Basic sanitation is a human right. But that right is not available to all. Over half the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation and a quarter million children die each year from diarrheal disease caused by lack of safe sanitation.
Agua Pura Para El Pueblo (AGP) has always focused on things that families can do for themselves to improve their lives rather than relying on help from governments or well-meaning others. We try to work with families and communities to find solutions that will be long term, inexpensive and easily adapted by the people themselves. These solutions should meet their basic needs.
Here are some simple things that we have advocated and helped provide for families.
One way Agua Pura tries to address the issue of safe sanitation is by promoting low cost composting latrines and hand-washing as the simplest and most cost effective way to protect the health of families.
Often, water is in short supply or not conveniently available so AGP has provided simple hand-washing stations that can be placed near latrines, in areas where food is prepared or babies are cared for. Plastic buckets with a spigot that can be turned on or off as to not waste precious water. Even plastic soda bottles can provide enough water to wash hands safely. Because wash water can then be available where needed, it is more likely to be used on a regular basis.
PURIFYING DRINKING WATER
Agua Pura’s focus has always been on families having safe drinking water. Most of the drinking water in the world has never been tested for safety, and no one knows if it is safe. As the world’s population grows more and more, people have only contaminated water to rely on. Over two billion people worldwide drink water contaminated with disease causing organisms from human and animal waste.
Agua Pura has focused on things families can do now to protect themselves. Pasteurization kills disease causing bacteria and is easy to do. Temperatures need only to reach about 170 degrees , using less resources than reaching boiling water temperatures.
A simple, reusable device known as a “Water Pasteurization Indicator” or WAPI has a special wax inside that melts at 170 and shows when drinking water has reached pasteurization temperature. AGP has distributed thousands of these indicators with training and instructions on their use.
COOKING WITH SOLAR ENERGY
Cooking with wood or charcoal is depleting the world’s forests and is not sustainable. Purchasing fuel for cooking or boiling water is a major expense for families. Danger from burns and smoke inhalation from open fires are important health risks.
Use of simple solar stoves can reduce these problems. In dry sunny climates, AGP has demonstrated how to make these simple stoves using inexpensive local materials. In addition to preparing food, these stoves can easily reach temperatures adequate for pasteurizing water.
These low-cost ideas represent Agua Pura's philosophy of providing solutions to families that can protect their health and improve their lives. We thank you, our supporters and donors for your help in bringing these simple things to the many families that need them.
Would you like a WAPI for yourself to see for yourself how they work? Please write to me and I'll send you one.
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