Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Provide Solution To World’s Worst Mass Poisoning Case

Date:
August 29, 2008
Source:
Queen's University, Belfast
Summary:
A solution to the world's worst case of ongoing mass poisoning, linked to rising cancer rates in Southern Asia, has been developed by researchers from Queen's University Belfast. They have created new low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to millions of people in South Asia currently exposed to high levels of the poison in groundwater.

Arsenic treatment system.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University, Belfast

A solution to the world’s worst case of ongoing mass poisoning, linked to rising cancer rates in Southern Asia, has been developed by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast.

It is estimated that over 70 million people in Eastern India and Bangladesh, experience involuntary arsenic exposure from consuming water and rice; the main staple food in the region. This includes farmers who have to use contaminated groundwater from minor irrigation schemes.

It is estimated that for every random sample of 100 people in the Bengal Delta, at least one person will be near death as a result of arsenic poisoning, while five in 100 will be experiencing other symptoms.

Now, researchers have created new low-cost technology to provide arsenic-free water to millions of people in South Asia currently exposed to high levels of the poison in groundwater.

Leading an international team, Queen’s researchers have developed a trial plant in Kasimpore, near Calcutta, which offers chemical-free groundwater treatment technology to rural communities for all their drinking and farming needs.

The technology is based on recharging a part of the groundwater, after aeration, into a subterranean aquifer (permeable rock) able to hold water. Increased levels of oxygen in the groundwater slow down the arsenic release from the soil. At higher dissolved oxygen levels, soil micro organisms, as well as iron and manganese, reduce the dissolved arsenic level significantly.

Dr Bhaskar Sen Gupta of Queen’s, co-ordinator of the project said: “Arsenic poisoning is behind many instances of ill-health in Southern Asia, including a rising number of cancer cases. Developing a low cost method of decontaminating ground water that is laced with high levels of arsenic is a key challenge for sustainable agriculture there.

“While there are some techniques available for treating relatively small quantities of water, there has, until now, been no viable technology available for decontaminating groundwater on a large scale that can ensure safe irrigation and potable water supply.

“This project developed by Queen’s is the only method which is eco-friendly, easy to use and deliverable to the rural community user at an affordable cost.”

The project is part of the EU-funded Asia Pro Eco Programme which is dedicated to the improvement of environmental performance in Asian economic sectors. Known as TiPOT (Technology for in-situ treatment of groundwater for potable and irrigation purposes), a key part of the project is the establishment of sustainable technology partnerships.

Explaining further, Dr Sen Gupta said: “From its inception we have had the vital support of Indian-based stakeholders, such as village councils and local financial institutions. This has been vital as they are the authorities who monitor the water supply and distribution in rural areas and provide micro-credit to the local farmers.

“With their help, we now have a solution which is transferable to many areas in need across Asia.”

The new plant will be maintained and operated by local village technicians. To help apply the technology to other areas in the South Asian region, the World Bank has given a grant of $200,000 to the TIPOT consortium to set up six more subterranean water treatment plants in the Gangetic plains of West Bengal.

Further information on the project can be found at http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/TiPOT/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University, Belfast. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University, Belfast. "Researchers Provide Solution To World’s Worst Mass Poisoning Case." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080828084322.htm>.
Queen's University, Belfast. (2008, August 29). Researchers Provide Solution To World’s Worst Mass Poisoning Case. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080828084322.htm
Queen's University, Belfast. "Researchers Provide Solution To World’s Worst Mass Poisoning Case." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080828084322.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins