Press conference: UNESCO launching an anti-arsenic water filterA cheap and easy to use, filter to remove arsenic from water has been developed by a research team from the UNESCO-IHE Institute* for Water Education (Delft, The Netherlands). If mass-produced, the filter could save tens of millions of lives all over the world, from Hungary and Chile to Bangladesh and the United States.
The UNESCO-IHE filter requires neither a power supply nor technical expertise. It uses iron-coated sand, a by-product that is readily available almost everywhere around the world. The filter can therefore be produced locally at low cost.
This new technology, which has already been tested in several countries, will be presented during a press conference at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on Thursday October 13, from 1 to 2 p.m. in Room VII.
Richard A. Meganck, Director of the UNESCO-IHE Institute, Andras Szollosi-Nagy, Director of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme and Project Director Branislav Petrusevski will explain how the filter works and the advantages it offers. There are two models: a “family filter” designed for household use, particularly in rural areas, and a large industrial filter for water supply companies.
The high concentration of arsenic in water causes serious health problems in the populations of many countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The situation is particularly alarming in China, India, the United States and Bangladesh, where, according to WHO, some 30 million people drink contaminated water.
“Family filters” have been tested in Bangladesh. One filter can produce 100 liters of arsenic-free water per day, enough to supply the needs of 20 people. The industrial model is currently being tested in Greece and Hungary.
*The UNESCO-IHE Institute offers professionals from developing countries post-graduate training and research programmes in the fields of water and the environment.