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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ceramic water filters halve diarrhoea in rural areas: study

Ceramic water filters halve diarrhoea in rural areas: study

Inexpensive and cheap, the filters are selling out across the Kingdom; a new award-winning study shows their popularity is justified

A STUDY on the effectiveness of increasingly popular ceramic water filters in rural Cambodia snagged the prestigious International Water Association (IWA) 2008 Project Innovation Award in Vienna last week.

The 2005 study found the ceramic filters reduced E coli by 99.99 percent and almost halved the prevalence of diarrhoea amongst users in the Kingdom, said Jan-Willem Rosenboom, the senior water and sanitation specialist at the World Sanitation Project, one of the funders, alongside UNICEF, of the study.

Increasingly popular

Ceramic water filters, an inexpensive and effective type of filter that relies on the small pore size of ceramic material to filter dirt, debris and bacteria out of water, have soared in popularity in the Kingdom over the last few years.

In 2005 there were an estimated 20,000 in use, whereas now there are more than 60,000, and three NGOs are producing them, Rosenboom said.

"The factory in Kandal sells out its monthly production every month. They can't make them fast enough," he said.

Dr Mao Saray, director of the Rural Water Supply Department for the Ministry of Rural Development, said ceramic filters had helped many families living in villages where the ground water has proven to be contaminated with arsenic.

"Using these affordable filters, families can use surface water for drinking and cooking," Mao Saray said. "They can  continue to use their contaminated wells for other purposes such as washing and gardening,"

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