EL SALVADOR: Don Bosco University students join with other university students in San Salvador to design and present new water filtration project
(MissionNewswire) Strategic design students attending the Mónica Herrara School of Communication joined together with industrial and graphic design students from Don Bosco University to present their “Design for Vulnerability” water filtration project in New York in May 2018. Their project was presented at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and won a prize awarded in the school category by a panel of journalists from specialized magazines.
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. UN-Water also indicates that around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people. Water.org estimates that every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
The students developed a project to study access to drinking water in the El Majahual community, located in the coastal area of the La Libertad Department of El Salvador. Only 25 percent of the population in that area have access to drinking water through a system of pipelines for distribution and management.
The remaining 75 percent look for alternative access to water through natural sources, rainwater collected during the winter season, wells, river water or freshwater springs. But these sources are often contaminated with biological and solid waste which cause people to become sick. Given the lack of health resources in their community, this can become deadly for many residents.
Faced with this challenge, the multi-disciplinary team of university students, together with professionals from different sectors, designed a water filtration system which will purify this unsafe water and make it safe for human consumption. The filter is a low-cost and easy-to-produce product and, in the future, can be replicated in other areas that also experience difficulty in accessing water.
The team developed a filter consisting of three layers of materials extracted from the existing resources in the coastal area. Its effectiveness was validated by various professionals and institution experts in water treatment including the Fusades Integral Quality Laboratory, the Center of Applied Technology, AZURE, and Stove Team International.
“This is a great initiative by these students to help others in their country who do not have access to clean, safe water,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving safe water access brings a sense of dignity to people, especially children, and reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those living in a community.”
Close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in the country is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
Salesian missionaries in El Salvador provide social development services and primary, secondary and vocational education as well as university degree programs to aid youth in breaking the cycle of poverty and contributing back to their families and communities.