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Article From News From Bangladesh archives


Thousands passing days amid arsenic fear

15 die of arsenic related diseases

M.R. Alam

MEHERPUR, Apr 20:–Thousands of people in three Upazilas of the district have been passing their days amid arsenic menace. The arsenic contamination has been detected in under ground water of the district.

At least 15 people died of arsenic related diseases, according to Directorate of Public Health Engineering (DPHE). Although the Department failed to give data of the total number of persons many of them have been suffering from arsenic related diseases but an unconfirmed survey report reveals that 40 per cent people are suffering from arsenic related diseases. The condition of 10 per cent people is stated to be critical.

Meherpur as a western district and bordering West Bengal, India has been identified as arsenic prone area. According to DPHE there are 35000 hand pump tubewells in the district. Out of the total 1013 hand pump tubewells were surveyed by the DPHE Meherpur and found that more than 80 per cent hand pump tubewells there are more and less arsenic contaminated above 0.05% mg/1 in 40 per cent hand pump tubwells. It is citable that after being aware of deadly arsenic poisoning diseases crores of people have been living in arsenic affected areas. Out of 64 districts, 59 districts are arsenic affected of whom perhaps Meherpur district is the highest arsenic invaded district. The people have been fighting against arsenic curse.

However, at last a way of detecting and removing arsenic easily from the contaminated water with a minimum cost by using herbal was invented by one young promising researcher Jaharul Islam of village Amjhupi under Sadar Upazila of the district. A total of 500 hand pump tubwells of different villages of the district had been tested by Jaharul Islam applying the herbal method which were later tested by the indigenous and foreign experts including the DPHE and NGOs applying the modern kit method but the result was same. The DPHE and concerned department opined that the invention of Jaharul was free from mistake and convincing. In reply to query Jaharul told The Bangladesh Observer that is possible to detect whether the water is arsenic contaminated or not within 10 seconds of time and arsenic could be removed within an hour from the water by using the herbal method spending nominal price.

The young inventor told that after applying the herbal in the water, no change would be visible if it is not arsenic contaminated. On the other hand, arsenic contaminated water would become coloured like light-rosy, rosy-brown, deep brown, violet and chocolate as per rate of arsenic contamination. Jaharul had been working relentlessly to mitigate arsenic to free the people from arsenic curse since long in his small cottage without any financial support from any corner.

A few months ago he invented a new sustainable technology in order to mitigate the arsenic from the water. His latest invention is the arsenic removal plant using the ultra violet ray of solar power and with the pipe. He claimed that Taka 8 thousand is good enough to set up a home based arsenic removal plant. In an exclusive interview Jaharul Islam told The Bangladesh Observer emphatically that after my detection it was tested by many concerned organizations including Regional Research Centre Khulna and found both the results were same. The Khulna Research Centre had forwarded the invented technology to Project Director Fariduddin Ahmed to Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply Project (BAMWS) for final test. As per their desire he went to the office of the Project Director, BAMWS, Dhaka in March/2000 but the Project Director did not give him audience rather advised to contact with the chemists. The incumbent chemists discouraged and sent him back. Jaharul informed that the BCSIR, Dhaka, Atomic Energy Commission, Savar and Regional Coordinator of UNICEF Bangladesh examined his technology and being satisfied they advised him to make it patent immediately. Jaharul Islam is expecting help from the government.( The Bangladesh Observer )


Copyright 1998 Global Amitech

 

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