Viability of Small-Scale Arsenic-Contaminated Water Purification Technologies for Sustainable Development in Pakistan
Pearce, Joshua M.
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Drinking arsenic-contaminated water leads to a series of health problems that has limited development for the largely poor rural people of Pakistan who are unable to afford bottled water, centralized treatment plants, or expensive water filter systems. This paper reviews the available appropriate technologies for the removal of arsenic in drinking water to assist in just sustainable development in Pakistan. Several technologies were found to be both technically- and economically- viable and support the large-scale deployment of these small-scale, appropriate technologies. The economic viability determined in this study was based on both first costs and operating costs. The cost of implementing such technologies for an individual Pakistani family is made acceptable with the use of local materials, which the family may already own. For example, systems using sand and iron nails in the filters, and which are placed in plastic buckets that are already in common use in the villages, drive down the overall costs of the technology and put it in the reach of even the most destitute. This study found that complications from the variability of local supplies result in the need to identify the locally most appropriate solution from both a technical and economic standpoint. This review article should be helpful for any practitioner in determining the locally optimal solution for the removal of arsenic from drinking water in Pakistan.