22 October, 2017

Solving Kidney Disease In Dry Zone

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Reverse osmosis, and bio-scavengers for cleaning the water and soil in areas affected by Kidney disease

When kidney disease of uncertain origin (CKDU) appeared in the North-central province in the mid-1990s, some commentators hastened to claim that this was bio-terrorism associated with the Eelam wars. Today, a variety of opinions are touted regarding the origin and prevention of  the CKDU epidemic. News reports tell us that cases have been noted in other `dry zone’  ares like Hambantota and Jaffna. Places like Jaffna and other dry-zone towns are extremely vulnerable because of the rapidly increasing population while the water table remains limited.

A number of authors have raised the possibility of using special plants that accumulate metal toxins as a means of purifying the water.  Others have suggested using reverse osmosis.

Last October when I was in Colombo I gave several talks in symposia on Kidney disease, e.g., one of them  was at the Gannoruwa Institute of agriculture, while another symposium was at the Professional Institute in Colombo. I also raised this question of water hayacinth-like plants (water hayacynth, Japan jabara, lotus root etc), or even Murunga, and their capacity to extract and concentrate toxins from polluted water. This point has been raised by many others as well. Also, many of the relevant plans are listed in the Sri Lankan plants website (http://dh-web.org/place.names/bot2sinhala.html) that I maintain.

MapIn principle, such plants can be used to “clean the water”. In practice this is NOT TRUE.  What do you do with the plants that have now collected all the toxic  heavy metals? Are you going to put the plants back into the soil, or disperse them in the ecosphere, or burn them? None of them will work as the pollution will just go back to the water table. You have to physically bury them in deep pits, or compound them in bitumen, or drop them in the ocean — all costly steps.

The same issue of getting rid of the waste matter arises with the reverse-osmosis process advocated in seminars by various  people and put in place by various NGOs like Sarvodaya. When 1000 litres of water are purified using reverse osmosis, 200 litres of highly polluted water remain in the reverse-osmosis machine. Now, where do you dump that water ? Do you dump it back to the soil? That will not help.

What we need to do is to cut the problem at the source. The source is the fertilizer runoff from the hill country, coming along the Mahaweli, and polluting all the water bodies connected to the mahaweli via the “accelerated mahaweli” project, and other similar irrigation projects which link agriculture and drinking water.

These problems did not exist prior to 1977. After the “open economy”, fertilizer sales became unregulated. The problem is not with the fertilizer, but with excess use where 5 to 10 times the required amount is used, and this gets washed off to our rivers like the Mahaweli, and end up in the drinking water. Testing for cadmium, arsenic etc in the drinking water shows no significant amounts of these ions, (as the WHO study found), because the culprit is not the presence of a few parts per billion of metal toxins. It is the excessive fertilizer run-off made up of phosphate, potassium, nitrate etc., that is causing the trouble. The WHO did not look at those ions, treating them as `benign’.

The fertilizer runoff adds to the already hard water in the Rajarata. The resulting high ionicity (brackishness or salinity)  of  the water destroys the inner layers of the kidney, just as brackish water corrodes anything it touches. Once the kidney is corroded, the small amounts of As, Cd etc., that are always found in any environment enter the body, and the human body accumulates them, just as many living organisms and plants do. The resulting kidney disease ultimately kills the patients. When you analyse their organs, they too are found to have accumulated As, Cd, etc, just as some plants (that do not have the capacity to filter out the toxins) do.

I have constructed a map of the areas stricken by Kidney disease of `uncertain origin’, and also drawn the river system on it. It is clear that the most affected ares are just those linked to the highly agricultural regions (e.g., the hill country and the Mahaweli) by rivers which bring in the excess fertilizer runoff. It is well known that most of our reservoirs are full of algae because of this fertilzer runoff. Furthermore, the benign algae that used to live in our tanks have, under the stress of excess phosphates etc., evolved into toxic varieties that did not exist in earlier times (e.g, 1960) in our tanks.

