Maria Alexandra Tamayo is a Colombian biomedical engineer, inventor and founder of NanoPro, a device capable of eliminating fungi, viruses, and bacteria in water without affecting its flavour, smell, and colour. Because of her invention, she was selected as one of the winners in the Latin American Innovators Under 35 from the MIT Technology Review LATAM edition. Maria has been selected as one of the top ten speakers for the CELD and Amazon Watch Magazine Women in STEM Symposium. Her speech was inspiring and revealed a simple truth that we often overlook: the relevance of clean, quality water in our development and sustainability on Earth.
“My story started as a university student, and my professors inspired me, but I quickly looked to my community. I have always been curious about our scientific world.” she explained, “I use nanoparticles to remove bacteria from water without power. Safe water is a necessity, and my main motivation is to improve health and provide safe quality water for human consumption and positively impact the quality of life.”
Maria also explained that they prioritise education and strive to educate the community on using the filters and implementing the solutions. “We also teach them from an early age and make sure to reach out to communities where people couldn’t even read.” Nanopro seeks to have an impact through education. This is very important, and the company wants to share this experience and give the tools and the knowledge to people so they can build their filters and transmit the knowledge and reach more people as well. This initiative also aids employment rates. Because Nanopro technology is so convenient, it is possible for communities to use and learn how it works. The equipment also uses no energy, making it ideal for remote communities.
Maria explained that remote communities suffer the most regarding access to clean and quality water. “Around 2 billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe water. And almost 1000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and unsafe hygiene. So with the filters, we can help improve water quality in many regions worldwide. About five of the worst countries will suffer from acute cuts in water supplies by 2040. We need safe water in all corners of the world because it affects all aspects of development and is related to most of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
She ended her speech with the facts of how quality clean water is crucial for our development and our thought-provoking reality. At such a young age, Maria has been working hard at such an important part of our future and livelihood and together with the rest of the respected speakers, they vowed to continue their work to create a better world for us all.