On 8th October, 2016, Coca-Cola Pakistan inaugurated the first solar water filtration plant in the Gadap Town of Karachi with its partner Rotary Pakistan. The project is entitled ‘Zindagi’ and it’s funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the New World Project.
The inauguration event was attended by key persons like Mr. Aziz Memon, National Chair, Rotary Pakistan National PolioPlus Charitable Trust, Dr. Arshad Vohra, Deputy Mayor of Karachi, Mr. Zohare Ali Shariff, CEO, Asiatic Public Relations Pvt. Ltd and Mr. Shahzad Kalim, South Franchise Lead, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation.
At the event, Mr. Memon highlighted “It gives me great pleasure to inaugurate the first solar water filtration plant in Gadap Town of Karachi, in partnership with Coca-Cola Pakistan. It's unfortunate that Pakistan is the only country besides Nigeria where poliovirus is still prevalent, but this partnership seeks to eradicate waterborne diseases from Pakistan. The project ‘Zindagi’ is envisioned to uplift the quality of life for the targeted communities of Pakistan, instilling a sense of hope for a healthier future. This is first of the seven solar water filtration plants under this partnership, and we are determined for the progressive deliverables of this project.”
The Coca-Cola Company has partnered with Rotary International, Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee since 2012 with a mission to provide clean drinking water by mitigating the transmission of water borne diseases in Pakistan. Earlier this year at the Rotary International Convention 2016 in Seoul, Coca-Cola Pakistan announced funding of Rs. 10 million, under the ‘New World’ program in partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), for the provision of further 7 solar water filtration plants mainly in Karachi, Sindh and Nowshera in KPK, which are at high risk of communal and waterborne diseases.
7 solar water filtration plants will benefit a total target population of 140,000 in the catchment areas, with each plant recharging 3,000 gallons of water twice a day per shift. Previously, the reverse osmosis plant in Malir town of Karachi, installed in 2014, has helped in the reduction of water borne diseases by an estimated 70%. The highly prevalent diseases in the catchment area included dysentery, polio and hepatitis.
Speaking about this milestone, Mr. Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Pakistan & Afghanistan Region, stated “The partnership between Coca-Cola and Rotary is best practice example for corporate social responsibility through the provision of potable water in the target communities of Pakistan. Water is essential for survival, but clean drinking water is critical for the well-being of our communities. We are determined to mitigate the risks of waterborne diseases that counteract and hamper the progress of any community. With a sustainable foundation, we aim to extend the deliverables of this project all across Pakistan.”
The Zindagi project is designed for people living in far and under privileged areas where potable water and sanitation facilities don’t exist. Subsequently, trainings of women in Health & Hygiene and Behavior Change Strategy are designed to develop capacity of the beneficiary communities to utilize safe drinking water and observe healthy practices to prevent children from waterborne diseases. Moreover, women will be able to save time by preventing the queueing-up for clean drinking water, and this time can be invested in other productive activities at home or work. Easier access to clean drinking water helps in improving mortality rates and living standards. With community-level awareness campaigns about hygiene and medical education, the medical expenses of families will also decrease due to reduction in diseases. The Rotary and Coca-Cola partnership continues to extend its outreach across Pakistan with a strong mission to end polio in Pakistan.