“Find your own Calcutta”: filtering water in Haiti

Anyone who has visited a third world country with unsafe water and seen the piles of plastic bottles littering the otherwise breathtaking countryside will understand the value of this water filter. It is capable of filtering cholera and if you are a person in Haiti, it costs $1. The actual manufacturing cost is closer to $30, but the filters are bought by NGOs and distributed where there is a need for safe water.

The filter was invented by Lisa Ballantine after she took a ceramics class. Her husband recalled a story of a woman who wanted to help Mother Teresa feed the poor in India and was told to “find your own Calcutta.”

“This is her Calcutta,” Michael said.

“My life is a little different than I thought it was going to be,” Lisa adds, laughing. “But I now know that average people can make a difference. I’m just a regular old mom. Anyone can do it. Just go out there and involve yourself.”

This may or not be the same filter, but here is a demonstration of a ceramic filter in a Haiti village.

[image: cropped from CNN video]


One Response to ““Find your own Calcutta”: filtering water in Haiti”

  1. canehan Says:

    In thailand, among other countries, people put river, etc., water in huge earthenware pots, up to five feet high and two/three feet wide, and they at least clarify the water (by settling?) if not purify it (I’m not sure). An American family we knew lived in a Bangkok shipyard for six months while a junk was being built for them (which they sailed to Europe – we met them on the Seine). They used that system exclusively and never had any illness.

    Your filter is much mnore scientific and safe, but I wonder if anyone has seriously investigated how the pots work. The 30-1 ratio of cost to selling price is a bit worrying, but it’s probably less than the cost of shipping in and distributing bottled water free…

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