Evidence of Economically Sustainable Village-Scale Microenterprises for Arsenic Remediation in Developing Countries

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Screenshot 2019-01-30 13.35.34.png

Evidence of Economically Sustainable Village-Scale Microenterprises for Arsenic Remediation in Developing Countries

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ABSTRACT: Although unknown 25 years ago, natural arsenic contamination of groundwater affects over 50 countries and up to 200 million people. The economic viability was analyzed and modeled of eighty-eight community-based arsenic mitigation systems existing for up to 20 years in India and Bangladesh. The performances of three community-based arsenic mitigation systems that are ethnically different and separated across two different countries were monitored closely for 24 months of self-sustainable, long-term operation at WHO standards through local, paid caretakers. Based on data from the use of hybrid ion exchange materials (HIX-Nano) and the broad set of field operations, Monte Carlo simulations were used to explore the conditions required for self-sustainable operation and job creation in low-income communities (<$2/day/capita). The results from field data and cost modeling provided clear evidence of economic growth and job creation for systems managed by villagers’ committee through collection of monthly tariffs. Ethnicity and religion did not have perceptible impacts on day-to-day operations or cumulative long-term revenue. The cost of the treatment technology (i.e., HIX-Nano) had minimal impact on the operational profitability, while number of customers and water delivery significantly affected profitability. Local employment generation with income significantly higher than poverty level was the most enduring outcome and led to enhanced sustainability.

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