Facing arsenic disaster - Arsenic Sludge

Arsenic Sludge Disposal-Another Man-made Disaster in Bangladesh?

A Letter To Sono Filter: Dr. Abul Hussam,

We notice it with a great surprise that you are missing the point we want you to pick up. You might have answered supercritical questions to world class scientists in the evaluation process of your candidacy for the award. However, we were not among the audience to listen to your supercritical answers. For clarity, progression, and fair development of science and technology for humanitarian reasons, we put forward our concerns in our previous posting. Your brief response is not to the point. Moreover, from your offer of bilateral discussion, it appears that you are reluctant to share with your reverend world audience the details of the critical study of the arsenic-laden waste created from using the SONO filter.

Let us reiterate the single most important point that the groundwater arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India is a geological problem associated with recent human activities. The arsenic disposal method that you are promoting is also related to geological sciences. Therefore, in order to get an approval of your disposal method on the ground, river, ponds and low lying areas, you have to present your method first to geologists. Geologists will examine your method based on hydro-meteorology, hydrology, hydrogeology, geochemistry and geology of the disposal site and it's adjoining areas. Based on geologist's recommendation, environmental engineers will design, construct and implement the plan if the disposal plan is accepted by the local and central govt. of Bangladesh.

Please let us know if any well-trained and well-experienced geologist reviewed your disposal method. You have to understand that geology varies from region to region and if the members of the evaluation team were not knowledgeable about the hydro-meteorology, hydrology, hydrogeology, geochemistry and geology of the disposal sites and it's adjoining areas of Bangladesh then they might have approved an incorrect method. That is why we have to know from you what data and justifications you presented in support of your disposal method that convinced NAE to accept and approve your disposal method in Bangladesh. Every one will accept your disposal method if NAE's evaluation is correct and based on sound scientific data and evidences. The information that you presented in media regarding your arsenic waste disposal method appears to be incorrect and misleading. The potential hazards of your disposal method is very widespread -it will pollute air, and contaminate soil and sediments, surface and groundwater resources, agricultural resources, ecosystem and the environment of Bangladesh. This forecast is based on our institutional research and training, and years of working experience in the field in dealing with numerous soil and groundwater projects. Professionals in this business will fully concur with us.

We have not unnecessarily raised questions about your arsenic waste disposal method in Bangladesh. In our previous posting we clearly explained to you how TCLP test data work, but you are still misinterpreting the term TCLP for your own interest. We would also like to inform you that your arsenic waste disposal method on the ground, low lying areas, ponds, khal, bills, doba, chara, streams and rivers etc. in Bangladesh would be considered illegal dumping of toxic wastes in the US. When your disposal method is illegal and unacceptable in the US, why would the same method be acceptable in Bangladesh? How can the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) approve such an unacceptable toxic arsenic wastes disposal method for Bangladesh, when the NAE/Grainger Challenge Prize own's technical criteria number-3 (Tthe ability to be able to collect and dispose of spent residues containing As in a safe and cost effective manner) reject your disposal method? We are respectfully requesting you to contact your colleagues at George Mason University(GMU), Bangladesh Chemical and Biological Society of North America (BCBSNA), American Chemical Society and universities of Bangladesh to clarify and refine your usage of the term TCLP as soon as possible. We strongly believe they will be able to help you in this regard.

You do not need to give a talk to us about your SONO filter. We are knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with "Emergency water supply projects", investigation, remediation and monitoring of numerous soil and groundwater contamination projects.

We are directly involved in protecting public health and safety, properties as well as surface and groundwater resources, ecosystem and the environment from contamination problems. We look at the problem from interdisciplinary perspectives. You are not handling the issue properly unless you admit the interdisciplinary nature of the problem as one of our colleagues already pointed out in posting in NFB.

We are aware of various types of filtration systems including municipal and industrial water and waste water treatment systems and as a result we developed "Mukti Pani Filters (Freedom Water Filters)" for Bangladesh and West Bengal of India . Filtration and chlorination of surface water appears to be the simple, safe, cheap and best method in the context of Bangladesh and West Bengal of India. Our filtration system does not create any environment-polluting waste.

On the other hand the pumping and filtration of groundwater by arsenic removal filters are causing release of arsenic into underground water and the improper disposal of arsenic wastes are causing numerous problems as mentioned above.

The use of arsenic filters have been causing more harm to the soil and sediments, water and agricultural resources, eco-system and the environment, and thus threatening the entire civilization of Bengal delta. Therefore, in order to determine the sustainable solution(s) to the problem without creating the above mentioned problems, we have to know the source and cause of the poisoning.

Those scientists who have been promoting that the arsenic disaster in Bangladesh and West Bengal of India is a natural disaster, that the poisoning in groundwater has been present for thousands of years and that Oxyhydroxide reduction is the principal cause for the mobilization of arsenic into groundwater appear that they are intentionally promoting for their own interest this incorrect and misleading theory so that the actual cause is never revealed. Can you or any other proponents of natural disaster theory tell us and the scientific community why you are promoting such a misleading theory? Is not it true that based on "Natural Disaster Theory" you also believe that arsenic removal filtration is the only sustainable solution in Bangladesh and West Bengal? Do you have any sound scientific data and evidence that support your natural disaster theory?

One can not develop a sustainable solution to the problem without knowing the actual source and cause of the poisoning. Therefore, we must know the source and cause of poisoning based on sound geological, hydrological, hydrogeological and geochemical data and evidences.
The data must be collected and interpreted by appropriate, knowledgeable, well trained and experienced professionals.

Once again, we are informing you that we do not have any problem with the arsenic removal part of your SONO filter, but we are very concerned about your and other arsenic-laden waste disposal method on the ground, rivers, ponds and low-lying areas. The use of your SONO filter is problem-creating and not problem-solving if the waste disposal method is not safe and sound. We are requesting you to present sound hydro-meteorological, hydrological, hydrogeological, geochemical, and geological data that support your disposal method in Bangladesh. We firmly believe we have a right to know the details of your disposal method, and as a promoter of SONO filter and a member of the professional scientific community you are obliged to provide us with correct information.

Please see the attached information that may help you and other concerned professionals and non-professionals of Bangladesh in understanding the pitfalls of your arsenic wastes disposal method. These pieces of information will convince you and others in this business that the improper disposal methods are creating another man-made disaster in Bangladesh. If you really believe that your disposal method is correct and you are not willing to share the information with us, we may have to contact for it those scientists and organizations who approved your method, and also those who are promoting your method in Bangladesh.
Thanks, Respectfully,

Meer Husain,P.G. Professional Geologist Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment And Adjunct Faculty Cowley County Community College Wichita, Kansas, USA. E Mail :; Miah M. Adel, Ph.D. Professor, Physics & Interdisciplinary Sciences University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, USA. E Mail: Mahbub Alam, Ph.D. Professor, Extension Irrigation Specialist Biological and Agricultural Engineering Kansas State University Southwest Research and Extension Center Garden City, Kansas, USA. E Mail: Mr. Raja Chowdhury Mon, 28 May 2007 15:44:15 -0400 (arsenic-source)

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