1) Water ATMs – An Approach to Fight Fluorosis in Chiang Mai

Link to Full Policy Proposal: Water ATMs – An Approach to Fight Fluorosis in Chiang Mai

Link to Presentation Slides: Session 1 – Group 1Session 1 - Group 1.jpg

Ankit Dashora, Enkhbold Bukhchuluun, Nazrana Binte Zainuddin, Ng Yew Heang Rachel

Fluoride is essential for the development of teeth and bones but excess intake of the mineral can cause decay of tooth enamel and in extreme cases, structural damage to bones and joints. Dental and skeletal fluorosis is a prevalent problem among the residents of Chiang Mai as the ground water has high-levels of fluoride. The fluoride occurs naturally in the ground water and is further intensified through rigorous extraction of ground water.

The residents are aware of the harmful repercussions of drinking untreated ground water but some are still using untreated ground water in food preparation and cooking. This is largely due to lack of understanding, for example, that the fluoride in the water will disappear through the cooking process; and the absence of alternative and affordable sources of defluorinated water.

Efforts have been made by various municipalities in Chiang Mai to provide treated water to its community but these have proven to be inadequate both in terms of supply and geographical reach. Currently, there is a lack of collective action and cooperation between municipalities in exploring joint-efforts which are environmentally and financially sustainable.

Our team strongly believes that there is merit for a directed policy intervention to tackle the fluorosis issue in Chiang Mai. We are excited to present our recommended policy intervention – exploring a fresh and collaborative approach among the various stakeholders to deliver a sustainable and feasible water purification and distribution system via “Water ATMs”. This will help Chiang Mai achieve the sustainable development goal of ensuring its community’s access to affordable, safe, clean and drinkable water.