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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

Arsenic panic in Bagerhat

People in Bagerhat district are poised to embrace the worst pure water crisis in history as arsenic continues to contaminate groundwater.

According to a survey, 80 per cent tube-wells in the district have been detected with high prevalence of arsenic, posing a serious threat to public health.

It said some of the tube-wells were pumping out arsenic eight times higher than the tolerant level.

Despite high prevalence of arsenic, the town dwellers were still using tube-well waters, as they cannot consume supply water due to presence of unhygienic elements.

There has been allegations that fish fries are occasionally found in the water supplied by the municipality.

Meanwhile, most water bodies of the district have dried up due to prolonged drought.

BSS from Satkhira reports: Arsenic contamination in the tubewell waters has taken a serious turn in five unions under Debhata upazila of the district, threatening the health of about 129,520 people.

As many as 65 people of 22 villages in the five unions have so far been affected with arsenic poison, according to different sources.

Water of 72 per cent tubewells under the upazila was found to have a high percentage of arsenic.

To detect arsenic in the tubewell water, Community Health Development Society (CHDS), with the help of Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and an NGO, recently conducted a survey.

According to the survey report, water of 8,678 tube-wells out of the total 9,276 under the upazila was tested, of which water of 6,666 tube-wells was found to contain arsenic beyond permissible limit.

Debhata upazila PHED has put red mark on the arsenic contaminated tube-wells and advised people not to drink water from those tube-wells.

It was learnt from the upazila Public Health Engineer's office that the water of 943 tube-wells out of 1314 of Shokhipur union was found arsenic-contaminated.

Arsenic was found in the waters of 560 out of 1008 tube-wells in Debhata sadar union, 901 out of 1599 in Noapara union, 2206 out of 2282 in Kulia union and 2056 out of 2211 in Parulia union.

Upazila Public Health Engineer M Qudrut-e-Khuda said with the assistance of UNICEF a programme has been taken up to install 67 arsenic-free deep tube-wells and 112 shallow tube-wells in different areas of the upazila. ( UNB)

Copyright 1998 Global Amitech


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