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Can economic growth, sustainable development, improved public health and reduced poverty levels of underprivileged communities all come from a glass of clean drinking water? According to the annual gathering of the global water community at the World Water Week events in Stockholm, Sweden, that glass of water is where the health and advancement of impoverished communities around the globe must beg in. With nearly one person in five globally lacking access to safe drinking water, healthy water practices and products are fundamental to the preservation, protection and improvement of both individual and community well-being.
According to C. T. "Kip" Howlett, Jr., secretariat of the World Chlorine Council (WCC) the products of chlorine, whether in the form of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping for community water transport or as a household water disinfectant, offer disadvantaged populations around the world an opportunity for a healthier future.
"The presence of waterborne disease is an unmistakable sign of a community in distress," said Howlett. "The results of this daily public health disaster - poverty, disease, malnutrition, environmental deterioration and high infant mortality - can be drastically reduced through simple and direct interventions of chlorine-based products."
Under the banner of "Safe Water Delivered Safely", WCC supports humanitarian efforts to save and improve lives around the world through development and investment in international clean water projects and global relief efforts. These efforts include the following:
Tsunami Relief Efforts--In the wake of the tsunami that hit South Asia in December 2004, WHO advised that ensuring access to safe water was critical to preventing outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Within days, WCC member associations, Euro
Chlor and the Chlorine Chemistry Council, coordinated an industry response, raising over $150,000 to aid water and sanitation efforts being carried out by the American Red Cross.
Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage--WCC is a partner of the International Network to Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage, organized by the World Health Organization. Through this network, WCC supports the widespread adoption of simple, low-cost technologies that can dramatically improve the quality of water used in individual homes, and help reduce the global burden of waterborne disease. For example, in communities where safe water supplies are not available, specially packaged chlorine bleach used to disinfect household water has been shown to reduce diarrhea cases 25 to 50%.
West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI)--WCC actively supports the West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI), a multi-partner alliance working in some of the most arid regions of western Africa. WAWI projects are focused on providing sustainable water supplies, reducing disease, and improving water management in Ghana, Mali, and Niger. Unveiled at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, WAWI is a leading example of the "partnership" model for achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals. WCC will provide PVC pipe and other materials that will be used by World Vision, UNICEF and other WAWI partners to construct bore wells and sanitary latrines.