The World Cup may be over, but the people in various communities in Africa won’t stop playing soccer. This sport is an integral part of the daily lives of people in African villages. Atopia Research, a charitable design company, has taken this fact and created a concept that is very much needed in that part of the world: a soccer field that doubles as a rainwater catchment system.
How does it work? It’s simple. The idea is based on the fact that Africa gets plenty of rainfall but only during certain times of the year. The rain falls and the field acts as a catchment surface where the water collects and is drained through a semi-permeable membrane. Some of this water flows through an irrigation system and is used to water plants and eventually harvest crops, while the rest flows into a storage tank and is then filtered for drinking, cooking and bathing. The system can provide 1,000 people with water for a year and is built, using local, sustainable resources and materials to minimize cost and maximize impact.
This project, known as “PITCH: AFRICA” (which means “soccer field” outside of the U.S.), resembles the group of projects implemented by WASH United, a coalition of organizations, agencies, governments and football players from around the world whose mission is to promote clean water, sanitation and hygiene for people in the developing world (especially Africa). Both charities work by using something that is already integrated in African communities – a passion for soccer – to introduce a not-so-available, yet much needed resource – clean water – thereby naturally integrating this resource into their daily lives… a strategy that, in my opinion, has the potential to be highly effective.
Stone City Bottled Water in Anamosa will soon distribute “his-and-hers” vitamin-enhanced bottled water – branded as H 10 O, with 10 essential gender-specific vitamins in each bottle – to local stores in 60 Iowa and Illinois counties. Men’s flavors include “Citrus Sport,” “Lemon Ice Tea,” and “Orange Energy.” Women’s flavors are “Berry Sport,” “Peach Mango Tea,” and “Tropical Energy.” The company sales account manager, Patrick Lage admits that there is really not much difference between the flavors for men and those for women. Mainly, the men’s bottles have more B vitamins. Both men and woman can drink all six flavors without any problems. These bottles will be sold for a promotional price of $1 per bottle and then switch to a range between $1.59 and $1.79.
This is almost as ridiculous as the Candwich (sandwich in a can). Are bottled water companies getting desperate in the wake of environmentalist efforts? There is even an “environment” tab in the “About Us” section on the H 10 O website, to inform the consumer that these bottles are made with PET plastic, “the most easily recycled plastic available.” They’re not fooling me though. My advice? Save your money. Buy a water filter, take a multivitamin, eat healthy and exercise. It sounds like a lot, but the result is much more worthwhile in the end.
New York City Times Square was evacuated for the second time this week due to reports of a “suspicious package.” The package was just a few blocks away from where a vehicle loaded with explosives was found about a week ago. In a city prone to terrorism, the paranoia seems natural. What makes this story so noteworthy for us is that it drives home the point we have been desperately trying to make all along – bottled water is dangerous!
What does bottled water have to do with anything, you ask?
The package in question was a soft cooler full of water bottles. The brand is unknown and irrelevant, because bottled water of any kind is not a good thing for our planet. This was obviously not a terrorist attack, as the package was found to be harmless. But what was it? Why did someone leave a cooler of water bottles in Times Square, just blocks away from where a suspicious vehicle warranted a bomb threat last week? Perhaps the discovery of this package was no coincidence. Perhaps the water gods are trying to tell us something here: besides crowding our landfills and contributing significantly to the pollution and degradation of our environment, bottled water is a potentially explosive threat to the human race (pun intended.) The message is clear. It’s time to drop the bottle and get a water filter.