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CERAMIC

Tahsinur Chowdhury

WATER FILTER
Humanitarian Context
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background ................................................................................................................................ 3
Proposed Technology................................................................................................................. 3
Effectiveness .......................................................................................................................... 4
Mechanism ............................................................................................................................. 4
System Boundary Chart.......................................................................................................... 4
Stakeholders ........................................................................................................................... 5
End users and target market ................................................................................................... 5
Constraints .............................................................................................................................. 5
SWOT analysis ....................................................................................................................... 5
Cost Analysis .......................................................................................................................... 6
Environmental ........................................................................................................................ 7
Improvements ......................................................................................................................... 7
Potential Benefit......................................................................................................................... 7
Implementation .......................................................................................................................... 7
Implementation Strategy ........................................................................................................ 7
Consultation ........................................................................................................................ 8
Participatory Approach ....................................................................................................... 8
Women and Children .......................................................................................................... 8
Education and Awareness ................................................................................................... 8
Integration of social institutions.......................................................................................... 8
Providing Microloans.......................................................................................................... 8
Distribution and Market Strategies ............................................................................................ 8
Barriers and challenges .............................................................................................................. 9
Communication ...................................................................................................................... 9
Infrastructure .......................................................................................................................... 9
Language ................................................................................................................................ 9
Social Acceptance .................................................................................................................. 9
Information, inputs and support ................................................................................................. 9
Support ................................................................................................................................. 10
Case Study: Use of Ceramic Water Filters in Cambodia ......................................................... 10
Intervention .......................................................................................................................... 10
Production and Distribution ................................................................................................. 11
Local resources ..................................................................................................................... 11
Performance.......................................................................................................................... 11
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Strategies .............................................................................................................................. 11
Challenges ............................................................................................................................ 11
References ................................................................................................................................ 13
Appendix .................................................................................................................................. 16
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BACKGROUND
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water - W.H Auden

Safe drinking water is a basic human right and an essential part of daily life. Access to safe
drinking water is an important issue at a national, regional and local level (WHO 2011).
Confirming the Millennium development goals report 2012, 783 people remain without the
privilege of improved drinking water and 605 million people will lack water coverage in
2015 (UN 2012). Although the world has met MDG drinking water target, there are still
regions where people do not have minimum access to drinking water. 40 percent of people in
Sub-Saharan Africa live without improved source of drinking water (UN, 2015). In recent
times, the United Nations general assembly has recognised the use of sufficient water for
personal and domestic use as a right of every human being. These water must be safe,
acceptable, affordable and physically accessible (UN 2015). Which means the collection time
should not exceed 30 minutes and the water cost should not exceed 3 percent of the
household income.

According to DR Lee Jong Wook (Director-General, WHO), Water and sanitation is one of
the primary drivers of public health (WHO 2015). As a matter of fact, disease from water
alone kills more people than wars and violence. So, securing the access of clean water will
make a huge difference in global health issues and enhance the living conditions. As reported
by World Health Organization almost 1.8 million people die every year from diarrhoeal
diseases 90% of which are children under five years (WHO 2015). 1.2 million People die
every year from malaria, and most of disease burden is in Africa (WHO 2015). 500 million
people are suffering from trachoma, and 1.5 million people are facing cases of Hepatitis A
every year. Moreover, almost 133 million people suffer from water-related diseases like
Ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm (WHO 2015). Consequently, UN has declared 2005-2015
the water for life as the decade for action to focus on water-related issues.

Every day people in the rural areas suffer from the lack of clean, drinkable and safe water. In
Africa, rural people spend almost 40 billion hours/year just to collect drinking water (The
Water Project 2015). Children and women primarily do the job. According to The Water
Project organisation, lack of access to drinking water in one of the greatest causes of poverty
in Africa. .

The amount of time people in sub-Saharan region waste to collect water is as the same as a
whole years worth of labour by France (The Water Project 2015). As a result, people often
use the whole day while collecting water and cannot concentrate on other important works as
cultivation, education, etc. So, it is evident that access to clean drinking water has far-
reaching impact on society beyond health issues.

