Amanda Mealing joins WaterAid to call on government for clean water for people on the frontline of climate change
On Wednesday 20th October, actor and director Amanda Mealing joined WaterAid at Whitehall to present an open letter to the UK Government urging them to lead rich nations in ensuring vulnerable communities can access a reliable source of water so they can protect themselves from the devastating effects of climate change.
The letter, which was organised by the international charity and signed by 19,029 people from across the UK, was addressed to Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and MP for south west Norfolk.
As well as WaterAid Ambassador Amanda Mealing, signatories included high profile supporters Thandiwe Newton, Nadiya Hussain, Dougray Scott, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Lemn Sissay, and cross-party politicians.
Together, they are calling on the UK Government to invest one-third of the UK’s committed international climate funding on locally-led adaptation projects, which will help vulnerable communities get the essentials like a reliable source of clean water to better adapt to climate change.
New figures from a poll commissioned by WaterAid found that half the UK population support giving money to poorer nations to help them cope with the impacts of climate change. Two in five Brits (40 per cent) think the UK’s influence and standing in the world would take a hit if the UK Government failed to meet its commitments to developing countries on climate change.
Climate change is making it even harder for many to get clean water. Longer droughts dry up springs and wells, and more frequent flooding pollutes poorly protected water supplies. A reliable source of clean water that keeps flowing whatever the weather helps people living on the frontlines of climate change to adapt and build a better future.
BATFA-nominated actress Amanda, who recently swapped the hospital wards for the cobbles of Manchester by taking on a directing role for Coronation Street, saw the impact a lack of clean water has on communities first-hand when she visited Ghana with the international charity a few years ago.
Amanda Mealing said:
“Having visited Ghana with WaterAid, I’ve seen what happens when communities lack basic essentials like clean water. It means women spend hours each day collecting water, that’s often so dirty it can make them and their families sick. And it means doctors and nurses have to take time away from treating patients to collect water while also making it more difficult to ensure a clean, hygienic environment. As the world continues to tackle the global pandemic while also facing the growing threat of climate change, it has never been more vital to ensure everyone everywhere has access to clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.
“That is why I’m calling on the government to help ensure vulnerable communities have access to these fundamental human rights, whatever the weather.”
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid, said:
“The UK has an opportunity to show that it’s a credible climate leader that delivers its climate commitments to poorer nations. Richer countries, who are responsible for most of the CO2 emissions that drive this crisis, must start repaying their deadly climate debt to poorer countries, who have contributed the least.
“The climate crisis is a water crisis at its core. Across the globe, floods and droughts are already destroying crops and homes, polluting water sources or drying them up completely, threatening people’s survival.
"With just under two weeks till COP26, Boris Johnson needs to pull out all the stops to encourage G20 leaders to deliver on their climate finance pledges so that developing countries do not have to face the devastating impacts of climate change on their own.”
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Photo credit: WaterAid/Oliver Dixon
The letter, which was signed by over 19,000 people from across the UK, was addressed to Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and MP for south west Norfolk.
WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.
- 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.1
- 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own.2
- Around 290,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.3
- Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.4
- Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.5