16,800 people took part in the campaign and saved 41 million liters of water

Earth is the water planet. Water covers 70% of Earth’s surface, and all life on Earth survives on the basis of water. Water itself represents life.
Human history developed with water. Human civilization was born around water, and water is indispensable for the development of agriculture and high-tech industries.
However, the amount of water that all humans and living things can use is very limited. 97.5% of the world’s water is ocean, and the remaining 2.5% is mostly ice caps. Fresh water in the rivers and lakes that people can use is only 0.7%. Even that varies greatly, depending on season and region. So for some people, it is natural that water comes out when they turn on a faucet, but for others who have to risk their life to get water it is a miracle.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic requires thorough hygiene, the value of water, which is directly related to hygiene, is higher than ever. Nevertheless, about 40% of the world’s population—three billion people—live without basic hand washing facilities. Further, one out of six health care facilities globally have no hygiene service, meaning they lack hand hygiene facilities at points of care, as well as soap and water at toilets.

UN’s World Water Day

The UN adopted the “Observance of World Day for Water” resolution at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development [UNCED] held in Rio de Janeiro in December 1991. According to this resolution, March 22 has been enacted and proclaimed as “World Water Day,” and has been commemorated every year since 1993.
The World Water Day celebrates water and raises the awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. This supports the achievement of the sixth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], “Clean Water and Sanitation.” The UN annually selects the theme of Water Day and conducts its activities. In 2021, “Valuing Water” was announced as the theme of its activities. Through this, people’s perspectives have been expanded to include environmental, social, and cultural values of water beyond the issue of the cost of water.

ASEZ’s World Water Day Campaign, “The Cost”

ASEZ held a global environmental campaign, “The Cost,” on March 22 in celebration of the World Water Day.
Highlighting the amount of water used in our daily consumption of clothing, ASEZ enlightened the actual value of water consumption. ASEZ also encouraged people to save water by practicing valuable consumption of clothes for a month.
The fashion industry consumes water that can fill 32 million Olympic-sized swimming pools a year. And the amount of clothes produced each year is enough for everyone on the plane to have 14 new clothes.
However, due to the fast fashion industry, three out of five clothes eventually end up in landfill. In addition, the fashion industry causes the world’s second most serious water pollution. The pollutants that flow into the oceans account for 20-35% of microplastics.
Clothing that we easily buy and dump leads to a huge water consumption.
ASEZ helped people to be aware of this through card news and videos, and encouraged them to participate in the “value consumption” (stop buying clothes, instead, re-wear and tailor them) for a month. Citizens entered how they participated in value consumption on the ASEZ homepage, and the clothes that were tailored or handed down were submitted to the ASEZ secretariat via email with their stories.
About 16,800 people took part in this campaign. They stopped buying clothes, instead, handed down or tailored 2,689 t-shirts, 2,030 shirts and blouses, 1,475 pants, 2,147 skirts, and 2,396 shoes. This has saved about 41 million liters of water.
This is equivalent to the amount of water that makes 100 cars, and 871,830 people in Africa can use it for a day. It is also the amount that can produce 45,127 smartphones and 1,365,867 A4 paper.
The citizens who took part in the campaign also sent their reviews via email one after another. A citizen upcycled a dress that was not used into a bag; a child received 20 year-old-clothes that her parents wore when they were young; and a participant made scrunchies by using mask rubber bands and her old dress.

The Value of Your Valuable Consumption

The clothing that you consume consumes water that is worth more than its superficial value. Water has infinite and potential value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and environmental preservation. Water is a key resource for sustainable development, and a very important factor in socioeconomic development, healthy ecosystems, and human survival.
However, people at least six times the American population today live without domestic water, and many children fetch water instead of going to school. Knowing the value of water and saving water in our daily life is a valuable act that guarantees the human rights of those who do not have access to safe water and sanitation.
Starting from the World Water Day, we hope that people will continue to be aware of the real value of water and save water in their daily lives.