PROPOSED TECHNOLOGY
Ceramic water filter technology is regarded as a convenient choice for purifying water in
households. As the cost of the filter is relatively cheap, the filter can be used in rural areas in
the developing countries. The portability of the filter enables easy distribution and
implementation of the technology. Moreover, it does not require any high-level technological
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knowledge to use. The water filter takes in contaminated dirty water and outputs safe
drinking water.
The filter is made from clay with a mixture of sawdust, rice husks (CAWST 2015). The
ceramic pot acts as a filter and when stores the filtered water in a plastic container underneath
the pot. Use of colloidal silver prevents algae growth in the filter. Colloidal silver is a
disinfectant and ensures 99% removal of most waterborne bacteria (McAllister 2005). A tap
is attached to the plastic container to collect water. The proposed filter can filter up to 8 litres
of water per batch and store the waters until used. Moreover, water from any source can be
used for filtration.
Packaging Components Quantity
Plastic Container 1
Plastic Lead 1
Plastic tap 1
Ceramic pot 1
Instruction guide 1
Table 1: Components of each package
EFFECTIVENESS
The filter effectively removes E.coli salmonella and other harmful bacteria from the
contaminated water. However, Ceramic water filter is not effective for Chemicals. A table is
given below to illustrate the effectiveness of ceramic water filter:
Very Effective Somewhat effective Not effective
1. Bacteria 1. Viruses 1. Chemicals
2. Protozoa 2. Iron
3. Helminths
4. Turbidity
5. Taste, smell and
colour
Table 2: Effectiveness of Ceramic Water Filter (CAWST 2015)
Filter Pore Size Bacteria Hard metal Virus Flow Rate
(microns) removal removal removal (litres/hr)
Ceramic 0.6 3 99% 50% 20% 1.5-2
Water Filter
(Silver
impregnated)
Table 3: Ceramic Water filtration (McAllister 2005)
Mechanism
The water filters consist of a mixture of clay powder, organic burn-out material and water.
The filter elements are given a silver coating after firing (Hagan, Harley, Pointing, Sampson,
Smith and Soam 2009).
The clay pores filter most of the bacteria, protozoa, helminths and dirt. Water moves slowly
through the natural pores of clay. The addition of organic burnout materials (rice husks,
coffee husks, etc.) enables the water to move easily (Hagan, Harley, Pointing, Sampson,
Smith and Soam 2009). A silver solution is applied on the filter wall. Silver inactivates
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bacteria and viruses. It prevents the bacterial growth inside the filter body (Hagan, Harley,
Pointing, Sampson, Smith and Soam 2009).
SYSTEM BOUNDARY CHART
A system boundary chart is given below to illustrate the scope of the discussion on the
proposed technology and its implementation.
Inside System boundary Outside System boundary
Water filtration Water source
Sustainability Political State
Cost Existing water treatment process
Life Cycle Healthcare
End users Education system
Stakeholders
Culture and tradition
Table 4: System Boundary Chart
STAKEHOLDERS

1. NGOs
2. Governments
3. Local Communities
4. Engineers
5. World health organisation
6. Small scale business
7. World Health Organisation
8. Unicef
END USERS AND TARGET MARKET

End user attributes Target market Traditional and Water source


(location) attributes cultural preferences
Poor Rural Pottery Should not be
contaminated by
hard metals (iron)
Vulnerable Availability of raw
materials
Table 5: Attributes of End Users, Target Market and Cultural Preference
The main characteristics of the target users are poverty, lack of education and rural
community. As a result, the technology needs to be easy to use, cheap, maintainable and
portable. Another important aspect of the filter is to use local raw materials and tradition.
Which means the community has an existing tradition of ceramic and pottery. As stated
above ceramic water filter is not effective against viruses and hard metals. Consequently, the
target users should have water sources safe from these contaminants.
CONSTRAINTS
Cost, Performance and flow rate are the three primary constraints for the design. As the
target, users are poor rural people, the product needs to be as cheap as possible with a good
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flow- rate. The performance refers to the proper filtration of contaminated water. There are
other factors that can act as a barrier.
INFRASTRUCTURE
The area where the filters will be deployed needs some basic infrastructure support to
produce the clay filters and other materials. This has a direct relation with the cost of the
filters as transportation will increase the expenditure. However, mass production of these
filters will bring down the cost to an optimum level.
SOCIAL
Many ethnic groups are often reluctant to accept new products. Hence, it is another barrier
that needs to be dealt with. However, from the previous experience of places like Cambodia
and Uganda it is safe to say that the proposed water filter is less likely to face such situations.

