(Cape Town, April 2014) South Africa faces impeding health risks with the increasing water contamination impacting on the safety of its residents. With our dams being exhausted, chemical leaks, waste and sewage being dumped into our rivers, antiquated and deteriorating water systems and poor management all round, South Africa faces a severe water crisis with damming results.

“All around the country smaller municipalities are struggling to provide safe, clean water – or any water at all” says Carte Blanche guest presenter, Leigh Bennie. Similarly, water policy expert, Dr Anthony Turton concurs in an interview on Carte Blanche, that we have “reached the limit of our readily available supply”.

According to an article on News24 the high content of phosphates and nitrates in our rivers and dams, caused by river pollution, are resulting in an increase of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) levels. These algae generate toxins which, following ingestion or contact, cause damage to the liver, the nervous system as well as skin rashes, eye irritation and vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms.

Lidenburg, Grahamstown, KZN Midlands, JHB Suburbs, Vaalwater, Middleburg and Standerton are some of the urban and peri-urban area’s most heavily affected by the water pollution and water shortage crisis.

“I know a lot of students who got sick during the crisis. Urinary tract infections were real, diarrhoea was real” Says Busi Tshabalala, student at Rhodes University.

In light of the water crisis South Africans are facing, Aqua4Life has taken initiative to tackle the crisis by importing a chemical free, micro-filtration system called LifeStraw®, which provides cleaner and safer drinking water than tap, river, dam or bottled water, and assist in the prevention of illness from bacteria and microscopic parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

LifeStraw® has been awarded, amongst other recognitions, Best Invention of the Year in 2005 by Time Magazine, Europe’s Best Invention in 2006 according to Reader’s Digest, and was proclaimed to be A Water Purifier that can Change Lives as stated by the New York Times.

The performance of LifeStraw® Family household filters and LifeStraw® Community institutional filters both exceed the criteria of the “highly protective” category for microbiological performance as defined in WHO’s 2011 ‘Evaluating Household Water Treatment Options: Health-based targets and microbiological performance specifications. It complies with the

United States Environmental Protection Agency 1987 Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers, and removes up to 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses, protozoa (parasites that can cause disease in humans) and turbidity by filtering particles larger than 0.02 microns. It requires no electrical power or batteries, no running water and is functional until water can no longer pass through the filter.

LifeStraw® is being imported through Aqua4Life from Verstergaard Frandsen, a Swiss-based company committed to improving the health of vulnerable people. The product range is being made available to the South African retail market in the forms of LifeStraw® Personal (filters up to 1000litres), LifeStraw® Go (filters up to 1000litres) and LifeStraw® Home unit (filters up to 4500litres), with other Lifestraw units which filter from 1000litres up to 100,000 litres of water, ideal for rural and disadvantaged communities.

Upon purchase of any LifeStraw® product, Vestergaard provides clean water for a child in Africa for the period of one year through their humanitarian Social Responsibility program.

Aqua4Life, a South African based PTY Company has also partnered with various other service providers including Rotary Int. (Clean Water & Sanitation), University of Johannesburg (Water & Health Research), Human Moments and supplies humanitarian products (filtering up to 100,000litres) to Southern African Governments, GIZ, US Aid, Red Cross, WHO as well as partnering with Corporate SA via CSI funding initiatives to implement clean water solutions to those who most need it.

Though this water filtration solution may not combat the general contamination of South Africa’s dilapidated, eroding water pipes and systems, dangerous chemicals, nor the irrigation water and water sources available for animal consumption, it does offer a short term solution (approximately three years), rendering clean drinking water to urban, peri-urban and rural area residents.

The product will be available through selected retailers and via the website towards the end of May 2014, however pre-orders are optional. To find out more about LifeStraw® products, go to www.buylifestraw.com, or check out their Facebook page.

REFERENCES:

http://carteblanche.dstv.com/story/Grahamstown-Water-2013-09-29

http://www.health24.com/Lifestyle/Environmental-health/News/Water-quality-report-shocks-20120721

http://www.randwater.co.za/CorporateResponsibility/WWE/Pages/WaterPollution.aspx

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/SA-facing-a-water-crisis-Molewa-20120228