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Habitat’s water project in Tajikistan wins a prominent environmental award

Habitat Tajikistan’s project “Water for life – bio-sand water filters” is recognized for the national 2010 Energy Globe Award in the water category. On June 3, 2010, the world’s prominent environment award will be presented ahead of a ceremony in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. It will open this year’s World Environment Day under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program.

The water filters improve the quality of life of Tajik people in the Kumsangir district.

With filters in the yards, local families always have clean drinking water.

The project is implemented in the Kumsangir district of Tajikistan, located in the southwest of the country. The biggest and poorest region is home to almost 30 percent of the population. Rural communities there suffer from a lack of basic infrastructure. Drinking water is drawn from contaminated irrigation canals and ditches. A 2008 survey identified 140 cases of typhoid, 120 of hepatitis, 450 of diarrhea and 260 of dysentery among the residents. In winter, when canals dry out, people use water from open ponds, shared with livestock. The scarcity of water resources limits good hygiene practices and causes inflammations and skin diseases.

Water is mainly carried home by women and children, three to four times a day over a distance of 50 to 150 meters. In winter, the injury rate increases as this marathon turns into an assault course when the steep path to the reservoirs becomes wet and icy. Children spend an enormous amount of time collecting water which results in poor progress in their studies.

The poor quality of water means that families have to boil it before using. Otherwise, the consequences can be acute. However, boiling increases electricity consumption and burdens the tiny family budget.

Habitat Tajikistan has partnered a local non-profit organization “Nakukori” to implement bio-sand filters for rural communities. It consists of a concrete container with graded sand and gravel, topped with a diffuser and bio-layer. As water passes though the various layers, bacteria are filtered out. This technology is simple yet effective and can be easily assembled and maintained by the families.

What is next?
Habitat wants people not only to read about poverty housing but do something to fight it. You can support Habitat’s work in Europe and Central Asia in a number of ways. Here are some examples:

• Visit our donations page to support projects Tajikistan.
• Go to country profile pages to learn about other programs in this country.

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