Our water can contaminants that we don’t want to consume. For this reason, we often like to filter or in some way purify it before drinking. There are various filtration methods that can achieve this purpose. We’ll discuss some below.
Commercial Water Purifier
A commercial water purifier filters out sediment, pathogens, metals and other pollutants from tap water effectively. They contain special materials like carbon, charcoal, ceramic, sand and cloth specially designed to filter out these impurities. They come in a variety of options-
- Whole-home filters filter out all the water that comes into your home
- Point-of-use filters are used to filter water from specific taps
- Countertop filters filter water that you fill manually in it
- Water bottles and straws that have built-in water filters
- Handheld UV purifiers that destroy bacteria, virus and other pollutants from small quantities of water
- LifeStraw and other solutions designed for emergency, hiking, camping, etc. usage
You can read more about the types of conventional, commercial filters here.
Non-Conventional Water Filters
And now on to the unconventional methods. These aren’t something you’ll want to do without some research, but the point now is to give you some ideas about how water can be filtered without the need for a commercial filter.
Pine Trees – Some plants are brilliant at filtering out pathogens from water and pine trees are among the most effective. Remove a small branch from a pine tree and strip its bark from the stick. Then place this stick in a bucket and pour tap water on it. The water flowing over the stick also flows over the sap which traps and collects the pathogens that were present in the water. You’ve heard of a xylem filter right? Sort of the same thing.
Cilantro – Like pine trees with pathogens, cilantro is equally effective in removing heavy metals that are sometimes present in tap water. Cilantro is known to extract lead and nickel from the water. To try this out, fill a pitcher with water and then place a handful of cilantro leaves in it. Stir this water and ensure that the leaves stay submerged in the water for at least an hour. Remove the cilantro from the water before drinking it!
Drain tap water through a clay pot – Clay and ceramic are porous substances which allow water to drain through them. At the same time, they trap bacteria, protozoa and sediment. Clay pots are extremely effective in filtering water that contains E.coli. Remember, not just any clay pot will becoming a ceramic filter, so read up on how this works and get what you need if you want to try this out. It’s a popular method in countries where commercial filtration is not an option and/or electricity isn’t consistently available.
Cactus guts – That’s right, the inside of a cactus — the gooey part that we sometimes eat (as nopal) and are told to drink if trapped in the desert — can clean some contaminants in water. This method was used in Haiti during recent disasters and has been garnering support in the research community. It’s not something most of us could — or should! — go out and try, but it’s an interesting sign of things to come.
Paper filters – More and more solutions for paper-based water filtering are becoming available. This is an in-demand solution given the needs of people in undeveloped countries, as well as people in a disaster zone or who has lost power. Companies like Folia, Mesofilter, and the pAge Papers “Drinkable Book” have all been getting a lot of headlines for their innovative paper-based water filters.