Women swim 4 km daily to collect drinking water
UN’s World Water Day concentrates on ‘nature-based’ solutions to find the life elixir of life.
Makassar: Indonesian Mama Hasria swims upstream with about 200 empty jerry cans tied to her back, a daily journey that she and other local women make to get clean water for their community on the island of Sulawesi.
Hasria makes the 4 km, one hour journey in the hot sun along the dark Man-Dar River to clean water sources built along the river bank. There the 46-year-old fills her cans with clean water that is made drinkable by the surrounding soil, which functions as a natural filter and a purification plant.
The work of Hasria and her co-water collectors, who are paid about 500 rupiah (3.5 cents) for each can, or $ 7 for the whole load, is vital for about 5800 families in the Tinambung district.
The World Water Day, an initiative of the UN, focuses this year on ‘nature-based’ solutions for the worldwide collection of drinking water.
It is a challenge in Tinambung, where residents have complained for years about limited access to clean water in the remote fishing village.
“We need to collect upstream to drink and cook,” said Hasria. “Water can only be used for bathing and washing.”
Indonesia has the dubious distinction of catching the filthy Citarum River, which empties into the sea near Jakarta. Ten years ago the World Bank called it the most polluted river in the world.
Faced with a health disaster after decades of unsuccessful attempts, the government is taking action to make the Citarum water drinkable by 2025.