Water, water everywhere: The irony of Artex
MANILA, Philippines – Corazon Red Bascon, 66 years old, wants to leave her home someday, but she can't. She has nowhere else to go.
The grandmother is one of many Filipinos living in Artex, Malabon. Like many of its residents, Corazon was a former employee of Artex Yupangco Textile Mills Corporation that shut down decades ago.
Life in the compound is idyllic. The afternoon sun casts a golden glow on the homes as a gentle breeze cools the surroundings.
There is only one problem: The entire compound is permanently flooded.
Ironically, the 200 families living there do not have direct access to clean water. They have to row boats to get their daily water supply.
Sanitation is also another problem. Many families have to share a public toilet with neighbors or strangers. Some, however, say they don’t need toilets. They are surrounded by water after all. (READ: Deaths from lack of proper sewerage)
Because of poor access to clean water and sanitation, the children of Artex are at permanent risk of contracting diseases such as diarrhea and infections. Malnourished children and infants are even more vulnerable to such illnesses.
Providing access to water and sanitation is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015. Although the Philippines is faring quite well with this goal – 84.4% have access to clean water, and 91.9% have sanitary toilets as of 2011 – many poor families still live without these basic necessities. (READ: A thirsty PH)
Artex is just one example of many communities at risk. But this community is not in a remote corner of the country. It's in the middle of a highly populated urban metropolis – where 5-star hotels with hot water running 24/7 coexist with homes that lack basic toilets.
Isn't it quite ironic for the Philippines, an archipelago rich in natural resources, to deprive some of its people of something as simple as water? What is even more ironic is how several Filipinos continue to take water for granted.
Lola Corazon's story
The short documentary, "The Waterworld of Artex," takes us inside Artex, exposing us to its daily struggle with scarcity and filth, as well as its subtle beauty – mostly found in the creativity and resilience of its people
“The Waterworld of Artex” was produced by San Sel and Tep Chansophea, Rappler interns from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They also documented a similar floating village in the Tonlé Sap lake in Cambodia. – Rappler.com
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