Though 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, over 780 million people are without access to clean water around the world. That is over 2.5 times the United States population. Of that statistic, Water.org reports: “More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes.” A vast majority of those deaths occur in developing countries.
Water scarcity affects more areas than some may realize and exists on every continent. The idea of water scarcity can be a scary thought, but it is more than that. Water is a harsh reality for millions of people around the world.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) reported water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century alone. Though there is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people, it is unevenly distributed, polluted and sustainably mismanaged.
Water scarcity manifests itself in physical and economic ways and can be caused by obstacles we have no control over, such as climate change.
Fighting the water crisis at hand can seem like a daunting task, especially when one considers how vast water scarcity spans. However, there are many determined organizations set to take on this seemingly uphill battle and make a change that so many countries desperately need.
An innovative solution by the name Pack H2O was born following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti where David Fischer, CEO of Greif, Inc. witnessed women struggling to carry the clean water available to their home in old dirty containers and jerrycans.
Pack H2O is a backpack designed to lighten the burden of those carrying water from their access points to their home. The innovative design includes a removable liner that is sanitized simply with exposure to sunlight, a puncture-resistant outer shell and a spout to dispense the collected water.
This collapsible backpack is also seven times lighter and seven times smaller than the average jerrycan making one trip to the access point for clean water much more efficient and productive.
Not only does Pack H20 provide an easier way to transport water, but with its invention came micro-business opportunities for developing communities around the world by providing positions from assembly and decorations to liner sales and distribution.
Since its introduction to the world, Pack H2O has received several honors for the strides made in fighting the water crisis including Popular Science magazine’s 2012 Best of What’s New Award in the Green category, Global Green USA’s Industrial Design Award, and the 2013 Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Honorable Mention for Excellence in Public Interest Design.
When one thinks of a backpack, water scarcity or the water crisis are the last things to come to mind if they even come up at all. Pack H20 has changed the way one may think of things by taking something as familiar as a backpack and altering it and the lives of those that use it.
The Pack H20 team’s goal is a simple one: to deliver a water backpack to every person who needs one.
– Janelle Mills