The next time you grab a bottle of water from the gas station or pour yourself an icy glass of water after a jog, consider this: more than 750 million people around the world struggle daily to gain access to clean drinking water or have no access to it at all. Living in Northern America can often make this human rights issue seem far smaller than it actually is, but for a group of like minded artists and activists in Western Pennsylvania, this epidemic is one that deserves an immediate solution.
Potters Water Action Group (PWAG) consists of individuals and organizations that are committed to fighting the war against waterborne diseases. Since 2004, PWAG has been constructing silver enhanced, ceramic water filters that create clean drinking water. Because the materials used in these filters are common, the devices can be easily produced all over the world.
Braddock native Richard Wukich is one of the originators of the international clean water initiative in our region. The Slippery Rock Professor, who’s been at the university since 1968, and B. Stephen Carpenter II, Penn State art education professor, continually strive to increase the efficiency of the water filtration system that cleans 2 ½ liters of water within a hour and costs about $20.
It is Wukich’s hope that Braddock, one of our country’s most economically devastated regions, can become more involved in the production of these water filters eventually creating jobs and training for members of the community.
Braddock, Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Library is home to the Pot Shop and has been the main production site for PWAG for 11 years. During this time, the association has brought water filter facilities to Honduras, Haiti, Sudan, Iraq and the Dominican Republic. This facility assists locals in the production and distribution of filters so the community can continue to manufacture this essential resource on a long term basis.
The simple and portable contraption that makes all of these water filters a possibility, could potentially save millions of lives while creating movement within local economies like Braddock. To find out more about how you can get involved visit potterswateractiongroup.org