The use of clay pot filters can effectively clean water and
reduce the need of heating materials such as gas, wood or charcoal, according
to Resource Development International Cambodia.
The organization is trying to disseminate 35,000 of the
filters, which can clean water just as effectively as boiling it, said Mickey
Sampson, RDIC’s country director, in an interview in Washington. The group hopes to fill clean
water needs of 200,000 people, including students at schools, he said.
Water filtration can help Cambodians with a widespread
problem that leads to stomach pain, diarrhea and potential death in
children, Sampson said.
“My organization is working in many provinces, but I think
most of the work is in the schools,” he said. The organization was showing
teachers how to use the water filters for use in classrooms and for teachers to
sell them in the future, he said.
“It is also to help
their neighbors to be able to use the clean water filter at their house,” he
Each pot costs 33,000 riel, around $8, and can be paid for
in installments, Sampson said. His group is trying to sell the filter pots in
15 provinces and has been particularly successful in Siem Reap and Kandal
Filtration may even be preferable to well water, which can
be poisoned with toxins, including arsenic, Sampson said. He encouraged
villagers to check with the Ministry of Rural Development on the safety of
their wells or have them tested.
The provinces of Kandal, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham, as well
as other provinces along major rivers, have all been found to have a potential
arsenic threat, Sampson said.
Minister of Water Resources Lim Kien Hor, applauded the RDIC
water filtration pots and agreed that arsenic was of concern in some locations.
“Most of our citizens are using well water,” he said. “As
you know, most of the well water along our rivers is contaminated with arsenic.
It is seriously toxic.”
The government hopes to pass a water law and to circulate
warnings to areas in danger, he said.
One Cambodian woman in Phnom
Penh, Chi Yu Mai, said her family has been using the
clay pot filter for two years, and her family has never been sick from its
water. She has even saved money by using it, she said.
“The use of this clay water filter is providing us a lot
benefit,” she said. “One, it does not waste time to boil water. Two, it provides
good health for us.”
Meanwhile, RDIC has also set up videos to teach young
children to read Khmer, the importance of hand-washing for health and
sanitation, and the dangers of HIV and AIDS. More information can be found at