New Initiative Helps Provide Access to Clean Water
The numbers are startling. Nearly 900 million people around the globe have no access to clean, safe drinking water, and 3.4 million die annually from water-related diseases.
Fortunately, a remarkable filter adapted from kidney dialysis technology can now bring clean water quickly and inexpensively to those people who so desperately need it. And Sawyer® Products, the company that makes the filter, just launched a campaign to enable Americans to easily play a role to help remedy one of the world’s greatest problems.
Through the new “Sawyer Saves” initiative, individuals can donate funds to prominent humanitarian organizations that will place Sawyer PointONE™ filters in needy communities. “Sawyer Saves” this year already helped provide up to 20,000 Afghans in the Kunar Province with clean water through a joint campaign conducted by Waves for Water and the U.S. military. Just one filter can provide safe water to a large family for decades; several can support a village for years. One hundred percent of the donation goes toward clean water programs.
“Imagine if your only source of drinking water was a watering hole down the road or perhaps miles away, and this water is contaminated with parasites that can cause deadly diseases such as typhoid or cholera,” says Kurt Avery, president of Florida-based Sawyer Products. “Such conditions exist frequently in disadvantaged communities and developing countries.
“The new partnerships with the international groups established under ‘Sawyer Saves’ will dramatically accelerate and facilitate distribution of the easy-to-use system that filters contaminated water to levels cleaner than U.S. bottled water.
“Due to the success of our commercial business, Sawyer can deeply discount the filters and provide in-country support to our partners and charities. This includes training the personnel who will personally place the filters and instruct recipients on proper usage in the communities and villages.
“With so many individuals and experienced organizations contributing time, knowledge and dollars, ‘Sawyer Saves’ will significantly improve the health and welfare of thousands upon thousands of people, young and old. In many cases, the program will literally save lives.”
Before making a donation, visitors to “Sawyer Saves” can obtain background on the organizations, learn where filters are distributed and read compelling success stories. The site includes links to many dramatic videos depicting how the water filters contribute to the health and well-being of families around the world
Among the leading world aid groups in the “Sawyer Saves” program:
• World Vision serves children, families and their communities in nearly 100 countries and tackles the causes of poverty and injustice.
• Compassion International works one-to-one with more than 1.3 million children in 26 developing countries.
• MAP International partners with people living in conditions of poverty to provide medicines, prevent diseases and promote health.
• International Child Care Ministries serves more than 21,000 children in 30 countries to better their lives through education, meals, clothing and medical care.
• Waves for Water focuses on providing clean water to people and communities in need around the world, working with world leaders and strategic partners.
• Rotary International initiates humanitarian projects that address the world’s challenges such as clean water, hunger, poverty and illiteracy through its 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.
These groups offer extensive experience in providing water solutions to towns and villages around the globe and will help individuals and families create their personal water filtration system in mere minutes.
The process to filter water is a simple one. It begins with the two-ounce PointONE filter itself, which uses technology developed for kidney dialysis to remove harmful impurities. Each filter is comprised of tiny U-shaped micro tubes that allow water to enter into its core through tiny micro pores. The pores are so small (0.1 micron absolute) that no harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, or those that cause cholera and typhoid, can get through. The filter also stops protozoa, cysts and girardia. The system attains the highest level of filtration available today, exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Users collect water from practically any source—a lake, stream, borehole or even a contaminated well. They then drill a hole in any plastic container using the hand-held drill bit that accompanies the filter kit. Once the filter is attached to the container, users fill it up with the collected contaminated water, and then gravity does the rest.
The system will deliver enough safe water daily for a large family to use for drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing and sharing. Depending on the setup, it can decontaminate up to 500 gallons per day. With proper maintenance, the filter will last decades and will never need replacing. When it clogs or slows down, one simply backwashes it with the syringe included with the unit.
“The number of people whose lives can be bettered is unlimited when the American public and U.S. philanthropic foundations and organizations realize that any donation, large or small, reaps dramatic benefits,” says Amy Stead, who serves as the lead liaison with the humanitarian groups for Sawyer Products. For example:
• In Bunia, a town of 300,000 in the Congo, typhoid fever cases, which constituted 14 percent of a medical facility’s cases in 2009, dropped to 3 percent in 2011 after hundreds of filters were distributed to residents.
• Up to 20,000 people living in the Kunar Province in northern Afghanistan now have clean water thanks to U.S. Army Capt. Michael Brabner, whose battalion is stationed there. When he recognized that the area’s only source for water, the Kunar River, is littered with waterborne illnesses, Brabner contacted Waves for Water for help. Through the partnership, water filters were distributed to five Afghan villages with translators teaching residents how to use them.
• In Honduras, the distribution of 500 filters to members of 13 church congregations has, according to one report, provided “signs of improved health in the poorest children. Kids we have known for years as listless, underweight and constantly complaining of parasite symptoms, now show signs of thriving.” And in a study recently conduced by Water With Blessings, 100 percent claimed that their families are free of intestinal parasites.
• A bishop who oversees 100 churches in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi reports that before the filters were used, five to six children would die every month due to water-related diseases. Such cases now have decreased significantly.
“Hundreds of similar stories explain why our initiative is called ‘Sawyer Saves,’” Stead says. “Simply stated, clean water saves lives. Clean water also saves families from the heartache of dealing with constant illnesses and pain. It saves money in terms of medical costs and fewer sick days on the job.
“The filters save the environment because without the need to cut down trees for fuel to boil dirty water, the carbon footprint and soil erosion are reduced. And the filters save time, as people do not need to walk miles to a clean water outlet, using whatever water source is close by.”
Since 1984, Sawyer Products, based in Safety Harbor, Fla., has developed and provided solutions to a variety of outdoor protection needs: water, sun, insects and injuries. The company specifically dedicated itself to addressing the two biggest causes of deaths in the world—bad water and mosquito bites.
In addition to its broad line of water filtration products, the company helped develop the use of permethrin, an insect repellent treatment for clothing that provides protection for U.S. troops and outdoor enthusiasts and was adapted for use on mosquito nets now widely used in Africa, saving millions of lives. Sawyer partnered with the World Health Organization to conduct the underlying studies that led to the widespread use of repellent on mosquito netting. Sawyer also offers a complete line of sun block products and first aid kits designed for use in the wilderness.