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Kenna, Emile Hirsch on Clean Water Cause

At any given time, half the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease, such as diarrhea.

Grammy award-winning musician Kenna wanted to draw attention to the global clean water crisis so he brought a group of scientists, activists, and celebrities to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. Their journey was captured in a documentary for MTV, "Summit on the Summit."

Kenna and actor Emile Hirsch, known for playing Christopher McCandless in the film adaptation of Jon Krakauer's book "Into the Wild," appeared on "The Early Show" to discuss their trek to one of the world's highest peaks.

Photos: "Into The Wild"

"Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez said she understood the importance of the climb when she saw the first place Kenna took his band of travelers: a dirty swamp.

Rodriguez said villagers are forced to drink water from this swamp - the same place where cattle defecate.

She said, "When I saw that, I got it."

Kenna replied, "It's a difficult situation. Water is scarce, and when they do have water, it's rain water, and sometimes it's the only thing they have and they don't have the education to know what to do with that water, how to clean that water if there's even a way to do that. They end up having to use it. It's just the way that it is."

Kenna took on the topic because his father at a young age had waterborne diseases. Kenna said he also learned recently he lost an uncle to waterborne illness.

"I couldn't just sit by … and let that continue to happen," he said.

Hirsch who said he'd traveled extensively and knew a bit about water shortage issues said he joined the climb three weeks before the group took off.

"Everyone had been training for like, six months, seven months, eight months. Our friend, Shannon, said she was training for a whole year, so I got there and I go, I have three weeks, so I look up on YouTube some climbers' personal videos and they're all like throwing in the towel, and saying, 'I can't do it.'"

Though Hirsch got sick on the trail, he made it all 19,340 feet up the mountain. The entire group completed the climb -- the largest group to make the ascent.

For more on the climb and clean water awareness, click on the video below.

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