Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, but more than two weeks later, more than 1.7 million of the island’s residents reportedly remain without clean drinking water. But now, the community is getting some help from another coastal state, a few thousand miles away. Seattle-based gear company Mountain Safety Research is trying to get its Community Chlorine Maker to Puerto Rico, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to raise the funds necessary to ship the device to affected areas.
As originally reported by Outside Online, MSR is known best for its outdoor and adventuring equipment, including snowshoes, backpacking stoves, and of course, water filters. And these water filters seem to have some serious street cred — at the very least, they are being used by the U.S. military, which seems to have pretty high standards when it comes to drinking water for American troops. Now, MSR is looking for a way to send those same filters to Puerto Rico, as well as areas of Mexico impacted by recent earthquakes.
So what exactly is the Community Chlorine Maker? As it stands, most water is disinfected using chlorine, which while effective, has a rather short shelf life. This means that it is difficult to store and ship the chemical, making it nearly inaccessible to rural communities, and even more so to communities afflicted by a natural disaster. Enter the Community Chlorine Maker, which allows folks to make their own chlorine using water, salt, and a 12V battery. In five minutes, this device can make enough chlorine to treat 200 liters of drinking water. All it takes is around 5 milliliters of salt and 100 milliliters of water.
It costs $239 and is approximately the size of a briefcase, making shipment and storage considerably easier than alternatives. And while this price tag isn’t prohibitive for most, MSR is doing what it can to ensure that Puerto Ricans and Mexicans won’t have to pay anything for clean drinking water in their time of need. Already, the GoFundMe campaign has surpassed its initial funding goal of $2,500, and if you would like to contribute, you could help MSR “distribute these devices to victims in need as soon as possible.”
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