Fluoride Action Network

Ruhuna University designs filter to counter kidney disease

Source: Daily News | October 10th, 2016 | By Shirajiv Sirimane
Location: Sri Lanka

For the first time in Sri Lanka, the Department of Civil and Engineering Department of the University of Ruhuna, has designed a low cost filter to purify water. This project is being guided by Toyama Perpetual University of Japan.

Dr. Sudhira De Silva head of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Ruhuna said that this filter would be ideal for use in areas where there is high deposits of fluoride and high hardness of water known as a the main causes Kidney Disease of unknown etiology (CKDu). It can also clean up heavy metal substances found in water.

De Silva said that the process of manufacturing is not complicated and the end product could cost less than Rs. 5,000. “The main substance used is chicken bones and other environmental friendly chemicals,” he said.

Dr. Thushara Chandana Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna said that they may give this technology to the private sector so that they can produce them for commercial use.

“One of the serious issues about water environment in Sri Lanka is realized to be fluoride contamination in well water. High concentration of fluoride and hardness in drinking and cooking water causes many health issues.”

To overcome these I initiated this project in collaboration with Prof. Tomonori Kawakami from Toyama Prefectural University in Japan and Dr. S. K. Weragoda National Water Supply & Drainage Board.”

“This technology would be the answer in reducing kidney disease and also treat water where there is a high density of hardness and chemical substances.” Over 80% of the rural population uses wells to fulfill their water requirements and this filter is an ideal product for them.

Explaining the process he said that they use Chicken Bone Char burned to temperatures over 600 C and this charcoal is then used for the filter with other substances. He said that then this substance is being pressured to a five inch pipe leaving an half inch space allowing the water to flow through it. When the water is pumped from a well, that water will pass through this device allowing all the harmful elements of water to be absorbed to the filter before it reaches a tank or a pipe. “The water is then minus any harmful elements and is safe to drink even without boiling,” De Silva opined.

“During our laboratory level experiments we also found this filter can remove heavy metals more than 90% from ground water.”

He said that this technology is being used in different countries and now the process is 80% complete to be used in Sri Lanka. He also said that in addition the University of Ruhuna along with the assistance from, Peradeniya, Japanese and Austrian University are currently successfully implementing a solid waste disposal system in Hambantota and Ampara.

“This project funded by JAICA, is now being implemented in Hambantota Municipal Council,” he said.