Environmental Endeavour I
WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT UNSAFE WATER?
We will let the facts speak for itself. Worldwide, unsafe water kills more people than war.
- Over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 58% in Asia.
- Close to 3 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation services, 71% in Asia.
- Over 80% of illness and death in the developing world is water related.
- More than 3 million people, mostly children, die annually from water-related diseases.
- In China, India and Indonesia, diarrhoea-related deaths are double those related to HIV.
- Lack of water forces 100 million children, especially girls, to miss out on an education.
- World Health Organisation, United Nations Environment Programme
Adding context to the grim picture, former Secretary-General of United Nations Kofi Annan said, “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardises both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.”
While international aid agencies and development NGOs appreciate the problem, limited resources mean that any aid—if available —would hardly make a splash.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?
In 2006, we started the Environmental Endeavour as our efforts to improve the living conditions of developing communities in Asia with the Nanyang Technological University. It is done through two entities: the Lien Institute for the Environment (LIFE) and Lien AID. LIFE takes charge of exploring and developing low-cost, small-scale, environmental technology and techniques which can be deployed in developing countries, while the latter will implement these solutions in rural communities in Asia.
Lien AID's priorities are addressing basic needs issues such as water, sanitation, energy and shelter. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, Lien AID seeks to integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in projects through the use of information and communication technologies, education and income generation programmes.
HOW DO LIFE AND LIEN AID COLLABORATE?
To grow its portfolio of environmental technologies, LIFE’s R&D staff continuously aggregate and evaluate relevant research being done locally and overseas. Promising research will be used to develop and produce the appropriate technologies.
Lien AID provides LIFE with the necessary feedback on user needs and requirements so that improvements may be further made and monitored. It also works with LIFE to ensure that engineering support like training, maintenance and servicing are appropriately designed to meet the indigenous operational constraints of the community.
This partnership between LIFE and Lien Aid was a springboard for Singapore to launch innovative programmes and technology-based solutions to tackle global environmental and social needs. LIFE has since evolved into the Lien Environmental Fellowship, and Lien AID has became an independent entity in 2014.