Unsafe drinking water and household air pollution are deadly in the developing world, where an estimated 1.1 billion people lack safe drinking water and cook indoors with an open flame.
Last year, CU Boulder engineers partnered with nonprofit groups and local officials in Rwanda to deliver water filters and cleaner biomass-burning cookstoves to over 100,000 homes. The effort reduced diarrhea and respiratory infections in children under 5 years old by 29 percent and 25 percent, respectively, suggesting that large-scale distribution provides a scalable solution for rural populations.
“These results should have important policy implications in Rwanda and beyond,” said Evan Thomas, director of the Mortenson Center for Global Engineering, which supports students in 24 countries globally on water, sanitation, energy and infrastructure. “We see strong evidence that the intervention provides significant benefits that might continue to accrue with continued support.”