06/30/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Catholic University experiments with traditional methods of water filtering

by Santosh Digal
Aquinas University in Albay province, a volcanic region, is teaching locals ancient methods of water filtering. The result is low-cost good drinking water and better living conditions for residents.

Legazpi (AsiaNews) –  A local traditional, low cost drinking water filtering system includes three earthen pots, coal and sand. With such tools students from the Aquinas University in Legapzi are helping local residents obtain clean drinking water in a region characterised by intense volcanic activities.

Legapzi is located only 15 kilometres from Mayon Volcano which has erupted 47 times in the past 400 years. In this region contaminated underground water is the main cause of illnesses suffered by residents of villages located around the volcano.

According to Fr Ramonclaro Mendez, rector of Aquinas University, locals do not have access to electricity and cannot install electrically-powered water purifiers. For this reason students and teachers came up with a plan to provide them with a low cost traditional filtering system.

The method developed by the university and brought to the villages consists of having water flow through three earthen pots, the first two containing coal and sand, so that when water reaches the third it is safe for drinking.

Aquinas University pays for the programme and organises courses for residents who learn how to set up the system and conserve the filtered water.

In one year about a hundred such low tech filtering systems have been installed.

Beneficiaries thus have independent access to water and residents’ health, especially among children, has improved.

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