22 March 2016
One of the North East’s most famous landmarks will be illuminated in blue today [Tuesday, March 22], as part of a campaign shining a spotlight on the millions of people who still live without clean water.
Northumbrian Water will turn Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge into a giant blue eye on the Tyne, to mark UN World Water Day 2016 and to raise support for WaterAid, the company’s international charity partner.
The company is also asking people to Tweet a selfie of themselves by the bridge, copying in @NorthumbrianH2O using the #Blue4Water hashtag.
WaterAid provides the world’s poorest people with basic human rights – cleanwater and somewhere safe to go to the toilet, and hygiene education
The bridge, an iconic symbol of the North East, will be lit up between 7.00pm on Tuesday, March 22 and 2.00am on Wednesday, March 23, to highlight the plight of the 650 million people worldwide who don’t have access to clean, safe water.
Northumbrian Water is hoping that people will use the colour blue to help raise awareness of World Water Day, by changing their social media avatars using an online app on the wateraid.org website, wearing blue for the day or using the hashtag #Blue4Water to draw attention to the day.
Northumbrian WaterAid chairman, Andrew Blakemore, said that turning the bridge blue would act as a visible reminder to people from across the North East, of just how fortunate we are to have readily available, safe, clean water, and perhaps remind them of those who do not.
He said: “We are extremely lucky to be able to turn on our taps and access safe water each day, and it is easy to take that for granted. However, for some people, such access to safe water would be a dream - unthinkable to most people in this day and age.
“By reminding people of World Water Day, and of the fantastic work that WaterAid does, we hope that we can draw attention to a worldwide issue that we all need to play a part in addressing. We hope that people appreciate the way the bridge looks today and give something back by donating to WaterAid and helping us to tackle a problem that is a sad indictment on the whole of humanity.”
Northumbrian Water has committed to raise £1million for its adopted international charity partner, which could save as many as 70,000 lives in some of the world’s poorest communities over the next five years.
The money raised is being used to support people living in Madagascar. The island, which is the fourth largest in the world and lies off the south east coast of Africa, has a population of almost 25 million, but 10.9million people still don’t have access to a tap and 18 million don’t have access to a safe and private toilet.
WaterAid provides taps, toilets and hygiene education to people from 37 countries around the world, which in turn enables children, who would otherwise have to walk miles to collect water that they know could make their families ill, to go to school and to play. The charity helps communities to grow by empowering them and building their skills so they can become self-sufficient.
To find out more about World Water Day, or to donate, visit www.wateraid.org or to get involved and raise awareness of the day, use the hashtag #Blue4Water in social media posts.
Media: For further information contact Cara Charlton on 0191 301 6720.
• The Northumbrian WaterAid committee has raised £5 million for WaterAid since 1981.
• For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.
• Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.
• Around 900 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation, or one child every two minutes
• Over 650 million people are without safe water, or one in 10 in the world.
• 2.3 billion people are without adequate sanitation, or 39% of the world′s population.