So the answe is clear. The fertilizer sales should be strictly controlled by the agriculture department. The government should issue  to the farmers only the recommended amount of fertilizer (as was done in the 1970s, prior to the `open economy’ ) and stop the free sale of fertilizers and agro-chemicals. Then, after a few monsoons, the soil will be clear of the contamination.

The majority of plants don’t have special fitration mechanisms like the kidneys. So such plants can be used as a means of monitoring the water as it is easy to analyse the in the laboratory the more concentrated toxin present in the plant. I pointed this out in my talks at Gannoruwa and Colombo, and of course, this is not a completely new idea and I am sure other have thought of it. But trying to use them for cleaning all the water in the rajarata ecosystem is, in my view, not feasible and extremely expensive. In any case, we want to grow paddy or vegetables, and not ‘Japan-jabara’ or Salvinia. If we grow such plants to as bio-clensers, we will need to work hard to clean up the Japan-Jabara itself, perhaps with powerful weedicides?

The sale of fertilizers should be controlled, and fertilizer subsidies should also be stopped. The money saved can be used to help the affected farmers. If the excess use of fertilizer is stopped, we also save foreign exchange, and will regain our pure water table in a few years. The digging and selling of  Eppawala phosphates should be stopped as the soil is already utterly saturated with phosphate.

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  • 2
    0

    Thank you, Prof Dharmawardana.

    Haven’t we been reading how politicians have been using free fertilizer to get votes?

  • 3
    1

    I AGREE WITH YOU.IT IS NOT THE AGROCHEMICALS THAT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS BUT FERTILISER.HOWEVER WE MUST REDUCE ITS USAGE.

  • 0
    0

    Timely indeed!

    Just this morning the Island carried a story on Phytoremediation by “….. a Life Member of International Society for Environmental Botanists, India and also a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka “, using Water Hyacinth, Jatropha and other plants you mention.

    He ended with this: “It is our turn now though little overdue. Let us remember that phytoremediation is an attractive alternative to current clean up methods that are energy intensive and very expensive”.

    Perhaps you could address this in the Island as a response?

  • 0
    1

    Dear Prof.Dharmawardana,

    In your article you refer to Sarvodaya –

    “The same issue of getting rid of the waste matter arises with the reverse-osmosis process advocated in seminars by various people and put in place by various NGOs like Sarvodaya.”

    Could I humbly request you to name a single place in Sri Lanka that Sarvodaya has put in place a “reverse osmosis process” as you claim?. To my knowledge as the General Secretary of the organization, Sarvodaya hasn’t so far undertaken any interventions with regard to CKDu and certainly not installed any reverse osmosis units.

    Dr.Vinya Ariyaratne

  • 0
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    Dear Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne
    I am sorry for my mistake. At my seminar in Colombo (24th October) there was some one in the audience who got up and said that Sarvodaya is planning to set up reverse osmosis plants in many villages to provide clean drinking water. Later, after the talk, I got the impression that the person involved was a volunteer at Sarvodaya – I did not copy down her contacts and follow her up. It stuck in my mind, and I did not take the time to follow it up with Sarvodaya itself. I am very sorry about that and thank you for quickly correcting the error. I will also attempt to correct the error in other places where this article has appeared. (There is a tendency for electronic articles to get re-published, even without the author’s knowledge.)

  • 0
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    Dear Dr. Dharmawardhana,
    thanks for this article. Interesting to read.
    I am very interested in knowing why people in Hambantota area are not met with the Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain origin (CKDU) ?

    To whom it may be interested in reading more about the outcome of a field project based on CKDU: following link is added

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3765913/

    According to this paper:
    Quoted the Conclusion of the paper below:

    These results indicate chronic exposure of people in the endemic area to low levels of cadmium through the food chain and also to pesticides. Significantly higher urinary excretion of cadmium in individuals with CKDu, and the dose–effect relationship between urine cadmium concentration and CKDu stages suggest that cadmium exposure is a risk factor for the pathogensis of CKDu. Deficiency of selenium and genetic susceptibility seen in individuals with CKDu suggest that they may be predisposing factors for the development of CKDu.

    My question: Why is that the particular predisposing factors seem to be affecting only on those living out of Hambantota and other areas of the country ?

