Go to cupboard. Grab a glass. Go to tap. Turn on tap. Fill glass. Turn off tap. Drink water. That’s pretty much how we access clean drinking water. But many around the world walk miles to a water source and even then the water is not safe to drink. UNESCO suggests that 1 in 9 people still lack access to safe drinking water. This number is pretty staggering. It’s not so surprising then that Water is Life has come up with a pretty left of centre concept for helping to reduce this problem – the Drinkable Book. What, a book you can drink? Well not quite. A book that you can use as a filter to ensure safe drinking water.

Water is Life is a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs to help save lives and transform communities. They recently worked with advertising firm DDB and researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to develop a water filter in the form of a book. Sounds a bit quirky yeah? Well I think that might be the point.

Each page of the book is coated with silver nano particles that kill any bacteria in the water. Pages are torn out one by one and used to filter the water. Each paper filter lasts for up to one month. The pages also provide the instructions for using the paper filters and are provided in both English and Swahili (the first run is aimed at Kenya).

It certainly is an unusual solution. But one that certainly gets your attention. And whether or not it is a clever marketing ploy or a real product solution, its importance and success in drawing attention to the issue of access to clean water cannot be denied.

Lorrin Windahl is a Senior Project Designer with CobaltNiche. This article first appeared on Less By Design and is republished with permission.

All images: Water is Life

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