While the excitement of the World Cup may be over, one group of creative thinkers still has soccer on the brain – and for a great cause. Jane Harrison and David Turnbull of Atopia Research have come up with PITCH: AFRICA, a soccer field (or pitch) that collects and filters water. Currently, almost one billion people on the Earth don’t have clean drinking water, and dirty water and a lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all disease and kill more people than all forms of violence. This ingenious invention is both a fun place for communities to gather and a way for them to access clean water.
South Africa has been the epicenter of the soccer world for the past few weeks, so it makes sense that the very first PITCH:AFRICA prototype will make its home there. The structure was unveiled yesterday at the Port of Los Angeles. The field and accompanying stands (that can seat up to 1,000) are water permeable. So when it rains, water is collected into cisterns under the structure and can later either be purified and turned into drinking water or used as is to water crops. We’re assuming that the cisterns will work just as well at collecting sweaty players’ and spectators’ perspiration, but perhaps that is best left out of their marketing pitch.
So how much water can PITCH: AFRICA actually provide? Well, the rainy season in many parts of Africa can result in up to five feet of rain, or 1.8 million liters of water that could potentially be captured in the structure, which is, according to the designers, enough to provide clean drinking water for 1,000 people every day for a full year. And the field doesn’t necessarily have to be used as a soccer field. It can be transformed into an event space, a bazaar, a meeting hall or just about anything else the community can think of.