THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND U.N. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
For Resinate’s 2019 blog series, we will focus on a particular U.N. Sustainable Development Goal and the chemical industry’s impact. If you are not familiar with the goals, Pyxera Global has an excellent infographic that provides a nice summary.
Goal 6 has several targets for 2030 – including to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all; to improve water quality by reducing pollution; eliminating dumping and minimizing the release of hazardous chemicals and materials; to increase water-use efficiency across all sectors; to protect and restore water-related ecosystems; and to improve water and sanitation management.
According to the World Bank, water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent by 2030. In order to fill the gap, more than conservation alone is needed. Advances in technology in the chemical industry will enable not only conservation, but the recycling of wastewater into clean, safe drinking water.
“UNICEF reports that 1.5 million children die each year from a lack of clean water and sanitation.”1 Dow is one company working to make a difference in this area. The company has provided a $30 million-dollar loan guarantee to WaterHealth International. This loan will help finance 2,000 water treatment systems for over 11 million people in rural India and Africa. Dow is also working to make a difference with its technologies, like their plastic resin for lightweight water purification devices. One of these devices can provide water to a household for 10-15 years at only $1 per year, per person. Dow also has reverse osmosis technologies for desalination in areas where fresh water is limited. They are also involved in creating “bricks” that can transport food and water, then be used to build homes, schools, or medical facilities. Dow’s resins allow these bricks to be so lightweight and durable that they can be air-dropped to remote regions when necessary.
Chemistry is essential to safe drinking water and sanitation – from disinfectants that prevent disease, to polymer membrane filters that remove water impurities, to materials for pipes that protect water from its source to the tap, and many more. With continued innovation, chemistry will continue to enable more efficient use of our natural resources and play an essential role in providing safe drinking water to all communities globally.
Chief Technology Officer