The UN Environment Assembly (UNEP), the world’s highest-level decision-making body on environmental issues, is now gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, under the overarching theme of pollution. Solvatten, a Swedish social enterprise, is invited to share its experiences in providing safe, hot water in a clean, sustainable and innovative manner.
1.3 billion people lack access to electricity in their homes and nearly 40% of the world’s population rely on fuel wood, and charcoal for domestic use. The same people rely on water sources that cannot be considered safe to drink. Nevertheless. the access to clean air, clean drink water and hygiene are essential human rights.
CALL FOR SYMBIOTIC AND PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS
The participation of civil society and the private sector is crucial to a successful environment and climate agenda. The UN Environment Assembly acknowledges that in bringing together these diverse stakeholders, it provides a groundbreaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy. Thus, such simple, efficient and low-cost innovation as Solvatten has called the attention of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Petra Wadström, Solvatten’s CEO, founder and inventor is in Nairobi for an inspirational week at UNEP headquarters.
“The dependence on firewood and charcoal is not only harmful indoor air pollution, it is also a major cause of deforestation and bio-diversity loss in the world. We see that families are consistently using Solvatten because of its savings on fuelwood and its convenience. In our project evaluations most users of Solvatten surprisingly enough ranked the access to hot water higher than its purifying qualities. But it’s a heavy load to carry so it’s not hard to imagine why, when thinking about it.
Leading by example
Petra also describes Tharaka Nithi County in Kenya where Solvatten is currently developing a project in cooperation with the International Aid Services (IAS), an international non-governmental organization for development and humanitarian relief. The project main objective is to reduce the use of fuel wood consumption, improve women empowerment in the community. For this purpose, a total of 834 Solvatten units were donated to IAS for the benefit of Tharaka community. The preliminary results show a general health improvement of the community members using Solvatten, as well as reduction of fuelwood consumption, less visits to a health clinics, and increased school attendance for girls.
“We are very proud to see that Solvatten is able to address not only one, but several Sustainable Development Goals, for instance, goal 3 (good health and well-being), goal 5 (gender equality and women empowerment) and goal 6 (clean water, better hygiene and sanitation).” Petra said.
Solvatten is a combined portable water treatment and water heater system, designed for off-grid household use in the developing world. Thanks to its durable design, with an average lifespan of 7-10 years, Solvatten is a low-cost way to get clean and hot water. The patented technology uses direct sunlight to treat and heat water and is able to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites. The result is +75°C water that meets the highest World Health Organization (WHO) requirements for safe drinking water. As a positive side-effect, by using Solvatten less time and fuel wood is needed for other domestic chores like washing and hygiene.
Cross-sectorial innovations such Solvatten are key for a safer and sustainable planet. We hope that Petra will continue to inspire and encourage more organizations to go beyond business as usual and really make a difference. Lycka till, Petra!
Written by Analice Martins.
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