Our last email on arsenic generated a number of emails from researchers and others around the world, from Bangladesh, Hungary, Nicaragua, UK, and USA. As a result, there is now increased sharing of information among researchers globally on arsenic issues.
Some of the mails we received are of general interest and are reproduced
(1) BAFI Moderator note: Dr. Sara Bennet writes from Dhaka:
To Jo Kirk and other BAFI subscribers: if you are interested in latest arsenic crisis related developments, sign up for the Arsenic Crisis News, a free monthly (Sep-May) email newsletter.
To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the West Bengal & Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis Info Centre http://bicn.com/acic. [BAFI Moderator: A very useful site with many links.]
Dr. Sara Bennett
(2) BAFI Moderator note: Forwarding note from Badrul Haque to Bangla-orgs (a voluntary grouping of about 30 Bangladeshi-American organizations and Dhaka-based BICN) with a message from Andrew Caddell:
Andrew makes important points and a suggestion by way of a question.
Is BEN or any other organization interested in pursuing fundraising etc.
From: Andrew Caddell
Subject: Re: [bafi] Status of Efforts in 2000 on Arsenic in Bangladesh
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 16:51:27 -0400
I am glad to see that the testing of systems continues. However, at the current rate of replacement and testing - about 10,000 wells per month or 120,000 per year, it will take about 30 years to test all the wells and even longer to replace them. During that time how many people will get sick and/or die? Why is there not a more intense initiative, raising funds and doing something in the meantime?
I am sure if more people knew about this there would be an overwhelming response to act.
(3) BAFI Moderator note: Istiaque Ayub writes from the USA:
I am just one of the BAFI subscribers. I was wondering does any one have any suggestions regarding what we can do to help Bangladeshis with the arsenic problem? Can we do some sort of fund raising or try to put pressure on Bangladesh Government to ensure some progress in combating the Arsenic poisoning? I was told that it is the worse mass poisoning in the history of mankind. I know we can't solve the problem, but I am sure we can try to make a difference.
University of Pittsburgh
(4) BAFI Moderator note: Dr. Arif Mohiuddin Sikder writes from Dhaka
About the Arsenic Research Group
Established in 1998, the Arsenic Research Group [BD] comprises a number of experts who are together conducting multi-disciplinary research aimed at combating the hazards posed by arsenic contamination in the ground water of the Bengal Basin. Following are details of core members and projects.
The members are:
1. Arif Mohiuddin Sikder, Ph.D., geologist
2. Manzurul Hoque Khan, DPH, public health specialist
3. Nazma Shaheen, Ph.D., nutritional biochemist
4. Samina Ahmed, M.S.S, gender specialist
5. Fakhruzaman, Ph.D., mechanical engineer
6. Fazlul Wahed Murad, B.A., social worker
7. Reaz Ahmed, M.S.S., socio-economist
8. Reid Harvey, B.F.A., ceramic industrial designer
I. ARG is conducting an action research programme in the union (consisting of about five villages) of Daudkandi Thana, of the district of Comilla. The programme is on the bank of the river Goumati. Extension of the area of activity into the nearby villages on either side of the river is anticipated, in order to include Matlab, Gajaria and Homna Thana].
A. For the target population of about 10,000, field activities
include (on going project):
1. Tube-well screening and mapping of the water bodies.
2. A household and health survey identifying the extent of the population at risk.
3. An awareness building campaign in the target community.
B. Safe water interventions given through (on going project):
1. Household based de-arsenation units. These consist of an oxidant and coagulant based bucket system, with reverse circulation through a specially designed filter, in order to ensure the control of residual chemical in the out-put.
2. Modified Sanitary Dug-wells with sand filtration (DSF). ARG has already installed two sanitary dug-wells in the target area, with the capacity of supplying about 1500 liters of safe water per day.
C. Geo-scientific work includes several exploratory borings with 'split spoon' systems. These have been carried out in order to collect intact, undisturbed soil/sediment samples from the sedimentary sequence above and within those aquifers which yield water that indicates unusually high amounts of arsenic. Sedimentological, mineralogical and chemical analyses are being undertaken in order to ascertain the cause and mechanism of arsenic contamination in the 'Bengal Delta Plain'. (Note that ARG is ready to provide the soil/sediments samples to interested and competent researchers.)
Duration of the project: eighteen months (June 2000 to December
Total number of field staff: four
Budget: Tk 1.5 million
II. Ceramic purification media is in the final phase of development
as an alternate option. The media is intended to render surface water free
from fecal coliforms. The development of an earthenware based, low cost
water purifier candle is being undertaken under the direct supervision
of Mr. Reid Harvey.
