When I left my hometown of Dublin, Ireland for the foreign whir of New York City in summer 2016, there was no way I could have anticipated just how many things I'd suddenly realize my own cluelessness about. I didn't understand why traffic would, without fail, continue to creep forward even when the light gave pedestrians the right of way, coming to a halt only when the cars all but brushed my kneecaps. I also didn't anticipate that I'd ever feel heat like I felt it on busy subway platforms in the height of June, and so took little regard of the warnings of more seasoned city dwellers to always carry drinking water with me.
Well, after one dizzy spell too many, I learned my lesson - but when I sought to correct my recklessness, I was met with a problematic question. Was it safe drink the tap water in New York? In Ireland, the stuff had always been a staple, reliable and refreshing, if faintly (yet harmlessly) different in taste depending on where you were in the country. Now, living on an intern's paycheck in one of the most expensive cities on earth, it was far from financially ideal for me to be purchasing bottled water on the daily just to avoid flushing my body through with mystery particles. Truth be told, the thought of all of those plastic bottles taking up space in a landfill was enough to give me the heebie-jeebies, too.
Thankfully, a quick Google search gave me my answer, which I'm sure is actually common knowledge to many of the city's less-green citizens: NYC's drinking water is world-renowned for its quality. Every day, more than 1 billion gallons of clean water is delivered from large upstate reservoirs to the taps of nine million customers throughout New York state.
In the sweltering heat of that summer, the knowledge was relieving, to say the least. But this experience begged a question that niggles still: what must it be like for people who can never be sure about the cleanliness of their drinking water?
It's a situation that, while varied in degrees of direness throughout the world, is being remedied by a startup by the name of Ecomo, beginning its mission at home in the United States. Ecomo boasts an impressive invention that removes the smoke and mirrors in understanding exactly what we're putting into our bodies every time we take a sip of water: this is the first re-usable water bottle that can analyze and keep you informed of the level of cleanliness of your drink - and, when the composition just isn't up to scratch, it removes all impurities through its impressive filter function, meaning you can hydrate in the confidence that you really are doing the best thing possible by your body. Critically, this also means that since issues with drinking water are made easily fixable by the filtration device, there's no reason to dump out the bottle's contents to pour out more, minimizing water waste, big time.
And this water bottle truly is as smart as a water bottle can possibly get. With a simple shake of the cannister, the science begins, exposing the presence of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and petroleum products as well as other impurities such as dissolved minerals, silt, and rust in your H2o. The high-tech filter, activated by a twisting mechanism in the bottle, is composed of three parts: an activated carbon filter to banish chemicals, an ion exchange fiber to deal with heavy metal traces, and a nanofiber membrane to oust nasty surprises like bacteria and cysts. The simple shake-and-wait analysis function also divulges the exact temperature of the bottle's interior, granting the user total knowledge and control of their fluid intake.
When used in conjunction with Ecomo's nifty app, the Ecomo water bottle is a brilliant stepping stone in changing our approach to the importance of quality as well as quantity when it comes to our hydration. Set daily water intake goals, view your hydration history to understand patterns in your mood and energy levels (and, if you're like me, avoid embarrassing dizzy spells on public transport) and sync the device up with your own wearable Ecomo hydration tracker, as well as other popular fitness trackers, to hack your way to healthy.
Funded to an astonished 906 percent of its target figure on Indiegogo in November 2016, Ecomo is currently accepting pre-orders and has been thus far commended by Tech Insider, Fast Company, and The Verge, among other notable publications. A water bottle worth getting that excited about? I know. It's refreshing.