SDG #6: Clean Water and Sanitation Unveiling at Academy of Natural Sciences

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By Zola Mennis

On November 17, Global Philadelphia Association unveiled their mural for Sustainable Development Goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitation created by artist Miriam Singer. Sponsored by the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, the mural has been placed outside of the Academy on the 19th Street Wall for public viewing over the next three years. 

During the event, many leaders in the water and sanitation sectors of Philadelphia spoke on the importance of SDG #6 in the community. Some of the speakers at the event included Scott Cooper, President and CEO at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Glen Abrams, Deputy Commissioner at the Philadelphia Water Department, Abby Sullivan, Senior Advisor of Climate Change and Risk Communication for the City of Philadelphia, Christopher Crockett, Chief Sustainable Officer at Essential Utilities, John Smith III, former GPA board chair and Academy of Natural Sciences trustee, and Roland Wall, Senior Director of the Patrick Center for Environmental Research. At the end of the program, GPA presented a $3,000 check as a donation to the Patrick Center to continue their hard work and dedication towards conservation.

Miriam Singer, a Philadelphia-based muralist, spoke at the event about how her work connects to Philadelphia. Besides incorporating the theme of SDG #6 into the mural, Singer added local waterways in the City and utilized resources from the Academy of Natural Sciences to complete her piece. She took inspiration from a research book in the Academy of Natural Sciences that added glimpses of the wildlife within Philadelphia’s urban aquatic environments. Singer is known for her combination of drawing and printmaking to create unique artwork for public art projects such as the SDG #6 mural. 

SDG #6 is one of the 17 SDGs that the United Nations has created to be accomplished by 2030. It is also the second sustainable development goal that has been created to increase awareness of water preservation. Additionally, it is part of GPA’s Sustainable Development Goals Public Arts Project where GPA is working towards placing 17 murals representing all 17 SDGs across Philadelphia. 

“Our research led us to information about Philadelphia’s role in the world as an expert in water management,” said GPA President Zabeth Teelucksingh on the global reputation of Philadelphia’s future in water management. She quoted The Guardian saying, “Philadelphia is emerging as a water management leader, investing in green infrastructure to capture water where it falls.” Speakers at the unveiling discussed previous efforts in Philadelphia towards achieving SDG #6, but there’s more that needs to come before everyone can receive clean water and sanitation. According to the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City Clean Water initiative, Philadelphia’s sewer systems only serve about 60 percent of the city. During rainstorms and wet weather conditions, the limited amount of sewer systems in the city can potentially overflow and pollute local waterways. SDG #6 and other SDGs attempt to bring awareness to these types of issues and encourage sustainable development within Philadelphia. 

If you are interested, there are only four remaining goals in GPA’s SDG campaign to be sponsored - SDG #12: Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG #13: Climate action, SDG #14: Life Below Water, and SDG #15: Life on Land. If you or someone you know would be interested in sponsoring one of these four SDG’s, follow this link or contact Global Philadelphia Association at 215-563-2482 for details.  


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