In October of 2011 the United Nations issued the following resolution:
“The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity.”
Such strong language from the international community comes in response to one of the most pressing issues facing humanity at the dawn of the 21st century. Today, unclean water is the biggest extant threat to human health. Over one billion humans do not have access to clean water resulting in the deaths of roughly 5,000 people every day from preventable water-borne illnesses. As the global population has become majority urban, most of these people live in cities where their water supplies are contaminated by an estimated 14 billion gallons of garbage and 19 trillion gallons of waste each year. By 2050 global population is predicted to grow by another 3 billion people, 90% of which will be born in these burgeoning slums. Beyond the human costs, the social and economic costs are staggering: globally, women and children spend over 200 million hours a day gathering water for the household. Many children simply don’t have the time to go to school and of those who do there are over 443 million school days lost to illness related to bad water. This creates cycle in which recurring illness prevents social, cultural, and economic advancement thus exacerbating global poverty.
Potters Water Action Group believes that future human development fundamentally requires a healthy population. The most basic building block of healthy populations is access to clean water. To this end, we are actively involved in the research, development, and dissemination of silver enhanced ceramic water filters. Our core group, based at the Braddock Carnegie Library, works with a confederation of domestic and international organizations to establish filter manufacturing sites in the developing world. Partnering organizations include universities, church missions, service clubs, private philanthropic organizations, governments, and NGOs. The facilities we construct are operated and staffed by local potters thereby creating micro-enterprises benefiting both the health and economies of the communities in which they operate. Silver-enhanced ceramic filters are also a potential key element aiding natural disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.