Patented hand-washing dispenser will reduce water-borne disease

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 19 October 2010

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed an affordable hand-washing device for poor communities to fight and prevent water-borne diseases.

Continuous use of the same water leads to contamination

The CSIR’s Ester Ngorima said in the developing world, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections cause the death of millions of children under the age of five. Diarrhoea is estimated to kill around two to three million children annually.

Hand-washing with soap could cut these figures by half.

“Due to water scarcity, many rural and peri-urban people in South Africa face sanitation and hygiene challenges, leading to disease,” said Ngorima.

The device is easy enough to use. You need an empty 2l bottle filled with clean water. The hand-washing dispenser would then be screwed into the opening of the bottle.

“The dispenser releases enough water to enable hygienic hand-washing with soap. To get the water, place your hands under the device and it lift the plunger. When you lower your hands, the device seals itself.

“The device limits water wastage, with around 30 hand washes per 2l of water. It has a soap dish and typically hangs upside down on a bracket fastened to a wall,” said Ngorima.

While many people have tried using a bucket of water and a towel for hand-washing outside a toilet, the water evaporates from open buckets and the continuous use of the same water leads to contamination.

Unsupervised children and domestic animals tend to drink this water. Dust also gets into the exposed bucket of water. Continue reading

Warning against DDT spraying

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 May 2010

South Africa should start looking for alternative solutions to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Using DDT to curb the spread of malaria has been proven by researchers to pose a huge risk to human beings.  According to the latest research conducted by the CSIR and the University of Pretoria, and funded by the Water Research Commission, consuming chicken, fish and vegetables produced in DDT-sprayed areas is putting people at risk of developing illnesses such as cancer.


A study was conducted in Vhembe District Municipality with sites at Lotanyanda, Hasana, Tshikonelo, Xikundu Weir and Mhinga.  These villages are situated in Limpopo province and make use of water from the tributaries of the Luvuvhu River system, and Albasini and Nandoni Dams.

The study followed a recommendation for further research made by a group of international researchers, who reviewed 494 studies that investigated human health consequences of DDT use in 2008.

Spraying with DDT to control malaria has been an ongoing annual practice in Limpopo Province since 1996. “Ingestion of chicken or fish and vegetables grown in DDT-sprayed areas poses a high risk of cancer and toxic effects” says Annatjie Moolman, WRC Research Manager responsible for the study. “Ingestion of water does not contribute largely to the calculated risk of developing cancer.’’

The study also highlights that DDT is an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) adversely affecting the development of hormones and causing alterations in development. Exposure of male embryos to EDCs during the early stages of fetal development has been linked by previous studies to increased incidences of male reproductive health disorders, including hypospadias, undescended testes, intersex, subfertility and testicular cancer.

According to the Stockholm Convention, signed by 100 countries in 2001, DDT should be used with caution only when needed and when there are no other affordable alternatives available.The Stockholm Convention compels countries to provide an implementation and management plan to limit and reduce reliance on DDT spraying.

– Annatjie Moolman