4 December 2006The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is representing South Africa in an international, multi-partner project aiming to demonstrate that solar disinfection of drinking water is an effective intervention against waterborne diseases.The European Union (EU) recently awarded a €1.9-million research grant to the three-year programme, which will be carried out by nine research groups in Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Zimbabwe.According to the CSIR, the project could be of immeasurable benefit to “vulnerable communities in developing countries who normally do not have a reliable, safe water supply, as well as those communities who might find themselves exposed to natural or man-made disasters.”The project aims to help reduce the number of fatalities, especially among sub-Sahara African children under the age of five, caused by diarrhoeal diseases resulting from exposure to contaminated water.According to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2006, diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children worldwide, claiming the lives of around 1.8-million children a year, while 1.1-billion people in the world still have no regular access to clean water.Solar disinfection of drinking water is a low-tech, safe and affordable method to improve water quality. It involves placing contaminated water in transparent bottles which are then placed in direct sunshine for six hours.The method has been approved by the World Health Organisation, and is commended for its proven efficiency in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in 2004.Over the next three years, the multidisciplinary research team will investigate the health benefits of using solar disinfected drinking water in developing countries, the factors that influence communities to adopt or reject the technique, whether the basic technique can be improved using simple technologies, and whether there are any major waterborne diseases that are not susceptible to it.“We want to confirm the considerable health benefits that can be derived, at no cost, from drinking solar disinfected water, and increase awareness of this method in our country and other countries where sunlight abounds,” said Martella du Preez, a senior CSIR researcher who coordinates the health impact studies in African countries.“After a series of laboratory and field trials, we are certain that it is an effective way of preventing many diseases such as cholera, dysentery or polio, and that it should be considered as an option alongside boiling, chlorination and other standard water treatment methods,” Du Preez said.As part of the agreement, CSIR researcher Eunice Ubomba-Jaswa has travelled to Ireland to take up a three-year PhD research position at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Ubomba-Jaswa will spend 18 months in Ireland and England before moving to Spain to complete her experiments under real sun conditions.Other institutions participating in the study include the Kenyan International Community for the Relief of Suffering and Starvation, the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development in Zimbabwe, the universities of Ulster and Leicester in the UK, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, and Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela and Plataforma Solar de Almeria.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR-Tuscarawas County It’s no secret that all of agriculture is suffering from years of low commodity prices and rising input costs. The economic struggles have affected you financially and physically. You’ve looked at the numbers, met with advisors, and talked to family. The thought of selling part or your entire farm brings with it added worry and concern. What can you do? Find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. This person may not have many answers to your questions, but they can listen to your frustrations and worries. They may be able to help you sort through the confusion and develop a course of action. Think of your situation as a picture — a set of eyes looking at the picture from the outside may see things you can’t because you are caught up in the picture. Understand that you are not alone. Nearly every farm and farm family is in a similar situation. Don’t live in the past or dwell on what could or should have been done. Take control of the situation and develop a plan for managing the things you are able to control.Assessment Evaluate your financial position by meeting with your lender to discuss options for restructuring debt. Can you extend the repayment terms to provide more cash flow? Contact your Extension Educator about completing a FINPACK analysis (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/).What are your specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and timed (SMART) goals? How are your goals similar and different from those of family and/or business partners? Develop a list of your education, experiences, and skills. How can you use these in another career? What career opportunities fit you best?Evaluation If you come to the decision that selling all or part of your farm is the best option, there are several items to address. Begin with a balance sheet and other financial information to understand your present financial situation. Doing so will help you decide how much money (and approximate number of assets) you must sell. You may want to meet with an appraiser, auctioneer, or real estate professional for help determining the expected value of assets.Professionals Your attorney can answer questions and advise you about legal considerations related to a sale. An accountant will help minimize your tax liability and give an estimate of what you may expect to pay in taxes.Help is available There are people and agencies/organizations that can help with the transition and the emotions that come with the sale. Clergy, licensed counselors, and medical professionals can help you cope. Other sources of help include: Ohio State University Extension (extension.osu.edu) National Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255) National Alliance for Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264) Ohio Workforce Training (ohio.gov/working/training) Ohio Job & Family Services, Office of Workforce Development (jfs.ohio.gov/owd)Additional information Coming to the decision to sell all or a part of your farm is not an easy decision. Find someone with good listening skills. Talk to professionals, reach out for help, get answers, and make the best possible decisions. More information about this subject is available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-71.