Professor Arup SenGupta has been named to a major award for his research in combating fluoride contamination. On November 15, SenGupta won a prize from TechAwards, a nonprofit organization founded by multinational corporations in Silicon Valley. SenGupta won the Intel Environmental Award, one of six 2012 Tech Laureate grand prizes awarded by TechAwards. TechAwards recognized SenGupta for using technology to transform a water crisis into an economic enterprise. Nearly 500 million people in Africa and Asia drink groundwater with excessive amounts of fluoride. Such contamination has been associated with dental problems, joint pain, limb deformities and other ills. The award carries a cash prize of $75,000, which SenGupta has donated to the Tagore-SenGupta Foundation (T-S), an organization he started with his students to support community projects related to clean water, sanitation and education.
SenGupta is also recipient of many honors for his efforts to remove arsenic from drinking water, has been honored recently with several other awards. In 2011, T-S won the 2011 Reed Elsevier Environmental Challenge, an international contest that aims to improve people’s access to safe and sustainable water. Reed Elsevier cited SenGupta and his group for their efforts to install in Cambodian villages and schools a system that removes arsenic from groundwater. Developed by SenGupta and his students over the past 16 years, the system—the world’s first reusable arsenic-selective adsorbent—is now being used in seven different countries.