A JAPANESE company is gearing up for large-scale production in Bangladesh of a bicycle that can also be used to purify water at disaster zones or remote villages.
"If you can bike to a river, pond, pool or other sources of water, all you need is your leg power to produce clean drinking water," Yuichi Katsuura, president of Nippon Basic Company said on Thursday as he introduced the system.
Cycloclean needs only manpower to turn a bike chain driving a motor to pump water through a series of filters, unlike other systems requiring gasoline or electricity. It can purify five litres (1.3 gallons) of water in a minute.
The bike boasts puncture-free tyres, while the pump and hoses are housed in an attache case-like box on the rear carrier and three filter cartridges are fitted around the rear wheel.
Nippon Basic, based in Kawasaki near Tokyo, has sold 200 bikes since first launching Cycloclean in Japan in 2005 at 550,000 yen (US$6,600) each, Katsuura said.
Many of the bikes went to Japanese local governments but a small number were sold to Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, he said.
Katsuura said the company had seen demand rise in Bangladesh and started local assembly late last year, partly to reduce the price in cooperation with a Bangladeshi bicycle maker.
"We hope local production will go into full swing around April," he said.