Dr Askwar Hilonga (middle) receives an award

Dr Askwar Hilonga (middle) receives an award for innovation on water purification during the World Health Assembly on Friday in Geneva. On his left is WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. PHOTO | WHO 


Dar es Salaam. A Tanzanian invention that could revolutionalise water safety treatment has won global accolades at the world health assembly in Geneva.

The invention is a water filter which absorbs anything from copper and fluoride to bacteria, viruses as well as pesticides and it uses nanotechnology (the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometres) and sand to clean water.

The inventor, a Tanzanian chemical engineer, Dr Askwar Hilonga, also a senior lecturer at the Arusha-based Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, was awarded ther 2019 United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize.

Dr. Hilonga was honoured at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland for developing the project that is expected to expand access to safe water and reduce the risk of waterborne diseases in Tanzania and the African continent in general.

In Tanzania, many people, especially in  remoter rural areas, lack access to safe drinking water. Various studies have shown that all [too] often, both surface water and groundwater sources are contaminated with toxic heavy metals, bacteria, viruses and other pollutants from mining industrial effluent and poor sewage systems.

… The scientist created filtration systems customized to specific regions in Africa and he is able to address the problem of heavy metals near Lake Victoria, while tackling the fluoride issue in the Rift Valley…

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