    • 0
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      Why is that the particular predisposing factors seem to be affecting only on those living out of Hambantota and other areas of the country ?

      I would say that this question should be directed to the authors of this report – namely, the WHO team. If you read the article, you see that their conclusions are tentative and very laboured. The previous version of the WHO report had no conclusions about CKDU being from Cd, but it used the same data! The first author is a government official, and so I think the WHO team has been told to come to some conclusion?
      They did not mention of doing any genetic screening in their reports to be able to talk about genetic dispositions. So that must be pure hot air.

      • 0
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        Thanks very much Bodhi.

        Yes, they have made conclusions as if they examined them on deficiency of Se and genetic susceptibility in subjects with CKDu.

        Quoted from that article of Jayatilake et al.: Chronic kidney disease of uncertain aetiology: prevalence and causative factors in a developing country. BMC Nephrology 2013 14:180.

        “Deficiency of selenium and genetic susceptibility SEEN IN INDIVIDUALS WITH CKDu suggest that they may be predisposing factors for the development of CKDu”

        I checked it myself:Particular paper does not contain any exp data aimed at genetic screening, Nor about Selenium tests ; anyway, there is no e-mail address of the 1st Author is found in there either.

        • 0
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          I found the E-mail ads of the correspondent- thanks.

  • 1
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    True…..100% true..
    The Fertilizer usage during 2005 – 2012 had been 4.2 million metric tons ..
    i.e. 4,200,000,000 kgs..
    IF assume that 0.05 gms Arsenic is contaminated in a Kg of Fert
    the total content of Arsenic is 210,000,000 gms
    Which is 210,000 kgs…or 210 m.t….!!!!!!
    chemical based Fert always with impurities..
    Arsenic is an impurity
    that cannot be eliminated 100% in the process of Manufacture of Fert
    But the % could be reduced…
    However the Chinese materials could contain a high arsenic percentage
    The only way to identify is to conduct a test at the Port
    But how to test about 800,000 mt at the Port..
    THE GOVT WOULD HAVE KNOWN THE PROBLEM …
    BEFORE IT BOOMERANG ON THE GOVT
    THEY JHU FIRED AT THE AGCHEM MANUFACTURING COMPANIES…

    • 1
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      The JHU was instigated by the “Enfant terrible” of sinhala-buddhist nationalism – namely, Nalin de silva, who claimed that God Natha told some “light-reading amma” that the problem is arsenic in fertilizers. Nalin de Silva accepts such methods (i.e., revelations by God natha) , but rejects science as a western-conconted “Patta-pal boru”, i.e., an utterly despicable western lie.

      Nalin de Silva’s ideas, or his constant “randu-kekka’ approach, is neither Buddhist, nor typically sinhalese. Basically, Nalin de silva and the JHU turned the topic to a political matter for gaining clout for themselves, rather than solving the problem. They also found it easy to blame big business and multi-national agro companies.

      But the same fertilizer is used in all other ares of the country but there is no CKDU everywhere.
      R. Dias has, I think missed the point of the article. But I will not blame him — he is making the same mistake as the WHO team – missing the wood for the trees?.
      According to prof. Dharmawardana, I think he is saying that it is NOT the As, Cd, etc. or even the added As, Cd from substandard fertilizer. They play a role subsequently. The healthy kidneys can flush out the minute amounts found in fertilizer if the kidneys are good. But if I understand the writer correctly, the kidneys of the rajarata become debilitated by the constant use of water with the added brackishness due to the fertilizer run-off which is funneled directly to the Rajarata by the mahaweli and other irrigation rivers.

      • 0
        1

        The major reason for affected Kidneys of farmers in the North Central Province besides the hard water ..polluted water with heavy metals ….is their habit of Drinking illicitly brewed diluted alcohol with methelate Spirit…Formalin…Kasippu or Moonshine ..whatever the name it is called…in place of properly distilled Arrack due to high price.(..the most popular Special Arrack or Gal..is almost Rs 1,000 ) what they drink to get high everyday from 5.00 p.m onwards is also poison..

