1. Documenting the water pollution and human health risks related to aluminum manufacturing in Tursunzade region
The largest aluminum manufacturing plant in Central Asia - the Tajik Aluminum plant - is located in Tursunzade, in the south-western part of the Republic of Tajikistan. This plant creates a dangerous ecological situation in Tursunzade and nearby territories, especially with its discharge of fluorine compounds. Scientists' studies over many years have shown that drinking water is one of the main sources of fluorine in human organisms.
Studies of this region's water supplies discovered that the content of fluorine in surface waters exceeds allowable concentration (1.5 milligrams/liter) and makes up 1.77+0.2 mg/liter average. However the local population is not aware of the numerous data about harmful effect of aluminum manufacturing on the environment and on fluorine toxicity. The aim of the project was to improve health in the unfavored area of Tursunzade region, where live 3,000 inhabitants (many of them are children less than 16 years old). The main focus was to provide environmentally clean water, by introducing a plant for defluorinization of drinking water. Related to this, the local population's participation in the ecological movement was increased by widely spreading information on ecology and establishing new branches of ecological NGOs.
Studies of the tap water of Tursunzade region established that fluorine makes up between 1.8 and 2.3 milligrams per liter. Proceeding from these data we have calculated the daily intake of fluorine by inhabitants of Tursunzade region.
During our study of water-supplies in the zones of research, we established that the content of fluorides exceeds PDK in surface waters and underground waters (PDK = 1.5 milligram/liter). The content of fluorine in the surface waters of Jamoat Karatag and Telman State Farm made up is 1.72±0.3 milligrams per liter and 2.00±03 milligrams per liter, respectively. Analysis of samples of water from three different sources of water supplies situated in the territories of the Aluminum plant has shown the following concentrations of toxic substances:
The content of ion fluorine in samples taken from plants in our zones of research made up 6.5 to 12 milligrams/kilogram in Jamoat Karatagand. At Telman State Farm , it was from 7.8 to 16.3 mg/kg. The content of fluorine in samples of soil also was more on the territory of Jamoat (region) Karatag and made up 13 mg/kg.
Thus, our data on environmental conditions in Tursunzade region show a definite increase in content of fluorine compounds in our environment (atmosphere air, soil, water), that can accumulate in human organisms and finally affect disease levels in the population.
Our Conference and Actions: Installation of "Chasma" water cleaning equipment, publicity, official support
Participants of Chernobyl - Safarov Kh., Begmirzoev B., Ruziev S., and Karimoz I. took part in the discussion, as well as Yuldashev U.-the Representative of Hukumat of town.
First, the information on the Tursunzade region's environment was presented and discussed. The second matter discussed was recommendations on improving the quality of drinking water in the territory of Aluminum Plant. The brochures "Fluorine and Environment" which Biosphere Association had offered were approved. The representatives of local Hukumat expressed their views that the "Chashma" equipment for defluorisation and clarifying of drinking water should be installed. The Representatives of the Hukumat of town and activists of ecological movement of Jamoat Karatag of Tursunzade region asked the chairman of "Biosphere Association" to help in observation and treatment of children and in installing plant "Chashma" in other schools, kindergardens and the health clinic of Jamoat Karatag.
They have worked out the "Chashma" system for defluorinizing and cleaning drinking water. The plant is intended for cleaning drinking water from fluorine-ions directly on the using place. This process also removes the smell from the water. The principle of work of plant "Chashma" is based on absorbing fluorine-ions from the composition of water to be cleaned by layer of sorbent (look passport of plant). The plant had passed successful tests at the biochemical laboratory of Scientific Research Institute of Gastroenterology of Academy of Sciences of Republic of Tajikistan. The content of fluorine in water before cleaning made up 2.2-2.5 mg/l and after cleaning water in plant "Chashma" the content of fluorine was less than 0.5-0.9 mg/l.
For informing the general public on this problem, information was published in the October 2001 editions of these Republic newspapers: Jumhuriat, and Kurer - October 2001 year. Region officials have been speaking every month on the radio program "Nasimi Aiom" on problems of cleaning drinking water. Information on "Biosphere Association"s activities was repeatedly covered by TIA "Khovar" (News agency).
The Committee of Ecological Movement of Jamoat Karatag, which unites 19 activists of Ecological Movement, was also established at this meeting. The committee defined their mission as improving ecological conditions in Tursunzade region. In the election for Chairman, Sharipov K. was elected with 12 votes. The committee also elected a vice-chairman.
"Biosphere Association" carried out this project from May to November, 2001.
Budget of the project:
|Rent halls for providing seminars and round table meetings||$200|
|Equipment for cleaning water installations ["Chasma" plants]||$920|
|Bulletin publishing expenses-||$160|