Clean Drinking Water

DDB Supports Development of The Drinkable Book

matt_eastwood_2013[1] Matt Eastwood is currently the CCO of DDB, a worldwide marketing communications network. Prior to joining DDB, Eastwood was chairman and executive creative director at the New York office of M&C Saatchi. The Makegood recently spoke with Eastwood about The Drinkable Book, a water filter book for those in need of fresh water around the world.

The Makegood: Congratulations on this admirable achievement. The creation of The Drinkable Book means that a single person can have clean water for up to four years. Could you discuss some of the science and technology behind these water filters?

“The Drinkable Book” features a brand new type of paper invented by McGill University & University of Virginia chemist, Dr. Theresa Dankovich, and works like a scientific coffee filter. Each page of the book is coated with silver nanoparticles, which kill diseases like cholera, E. coli and typhoid. After passing water through the filter, there is a reduction of greater than 99.99% in bacteria count, which is comparable to tap water in the United States.

The Makegood: How did the development of this Book begin? How has the Book helped people already?

DDB New York’s Senior Designer, Brian Gartside, first read about the technology in a scientific journal called Environmental Science & Technology. At that point, we had no idea what to do with it but having worked with WATERisLIFE for over three years now, we knew there had to be some type of practical application for this. So far, the book is only in the prototype phase. WATERisLIFE really needs funding support to help with producing the book on a greater scale. We’re looking at several ways of gaining financial support – from corporate sponsorship to online services like CrowdRise.

The Makegood: With 3.4 million people dying each year from water related diseases, this book could really make a difference. How will you communicate the usefulness of The Book to people in foreign countries who, perhaps, can’t read in English, or can’t read at all?

WATERisLIFE has a strong working relationship with communities in many of the countries most affected by contaminated water. Not only does the organization build wells and provide filtration systems for these communities, they also provide education on safe water practices. The Drinkable Book will form part of the education process in countries like Africa, China and India. The first books have been printed in both English and Hindi and are destined for India. But, the plan is to print books customized for each country where WATERisLIFE is most active. Luckily, in many of these countries, English is spoken as a second language, which is certainly why we chose that language as the common denominator.

The Makegood: How will the people who really need The Book access it? In other words, how are you going to distribute The Book to the millions who need it?

The book will be distributed by the team at WATERisLIFE. WATERisLIFE makes multiple trips throughout the year to Africa, China and India, where they will use the book as part of their education program. However, the reality is that the technology is available to any aid organization that wants to access it. Dr. Dankovich’s philosophy was always to make the technology not only affordable, but also easy to reproduce.

The Makegood: What do you see for the future of The Book? Will the company be developing anything further to help even more?

We are always looking for ways to help solve the problems associated with a lack of clean drinking water. It’s a big problem that won’t be solved overnight. Our dream would be to find a corporate sponsor to help fund the production of the books. Every single book will help save lives. Meaning, the more we can make, the bigger the impact we can have. In the meantime, DDB New York continues to develop campaigns that help draw attention and, more importantly, donations. Very soon we will be releasing a new campaign that focuses on the problems in India. It’s a powerful piece that sits alongside our other work like “Kenya Bucket List” and “Hashtag Killer.”

The Makegood: Thank you, Matt.