We are so excited to introduce our second cohort of RISE Fellows. Nuha Anfaresi is working to improve access to clean water in Bangka, Indonesia. Communities were getting sick from drinking polluted water as a result of the mining in Bangka. To resolve this, Nuha created AiKite, a business that sells an innovative water filter made from local sand. Additionally, she has also developed other types of filters for the millions of people in Indonesia who do not have access to safe drinking water.
Continue reading below to learn more about Nuha and her business, AiKite.
"Nuha, can you share with our community more about yourself? What were you doing before your entrepreneurial journey?"
I am a Founder, CEO and an Indonesian who lives on a small island, Bangka near a mining community. Before beginning my entrepreneurial journey, I was a regular science student in high school who did research on material science together with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. In 2017, we came up with a water filter named BankSand aimed to tackle water issues in communities caused by mining pollution.
"Can you tell us more about the issues relating to water in the city of Bangka?"
Bangka is one of the cities where the world’s tin is produced. Bangkanese people witness how the mining industries have caused many environmental damages, especially to the local water resources.
Tin ore washing waste is usually discharged directly into seawater which damages the oceanic life including corals, fishes, squids, turtles and shrimps. Moreover, many tin mining pits are abandoned at the end of the extraction activities. Yet, tin ore washing wastewater contains heavy metal ions which are toxic and unhealthy for Bangkanese.
Bangkanese, especially the community targeted by AiKite, use this water for their daily activities, including showers, cleaning their dishes and washing their clothes. Some of the tin pit water resources are used for drinking or cooking but many people don’t as they are afraid of the high rate of pollutants and heavy metal ions.
As there are no cheap water resources, except the tin mining pit, people still use tin pit water as clean water for their daily activities. If people want to obtain clean water they have to extract groundwater resources at an expensive cost of $500 for an open well.
"What inspired you to dedicate your life to this work?"
I was inspired by my community who are affected by the environmental degradation caused by mining industries.
"Can you tell us more about the water filters?"
The Banksand Water Filter is shaped like a common filter used by most people in Indonesia. However, the adsorbent material used in these filters doesn’t have the ability to remove metal ions. Indeed, other company’s filters were not able to tackle the heavy metal issues in tin mining communities. There are heavy metal filters available but at an expensive cost.
Therefore, AiKite has developed modified local sand capable of effectively removing the pollutants from the tin mining wastewater. This sand is modified to capture 90 to 100% of the lead-heavy metal ions. The BankSand water filter is a portable water filter that can be used by local communities both in rural areas and cities.
Additionally, we have developed other water filters which remove bacteria from contaminated water to ensure that everyone in Indonesia will be able to access clean water.
"What do you hope to gain from this experience?"
From this experience, I hope I can obtain more insight on social business, social project management and evaluation monitoring for sustainability. Not only that, this experience with Sundara will broaden our team’s knowledge on WASH and expand our impact on other communities locally and nationally.
Want to gift clean water this holiday season? You can support Nuha's social enterprise through donating on our website.