A company aims to raise 500 000 days of clean water to help with the water crisis in South Africa

Each 4g powdered packet can clean 10 litres of contaminated water. Photo: P&G

Procter & Gamble SA has announced it has a goal to raise 500 000 days of clean water, as part of the global P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme, an which initiative looks to tackle water issues currently facing South Africa.

Khululiwe Mabaso, corporate social iInvestment (CSI) associate director for Sub-Saharan Africa at P&G explained, “The drought South Africa has been experiencing has far-reaching consequences, not only in terms of water shortages but also in terms of water pollution. As we have seen, flash flooding, as a result of drought, can also wreak devastation on underprivileged communities. An often unacknowledged consequence of these disaster situations is that water sources are severely contaminated, which causes waterborne diseases, poor health and even death.”

Since 2004, the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme (CSDW) has been internationally recognised for its humanitarian efforts, technical innovations and more. Since 2004, the programme has provided more than 11 billion litres of clean water to desperate communities around the world.

To help address the problem of access to clean water in Africa, in the last 12 years, the programme has managed to provide over 6 billion litres of clean drinking water to 40 countries on the African continent through its P&G water purifying packets.

P&G scientists, inventors of the purifying water packets, said that each four-gram powdered packet can clean up to 10 litres of heavily contaminated water by effectively killing bacteria, viruses and removing parasites and solid material lurking in the water. With just a small P&G water packet, a spoon, a cloth and a bucket, a person can purify 10 litres of dirty water in just 30 minutes.

In Africa, not only do some countries face issues of water scarcity, but others struggle to have clean potable water. The unavailability of clean water can have many negative effects on civilians and their living conditions. “Clean water does not only quench thirst, promote health and prevent unnecessary deaths, it means more people can work and enhance productivity. In fact, the World Health Organisation has estimated that every one US dollar invested in clean water, sanitation and hygiene generates four US dollars in increased productivity, which enables sustainable and equitable economic growth,” said Mabaso, addressing the long-term effects of water in destitute communities.

Read: Local Johannesburg golf clubs among the leaders of water sustainability in golf around the world

“Looking towards the future, the CSDW has pledged to deliver 15 billion litres of clean water globally by 2020. This will assist in achieving one of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This is one of the projects P&G is working on in partnership with key stakeholders, communities and NGOs.

“We are working with Gift of the Givers in areas around South Africa, including the Free State, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West to provide relief for the current shortage of clean water. The CSDW continues to provide clean water to our neighbouring countries as well, to ensure that even more communities have their lives enhanced by this basic human right,” Mabaso concluded in his statement.

Whether it’s World Water Day or any other random day, it is important to be mindful of how precious water is. There are many communities who are either without water because of the recent droughts or without drinkable water due to lack of resources and infrastructure.

P&G’s clean water programme comes at a crucial time in South Africa. It is encouraged that everyone is involved in saving water and spreading the message in their own communities.

For more information on current water levels and additional information on the water crisis, you can visit the Department of Water and Sanitation website.

Edited by Beryl Knipe

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