Fast Company

$21 Tata Swach: The World's Cheapest Water Purifier?

Tata Swach

India's Tata Group is famous for launching the the world's cheapest car, the Nano compact. Now the company is taking on the challenge of providing clean drinking water to the 894 million people worldwide who lack access to it. The Tata Swach (Hindi for "clean") doesn't require electricity or running water. And at less than $21 a pop, the device is purportedly the cheapest water filter in existence.

tatachem_swach01Tata's filter, which lasts 200 days for an average family of five, uses a combination of paddy husk ash and tiny silver particles to kill 80% of all bacteria that cause waterborne disease. The company can afford to produce the Swach on the cheap because India produces 20 million tons of paddy husk ash each year as a byproduct of rice milling.

Tata plans on launching the filter first at a plant in West Bengal. Initially, the company will produce 1 million units a year, with 3 million units each year expected to be produced within 5 years. India will have first dibs on the product--a big market considering 85% of the country drinks unfiltered water--but ultimately Tata hopes to export the filter to Africa.

[Tata Chemicals via Physorg]

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5 Comments

  • Richard Geller

    @Corvida Raven
    The story of THE RASPBERRY MAN mainly takes place in Botswana, and in researching the story, I needed general information about the nature of the health challenges my characters would encounter in the field and some very specific information to support my main character's spiritual journey/transformation. One of the interviews I conducted was with Lowell Levin, Professor Emeritus, Yale University, School of Public Health. As a consequence of that interview, he and I have developed a friendship. He told me that access to safe drinking water would save more lives than access to all pharmaceuticals "easily by a factor of ten!" He should know, he has also been very active in the world health scene for many years. One of the very good things we could be doing on this planet is trying to help people gain access to safe drinking water. If I can be of any further help, feel free contact me through my site.

    --
    Richard Geller
    http://www.aSiteAboutSomething...

  • Kevin Fanfoni

    I'm not too familiar with this field but it is incredibly fascinating.

    Does anyone have any updates on the LifeStraw? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

    Apparently it costs $5 but I'm not sure it is comparable (or as powerful) to the Tata Swach? I'm curious how widely used it is.

    Also, is anyone aware of Steripen-like (UV light) design for for the BOP? With a battery-powered SteriPen retailing for $80, I imagine a solar powered model could be plausible for BOP consumers.

  • Richard Geller

    We could save more lives simply by providing access to safe drinking water than with all the world's pharmaceuticals. I learned this startling fact while I was researching the backstory for THE RASPBERRY MAN at the Yale School of Public Health. The folks at Tata Group are on to a very good thing!
    --
    Richard Geller
    http://www.aSiteAboutSomething...