Number of staff: three
Budget: Self financed
III. A project proposal is under consideration for funding by
the Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA, jointly with the Royal
Institute of Technology [KTH], Stockholm University, and Dhaka University,
'The Nature and Genesis of Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in the Bengal Delta Plain of Bangladesh: a Proposal of Inter-Disciplinary Research for the Study of Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater and Remediation Strategies,'
Duration: four years. [expected time of commencement January 2002]
Contact: Dr. Arif Mohiuddin Sikder, Coordinator of ARG
(5) BAFI Moderator note: Hugh Brammer from the UK writes:
A short article in the June 2001 number of IS (the international cooperation monthly of the Netherlands ministry of foreign affairs) mentioned a very low-cost water filter that eliminates all microbial pathogens and parasites from drinking water. Such a filter would make surface water safe for use as drinking water, eliminating the need to drink tubewell water where this contains toxic concentrations of arsenic as prevalent in parts of Bangladesh.
The methods of producing the filter body and of making it bactericidal are described in some detail in the website of Potters for Peace: www.cc.cc.ca.us/pfp . The site also includes information sources and links describing experiences in Nicaragua, where the filter was first developed and used in the aftermath of hurricane Mitch, and in other countries.
It may be useful to introduce this option for possibly widespread application in Bangladesh as well, if that has not been done already. The economics of the option and the likelihood of widespread understanding and application seem favourable from the information on the website.
One question: what is the Sono 3-Kolshi method? Is a technical description available?
Please use "Reply to all" for your response. Thank you.
(6) BAFI Moderator note: Ron Rivera from Nicaragua writes:
Thank you for your letter and interest in our filters. I would like
to first offer some clarification about out filter before creating expectations
that cannot be met. a) The filter we produce was NOT designed to remove
arsenic from contaminated water but we sent it to a certified laboratory
and had it tested. The results showed us that it removed up to 80% of the
arsenic for the first 20 liters tested after of which the percentage dropped
to 68%. Although the results are not as positive as we hoped it brought
to light the need to continue to do research on the filter to find out
if the pore size of the filter or the relationship of the colloidal silver
to the arsenic has
to do with its effectiveness. (Translated results attached - not included here, BAFI moderator.)
In Bangladesh we are working closely with International Development Enterprises (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org ) in promoting our filter but they are also promoting another filter system that has much better results with arsenic than ours. Please contact them directly for more information b) Our filter is effective against micro-biological contaminants. I am attaching a translated summary of some recent tests. c) The complete Low cost filter assembly (US seven dollars in Nicaragua and US $ 3.50 in Nepal) still requires more research to still improve it without affecting its low cost. d) Our newer WEB site is WWW.potpaz.org e) We have trained potters in 14 countries in how to produce the filters and have assisted in setting up small production workshops in: Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Bangladesh and Cambodia.
(7) BAFI Moderator note:
Dr. Abul Hussam included pdf files of published papers on 3-Kolshi method.
Available from him at Ahussam@gmu.edu
(8) BAFI Moderator note: DG of Earth Identity Project - Bangladesh writes:
I attach the last communication by WS Atkins regarding the evaluation of technologies in Arsenic Mitigation in Bangladesh and the information of final breakthrough. [Anyone interested can write to Probashiusa98@hotmail.com and we will provide Ms. Karim's email as well as the attachment her note refers to.]
I am afraid that a lot of people are not privy to information as they should be. As a researcher, Dr. Hussam, this info will be useful to you.
Nasrine R. Karim
Earth Identity Project
(9) BAFI moderator note: Prof. Abdul Mannan, Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University writes:
There has not been any comprehensive plan to combat the arsenic problem in Bangladesh till now. Though the issue is being tackeled on somewhat adhoc basis the awareness amongst the people is increasing slowly. In this year's budget the GOB has earmarked a fund for combating the problem. In today's The Daily Star (11th June) there is a front page news item on Arsenic. It may be of interest to you.
(10) BAFI moderator note: Ronald Drahozal of Apon writes from Dhaka:
A few days ago an Email came in that noted the negative aspects of arsenic in drinking water in Bangladesh. It pointed out that despite significant progress in recent years the arsenic problem would produce a negative result.
May I note another point that is having a tremendous influence on the development of Bangladesh----the very serious drug addiction rate among all Bangladeshi youth, regardless of background, from pre teenagers to late twenties and getting older in age as the years pass.
Is your organization aware of the problem? Are you willing to consider what this problem is doing not only to the present social and economic conditions in the country but to the future generation(s) on whom the country depends to continue the significant progress noted? If so - the time to act is now, even tomorrow will be already too late for many of those afflicted with this sickness.
Bro. Ronald Drahozal,CSC
Director, APON(Addiction Rehabilitation Residence)
4/10 Iqbal Road, Mohammadpur
Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh
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