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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

Over 20m people exposed to arsenic poisoning

Over 20 million (two crore) people of the country are exposed to arsenic poisoning while 0.2 million are suffering from arsenic linked diseases.

According to a 72-page booklet on arsenic released in the city Monday, although arsenic continues to contaminate the country's ground water, little has been done to tackle the problem.

However, sources at the Health Ministry said the number of arsenic patients so far detected in the country is 8,500.

State Minister for Health and Family Planning M Amanullah released the booklet published by the NGO Forum, an organisation for drinking water supply and sanitation. Dr Abul Hasnat Milton, an arsenic expert, edited the booklet.

Speaking on the occasion, the state minister said the government had taken all out measures to tackle the looming threat of arsenic.

The booklet said arsenic experts of the world have expressed the opinion that the severity of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh was unprecedented.

The launching ceremony of arsenic material package was addressed, among others, by Dr Rana P' Sattar of the Danish Embassy in Dhaka, Colin J Davis of the Unicef, Abdul Quader Chowdhury of the BAMWSP, Md Quaderuzzaman of the DPHE, Jeffrey S Pereira, abdus Salam, Rehana Akhter and SMA Rashid of the NGO Forum.

Stressing the importance of public awareness about the impending arsenic problem, they said it is time to ensure alternative source of safe water to the rural people as they are largely dependent on tubewell water.

They expressed the hope that the arsenic communication material package, including video documentary, leaflet, flipchart and poster, would play a positive role in making the people aware of arsenic contamination.

BSS adds: Speakers at a discussion on the same day called for creating awareness among the people about the danger of arsenic problem and its mitigation that has pushed the people of the country at risk. (UNB)

Copyright 1998 Global Amitech


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