February 4, 2007

Awarded Money for the Needy Communities, like Bangladesh

Professor Abul Hussam who is at George Mason University in Fairfax, developed an low-cost, easy-to-make method for filtering arsenic from well water. National Academy of Engineering declared Thursday that the 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize for his invention.

KOMO tv reported:

The National Academy of Engineering announced Thursday that the 2007 Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability would go to Abul Hussam, a chemistry professor at George Mason University in Fairfax. Hussam's invention is already in use today, preventing serious health problems in residents of the professor's native Bangladesh.

After moving to the United States in 1978, Hussam got his citizenship and received a doctorate in analytical chemistry. The Centreville, Va., resident has spent much of this career trying to devise a solution to the arsenic problem, which was accidentally caused by international aid agencies that had funded a campaign to dig wells in Eastern India and Bangladesh.

The filter removes almost every trace of arsenic from well water.
About 200 filtration systems are being made each week in Kushtia, Bangladesh, for about $40 each, Hussam said. More than 30,000 have been distributed.
Hussam said he plans to use 70 percent of his prize so the filters can be distributed to needy communities. He said 25 percent will be used for more research, and 5 percent will be donated to GMU.

The 2007 sustainability prize is funded by the Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Ill., and the contest was set up to target the arsenic problem. Among the criteria for winning was an affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly solution to the arsenic problem that did not require electricity.

Professor Abul Hussam was awarded $1 million for his invention. He has decided that he will spend most of the awarded money for the needy communities around the world.