A low density polyethylene and polyurethane water carrier, designed by Australian student Julie Frost, could provide people in developing countries with purified drinking water.
Frost, a design graduate of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, won a bronze award for the product, in an annual student design competition conducted by Standards Australia Ltd. Standards Australia, also in Sydney, is the top nongovernmental body for establishing industry standards.
The Mvura water purifier uses solar heat to provide households with a low-cost, clean water supply. Mvura, which means ``water'' in Shona (a language spoken in Zimbabwe), comprises an LDPE bag with a protective outer casing of rigid, self-skinning PU foam.
Frost was born in Zimbabwe.
For purifying water, it unfolds into a disk, exposing the water inside to a trapped heat of 149° F, sufficient to kill most common bacteria. A soybean wax that melts at 149° F indicates when the water is pure.
The container is designed to be carried on the head, the traditional African method of carrying water. Frost said in her award entry application that Mvura is ergonomically designed. It has a curved base to fit comfortably on the head and is well-balanced for carrying.
``The wide lip around the top gives the hand a good grip when lifting the container, and handles incorporated into the band aid carrying,'' she said in her application.
``With no protruding handles, the user is forced to lift the container close to the body, which reduces the chances of injury to the back or neck.''
Frost said she hopes funding and distribution of the Mvura will be conducted by an aid organization that can provide training in hygiene and use of the product.
She wrote that ``1.2 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and 6,000 children die every day from diseases that can be prevented by improved water and sanitation. Large-scale projects often do not adequately serve an entire community, so the need exists for a small purifier that ensures every family has clean water.''