As far as stunt activism goes, dropping a dirty-water vending machine in the middle of Manhattan during World Water Week is one helluva attention-grabber. For UNICEF’s Tap Project, however, it also distilled the global water crisis in a way New Yorkers could not sidestep: by bottling and selling “Dirty Water” for a dollar a pop. Available flavors? Typhoid, malaria, cholera, or hepatitis.
It’s good for a laugh, sure, but if you’re one of the 1 billion people around the globe without access to clean, safe H2O, the waterborne disease is a clear-and-present reality. In fact, 4,200 children die of water-related diseases each day—the second highest cause of childhood deaths in the world, according to UNICEF.
Selling the water did more than draw attention to the millions of consumers of the tainted “product.” The effort also raised funds for UNICEF’s cause, with every dollar donated going toward safe drinking agua to 40 children for a day.