The water crisis in Flint, MI, is far from being resolved, but one scientist has developed an inexpensive filter that could help residents obtain clean water once again.
According to NBC News, Swiss scientist Raffaele Mezzenga recently published the results of a groundbreaking water filter project. As part of the study, he created a low-cost filtration device that could help Flint residents who cannot afford store-bought filters.
The scientist has been testing the new filter for two years in his lab at ETH Zurich, a university in Switzerland. The timing of his invention is quite convenient, coming just as the crisis in Flint reaches a boiling point.
Mezzenga published his research in the journal Nature Nanotechnology on Monday, the same day Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced he was seeking ways to provide emergency relief to Flint residents.
The filter is composed of a paper-like membrane, packed with carbon and processed milk proteins, that grabs heavy metals and other harmful contaminants as polluted water passes through.
While many have high hopes for the new filter, Mezzenga is now tasked with reproducing the prototype at a low cost. If successful, he believes his new method could be part of the solution for Flint and other regions whose residents suffer from unclean water.
Currently, over 147 million people around the world do not have access to clean, potable water. The Flint water crisis has inspired many Americans to take a stand against unclean water, including some superstar athletes.
According to MLive.com, a group of nearly two dozen NFL players recently donated $100,000 of anti-microbial baby wipes and bottled water to the United Water of Genesee County in Flint, which distributed the supplies to local residents.
In another act of charity, Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah personally delivered 94,000 cases of bottled water to Flint. In total, more than 13 former and current NFL players have made financial contributions to Flint residents thus far.
Though Mezzenga may not have the fame and notoriety of these players, his invention has gotten some major buzz in the scientific community. Flint’s primary water issue is lead contamination, and Mezzenga claims his new filter removes more than 99% of lead from water.
It may be a while before Mezzenga’s new invention is being used in Flint, but the research is being seen as a positive step in the right direction for affordable home water treatment.