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Water 2019, 11(1), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010131

White Teeth and Healthy Skeletons for All: The Path to Universal Fluoride-Free Drinking Water in Tanzania

1
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Douala, Douala B.P. 24157, Cameroon
2
Department of Applied Geology, Universität Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraße 3, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany
3
Department of Water and Environmental Science and Engineering, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha P.O. Box 447, Tanzania
4
Department of Humanities, Governance and Leadership, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Arusha P.O. Box 447, Tanzania
5
Biosystems and Environmental Engineering Research Group, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe, Mount Pleasant, Harare P.O. Box MP167, Zimbabwe
6
Department of Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering, Water Institute, Dar es Salaam 11000, Tanzania
7
Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), Geocenter Hannover, Stilleweg 2, 30665 Hannover, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 8 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Filters in Drinking Water Treatment)
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Abstract

Fluorosis has been prevalent in the great East African Rift Valley (EARV) since before this region was given a name. In the Tanganyika days, Germans reported elevated fluoride concentrations in natural waters. In the 1930s, the clear relationship between high fluoride level and mottling of teeth was established. Since then, the global research community has engaged in the battle to provide fluoride-free drinking water, and the battle is not yet won for low-income communities. An applicable concept for fluoride-free drinking water in the EARV was recently presented, using the Kilimanjaro as a rainwater harvesting park. The Kilimanjaro concept implies that rainwater is harvested, stored on the Kilimanjaro mountains, gravity-transported to the point of use, eventually blended with natural water and treated for distribution. This article provides a roadmap for the implementation of the Kilimanjaro concept in Tanzania. Specifically, the current paper addresses the following: (i) presents updated nationwide information on fluoride contaminated areas, (ii) discusses the quality and quantity of rainwater, and current rainwater harvesting practices in Tanzania, (iii) highlights how low-cost water filters based on Fe0/biochar can be integrating into rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems to provide clean drinking water, and (iv) discusses the need for strict regulation of RWH practices to optimize water collection and storage, while simplifying the water treatment chain, and recommends strict analytical monitoring of water quality and public education to sustain public health in the EARV. In summary, it is demonstrated that, by combining rainwater harvesting and low-cots water treatment methods, the Kilimanjaro concept has the potential to provide clean drinking water, and overcome fluorosis on a long-term basis. However, a detailed design process is required to determine: (i) institutional roles, and community contributions and participation, (ii) optimal location and sizing of conveyance and storage facilities to avoid excessive pumping costs, and (iii) project funding mechanisms, including prospects for government subsidy. By drawing attention to the Kilimanjaro concept, the article calls for African engineers and scientists to take the lead in translating this concept into reality for the benefit of public health, while simultaneously increasing their self-confidence to address other developmental challenges pervasive in Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: bone char technique; defluoridation technologies; rainwater harvesting; slow sand filter; water treatment; zerovalent iron bone char technique; defluoridation technologies; rainwater harvesting; slow sand filter; water treatment; zerovalent iron
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ndé-Tchoupé, A.I.; Tepong-Tsindé, R.; Lufingo, M.; Pembe-Ali, Z.; Lugodisha, I.; Mureth, R.I.; Nkinda, M.; Marwa, J.; Gwenzi, W.; Mwamila, T.B.; Rahman, M.A.; Noubactep, C.; Njau, K.N. White Teeth and Healthy Skeletons for All: The Path to Universal Fluoride-Free Drinking Water in Tanzania. Water 2019, 11, 131.

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