Algae-based water filter to save millions in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, Dhaka street.
© iStock/Tarzan9280

Scientist have discovered a way of fashioning an affordable water filtration paper out of a locally grown macro-algae which could potentially solve the water safety crisis in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has one of the highest population densities in the world. According to, a charity dedicated to the global water and sanitation crisis, 4 million people in Bangladesh are without access to safe water.

In order to remedy this issue, scientists from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Dhaka University, Bangladesh, are utilising a locally green macro-algae.

The macro-algae, Pithophora algae (or “Shewla” [শেওলা]), can be used to extract cellulose nano-fibres which can be formed into paper sheets.

These paper sheets have tiny pours which allows them to be suitable to be used as point-of-use water treatments.

This algae-based water filter to save millions in Bangladesh by demonstrating excellent virus and bacteria removal properties, these water filter could be an efficient and affordable remedy to prevent numourous potentially deadly water-borne infections.

Albert Mihranyan, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University, is the leader of this research. Mihranyan said:“Pithophora algae have been largely overlooked in the past as a valuable raw material. It is with great satisfaction that we can now document excellent pathogen removal clearance for both water-borne bacteria and viruses with efficiency above 99.999 percent. It can purify even the smallest virus particles of 27-28 nanometers.”

Khondkar Siddique-e-Rabbani is an Honorary Professor at University of Dhaka and project coordinator in Bangladesh. Khondkar Siddique-e-Rabbani said:“Access to clean water will contribute strongly to improved health thus reducing poverty. We are optimistic that through future development of devices the filter paper produced from the locally growing algae will be useful to prevent potentially deadly water-borne diseases and improve the quality of life for millions of people.”

This algae-based water filter to save millions in Bangladesh, with the simplistic design, such a water filter could have practical applications in other countries suffering for a similar water crisis.

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