Tata Chemicals on Monday unveiled `Tata Swach’, a unique and innovative water purifier. The product requires no energy or running water to operate. The replaceable filter-based product, which is portable and based on low-cost natural ingredients, delivers safe drinking water at a new market benchmark of Rs 30 a month for a family of five.

The Tatas have invested Rs. 100 crore in the project in the last few years and from a production of one million units, the aim is to reach three million units annually in five years, said company Managing Director R. Mukundan. The replaceable bulb is priced at Rs. 299 while two variants of Tata Swach are at Rs. 749 and Rs. 999.

The product will be launched in Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal by the end of the year and the plan is to go national over 5-6 months.

Speaking at the launch, Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata said, ``the social cost of water contamination is already enormous and increases every year. Although the announcement is about giving millions more people affordable access to safe water, it is an important step in the long-term strategy to find a solution to provide affordable access to safe water for all. We have taken a hitherto unorthodox form of filtration and applied modern technology to it and have come out with a product that can provide safe drinking water at affordable price.” ‘Tata Swach’ is a result of years of collaboration between several Tata companies, including TCS, Tata Chemicals and Titan Industries. The product is based on an innovative concept developed by the TCS Innovation Labs – TRDDC and combines low-cost ingredients such as rice husk ash (RHA) with superior nano-technology.

Titan Industries has been involved in the precision engineering for the manufacturing process which was set up at a low cost. “The bulb can purify up to 3,000 litres of water after which the cartridge stops water flow. The efficiency of the product has been tested to meet internationally accepted water purification standards. We have filed 14 patents for the technology and the product,” said Tata Chemicals Chief Scientific Officer Murali Sastry. “The product does not require electricity or running water and has a tamper proof sealed body.” The container has a life-span of 5-6 years.

Water-borne disease is the single greatest threat to global health with diarrhoea, jaundice, typhoid, cholera, polio and gastroenteritis spread by contaminated water. The product will be able to tackle six such bacterial diseases. Mr. Mukundan recognised that certain parts of the country have the problem of water contamination through arsenic and fluoride. ``We are working on different versions to tackle these which will be subsequently launched.”

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