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats


Can be made Kiln consumes a lot Use of bio Fracture in the
anywhere in the of fuel degradable plastic ceramic pot will
world container will make make the filter
the product more unusable
sustainable
Easily available raw The kiln is not Alternate technology Lifetime can reduce
materials environment friendly to produce ceramic due to improper
pot maintenance.
Addition of colloidal Excessive use of Cannot remove
silver ensures 99% silver can be harmful chemicals like
filtration for health arsenic.
Easily portable Improper use of the
filter may still result
in water related
diseases
Can be distributed in Not effective against
rural communities viruses
Easy to use
Table: SWOT Analysis
COST ANALYSIS
According to the Centre for affordable water and sanitation technologys ceramic pot filter
fact sheet a ceramic pot filter costs 12-25 USD (CAWST 2015). However, mass production
of the filters will reduce the cost. A similar product was deployed in Cambodia for 4-8 USD
(WSP UNICEF 2015). The filter does not require any operational costs.
Filter Locally Manufacturing Manufacturing Material Environmental
Made time cost (USD) Availability impact
Ceramic Water Yes 36 hrs 4 Good Deforestation
Filter (Silver)
Table: Cost Analysis of Ceramic Water Filter (McAllister 2005)
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ENVIRONMENTAL
The operation of filter does not hamper the environment. But the production of ceramic pots
may lead to several environmental issues such as deforestation, air pollution risks, etc. The
plastic container can be reused and recycled.
IMPROVEMENTS
Support stand: A support stand can be added to this ceramic water filter for making it more
accessible. Expected mother and elderly people might need to bend to collect water from the
tape. The inclusion of support stand will overcome this problem. However, the addition of
this extra part will increase the cost of the filter. Consequently, it will be distributed as an
additional part where needed.
POTENTIAL BENEFIT
The primary aim of the water filter is to provide safe drinkable water within a low cost. Water
is an integrated part of society. Consequently, access of pure drinking water will have broad
influence on other aspects as well. This issue is related with at least six Millennium
development goals.
Eradication of poverty and hunger (MDG 1): In many rural areas people spends hours to
collect clean drinking water. Hence, they cannot commit themselves to earn more money and
cultivate crops. Access to pure drinking water will give them the opportunity to earn more
money and grow more crops.
Universal primary educations (MDG 2): In the sub-Saharan region children walk for an hour
to collect water for their family instead of attending school. Moreover, water-borne diseases
make it difficult for the students of the primary level to attend classes in a regular basis.
Reducing Child Mortality (MDG 4): Lion share of the child deaths occur from water-borne
diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Access to clean drinking water will directly benefit to
achieve the millennium development goal to reduce child mortality.
Improve Maternal Health (MDG 5): Even today hundreds of expected mothers die before or
while giving birth. Access to Pure drinking water will enable them to lead a healthier life.
Thus, it will effectively improve the maternal health.
Ensure Environmental Sustainability (MDG 7): According to the MDG report of 2015, 91
percent of the global population is using improved drinking water (UN 2015). However, the
condition needs more improvements as billions of people still lack the access to safe drinking
water. These technology will effectively help to improve the current condition.
Moreover, access to safe drinking water will improve the social dignity of the users. It will
ensure their basic human right to have access to drinking water.

IMPLEMENTATION

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY

The primary task is to identify a region where people need the access of cheap and safe
drinking water. Then the team will arrange meetings with various important persons of the
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community and run workshops. The aim of these workshops will be to create awareness
among people and introduce the proposed technology to them. It is assumed that people will
learn how to use the product and maintain in after attending the workshops.
CONSULTATION
The team will consult with head of the community (elected parliament member, chairman
etc.) to get a full overview of the community. It is also recommended to consult with other
community leaders.
PARTICIPATORY APPROACH
To acquire a clear understanding of the problem the team needs to run several workshops
where the community members will participate. The team will use surveys, activities to
communicate with the stakeholders and get a proper idea of their problems.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Women play a key role in these rural communities. As they are most vulnerable in the society
the participation of women and children needs to be ensured. Consequently, different
approach should be taken. Assigning female team member is one of them. Moreover,
organising different workshops for women has been proved successful previously in similar
situations.
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
The workshops should also aim at educating people about the filtration technology. It is
essential to make them aware of threats that caused by drinking contaminated water.
INTEGRATION OF SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS
Institutions such as hospital, schools, and religious places (church, temple, mosque etc.) is
also important. It is often seen that these organisations have a big influence on the peoples
daily lifestyle and ideology.
PROVIDING MICROLOANS
NGOs and Government sectors will be encouraged to provide microloans to buy the filters
and to establish a business revolving the ceramic filters (manufacture, distribution, and
repair).

