Giant sand portrait on Whitby Beach highlighting impact of climate change on world’s poorest

A giant sand portrait created on Whitby Beach to show how climate change is impacting people’s access to water and could make water perilously scarce for 1 in 4 children by 2040 Credit: WaterAid

A 60 metre wide artwork has been created on Whitby Beach to highlight the impact climate change on people's access to water.

The charity WaterAid created the striking portrait in the sand showing a child carrying water on cracked ground next to the rising tide.

Giant sand portrait on Whitby Beach to show how climate change is impacting people’s access to water Credit: WaterAid

Extreme weather such as prolonged droughts dry up water sources like springs and wells, while rising sea levels and flooding contaminate ill-protected water supplies, with potentially devastating consequences.

By 2040 it is predicted that climate change will make water perilously scarce for 600 million children. That's 1 in 4 and an increase of 20% since 2010

It took artists from Sand in Your Eye four hours to create the portrait of 12-year-old Ansha from Frat in Ethiopia, who spends hours each day collecting dirty water from a river. After only an hour on Whitby Beach, Ansha’s image was washed away by the rising tide – highlighting how excess rainfall and rising sea levels can lead to flooding, contaminating water and endangering lives.

Ansha (12) carrying water from the River Lah in Frat, Ethiopia. Ansha inspired the giant sand portrait on Whitby beach Credit: WaterAid

Author, TV chef and WaterAid ambassador Nadiya Hussain MBE is supporting WaterAid’s call to ensure families everywhere have clean water, improving children’s health and education and helping them protect themselves from the impact of climate change.

Nadiya Hussain said: “WaterAid’s sand portrait is a poignant reminder that climate change is already affecting families around the world. It's a terrible injustice that millions of children’s lives are threatened because of a lack of clean water, and that climate change is making the situation even harder for those in the world’s poorest places who have done the least to cause it.

Giant sand portrait on Whitby Beach Credit: WaterAid

“Every child should be able to grow up free from the burden of collecting water so dirty it could make them sick. That’s why I’m supporting WaterAid’s work to help bring clean water to families across the world, enabling them to break the cycle of poverty and protect their children from disease, helping them reach their potential and fulfil their dreams, whatever the future holds.”