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Biosphere to Clean Up Water in Tajikistan

Region: Central Asia, Tajikistan
Author: Doustov Abdusamad/Biosphere Association (Tajikistan)
Consortium Member: ECOLOGIA Baltic Office
Status: Completed - Final Report Budget: $2178 Collected: $2178 Needs: $0
Result: To clean up the water supply of the region and to involve the local inhabitants in environmental education and activism.
The August 2001 Progress Report documents the first steps.
Donors: Ron Blum, Massachusetts, January 2001
Comment: By increasing public awareness of a local health hazard & encouraging citizens to participate in actions for a cleaner environment, this project is benefitting civic consciousness as well as public health.

Description of NGO

The Biosphere Association is a non-governmental organization, established in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in 1993 by a group of leading scientists-ecologists, lawyers and physicians. Our association has done extensive work investigating the release of toxic substances (fluorine, mercury, radiation) into the environment. Currently, our organization is focused on encouraging the local population to participate in the environmental movement by distributing environmental information, organizing educational programs, and establishing branches of environmental NGOs in the region.

Project need

The largest aluminum production facility in Central Asia is situated in the southwest of Tajikistan, in the Tursunzade region. This aluminum factory has caused a dangerous ecological situation due to its waste product - fluorine. The local population is not aware of the harmful effects of aluminum production and fluorine. Long term research has shown that one of the main sources of fluorine in the human organism is drinking water. The results of our epidemiological research in the region of the aluminum factory revealed pathology of alimentary canal in 14% of examined habitants - a figure which is twice the normal incidence rate. All these factors have led us to carry out preventative measures in the Tursunzade region, where the content of fluorine in the water exceeds permissible concentration by 4-6 times. High concentration levels of fluorine cause blackening and physical decay of infant teeth by age of 4 and similar calcium breakdown in the bones.

Project goals

  1. To provide the Telmal collective farm (3000 inhabitants) in the polluted Tursunzade region with ecologically clean drinking water by installing two defluorination devices;
  2. To raise public awareness and encourage involvement of local population in the environmental movement by widely spreading ecological information and establishing a network of NGOs of concerned people.

Methods of implementation and brief description of equipment to be installed:

The defluorination device is based on sorption of fluorine ions. Water containing a dangerous concentration of fluorine runs a through filtration system containing four layers of aluminum oxide. The device is capable of producing up to 100 liters of purified water per hour while all four layers are in use. Fluorine levels of the purified water do not exceed 0.3-0.4 mg per liter. These levels are 2.3-3 times lower than standards approved in Tajikistan.

Concurrent with installing water defluorination equipment, we will: