Straws bring life to Kangundo residents

October 14, 2010 12:00 am

, KANGUNDO, Kenya, Oct 14 – Residents of Kangundo constituency have benefited from innovative filters that would help them access clean and safe drinking water.

Rosebella Lang\’at, the Regional Retail Manager of Vestergaard Frandsen, the LifeStraw manufacturers, said the purifiers which filter waterborne bacteria, viruses and parasites come in two models – a personal portable version and an advanced home purifier- which both allow the user to drink clean and safe water.

"From our point of view, there cannot be any other meaningful progress on any of the Millennium Development Goals without access to clean and safe drinking water. We simply cannot reduce poverty, provide a good education for our children, improve child and maternal health or control the spread of diseases without providing access to safe drinking water," she said.

An initial donation of 27,000 high-tech LifeStraws was made by the Danish consumers in partnership with Coca-Cola, Vestergaard Frandsen and Water For All, an international NGO.

District Water Engineer Pius Mating\’i said the purifiers would help reduce diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases which often affect the residents who mainly get water from Athi River.

"The LifeStraws are very practical in this kind of environment because they don\’t require electricity, batteries or spare parts," Eng Mating\’i said.

"Due to their portable nature, they will ensure that the people here can access clean and safe water wherever they go," he added.

According to a 2006 report from the United Nations Development Programme, waterborne diseases were estimated to cause 1.8 million deaths each year globally while about 1.1 million people lack clean and safe drinking water.

In Kenya, it is estimated that 40 percent of the population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water resulting in millions of cases of diarrhoea annually as well as preventable deaths especially for children under five years.

Nairobi Bottlers Managing Director Segun Ogusanya said the Coca-Cola Company was committed to provide clean water for two million people in Africa over the next six years at a cost of Sh2.4 billion.

"To create wealth in a sustainable manner, we need communities that are sustainable and for us water is key to our sustainability, it is critical to the health of our various communities, to the economic and social viability of our communities," Mr Ogusanya said.

The LifeStraw can last for up to one and a half years after which it needs replacement.


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