DISTRIBUTION AND MARKET STRATEGIES

1. Subsidised Distribution: NGOs and Government services can be used to distribute the
product with a subsidy for the poor people. These organisations can also provide
financial assistance to the local businessmen to establish a supply chain of ceramic
filters.
Advantage: Poor users can buy the product.

2. Market distribution: Users can buy the filters from local stores paying the full cost.
The local stores need to be helped with promotional campaigns and demonstrations of
the product. Consequently, government can help this business sector with low or no
taxes.
Advantage: The product can be deployed in much larger scale.

3. Mass media: Radio, television, newspaper can be used to promote the product. This
can be done with the aid of local government of NGOs.
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BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES


COMMUNICATION
The rural areas are expected to have inadequate access to telecommunication and internet.
This might slow down the meeting arrangements and transportation processes.
INFRASTRUCTURE
Roads and highway may be in poor shape, which will affect the transportation process.
Moreover, the team members might need to stay in the area due to limited access. The rural
areas are not expected to have conference rooms with advanced technology. Hence, arranging
meeting and workshops can be difficult and take more time than expected.
LANGUAGE
English might not be the first language in most of the areas. Moreover, due to high illiteracy
rate most of them might not be able to speak or understand English. So, workshops and
training sessions need to be structured accordingly. This may result in a delay.
SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE
Social acceptance of new technology determines the success of it. The point of view varies
from person to person, community to community. It is essential to familiarise the users with
the proposed product and understand if they want it or not.

INFORMATION, INPUTS AND SUPPORT


Best practice for installing the filter:

Figure: Best practice for Installing Ceramic Water Filter (CDC 2011)
Best practices for using the filter
Recommendation 1: Pour water carefully to avoid any accidents. Do not let children
pour water.
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Recommendation 2: Keep a rug/mat under the tap to prevent the floor from becoming
slippery.
Recommendation 3: Place the filter in an optimum height if there is any expected
mother or elderly in the house.
Recommendation 4: Wash the filter regularly with clean water. Carefully brush the
ceramic surface to remove any dirt.
Recommendation 5: Always put the lead on. Do not place the filter near toilets.
A detailed instruction showing each step is given in Appendix
Best practice for maintenance:
Wash hands before cleaning the filter
Empty the filter pot before cleaning
Remove the filter from receptacle before cleaning
Clean with filtered water
Scrub the filter with brush
Rinse thoroughly
Wash the plastic receptacle every month
Do not use soap water, chlorinated water for cleaning.
Detailed instruction showing the installation, operational and cleaning process is given in
Appendix
SUPPORT
A water filter is not a passive resource, which means it needs continuous management and
maintenance by users. Consequently, an after sales support network is essential for
appropriate utilisation of the technology. A technical team will stay on-site for the initial
period after the deployment of the technology. They will run training sessions and tech the
local distributors how to maintain and repair the filter. NGOs will make small support
teams consisting local members to provide assistance after technical team leaves.

