Filtering Water in Bangladesh with the Sari

Description

The sari, apart from being a graceful and colorful garment, also has life-saving potential. To filter water effectively you fold the sari between 4-8 times. The folded cloth is then wrapped over the pot and water from the river can be collected.

Transcript
Filtering Water in Bangladesh with the Sari Female: The sari. Depicted in Hindu paintings as long ago as 3,000 years BC, it's worn by millions of women around the world. But apart from being a graceful and colorful garment, it also has life-saving potential. Microbiologist Prof Rita Colwell and a team of scientists from the University of Maryland in the United States are traveling to Matlab, 60kms south east of Dhaka. Also on board are scientists from the International Center for Diahorreal Disease Research in Bangladesh. Matlab has one of the highest incidences of cholera in the country. It's the location for a water filtration field trial run by American microbiologists. The 3-year trial hopes to show that systematic filtration of drinking water will dramatically cut the incidence of cholera. This is peak Cholera time in Bangladesh and here at the Cholera hospital in Matlab, some new patients have just been admitted. Prof Rita Colwell: In 1998, the number of cholera victims entering the hospital in Dhaka were about a thousand per day which is a staggering number. Particularly when you consider that 25 per cent of the victims entered the hospital and 75 per cent are asymptomatic which means that millions were affected. Female: Dr. Anwar Huq, is also a microbiologist who's been working with Prof Colwell for over 20 years. Together they're gathering information about water quality and other data to validate their trial. The cholera bacterium occurs in plankton that blooms at the same time of year when cholera epidemics are most acute. If they could find a filtration method that eliminates this bacterium, they could scale back this killer disease. The magic ingredient could be the sari. Dr Anwar Huq: Well we demonstrated a close association between planktonic animals, copepods and vibriol cholery and being a Bangladeshi I have seen, when I was young, people using sari to remove particles like insects from sugar which is commonly used to make a local drink. Laboratory tests have shown that four folds or eight folds of sari diffused 99 per cent of the bacteria present in water can be removed. Female: Professor Colwell and Dr Huq have come to see their field trial in operation. To filter water effectively you fold the sari between four and eight times. The folded cloth is then wrapped over the pot and water from the river can be collected. After collection the sari is removed from the pot, rinsed and dried in the sun. Dr Anwar Huq: This technique is successful and can be used in other parts of the world and using any other material. Prof Rita Colwell: Cholera is a disease that quite easily can be eliminated. Safe drinking water, filtration and chlorination and the disease will disappear.
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