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Breakthrough tackles arsenic pollution

The University of Hawaii yesterday announced it had developed technology, which could virtually eradicate the threat of arsenic contamination in drinking water.

Initial results from experiments showed the new invention could remove 99.9 per cent of arsenic from drinking water, according to a statement issued by the university.

The new filter cuts costs by as much as 60 per cent compared to products currently available on the market, said university researcher Dong Liangjie.

Dong said he was in discussion with a number of US-based potential investors on plans to establish a company and market the invention in China, Bangladesh and the United States.

Arsenic, a highly poisonous metallic element found in rocks, soil and water, affects more than 100 million people worldwide, particularly in Bangladesh, India, Argentina and China, according to the World Health Organization.

The worst-hit areas in China are Shanxi, Shaanxi and Jilin provinces and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north, as well as several southern provinces including Guizhou.

Water treatment is an issue of strategic importance for China, as it strives to achieve sustainable economic development.

There is a great demand for this kind of technology in China, explained Ma Zhong, a senior official from the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development.

But he added that the technology could only be used after it had received government confirmation that it was safe and viable.

"We are very interested in this new technology, if it could save costs by as much 50 per cent," said Leo Horn, a senior expert at the council.


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