Two weeks ago we arrived in the colorful, warm and hospitable Bangladesh. Once arrived in Rajshahi, a city in the North-West of the country, we were very motivated to start working.
After vistiting our project-village Harian, the importance of our project became again very clear. The inhabitants of this village are dependent on the water they pump from tubewells. However, this water contains often high concentrations of arsenic, that leads to severe health issues after long-term exposure. In Harian, arsenic levels measured in previous research exceeded 500 microgram/liter while the WHO-standard is 10 microgram/liter. There is a large problem in this small village and we are trying our best to install a filter that provides safe drinking water to these friendly people.
The first two weeks of our research mainly focus on analyzing the current water quality. With the use of smartphones and simple striptests, the water quality of all the tubewells in Harian is tested. Besides, we will take water samples that will be analysed in the lab of TU Delft. The data found with this fieldwork will be further studied in our office at RUET University. With the data we want to map the presence of arsenic, iron, manganese and ammonium in the groundwater. Besides, we are looking for relations between the presence of arsenic and other parameters. Literature research has shown that the presence of arsenic is often related to the presence of iron. As the fieldtest of arsenic is complex, it could be useful to use the simple test of iron as an indicator. Coming weeks, we will analyse all the data and hopefully find some interesting results. Moreover, we will make a plan for monitoring the water quality in Harian.
But, before we can monitor the water quality, the filter needs to be installed. The filter will clean the groundwater from arsenic and iron. At the moment we are finding a suitable location for the filter. A concrete roof is a must, and besides the connected tubewell should not contain too much arsenic. A local constructor is building the filter and once a suitable location is found, it will be installed.
Next weeks, you will hear more updates about our project!