In a disaster the lack of, or disruption to, a safe water supply or sanitation creates an ideal breeding ground for water-borne disease notably diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid. Aquabox plays a vital part in minimising these after-effects by sending Single Box kits containing safe drinking water filters and vital humanitarian aid items to support whole families and communities.
The Club actively collects for Aquaboxes and has filled and dispatched over 100 Aquaboxes; our thanks go to all who have helped us with this by donating directly or taking part in fund-raising activities.
Aquabox is a volunteer-led charity founded in 1992 by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth from an ingenious idea by 2 of their members. Already providing assistance to disaster areas by dispatching plywood boxes filled with emergency supplies the Club identified an opportunity to extend the use of the relief boxes by constructing them out of stronger materials providing storage.
What's in a box?
Each box contains the family-sized filter (called an aquafilter) and essential welfare items for a disaster situation and once the welfare contents have been removed can generate over 18,000 litres of potable water.
That's enough drinking and general washing water for a family of five for at least 18 months.
In just 8 years Aquabox filters have empowered people to produce 2.35 billion litres of safe drinking water – enough, they calculate, for 2 litres of water for every person in Africa!
Assembly of the filters is done by volunteers at their centre which enables them to keep costs down. Currently each unit costs:
Local Rotarians and aid agencies ensure the proper distribution and correct usage training and Aquabox have dispatched over 110,000 boxes to many disaster areas including after the devastating tsunamis in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Samoa, earthquakes in Haiti and Indonesia as well as the typhoons in Philippines. In 2019-20 boxes were dispatched to Malawi, Grand Bahama, Nepal, Yemen, Syria, Bay of Bengal and Beirut and most recently to the Philippines, Yemen and Beirut.
Of particular note is that they are prioritising reducing plastic pollution by ensuring as much as possible of the contents of the Gold Box is made from sustainable products not plastic. In just one year (2018-19) they supplied filters capable of producing 4000 litres of water every minute resulting in 4000 plastic litre bottles of water no longer being needed or transported – a massive reduction in the carbon footprint.
In October 2010 President Brian accepted a challenge to lose weight for Aquabox. Past Presidents Arthur Boyd, David Boyd and Bryan Johnston 'volunteered' to support him in the challenge. Club members sponsored them per lb lost! At their final "weigh-out" at the end of January 2011 a total of 29lbs had been lost which represented a generous donation to Aquabox.
Aquaboxes have also shown to have other uses!