Coconut and Paddy Husks to Filter Arsenic-Bangladesh Experiment
Posted on July 22nd, 2014

Daya Reporting from Toronto, Canada

The following is a success story in Bangladesh in water purification, which may have a promising application in Sri Lanka. The filter is made from readily available local materials, the apparatus is affordable, and the cost free installation, demand a serious study of the adaptability and suitability to fit the conditions and needs of Sri Lanka.Reza was featured in the “Fixing the world worst poisoning in history” which appeared in the Sunday Star dated July 13, 2014. She managed to convince the global experts in chemistry, engineering, medicine and business to volunteer their time to help the project a reality.

While working on a marketing project as a part of her graduate business studies in Paris Reza heard about a filter that used barley husks  left over from whisky production. The Dram filter, invented by Scottish scientist Leigh Cassidy, is used to clean industrial waste water in Europe.

Reza called Cassidy who confirmed the filter would work on arsenic. Cassidy agreed to donate the filter technology and start adapting it for Bangladesh. They tested coconut and rice husks as cheap local alternative. It worked in the lab but to try it in the field required money.

PurifAid, an NGO formed by Reza, had a breakthrough last year when it won a $100,000 Grand Challenges Canada grant.

This month, four years after first meeting Cassidy, they were finally able to test the modified filter, they call Drench in Bangladesh.

Cassidy collects a sample of water from a village well. A rough field test shows the contamination of this well is about 100 parts per billion.

Back in the village, Reza and Cassidy have tested their coconut and rice husk filter. They are sending samples to the lab for accurate nembers, but based on results of simple field test, their filter brought arsenic level down from 100 ppb to almost nothing.

The unit is designed to attach to the well spout. Their goal is to produce it for under $40.00

The next step is for the engineers from MIT to design a specialized casing for the filter and for PurifAid team to finalize a safe way to dispose of the filtered arsenic. The final unit expected to be ready for manufacturing by the end of the year


One Response to “Coconut and Paddy Husks to Filter Arsenic-Bangladesh Experiment”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Wonderful article of the use of indigenous material such as coconut husk for the purification of water. If it becomes a commercial success in Sri Lanka it can then be exported to so many nations who need such ecologically friendly water purification systems.

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