According to UNICEF, nearly 1,000 children under the age of five needlessly died yesterday from diarrhea caused by the consumption of untreated water and unsanitary conditions. Predictably, and without intervention, the same number will perish today, tomorrow and the following days because global water poverty affects 2.1 billion people living without safe drinking water at home.
This can change, because solutions to the complex issues of clean water access exist, such as Planet Water Foundation’s focus on ending this needless cycle using innovative technologies, hygiene education – and forming corporate and non-profit alliances to accelerate the sustainable end to these conditions.
Statistics gathered by the World Health Organization and UNICEF on water poverty are devastating when considering challenges such as 38% of healthcare facilities in 54 countries do not have access to basic water sources. However, there is hope on the horizon. For over a decade, Planet Water Foundation has focused on providing the most impoverished communities in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America with access to safe, clean drinking water. These communities are often found in remote locations situated not too far from where the pavement ends at the city limit – and surprisingly, within the city borders where municipal water supplies can contain harmful contaminants after treatment as a result of unreliable infrastructure.
Planet Water’s mission is to provide five million people with clean, safe water by 2025. And in 2018, the foundation achieved a milestone of one million people and has provided its community drinking water solution, AquaTowers, in more than 1,000 communities in 13 countries. AquaTowers have proven to be a dependable and sustainable drinking water solution that use the principals of gravity and state-of-the-art three-stage filtration to produce crystal clear and safe drinking water – enough to meet the daily drinking water requirements of 1,000 people. AquaTowers are perfectly suited by design to improve the lives of 159 million people who collect their drinking water from contaminated surface water - such as ponds, rivers and streams, because these sources of water are used by AquaTowers to produce drinking water.
Likewise, changing knowledge and behaviors on water-health is important in the long-term mission to save lives. This is why Planet Water provides a four-module Water-Health and Hygiene education program in community primary schools where AquaTowers are located. The four modules are age-appropriate and incorporate games, drama, song and dance. The teacher-led programs are adapted to and delivered in the local language. As concluded by a medical university longitudinal study, the combination of safe drinking water access and hygiene education improves attendance and their grades.
The rising movement of corporate citizenship is a third and critical fundamental resource that aids Planet Water in their mission to solve global water poverty one community at a time. Corporate financial investment and volunteer citizenship in regional markets improves the lives and stability of employees, their families, and other beneficiaries with clean water access and hygiene education programs these partnerships provide.
The United Nations has designated every March 22 as World Water Day. Planet Water Foundation established their Project 24 initiative to coincide on the same day, and the program serves as a platform for corporate partners and citizens to join together in once voice to create awareness and take action by deploying AquaTower projects in 24 hours. This year, communities in Cambodia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines are the focus of project deployments.
BD, now in its second year as a Primary Project 24 Partner, is supporting and installing three AquaTower projects in India, Indonesia and the Philippines through the citizenship and engagement of employee volunteers. To view the community profiles where BD is making impact on March 22, please visit www.planet-water.org/Project-24-2019.