WaterAid has created a huge sand portrait on Whitby Beach showing a child carrying water on cracked ground next to the rising tide, to increase awareness of the impact that climate change is having on the world’s poorest people where access to water is concerned.
The 60m-wide work of art was drawn in the sand ahead of World Water Day, which took place on March 22nd, intended to remind people everywhere that climate change is indeed happening and the people who have done the least to cause it are now experiencing the effects of it first – and most severely.
Artists from arts organisation Sand In Your Eye four hours to create the portrait of 12-year-old Ansha, who lives in Frat in Ethiopia and spends hours every day collecting dirty water from a local river.
The beach portrait was only in the sand for an hour before the rising tide washed Ansha’s image away, highlighting how rising sea levels and excessive rainfall can result in flooding, contaminated water and endangered lives.
Extreme weather events like droughts can dry up water sources such as wells and springs, while flooding and rising sea levels can contaminate water supplies that haven’t been properly protected, which can have devastating consequences for local communities.
There are already 785 million living without clean water close to where they live and who are struggling to meet their most basic of needs. It’s predicted that the situation will be even worse by 2040, with climate change meaning that water will become perilously scarce for 600 million children, a rise of 20 per cent since 2010.
WaterAid ambassador, author and TV chef Nadiya Hussain is supporting the organisation’s call to support those families affected by unreliable sources of clean water.
She said: “WaterAid’s sand portrait is a poignant reminder that climate change is already affecting families around the world. It’s a terrible injustice that millions of children’s lives are threatened because of a lack of clean water, and that climate change is making the situation even harder for those in the world’s poorest places who have done the least to cause it.”
This year’s World Water Day awareness campaign focused on driving discussions about what water means to people and what its true value is, as well as what action can be taken to better protect this vital natural resource.
The aim is to encourage businesses and individuals to consider how important water actually is to livelihoods, home and family life, wellbeing, cultural practices and the local environment.