26 No. 5
Sidebar Stories for Chemistry for Water-ChemRAWN XV Conference
IUPAC is currently involved in a project to help solve the problems caused by arsenic occurring naturally in drinking water in various parts of the world. It is a particular problem in Bangladesh where it affects 60 million people and often leads to slow and painful death through the onset of various cancers. Depending on the location, the arsenic contamination levels can vary from 10 to 14,000 parts per billion (ppb). Proposed safe levels are 10 ppb. Currently, 61 of the 64 districts of Bangladesh are contaminated. This problem is also known in occur in areas of Chile, Argentina, India, and even France and the United States. IUPAC is involved with WHO to help overcome the problem using chemical and chemical engineering solutions. Units costing US$38 have been developed, which will purify drinking water and last a family several years.
The Nymphea Company has developed a way of using the fresh water that comes from fissures in certain sea beds. Such sources are rare and tend to occur in places where there are high mountains close to the shore. The largest one known, which is 300 meters in diameter and 30 meters deep, is at the surface of the sea in Syria. It produces 10 cubic meters of fresh water every second. Such springs have been seen from aircraft over Greenland, appearing as circles in the ice. Currently Nymphea is trial “tapping” a 36-meter deep source off the coast of Italy. It yields 100 liters per second and the salt content is less than 5mg of salt per liter.
last modified 1 September 2004.
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