EXCESS FLOURIDE IN WELL WATER IN MAHAWELI SYSTEM-H AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE
In recent studies (1994-2000) it was shown that more than forty percent of wellshas fluoride rich water in the North Central Province. The fluoride content ofmore than 1 mgll was considered as fluoride rich water. The dental fluorosis hadbeen identified as an endemic problem in dry zone areas in Sri Lanka. theunsightly brown discoloration of the teeth had led these young children affected invillages to a severe psychological impact. This problems is not confined only toSri Lanka but also exists in other parts of the world such as India, China, SouthAfrica, America. In addition, medical reports revealed that skeletal fluorosispatients has been identified in Kekirawa, Medirigiriya, and Jayanthipura in SriLanka.
Defluridation of water could be done by different filter media such as serpentine,activated alumina, alum, charred bone meal. However, the main disadvantage ofsuch material is that they are not locally available. This paper discusses results ofa programme which introduced a low-cost defluoridator which uses freshly burntbricks as the filter media to affected communities in the North Central Province.
Awareness programmes were conducted for students in schools, health staff, preschoolteachers, Grama Niladharis and Samurdhi Niyamakas in villages in NorthCentral Province. There after 1000 defluoridators were distributed in stages(1994-2000) and they are in operation in different villages such as Olukarada,Maha Elgamuwa, Madatugama, Eppawela, Galnewa, Thalawa, Thapotha,Athumalpitiya and Patunagama in North Central Province,
The results clearly show that this low cost method could be easily carried out inorder to get defluoridated water. The beneficiaries themselves were trained tochange the filter medium in time in order to get best output from thesedefluoridatos. The efficiency level of these defluoridators changes from 85%removal of fluoride at the start and tapers down to 25% removal at the end of thecycle