LIFESTRAW 1. When most people see these pictures for the first time, one of the first things that they think is “what the heck are these people doing? ” Whereas someone in one of these third world countries would instantly think “why the heck haven’t I gotten my hands on one of these”. What is being used to drink water out of these filthy streams and rivers in these pictures above is a lifestraw. The pictures are pretty graphic, but sometimes it takes a picture like this to get you to really know what is going on in the other parts of the world, especially to people who are less fortunate.
The lifestraw is a handy water purifier that that effectively removes all bacteria and viruses responsible for causing common waterborne diseases. It was developed by Vestergaard-Frandsen; a Europe-based international company. The company specializes in heavily needed emergency response and disease control products. They adopt a Humanitarian Entrepreneurship business model, and have a “profit for a purpose” approach to doing business. The company focuses on the developing products for the developing regions rather than for the already developed and wealthy regions.
The main thing that lifestraw does is that it effectively removes waterborne bacteria and viruses. The device works by using two textile filters to remove dirt, along with two chambers. The first chamber uses a resin that contains iodine, while the second chamber works by using activated carbon to kill bacteria and viruses. All the user has to do is dip the lifestraw into any water source and suck on it to draw the purified liquid up. The lifestraw doesn’t require or use any form of electric power or additional spare parts. It is also very easy to carry it around, and safe and clean water is only a suck away.
This product is highly needed because over one billion people currently lack access to safe drinking water. The United Nations set a goal in 2000 to significantly reduce the amount of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015. This equipment will be one of many that will help to achieve this goal set by the UN. Lifestraw was featured as one of Time magazine’s best inventions in 2005. | 2. STRENGHTS Some of the strengths of the lifestraw are as follows: 1. It filters a minimum of 700 litres of water 2. It kills and removes about 99% of waterborne diseases and viruses. 3.
It doesn’t require any electric power or spare parts for the life time of the straw. 4. Its small and light structure makes it very easy to do mass distribution in areas where it is needed 3. WEAKNESSES Some of the weaknesses of the lifestraw are as follows: 1. Its life span: It only lasts for about of 1 year(calculated with its capacity of 700 liters, assuming 2 liters is consumed per day). Its normal life span is usually one year. 2. It does not remove heavy metal and parasites. Its current use is for emergency purposes only. 3. It is not readily available for purchase in the places where it is needed the most. 4.
It is expensive to its target market. People who live on less than $1 will find it hard to come up with $2 – $5 to pay for it. 4. IMPROVEMENT The improvements that I think needs to be made to this product are majorly cost cutting, and increased longevity. I really do not know the technical knowhow, but I am pretty sure that the device can be redesigned to where it costs less than it currently does, because for an equipment that only lasts for one year, the people who need this product cannot afford to buy it at that price, only to need to have it replaced at the end of the year. Also, the product shouldn’t be a short term oriented product.
It should be made to last longer, because most of these people in third world countries want the things that they buy or spend their money on to have not only durability but also longevity. A way to renew the substances in the straw, which fight the waterborne diseases and viruses, is also possible. At a minimum price, the users should be able to replace or rejuvenate their straws. This would give users a sense of longevity of the product, and will also create a product that is effective for longer. References http://www. vestergaard-frandsen. com/ United Nations. 2007. The Millennium Development Goals Report