Unsafe drinking water causes all sorts of problems. Eighty-eight percent of diarrhea cases globally are linked to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene. Diarrheal disease kills 1.5 million people a year, mostly young children.
More than 1 billion people globally lack safe drinking water and over 1,600 children die every day from waterborne illnesses, which is more than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Procter and Gamble (P&G) would like to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water. The global giant’s nonprofit Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW) recently provided its 7 billionth liter of clean drinking water to a family of four in Brazil — the nonprofit’s newest location and the largest country of operation in South America. Like many in the region, the only water source for the family is a contaminated river, and it represents one of almost 5,000 households the program will reach in the Brazilian state of Mias Gerais.
CSDW is part of P&G’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to save one life every hour by the year 2020. The program has worked with over 140 partners since it began in 2004, and the 7 billion liters of water it has provided since its inception is equivalent to a liter of clean water for every person on the planet. That amount of clean water has prevented almost 300 million days of diarrheal illness and helped to save over 39,000 lives.
“P&G is proud to reach this milestone of delivering 7 billion liters of clean water to children and families. Together with our partners, we are providing a simple to use, but life-changing solution,” said Allison Tummon Kamphuis, P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Leader. “As we advance the program toward our goal of saving one life every hour, we are motivated to help many more children and families get the clean water they need, whether in a rural village, a nutrition or HIV care program, or during natural disasters.”
The way that CSDW provides clean drinking water is through P&G’s PUR packet water purifiers, little packets of powder which have been distributed in 75 countries. Four grams of powder inside each water purification packet turn 10 liters of dirty water into clean drinking water within minutes. The packet removes over 99.9999 percent of common waterborne bacteria, 99.99 percent of viruses, and 99.9 percent of protozoa from contaminated water. That reduces incidences of diarrheal disease by up to 90 percent.
The PUR packets were recognized in November 2012 by The Economist as one of the most impactful innovations in the world and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office awarded it an Inaugural Patents for Humanity Award in April 2013. In less than 10 years, CSDW has provided over 700 million PUR packets.
Image credit: Shawn