How To Make Filthy Water Drinkable – Magic? Nope, Engineering!
It is shocking to think that water, something most of us take for granted in this country, is the reason millions of people die each year. In fact, 780 million people all over the world lack access to clean water- this amounts to 12 times the population of the UK! But what could be done, you might ask yourself now. If only there was a way to magically turn filthy water into clean, drinkable water… Michael Pritchard asked himself that very question after witnessing the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina on TV. After experimenting in his garage for a couple of months, it turns out no magic is required. All it takes is an engineer.
Michael Pritchard came up with the idea for the LifeSaver bottle, which is a portable water purification device. It effectively filters any object larger than 15 nanometres, thus getting rid of all bacteria, viruses and heavy metals. All that is necessary is a few pumps by hand and within a matter of seconds the dirtiest water can be made sterile and drinkable again.
While the process seems almost magical and unreal, the thousands of lives that have been saved with the help of the LifeSaver bottle are definitely real. Whereas up until now, people in poorly developed countries had to rely on shipments of drinking water and often had to travel miles in order to collect fresh water, Pritchard’s invention revolutionises this process and provides a means for people to help themselves and survive on their own. Their aim is to have successfully ended water poverty by 2030.
“On the outside, it looks like an ordinary sports bottle. On the inside, there’s a miracle: an extremely advanced filtration system that makes murky water filled with deadly viruses and bacteria completely clean in just seconds.” — Allison Barrie, FoxNews.com
What started out as some tinkering in the garage turned into one of the most awe-inspiring and life-changing inventions of this century. In 2010, Pritchard was named an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and up to this day, he still continues to dream big and work hard with the help of his Colchester based company Life Saver.
It seems like a miraculous journey, but really only comes down to two requirements: The desire to change the world and an innovative mind. Both are things which define an engineer. It is more than out-dated to think that engineers only repair cars or deal with oil rags in the Middle East. Michael Pritchard is a prime example and role model for a generation of engineers who create and save lives. But the best bit? Each and every single one of us can follow in his footsteps.
If you are creative, persistent and have the desire to achieve something great, this is the path for you. A career in Engineering is challenging, no doubt- but all the more so, it is rewarding. Not only in monetary value- it is no secret that engineering is a well paid sector!- but if you wish to help society and improve our living space even by just a little bit, a course in Engineering might be the right choice for you. It will teach you the basics, the know-how – the rest – the “magic” – will come to you if only you dream big enough.
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