​Vietnamese college designs gratis simple water filters for rural schoolchildren

Students can now happily enjoy fresh water that used to cost them some money to drink

Schoolchildren pose for a picture in rural Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A college in Ho Chi Minh City has provided a number of complimentary simple water purifiers it designed to schools in rural areas, bringing children an easier access to fresh water that is otherwise usually scarce and comes with a fee here.

The Ho Chi Minh City Open University organized trips for some of its biotechnology students to travel to Ca Mau, the southernmost Vietnamese province where river water is affected by high salinity.

The students randomly took river water samples near the schools expected to receive the university’s water filters.

Through the good offices of Tran Thai Ha, a doctor of the biotechnology department, they created rudimentary water purifiers partly from familiar, readily available objects like plastic water pipes and cylindrical containers.

Such devices work by channeling water from rivers through pipes in a process that Ha said eliminates some impurities.

The water then passes a three-tier filter made of sand, rock and activated charcoal, which contains pores able to absorb chemical substances, so that it is ready for everyday purposes but not human consumption.

To produce drinking water, the purifier receives and treats underground water with a technology called reverse osmosis before it is instantly used through a faucet.

A man handles a plastic container in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A man handles a plastic container in Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The university’s purifiers have reduced costs for purchasing bottled drinking water incurred by the rural schools given the devices, so children now do not have to pay money regularly for the drinking water any more.

The public-spirited project received over VND100 million (US$4,400) from a private entity, and the remaining sum came from indirect contributions by its students.

The college encouraged the students to use services of banking and telecommunications companies with which it was affiliated, then the firms shared part of their profits from the use with the institution.

Twenty-two water filters have been utilized in Ca Mau for a year with frequent maintenance from the university, according to Tran Van Tri, one of its officials.

It also installed four more in remote areas in An Giang Province of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, and in Long An Province, which is next to Ho Chi Minh City.

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