National Academy of Engineering Announces Winners of $1 Million Challenge to Provide Safe Drinker Water. ‘The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today the winners of the 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability. The contest sought innovative solutions for removing arsenic from drinking water that is slowly poisoning tens of millions of people in developing countries. Three prizes will be awarded from a field of more than 70 entries.
The prize winners are recognized for the development, in-field verification, and dissemination of effective techniques for reducing arsenic levels in water. The systems must be affordable, reliable, easy to maintain, socially acceptable, and environmentally friendly. All of the winning systems meet or exceed the local government guidelines for arsenic removal and require no electricity.
Abul Hussam, an associate professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., will receive the Grainger Challenge Gold Award of $1 million for his SONO filter, a household water treatment system.’
The Arsenic Crisis: Some background into the problem. ‘Millions of people in rural Bangladesh are now exposed to the risk of arsenic poisoning. Arsenic contamination of groundwater was first reported in 1996, in areas of Bagerhat, Satkhira and Kushita. All these areas are in the Southwest of Bangladesh, near the border of the Indian state of West Bengal. Since the discovery of arsenic contaminated ground water, more than 10 000 people have been diagnosed with arsenic related illnesses. However it has been estimated by the Bangladesh government that up to 65% of the country’s population live in areas that have arsenic tainted areas. Given this very large number of the population that could potentially be affected by arsenic contaminated ground water. The true number of people that have been affected by arsenic is yet to be fully understood. Efforts have been made by the government of Bangladesh as well as numerous NGO’s to evaluate the extent of the problem, as well as the number of Arsenic victims. And also to look into ways of solving this problem. However, due to lack of funding and resources, an effective evaluation of the problem, as well as an effective solution have yet to be made.’
SOS-Arsenic.Net: Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh/India