Improving the quality of life: Water Project in Ecuador Amazon
Trudie Styler a film producer, environmentalist, humanitarian and actor, visited Ecuador in May 2007, Trudie witnessed the environmental damage caused by oil exploitation in the Ecuadorian rainforest. She saw the devastating impact that the environmental damage and lack of safe water was having on rural communities, including the lives of the most vulnerable: women and children.
Of the 30,000 people that have been exposed to oil contamination through air, water and land in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana, half are children. The contamination has led to cancers including leukemia, miscarriages, skin disorders and respiratory illnesses.
Keen to help the families she met, Trudie enlisted the support of The Rainforest Fund, UNICEF and the Frente de la Defensa de la Amazonia for a pilot project in which water containers were designed and installed in areas with high levels of contamination, severe health needs, poverty and minimal access to basic services.
The specially-designed water barrels enable families, health centres and schools to have clean water, even in the most polluted areas. The water containers are a dual tank installation with a filter system collecting and converting highly toxic water into pure drinking water for storage and use.
The project proposal was devised in December 2007 with UNICEF Ecuador and implementation of the pilot began in 2008. Families selected to receive the first containers were those in the most highly contaminated areas. Working with the local community and tradesmen, the water barrels are easy to install on rural houses and shelters. Importantly, if they are maintained they last up to fifty years, providing clean water not just to families but entire communities.
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