearest water source, which may well be one hour’s walk from their dwellings.
When they get back, water is poured into plastic bottles and placed on the roofs of the huts, exposed to the Sun’s rays. In a few hours, heat and UV rays combined reduce the water’s microbial load - which is usually very high - and the risk of infection.
This method has proved useful to limit the onset of diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis and dysentery, caused by water micro-organisms, and is therefore a viable alternative to other disinfection systems such as filtration or chlorination, hardly available in poor countries. The only piece of equipment required is a recyclable plastic bottle.
Meanwhile in Almeria, Spain, physicists and chemists are investigating more efficient, sustainable and economic ways to produce large volumes of drinking water within the framework of the Sodis (Solar Disinfected) Water project.