Thanks to Long Xiaodong (龙晓东), a student from Tsinghua University, RISE members learnt about the issues regarding drinking water pollution in his village Longjiaying (龙家营) in Shanxi province (山西). In June and October 2013, we visited Longjiaying as well as other 13 surrounding villages in Wanda County.
During our visit, we found that the drinking water of 11 villages chosen is polluted with arsenic (by going beyond the WHO standard of 10ug/l) and 3 of them are over the national standards for rural areas (50ug/l). These 3 villages are respectively Changjiazhuang, Dongjiaying and Nanlushu (namely 常家庄、董家营 and 南录树). We chose the former village as staring point to disseminate Bio Sand Filters. As shown in the chart below, Longjiaying village has a high concentration of iron in the water, but since the village leaders are attempting to solve the problem by building a new 500m well, we decided to wait for the result of the construction before taking any significant action in the area. In collaboration with the students from Taiyuan University of Technology (太原理工大学), we went back to Wanda County in March and in May 2014 and started implementing Bio Sand Filters dissemination within the area by focusing first on the main street of Wangda County and Changjiazhuang village. The current situations in these two areas are quite different. In Changjiazhuang we are trying to find collaboration with the village leader, while in Wangda county the participation of the villagers in our project is our main focus.
The result of Test on Pollution Level in 14 villages in Wanda County CHANGJIAZHUANG In our last trip we built Bio Sand Filters (BSF) for Changjiazhuang’a leader as well as for other 4 villagers. The arsenic concentration went from an average of 52ug/l in tap water to an average of 6ug/l in filtered water. Palintest (British company for testing equipment) provided the equipment used for the water quality test and the test was conducted 3 times for each sample. The village leader has recently given us positive feedback on his BSF and will meet the students from Taiyuan University of Technology to discuss about further plans for our next visit in July. WANGDA Village Wangda village has a more “commercial” character comparing to the surrounding villages. It has many shops and small enterprises and thanks to the owners of 二虎hostel (situated on the main street of the county) as well as other villagers working in the area, our project’s popularity has been increased relatively quickly by word of mouth. Teaching villagers how to build BSFs by themselves has always been RISE’s main aim and ideal, but we soon realized that trainings are not the best way to disseminate BSFs in Shanxi, since the villagers are more interested in buying a ready product than to learn the building process. In fact, we found surprisingly that showing people the building process significantly decreases their interests in having a BSF. We therefore decided to create a network by using our connections with the villagers that is based on collaboration between BSF promotion on a local scale and BSF production through a local enterprise. Creating this network is going to be our main goal in out visit in July. JULY 2014 PLAN & GOALS The two main goals for this summer are:
- Defining the collaboration in Changjiazhuang and starting off the BSF dissemination in the village.
- Creating a Promotion-Production network for BSF dissemination in Wangda County and in the surrounding villages.
We realized that many suppliers could be interested in start up a small business by selling BSFs and are interested in the product itself, but the current main issues that prevent them to do it is a lack of technical knowledge on the Bio Sand Filter and an actual consistent order of BSFs that proves them a big potential demand in the villages. It is clear, therefore, that RISE and Taiyuan University of Technology need to offer not only technical support and teaching, but also a collaboration for BSF promotion. Finding an entrepreneur who produces BSF on a larger scale is also essential for the dissemination in Changjiazhuang. The target areas we will focus on for promotion will be Dongjiaying, Longjiaying, Wangdacun, and Changjiazhuang.