New research from Stellenbosch University in South Africa shows how simple materials can be modified to provide clean drinking water.

A number of innovative solutions have recently emerged to address challenges to providing access to clean drinking water in remote African communities, ranging from the Vestergaard-Frandsen Life Straw which incorporates a long, filtered tube, to the Pure water system that takes advantage of ultraviolet light. Researchers from Stellenbosch University in South Africa have developed an inexpensive solution that uses tea bags lined with contaminate-trapping nanofibers and filled with carbon granules that kill bacteria. Using the same packaging materials used to hold commercially produced tea, the manager of South Africa’s Water Research Commission anticipates these bags to cost just under half a US cent when available at the end of this year, while having the advantage of being portable and easily used.

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