Roughly 1 billion people in the world have no access to safe drinking water, and contaminated water kills more people worldwide than all forms of violence combined. Seeking to provide a solution to this problem, South African researchers have created a water-purifying nanotech tea bag that costs half a cent. Portable, instantly effective and with no chance of recontamination, the tea bag sounds like the best idea since sliced bread.

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Here’s how the nanotech teabag works: it combines ultra-thin nanoscale fibers to filter harmful contaminants, while grains of activated carbon to kill bacteria. Simply put the tea bag in the neck of a water bottle and drink the water through it.

Marelize Botes, a microbiology researcher at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University says “The nanofibres will disintegrate in liquids after a few days and will have no environmental impact. The raw materials of the tea-bag filter are not toxic to humans.

Even at half an American cent, the tea bag may be too expensive for the world’s poorest to afford — but that’s what NGOs are for, right?

Via Good and io9