With clean and safe drinking water still as a challenge, two young female learners have innovated a water purification device that promises to bring relief to rural villages. Mpho Mashangoane and Ramasela Ramonyai – both year olds from Noordeland hoorskool in Polokwane – have received a young innovators of the year award from the HIP2B2 3M Science, Maths and Technology Innovation challenge for this device. Termed the ‘Boiler on Wheel water purifier’, the device makes it possible for people to purify water while on their way home from natural water sources (dams, rivers, lakes, etc.).
According to the young innovators, the device started as a bucket with a filter on wheels with handles (much like a wheelbarrow). In this state, the device could filter large macroscopic foreign particles only. Upon realisation of this fact, they wanted to kill microscopic particles and pathogens. It was then, that they decided to add a solar energy generated element (much like those found in kettles). This way, the device will be sustainable because it will be using renewable energy to boil the water and kill disease causing pathogens. “Coming from underdeveloped areas, we noticed that there is a scarcity of clean purified safe drinking water. Most villagers depend on water from natural sources and this water is unsafe to drink as it is not clean and purified like tap water. So we wanted to save people’s lives by decreasing the rate of diseases which are spread mainly through drinking contaminated water. The device also saves energy because it uses solar energy to boil the water. We believe that this will save the nation and it is user friendly”, so said the duo when asked about the motivation behind the innovative invention.
With the help of their Physical Science teacher, the duo were able to bring to life the sustainable water purification device and saw themselves being awarded laptops and R10 000 for the Science department of their school.