When you consider 443 million school days are lost every year in Africa due to water borne diseases, you begin to appreciate the value of solutions which provide communities with safe and healthy drinking water.
Zimbabwean scientist, Dr Lloyd Muzangwa (pictured below), and his friend George Kahabuka, an engineer from Tanzania, created a water disinfection system, called the MAJI 1200, which uses ultraviolet (UV) light technology and solar energy to purify water.
The MAJI 1200 is basically maintenance free and allows communities in rural areas with solar power to implement an affordable solution which produces high volumes of clean water.
While chemical disinfectants destroy or damage a microbe's cellular structure, UV light deactivates microbes by damaging their DNA, thereby preventing the microbe's ability to replicate (or infect the host). UV light does not affect tastes or odours of water as chlorine does, and does not form harmful disinfection by-products, or increase bacterial regrowth in distribution systems.
Dr Muzangwa’s and Mr Kahabuka’s submission was announced as the winner of the ‘mid-stage’ (tested solutions, ready for first deployment) category of the Standard Bank Group Water4Africa competition, which saw them walking away with a prize of US$5,000 for the development of their MAJI 1200 water purification system.
The category was one of three that saw inventors from around the globe competing for top honours for their innovative work in developing water solutions that could be implemented across the African continent.
The MAJI 1200 is an exciting project from Africa which emerged from the Water4Africa challenge and promises to bring innovative world-class science and engineering knowledge about potable water to African water treatment. The system is already attracting interest in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and has the potential to open access to healthy water for millions of Africans.