        Next is the delay in seeking Western medical treatment…most of the farmers are damn pundits…when they are affected with chrinic urine problem first they run to Ayurvedic Doctors or take paracetamol if the fever prevails.. Or seek alcohol….by the time they reach the Govt Med Doctors the kidneys are already destroyed…

        To get a proper treatment there should be a proper diagnosis…farmers never admit their habits for the fear of exposing their behaviour …so the Doctor treats on assumption of possible Poisonng which could further damage the kidneys with the recommended medications …the most common accepted source of poisoning is Agro Chemicals…the easy way ….no one look at the evening ” GILAN PASA ” of these “UPASAKAS ” …

    • 1
      1

      Do you have firm sources to conclude that all or predominant portions of these heavy metal particles found in ground water of the affected areas are only through fertilizers ?

      If one would closely study the incident on heavy drinking water poisoning reported from the radius of Rathupaswala lately – what revealed was through some illegally buried chemical restes containing hazardous eco pollutants. Right at the moment if report would be issued from SL, unfortunately, we can NOT rely on them. This is the feeling also considering the current day happenings (e.g over 250 kg loads of Heroin import to the country).

  • 0
    0

    The heavy metals in Apatite rock phosphate are given in the following internet link, to the paper published in 1987 by Dr. R P Gunawardane, the former Professor of Chemistry of the Peradeniya.
    http://thakshana.nsf.ac.lk/pdf/JNSF1-25/JNSF15_2/JNSF15_2_183.pdf

    Some deadly heavy metals mentioned in this paper are:

    Arsenic (As) 23-27 PPM
    Lead (Pb) 111 – 140 PPM
    Chromium (Cr) 20-21 PPM
    Strontium (Sr) 2936 – 3217 PPM

    Heavy metals are present rock phosphate deposits in many parts of the world. Acidic conditions in the soil release these bound heavy metals to the water. Excessive use of Urea in Sri Lanka leads to nitrification, which increases the acidity of the soil. The Nitric acid reacts with these heavy metals to release the heavy metals to the ground water.

    The writer is correct in saying ‘what we need to do is to cut the problem at the source. The source is the fertilizer’. Like Brazil and many other countries we need to impose heavy metal content standards for fertilizers applicable to both imported fertilizer and local rock phosphate, to arrest the rapid spread of CKDU in Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    I know that CKDU has affected Vavniya and such places heavily, and I have relatives living just north of Vavniya.
    The WHO sponsored study conducted, I think, by the Colombo medical college, spent a large amount of money, but it at least showed that the levels of arsenic and cadmium in the many water samples they studied were not abnormal. So they ended up with no clear recommendations as to the cause of CKDU. Their error was looking for one single causative factor like arsenic or cadmium. Prof. Dharmawardana has taken a wider view of the problem, and looked at it in the economic-historical context as well as its scientific context. I think he has given a clear answer to the origin of CKDU already in this map showing that it is the large irrigation works, coupled to free-market economics that have unleashed this catastrophic on the country. Today, it is killing on the average as many people as the Eeelam wars did, and it is slowly spreading to the upper Vanni and the Jaffna peninsula where already there are many cases of CKDU.
    Even vitamins are poisons if you take too much of it. The govt. should stop subsidizing fertilizer and strictly curtail its sales. I am sure government ministers are in the fertilizer sales business. Some investigative journalist should check who sells what in the agro-business.

  • 2
    0

    The source of the rivers are in the Hill Country…out of it Mahawali feeds the entire Mahiyangana..North Central.. including Polonnaruva..Dambulla…ends up in Padaviya…

    As Dr Dharmawardhana said the contamination begins at the Hills with the application of various types of Fert…it is not a mere application but a process of drenching with cocktails…then flows down to Kandy…collects all from the Rikillagaskada…Delthota, Marassana Hills and flows through Mahiyangana…feeds Minneriya..Parakrama Smudra.. Giritale… Kavudulla…and flows to the Sea at Trinvomalee.

    Matale Hills residues are collected by the waterways that flows and feeds …Nuwara Weva…Kalawewa…Rajangane… It runs to Padaviya.