CASE STUDY: USE OF CERAMIC WATER FILTERS IN


CAMBODIA
The ceramic filters were produced using local raw materials such as clay, rice husks etc.
According to IDE, CWPs are produced in three local factories where the capital cost of
Cambodia is a developing country where 66% of the people do not have access to improved
drinking water sources (NIS 2004). Surface water of the country is of very poor quality due
inadequate sanitation. Moreover, some surface water sources along with groundwater contain
arsenic which made the situation even worse (Brown and Sobsey 2007). Which leads to
water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera etc. Consequently, the country has become a
focus point for water treatment research (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
INTERVENTION
In order to overcome the problem, International Development Enterprises Cambodia (IDE) is
manufacturing and distributing ceramic water filters since 2001 (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
They have established a production facility in the region of Kampong Chhang. Another NGO
known as Resource Development International (RDI) has started its operation since 2003 and
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established a factory in Kien Svay (Brown and Sobsey 2007). Both these NGOs experienced
promising outcomes which includes substantial decrease in diarrhoeal diseases and
improvement of water quality (Roberts 2004). IDE and RDI introduced more than two
thousand water filters in several regions (in Kandal by RDI, in Kampong Chhang and Pursat
by IDE) of Cambodia since 2002 (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION
Filters are produced in three factories and then distributed to consumers. These factories
manufacture around 5500 CWP/month with a capacity up to 7000 CWP/ month (Brown and
Sobsey 2007). CWPs are distributed through NGOs and Individual Retailers. NGOs provide
the filters in a subsidized prize whereas independent retailers sell them in regular market
price.
IDE used a market based approach with a limited ongoing support to the users. They have
used popular media for promotion of the filters (Brown and Sobsey 2007). On the other hand
RDI took a community based approach in a small scale. They have integrated their approach
with sanitation and hygiene interventions (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
LOCAL RESOURCES
Each factory is between USD 15000 to USD 20000 (IDE 2015). Locally produced filters are
lightweight, portable, cheap, chemical free effective and easy to use (Brown and Sobsey
2007).
PERFORMANCE
Improved household water supply with 99.99% E.coli removal (Brown and Sobsey
2007)
Improved health: families using the filter were reported to suffer from less diarrhoeal
diseases than the families without filters (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
STRATEGIES
RDI used several methods distribute the filters and educate the users. They have distributed
the filters through schools, private distributors and NGOs (RDIC 2015). The organisation
realised that educating the users is an essential part for success and sustainability of the new
technology (RDIC 2015). Therefore, the organisation has focused on ensuring appropriate
training and education to the distributors and the users. These trainings were both short term
and long term. Thus enabling the local distributors to explain the operation and maintenance
of the filters. Another aspect of the distribution strategy was to establish an ongoing relation
between the distributors and community members. Which will ensure the value of this
technology and aware the users about the opportunity to access after sales support
(replacement parts and repairing).
CHALLENGES
Lack of information: During a study conducted by UNICEF, it was seen that only
26% of the users knew where to buy the additional filters and parts (Brown and
Sobsey 2007). So, there is still room for improvement in the distribution process to
utilise the service.
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Ceramic water filters cost USD 7.50- USD 9.50 for each system. But the people under
the poverty line are still finding it difficult to afford one with full cost recovery and
acceptable profit for distributors (Brown and Sobsey 2007).
Rate of disuse: UNICEF has conducted a research study in Cambodia among 506
households. Only 31% of them were using the filters regularly (Brown and Sobsey
2007). However, this number is strongly related with time elapsed between
installation and follow up. 214 filters were not being used due to breakage of the
filter, container or tap. Other important reasons were not meeting household demand,
the filter already passed its recommended lifespan, selling the filter and passing on to
another household.
A detailed picture illustrating the scenario is given in Appendix.
From the case study, it is evident that proving a technology to a community is just half of the
task. Proper distribution and education along with a good business model can make it work to
its full potential. Ceramic water filters have some innate issues such as not the partial removal
of virus and less effectiveness against arsenic. Further research should be done to make the
filter even better. Consequently, it is recommended to thoroughly conduct research work
before deploying such technology to overcome any weak links. Apart from that, ceramic
water filters are proved as a cheap, easy to use and maintainable medium of accessing safe
drinking water.
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W.H Auden, BinaryQuote.com


Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/whauden382527.html accessed
on 24th July 2015
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APPENDIX
Ceramic Water Filter (With Improvement)

Source: Poptaz
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Different Positions while using filter

Source: Poptaz
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Proposed Ceramic Water Filter

Source: RDIC- Ceramic Water Filter Handbook


Different Types Ceramic Filters

Source: RDIC- Ceramic Water Filter Handbook


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Filter production flow chart

Source: CDC 2011


Percentage of users reporting for disuse

Source: WSP 2007


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Best Practice:

Source: CDC 2011