Youth help ensure access to sufficient clean water in Central Asia

Молодежь помогает обеспечить доступ к достаточным объемам чистой воды в Центральной Азии

Young environmentalists in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are developing new ways to address severe water shortages in their local communities. Youth help ensure access to sufficient clean water in Central Asia Climate and Environment

Climate change has already irreversibly altered the lives of everyone around the world, with the heaviest burden falling on children. Concerned about water shortages, air pollution and increasing heatwaves, children and young people in Central Asia are taking action to protect their future.

Saving water at school

Fifth graders from the city of Shchuchinsk (Kazakhstan) recently developed in their schools and local communities an eco-project as part of a program for the development of social entrepreneurship.

Yaroslav, who was concerned about the problems caused by the relationship with natural resources, led the team of students. “TV shows about the drying up of rivers and lakes, which causes people to suffer from lack of water, have always made a strong impression on me,” he says.

Yaroslav had an idea: what , if his team installs drinking water consumption monitoring devices?

“I have this picture in front of my eyes:  schoolchildren walk up to a drinking fountain to get a drink, turn on the tap, and then get distracted by their friends. Meanwhile, the water flows and flows. How much water is wasted ? – continues Yaroslav. – So when my teacher invited us to take part in this project and told us what we would be doing, I immediately had an idea: “I will make sure that water does not just flow.”

After heated discussion, all members voted to move forward with the school drinking fountain idea. If this initiative brings significant positive results, sensors will also be installed in other areas of the school, such as sinks and washbasins.

“Regardless of whether we can implement our idea life or not, participation in the project taught us a lot. – says Yaroslav. – We realized that nature conservation is our responsibility. Each of us, even high school students, has something to offer. And, most importantly, we have support. Not only adults can carry out environmental conservation activities – schoolchildren can also contribute.”

The choice is yours!

Children in Tajikistan use art to highlight the importance of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. A sixth grade student from the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, Fotima Zokirova became one of the winners of the republican art competition dedicated to the Youth and Children’s Water Forum organized by UNICEF.

“My drawing contains the main key message,” says Fotima. – The choice is yours! You can choose to live in a beautiful world or in a world with a polluted environment. Everything in the world depends on water, if there is no water, there is no planet.”

“Many people use water incorrectly,” she continues. – For example, they throw garbage into the water or leave the tap open when they leave. This is wrong – we should conserve water. Without water we will be lost.”

Innovative water supply technologies

Recently, Shakhzoda and her team took first place in the regional competition “Seeds of the Future” for the best project in the category “Technologies for Good” “.

“In Uzbekistan, we are facing a serious problem of water shortage, due to which some farmers use groundwater for irrigation. Unfortunately, such water often contains large amounts of salts and heavy metals, which makes it unsuitable for agricultural purposes,” says Shahzoda.

To solve this problem, Shahzoda and eight other students developed an Aquatibia water filter equipped with special sensors, which is capable of desalinizing and purifying water. The device works as a water purification filter, removing salts, heavy metals and other particles so that farmers can use safe water for irrigation. The filter works by using natural filter material made from wood waste, with sensors also collecting water quality data and sending it to the cloud using energy-efficient Long-Range technology. Such data is collected and made available to farmers through a mobile application, providing valuable information for irrigation management.

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Implementing this initiative The team aims to reduce wood waste in Uzbekistan and contribute to the circular economy by using wood waste as a filtration agent.

“This idea was the result of a joint effort. The original concept was proposed by a chemistry student on our team who was conducting research on a filtration agent to improve water desalination and filtration. However, we, along with other students with backgrounds in computer engineering, contributed to making him “intelligent” and more insightful,” Shahzoda explains. “This is important for our country, since Uzbekistan is largely dependent on the agricultural sector.”

Shahzoda took part in the 28th UN Climate Conference (COP-28) in the United Arab Emirates.

“I didn’t know much about the amount of carbon emissions humanity produces every year,” she says. “However, I have since learned more, including that the water sector is also responsible for a fairly large share of emissions. It was certainly an eye-opener to learn about the water sector decarbonization strategies and targets that have been set by some countries. Additionally, my favorite COP28 activity was visiting the Startup Village in the Green Zone, where I learned a lot about sustainability-focused startup companies. One such company has been working on the problem of collecting and recycling water in humid climates, such as coastal areas, to use it for a variety of purposes.”

Millions of children in Central Asia is experiencing severe water shortages. Water scarcity is based on a composite measure of baseline water stress, seasonal and interannual variations, declining groundwater levels, and drought risk. Higher indicator values ​​indicate greater exposure to water shortages.

About 3.8 million children lack access to basic drinking water, and 4.5 million children face extremely vulnerable to water shortages. The UNICEF Water Vulnerability Index is based on a comprehensive indicator of water scarcity and drinking water supply levels.

UNICEF is working with partners in the region to strengthen water supplies and ensure reliable access to sufficient safe water for children and families.


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