During January and February three UBU members, Ellen Stærk Nicolajsen, Kristine Duelund Vilsgaard and Lise Celine Pedersen, are in Gazna, West Bengal to evaluate the use and performance of arsenic removal filters together with our local partner, Kishalaya Taruntirtha (KTT).
Since 2004 UBU and KTT has been installing filters to remove arsenic in tube well water used for cooking and drinking in private households. The arsenic concentrations in the tube wells are varying significantly in the area between around 0 and 800 µg/l and thereby continuously monitoring and identification of safe water sources are important aspects of UBU and KTTs work. In households with a long distance to a safe water source a filter is a good mitigation option. Today 20 filters are in use in KTTs working area.
Beside the filter evaluations, Ellen, Kristine and Lise are arranging information meetings in five different villages to inform the inhabitants about findings from a study from 2012. The study covered arsenic exposure data from drinking water, cooking water and rice and measurements of arsenic concentrations in hair samples from female inhabitants. It is important to hand over these results, as they are highly relevant to increase awareness and thereby reduce the arsenic exposure for the surveyed families.
Ellen, Kristine and Lise will stay in West Bengal until the end of February and will additionally be working on developing the future arsenic project strategy.