This company wants to provide clean water, using a plastic bag

Rohini Nambiar
Tackling the issue of clean water inaccessibility
Tackling the issue of clean water inaccessibility

Providing clean water to their people is a challenge for developing countries struggling to avert health scares while keeping a lid on costs. Three classmates from Singapore are trying to lend a helping hand, using little more than a plastic bag and a ceramic membrane.

The absence of clean water is a big global problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that that 1 in 10 people around the world lack access to clean water.

In many disaster-stricken regions and rural areas, residents often have to resort to drinking contaminated water, resulting in the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and typhoid.


Singapore-based WateROAM aims to tackle this issue through a cost-effective way to convert waste water into drinking water.

At just 400g, the company's palm-size Fieldtrate Lite appears as a non-descript plastic bag but the portable filtration system claims to remove bacteria and other pathogens, without the need for electricity. The $25 device is able to filter 6-10 liters of dirty water in just an hour and is targeted towards households.

What began as an entry to an entrepreneurial competition at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2014 by schoolmates- 27-year old David Pong, 23-year old Vincent Loka and 25-year old Lim Chong Tee- is now a budding social enterprise that has reached 15,000 beneficiaries.


WateROAM has worked closely with NGOs such as the World Vision, Relief Singapore and Singapore Red Cross in various disaster relief efforts around Asia. In 2015, the device was deployed during flood relief efforts in East Malaysia and Myanmar, as well as the earthquake in Nepal.

Pong told CNBC's "The Rundown", that his team "wanted to do something different compared to what was traditional career out there in Singapore, so when we came together, we really wanted to impact the world".

The company has also developed more elaborate water filtration systems, the Fieldtrate Plus and WR Ultrafiltration, targeted at larger communities.

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