An EU H2020 project
June 2016 - November 2019
The third regional conference was held on Wednesday 3 July 2019 at the NEXUS Hotel (Addis Ababa), attended by about 50 participants, consisting of consortium members, national stakeholders and local stakeholders concerned by the question of the contamination of the water by Fluorine.
The conference was held in accordance with the agenda, which was previously presented by the project coordinator Giorgio Ghiglieri and adopted by the participants.
The opening ceremony was delivered by Dr Mitike Molla (Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia) who welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of the project working with companies and organizations. NGOs. He mentioned that the project will make a significant impact on society.
Dr Dominique Davoux (Delegation of the European Union to Addis Ababa) emphasized that EU actions aim to have a positive impact on people in the areas where it operates. He said the project is part of the spirit of the 2020 horizon, which finances projects for better water supply.
Local partners Prof. Tigistu Haile (Addis Ababa University Ethiopia) and Dr. Tesfaye Asresahagne Engidasew (Geomatrix PLC Ethiopia) said this is a good opportunity to discuss the project results. They recalled activities in Ethiopia, such as geological and hydrogeological maps, and welcomed the participants.
After the opening speeches, the project coordinator, Giorgio Ghiglieri, outlined the objectives and expected results of the project. Subsequently, several presentations were made on project activities and preliminary results.
The speakers' presentations sparked an interactive and participatory dialogue, where the importance of successful international collaboration was highlighted. It has been noted that knowledge about the fixation of fluorine by plants from the soil is limited. Emphasis was placed on the need to improve knowledge of the hydrodynamic characteristics of aquifers. The flow in the Rift Valley is not homogeneous. The understanding of aquifer geometry and water dynamics allows the identification of aquifers with low Fluorine concentration. It was therefore recommended to encourage the search for low-grade freshwater sources of fluoride in the Rift Valley, in addition to investments in defluorination technologies that are not always available, especially to certain segments of the rural population.
The prototype defluorination was presented. This low cost and easy to use prototype can work with different types of materials. The socio-economic analysis shows that the animal bone powder filter "Bone Char" is cheaper (80-120 Birr or about 3USD per kg) and more accessible to rural populations, but that its extraction capacity of Fluorine is weaker. Given the limited means of the rural population, it was recommended to increase awareness of policies to subsidize these products to make them accessible to all.
It was pointed out that different national bodies, mandated by the Ministry of Health, control the quality of products. Producers must have a permit to practice this trade.
A poster session was organized on the sidelines of the conference, which was marked by exchanges and discussions on the activities and results of the project with the consortium members, as well as local actors.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°690378