Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where there is a will, there definitely is a way...

Crystal droplets fall from above
Make earth lively and spread love
Such are mother nature's abundances for everyone
How can we divide rich and poor and deprive someone

Water has always been taught as one of the basic necessities of life. The quality of water? It still is a question mark for the slum and poverty-stricken areas. Lack of clean drinking water is becoming lethal for human beings. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), more than 750 million people don’t have access to safe, clean water. Every day, nearly 2,000 children under the age of five die from diseases directly linked to contaminated water. As per World Health Organization (WHO), 1.6 million people die every year from diarrhea and other water borne diseases attributable to lack of access to safe drinking water; mostly in developing countries.

Besides skipping the statistical data and relying on the health organizations, have we ever thought of taking an initiative in improving the present situation? 

Suprio Das, working as an engineer as quite a few of us, quit his job of twenty years to work for a bigger cause: creating low cost devices to provide potable water for people living in poverty. He worked in slum areas near Calcutta to have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the slum dwellers. He had to overcome various challenges in his quest to provide chlorinated water namely the various sizes of containers used to fill water, the varying flow rate of water found at different sources of water, unreliable electricity in most slum areas, no repairing facilities hence no moving parts to be used, accurate dose of chlorine and no behavioral change in the method of water collection.
Suprio Das with his dream

Though it was not an easy task but within a period of three years Mr. Das invented the Zimba chlorine doser. His work was acknowledged by MIT and Stanford University co-studied the device's technical viability in the slums of Dhaka where it has, now, been providing clean water to slum dwellers for the past 10 months.

Simple functioning of Zimba Chlorine Doser

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Suprio Das has done a recommendable work for the people dwelling in areas with little or no aid of potable water. He has also set an example for the educated youth busy climbing the corporate ladder to spare some time and think of the challenges faced by the other parts of society. His work inspires us to take initiatives beyond regular 9 to 5 routine in order to lead a meaningful life.

While most of us think that developed countries have better technologies and resources to overcome these challenges. Suprio Das has given a challenge by providing clean drinking water at the minimal expense of Rs 5 or $0.09 for treating 10,000 liters of water compared to the cost estimate by the WHO (shown below).

(source: official WHO website)

Reminds me of a saying by Martin Luther King, Jr. "Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?" 

 No pay check can ever bring satisfaction as deep as these smiles... Being the reason behind, what could bring more meaning to our eyes and lives.

Watch the speaker narrate their riveting story of innovation on:

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.

All the photographs have been taken from Google.