Buying this straw could save lives

Alex Somlyay and Peter Wellington test the LifeStraw yesterday at Yandina.
Alex Somlyay and Peter Wellington test the LifeStraw yesterday at Yandina. Kari Bourne

A DEVICE that allows you to drink safely from a puddle or stream may be the answer to reducing the 6000 daily deaths worldwide from water borne diseases.

A Sunshine Coast-based company has obtained the international rights to sell the LifeStraw device to the public as part of a campaign to make it freely available in third world countries.

Rob Shackleford and business partner Graham Orpin, a director of Christian charity World Outreach International, have committed to provide one device for humanitarian purposed for every one sold. Negotiations are underway to begin marketing in the US.

Mr Shackleford said the device uses a series of filters to remove biologicals and dirt from water that could be drawn from almost any source.

It is not designed to filter water polluted by chemicals or radiation, salt water or water with naturally-occurring harmful chemicals.

He said the device had been described by the CBS news service as the invention of the century and was now being used by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Queensland Department of Main Roads had ordered 500 and they were now retailing in camping stores for between $25 and $30.

Each device can filter 1000 litres of water over its life and is simply maintained by blowing, rather than sucking, to free solids caught in its bottom filter.

Yesterday both Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay and Nicklin MP Peter Wellington at the Ginger Factory at Yandina tested the device in a container of water containing suspended solids

Meanwhile John Smeaton the Australian and New Zealand market development director for SureAqua, an Australian designed and manufactured product similar to LifeStraw said his company would bring a jerry can to market this year with the capacity to filter 100,000 litres of water – enough to supply a family for two years.

Topics:  business sunshine coast

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