Excellent example of appliance of science

A Guildhall vigil for victims of the Manchester bombing. Picture: Keith Woodland

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I have to confess to not being particularly good on science and technology.

At school my science education peaked at an O-level in chemistry and I don’t have a very good understanding of how things like car engines actually work.

But this doesn’t mean that I am unimpressed by the application of science, or that I don’t understand its importance to society or our economy.

Later this week, I am speaking at a conference organised by Business Solent on science, innovation and growth.

Despite the spending pressures we face, the government has managed to find money to protect the science budget.

We are investing in new technologies to ensure that ideas developed here are exploited here rather than moving abroad.

Tax incentives play an absolutely key role in encouraging businesses to invest more in research and development.

But what always impresses me is how science has the power to transform people’s lives.

Last Friday, I visited a business in Fareham called Wananchi.

It has designed and built a water purification system that could revolutionise how we deliver fresh water in disaster areas.

Currently, aid agencies ship millions of bottles of drinking water to areas affected by disasters.

This is expensive and not particularly environmentally-friendly.

Just think of the oil, energy and water that goes into making a plastic bottle.

Wananchi’s system is the size of a large suitcase and can produce seven litres of water a minute.

It takes water from a pond or river and produces water that is even purer than mineral water.

I might not understand all the science, but I can recognise something like this that has the capacity to be life-changing.

To make the most of the resources we have and to raise standards of living, we need to promote science and apply it just as the team at Wananchi is doing.

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