Soap and Water Pair Up for Sanitation Campaign

The 2008 World Water Monitoring Day program, in partnership with Procter & Gamble, will feature a special campaign to recognize the United Nations' "International Year of Sanitation." Beginning this spring, the program will distribute 12,000 water monitoring kits, including bars of biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap and a handwashing fact sheet, to people in more than 50 countries as part of its "Wash Your Hands, Save a Life" campaign.

Coordinated by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA) with sponsorship from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PerkinElmer, ITT Corporation, CH2M Hill, and Smithfield Foods, the program is an international educational effort designed to build public awareness and participation in water resource protection. It is expected to surpass participation records for last year, when more than 46,000 people from 43 countries tested water quality worldwide.

"The growing interest in World Water Monitoring Day shows that people around the world are actively working to understand and protect water quality," said IWA Executive Director Paul Reiter. "We are especially pleased the program can leverage the UN's important sanitation theme in ways that can make a difference."

Using kits provided by the program or ordered online, participants test water quality indicators including dissolved oxygen, acidity, temperature, and turbidity (clarity). Results are reported online, tabulated, and presented in a year-end report that documents program participation. The integration of the "Wash Your Hands, Save a Life" campaign into this year's program provides an opportunity to offer a key message about basic hygiene to people around the world. In countries where adequate sanitation systems and hygiene knowledge are lacking, this message can save lives.

The 2008 monitoring period will officially launch on Sept. 18 and will continue through Oct. 18.

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