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 2, 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 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. 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