    Besides the Contamination in the Matale..Kandy ..Nuwara Eliya Hills the waters are contaminated with heavy Fert application on to paddy fields in the said areas…

    It strange why the damn JHU hooligans ..ably supported by the Kelaniya Maths Prof to whom ” God Natha ” has revealed the ARSENIC secret ..did not notice of ‘ 0 ‘ contamination on down stream of Kelaniya River…Badulu oya that feeds Gal Oya in the East….and Kirindi oya Kuda Oya that feeds Lunugamvehera in Hambantota Tissa area..Walawe River that feeds..Kalthota..Udawalave in Embilipitiya…. Ambalanthota areas via Ridigama…

    In fact what the Govt should do is to stop the cultivations for 2 years in the entire North Central Province..the Basin that settles all the Contaminated waters…and offer Relief during which period the area will get cleaned up with the monsoon rains…

    SUCH ACTIONS SUGGESTED BY DR DHARMAWARDHANA ARE JUST DREAMS FOR SRI LANKANS BECAUSE OF THE CHINTHANAYA THE GOVT FOLLOW THAT HAS RUINED THE COUNTRY OF ITS RESOURCES…

    BESIDES THE GOVT POLICY IS ‘ API VENUVEN API ‘ OR ‘ OBA VENUVATA API ‘ ….
    NOT THAT SHOULD REALLY ‘OBA VENUVEN API ‘ ‘

  • 0
    1

    I have also been following the CKDU saga, and written a number of articles that appered in various places (e.g., the island and the Lankaweb), because I have been intrigued by it. This article by Prof. Dharmawardana is one of the clearest articles that explains a lot of things in a brief contribution. He used to be our Chemistry professor in 1974 at the Sri Jayawardenapura university.

    One of the problems with reverse osmosis is, even if such machines are installed, we need to constantly import membranes and parts for them. The solution is to cut down fertilizer use 9as suggested by the professor), and that also saves a lot of foreign exchange.

    The idea of growing Japan-japara etc., to get rid of toxins (as found in the Island article yesterday) is a dumb idea. The Padaviya Tank is already full of water hyacinth and all kinds of growth, and the tank is silting. But Padaviya is one of the most affected areas.

    • 0
      0

      Bodhi@

      not only cutting down fertilizer use but also all other steps as suggested by Dr. Dharmawardhana should be held strictly.

      In his last paragraph he has made it clear.

      “The sale of fertilizers should be controlled, and fertilizer subsidies should also be stopped. The money saved can be used to help the affected farmers. If the excess use of fertilizer is stopped, we also save foreign exchange, and will regain our pure water table in a few years. The digging and selling of Eppawala phosphates should be stopped as the soil is already utterly saturated with phosphate”

      They should start village level control systems on fertilizer distribution. As patients in general have no free access to prescription drugs, they should also introduce strict laws in terms of unnecessary use of fertilizers. If the authorities would not react accordingly, the numbers of the patients will grow exponentially, since the mentioned heavy metals have already been accumulated in/found in the food chains of the people of the affected areas.

      • 0
        1

        samson says
        since the mentioned heavy metals have already been accumulated in/found in the food chains
        There is no significant accumulation of heavy metals in the food, as seen from page 14 of the WHO report, except perhaps for Cd. Toxins accumulates in lotus root, but how many people eat that? The small amounts of heavy-metal toxins” are readily eliminated by any healthy kidney. The problem arises when the kidneys get corroded by the brackish-like (highly ionic) water, i.e., the water that contains excess-fertilizer runoff.
        Let me quote from the WHO report:

        As, Cd and Pb in food, tobacco, betel leaves, pasture and weeds
        Content of As, Cd and Pb were analysed in food, tobacco, pasture and weeds from endemic areas. The Cd levels in rice in both endemic and non endemic areas were less than the Codex Alimentarius Commission allowable limit (19-21). The maximum concentration of Cd in vegetables in the endemic area was 0.322 mg/kg and in the non endemic area 0.063 mg/kg. Cd in
        some vegetables such as lotus rodt was high: iligh concentratio4 ofCd i,v’as also seen in tobacco. Cadmium levels in lotus ant tobacco vr’ere higher in endemic thau in non endemic areas (Lotus: mean 0.413 vs. 0.023, median 0.066 vs. 0.023, 1.50 vs. 0.03 atrd tobaccoi meao 0.351 vs.
        0.316, median 0.351 vs. 0.316, max 0.44 vs. 0.351 endemic vs. trotr etrdemic respectively). The maximum concentration of Cd in fish (0.06 ug/g) also exoeeded the Elropean maximrim limit of 0.05 mg/Kg stipulaled for certain types of fish (21). In the non endemic area the maximum
        conceotratioo of Cd in fish was 0.033mg4Q. The madmum level of Pb permitted by the Commission of European Communities in vegetables is 0.10 mg/kg (21). The maximum concentration of Pb in vegetables in the endemic area was 0.476 mg/kg.

  • 0
    1

    This cannot solve the problem.

    Kidney patients need healthy kidneys. Any idea how to source them?

    Well I have an idea. How many healthy Tamilians are there in SL? Each has 2 kidneys. Problem solved.

    • 0
      0

      Are you sure we Tamilians have kidneys? We are not made like you guys.
      That is why we can drink jaffna water and yet not get CKD.
      In the 1940s and 1950s, Jaffna was a thriving big city. However, it was
      kept at the lowly status ofan urban council. Demands by citizens that be upgraded to amunicipality, enabling it to raise taxes and set up piped water and sewers were strongly oppsed by the Tamil leaders based in Colombo. People like SJV and Ponnambalam spoke in one voice and said, keep your hands off jaffna, and we can manage it. The real reason was, these Colombo Tamils owned property there, and THEY DID NOT WANT TO PAY HIGHER TAXES, irrespective of what happens to the kidneys of the tamils. It was D. S. Seanayake (or possibly SWRD Bandaranaike) who over-ruled it and upgraded Jaffna to a municiplaity in the early 1950s.

      Today, the same thing is happening, with the Colombo bosses like Wigneswaran and Sumanthiran calling the shots, to keep them in power, irrespective of the well being of the Northern Tamils. Have they spoken of the water problem and pollution there? have they checked what is happening to Valukkai aru and Uppu aru? Have they heard of a hair-brained scheme called “Rivers for Jaffna” being hatched by some engineers that will definitely destroy the underground water table precariously balanced on sea water on limestone?
      NO, they are more interested in a confrontation with Colombo to get more power into their hands – constitutional haggling , exactly the same stuff that SJV and ten the TULF unleashed on Tamils. We have suffered all that for decades because we have no kidney, or balls. WE Tamils have always been led by lawyers who know to argue and fill their pockets, but do no good to the people. We need to boot out these false-leaders and get a new set of modern-minded leaders from the business and technological community.

    • 1
      0

      Please why not you be the first one to offer yours leaving us all in peace.

      That can then help

      a) to give life for one or two poor patients that would ever be grateful to you.

      b) can leave us all in peace on this stage if CT further nevertheless allows your inputs containing all hatreds deviating CT comments guidelines above all.

      This is btw- serious discussion based on hard hit kidney patients in our country

    • 0
      0

      Fat Fuk, You could always check with Gota too – appears he is neck deep in ‘organs for sale’

  • 0
    0

    We all have got pieces of the puzzle through Western science, leaving out various Devas of fame. Examining the WHO report, examining many research data published globally on heavy metals, examining more recent data on heavy cadmium in vegetables, comparably much higher than in rice or water of CKDU area, there is more merit to consider cadmium as major culprit. Knowing that all phosphates sources are heavily contaminated with cadmium and recognizing what is now emerging on unusually heavy use of phosphates and the ionic behavior of phosphates in soil the pathway is better understood today. Use of heavy phospahte levels as fertilizer has been observed in some of our plantation crops as far back as 1980’s. The really occurred leading to current situation arise on cheaper pho[phates from certain locations and heavy subsidies encouraging the farmer to use them, with whatever guidance available from the Dept of agriculture through the advisory sources withdrawn in 1980s.

