The Problem


Haiti leads the Western hemisphere in both infant and small child mortality. In 2009, nearly 60 out of every 1,000 children died at birth; 1 of every 10 children born in Haiti will die before the age of 5. The leading cause of these high mortality rates in children is water borne diseases and complications from malnourishment that comes from drinking unsafe water.

Highlighted below are a number of diseases that Haitians face due to poor water quality:

  1. Viral disease: severe, sudden onset diarrhea
  2. Bacterial infection: typhoid, cholera, chronic diarrhea
  3. Parasitic disease: giardia, worms, amebic infection
  4. Cancer: naturally-occuring chemical toxins such as arsenic, uranium and heavy metals; Man-made chemical toxins such as benzene, lead, mining runoff, and disinfectant by-products
girl carrying water

A Haitian boy and child wait in line at a distribution site set up by Marines and Sailors from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in Petit Goave, Haiti, Jan. 26. In response to a devastating earthquake, which struck the country of Haiti, Marines and Sailors of the 22nd MEU began to deliver relief supplies and provide medical aid in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 19.


The quality of drinking water also has a more subtle influence on the person: namely on the Human Cognitive Development. Some studies have shown that literacy, the key to education, correlates heavily to development. Proper nutrition, especially small child nutrition, heavily affects brain development and thus a child’s ability to learn how to read and write. In addition to the educational barriers caused by malnutrition, illness prevents children from attending school, leading to an inevitable spiral to poverty in the future. The lack of clean drinking water contributes to the fact that 48.8% of the Haitian population over 15 cannot read or write.

Priorities for Clean Water Technology

  • Elimination of Viral and Bacterial Contamination (The leading cause of mortality in vulnerable populations)
  • Removal of Parasitic Contamination (A leading deterrent to thriving of children)
  • Elimination of Arsenic, Lead, and Benzene (A leading cause of cancers and renal failure)
  • Elimination of Disinfection Byproducts (A moderate cancer-causing carcinogen)