In 2011, the Tangore-SenGupta Foundation won the first prize of 10,000 in the Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge.
The project, Sustainable Treatment of Contaminated Groundwater in Cambodia: Turning a Crisis into an Economic Enterprise focuses on arsenic removal in ground-sourced drinking water in Cambodia. Many people living in the Mekong river floodplains in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos use water contaminated with arsenic at concentrations typically over 20 times the safe limit prescribed by the World Health Organization. The project involves an arsenic groundwater removal system using locally available chemical compounds and reusable sand filters. Ground water is pumped into an overhead tank, chemically stabilized, filtered using reusable arsenic-selective adsorbents, and converted into stable sludge/solids for safe long-term storage. Twelve community-level arsenic removal units are to be installed in remote villages and schools in Cambodia.
The project, using locally available raw materials, will complement traditional methods of water collection and costs will be shared by users. Environmental sustainability is addressed through the careful containment and storage of the arsenic removed from the contaminated water to ensure it does not leach into the environment. Socio-economic sustainability will be addressed through the formation and functioning of community water councils to ensure efficient operation and upkeep of the units. The Tagore-SenGupta Foundation, based in Pennsylvania, will be partnering with an Cambodian NGO, This Life Cambodia, and Lehigh University.
More info: Reed Elsevier Challenge
Produced by: JustMeans
Region: Cambodia, Southeast Asia