    Immediate solution is to reduce exposure of humans at whatever cost. Thus it is important to provide high purity water even at a high cost of reverse osmosis.

    Then comes the suggestion of nitrates etc applied in hill country causing the problem in Rajarata. All cities and towns located along Mahaweli, Including Kandy gets the water supply from Mahaweli river. Is there evidence to show that people living in Kandy possess a mechanism developed to be resistant to contaminants in Mahaweli water. Prof Chandre may guide us on this too please from Canada

    • 0
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      @Upali
      A number of us have been examining some of the questions you raised.

      Places like Kandy or Colombo are provided with municipal water presumably treated and brought to the required quality. Furthermore, even the ground water system, and the annual rain fall in the wet zone are very different from the regolith ground-water system of the Rajarata.

      Farmers get their water from ground wells, tube wells etc, with no further treatment. Some 1000 tube-wells built by well-meaning but ill-informed NOGOs and private people have now been abandoned due to poor water quality. If the water table is polluted, even getting rid of night soil and urine becomes a problem, since even septic tanks will not work (they may grow anaerobic toxic algae). So, discharging reverse-osmosis effluent in to the soil is out of the question.

      Blood serum contains about 10- milli-Equivalents/litre of Chloride, ~25 mEq/Litre of bicarbonate, ~140 mEq/Litre of Na, ~3 mg/DL of Phosphate. The serum ionicity and water ionicity can be described by quantities that I and other collegues have proposed known as normalized serum ionicity and serum-normalized water ionicity which gives the values of concentrations of all the ions in the blood or water using comparable units. If the drinking water ionicity compositions greatly exceed the serum ionicity, then the kidney has to do a lot of work to get rid of the excess. We can construct models of the kidney and study how it works under ionicity stress. If a kidney has to do work excessively hard for many months and years, that debilitates the kidneys in the first instance. Once the Kidney are debilitated,they cannot prevent any As, Cd, Pb, F or any other toxins that occurs naturally from getting into the body and accumulating. The heavy engineering earth works associated with the mahaweli etc., would have also added to the toxin levels by uprooting them from the deeper geological strata.

      If we LIMIT (not ban) the fertilizer purchases to the optimal amount (e.g, see chapter 10 of Panabokke’s 1964 book, or better, more modern writings from the agriculture dept.), the saved money can be given to the Rajarata farmers to help them out. You can save enough money to even pipe-in clean water to every house with that saved money. At the moment, I think there are three projects (two funded by Japan, one by ADB) to give piped water to the rajarata. They have been set in motion in in 2003 (I think). So, after a decade, they are still not put in place. Unfortunately, social systems react to emergencies instead of acting with foresight. The emergency is NOW. We need to profit from it and push the powers that be to do the right thing.

  • 0
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    This is very serious matter requiring thorough analysis as much as anything else around. Lives and health of lots of poor innocent unsuspecting people are affected. Every angle however implausible needs to be exhaustively looked at. Even when you find the answer you have to refuse to be satisfied and ask is there something else?
    Experience in other countries using same fertilizers/agrochemicals in
    similar conditions have to be studied. If we put part of the blame on illicit alcohol what about people who don’t generally drink? Do we have breakup of figures according to gender, age, locality etc
    As for treatment, Homeopathic medicine is very effective and inexpensive in dealing with chronic illness and detoxification. Evidence is there if you care to look. It is believed there is an homeopathic organization in Sri Lanka. They may want to look into the matter if you allow them. There are lots of competent and world famous homeopaths in India too. Even lots of westerners are turning away from the dominant pharmaceutical/surgery based medicine.

  • 0
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    It is believed that nearly 0.5Mio of the nation in the mentioned areas of the country are affected with the unexpected kidney problems. Anyway, the news that
    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=94856

    40 Bio have been spent on fertilizer by govt s become an investigative incident to this day. I truly believe, that the rulers on the name of fertilizer purchase have abused the poor farmer to this core. They have to pay it by their lives today. WHo is going to voice for them today ? This kind of politicians re calculated murderers.

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