GTF2017: Providing clean water for all, one household at a time

LAILI ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: For hundreds of millions of people on earth, their pursuit of happiness is the ability to drink clean water to quench their thirst.


Despite the fact that 70 per cent of the earth is covered in water - about 300 trillion litres of water - the world is dying of thirst.


This issue became the focus of the talk by H2GO Global chief executive officer Dr Rajiv Bhanot at the Global Transformation Forum 2017 today during a session titled 'Entrepreneurial Innovation: Small ideas can be transformational'.


"Believe it or not, in this day and age, it is a privilege to be able to drink sanitised water because 2.5 billion or about 1/3 of the world's population do not have access to clean water.


"To put things into perspective, in a hall of 3,000 people like this, 1,000 of you will be forced to drink filthy and contaminated water or forced to go thirsty. This is the reality and a very cruel irony," he told the audience.


Dr Rajiv who is a medical practitioner then relayed an anecdote about a housewife in a rural village in coastal Borneo, whose family has been burdened with the constant fear of waterborne diseases caused by drinking contaminated water.


"Radu is not alone in her struggle. In 46 countries around world, half of the people do not have access to clean water.


"It is a sad fact that every nine seconds, an innocent life is lost due to poor sanitation. (That means) every year, about 3.5 million human lives - about double the population of Kuala Lumpur - are lost," he pointed out.


To address this issue, Dr Rajiv and his colleagues at H2go have in the past five years developed their patented British nanotechnology which could convert filthy contaminated water into safe drinking water without the use of electricity, chemical additives or ultraviolet treatment.


"Just by turning on a tap, we can get clean water which has a production cost of less than 1 sen per litre of water.


"We have been to the most interior and inaccessible parts of the world and transformed the lives of 2 million people globally," he said.


However, Dr Rajiv said this figure has only scratched the surface of the crisis.


"Today we have the technology, know-hows and resources to be changemakers but the only thing that is lacking is human will.


"About 650 million people are now trapped in water poverty and our journey has barely begun.


"We have worked with governments, non-governmental organisations as and big corporate entities because we believe that nobody should die from water poverty. It is our collective responsibility to engage the world," he said.