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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

Arsenic beyond permissible limit found in water of DTWs

The presence of arsenic beyond permissible limit has been detected in the water of deep tubewells (DTW) in different parts of the country.

A recent study carried out jointly by the School of Environmental Studies, Jadavpur (SOES) and the Dhaka Community Hospital (DCH) in different arsenic-prone districts found that water extracted by deep tubewells, which was widely believed to be safe, contained arsenic beyond acceptable level.

Among the 106 surveyed tubewells, the water of 50 ones was found contaminated with arsenic at a level above 0.05 milliliters in a litre the permissible limit of arsenic presence in drinking water for Bangladesh.

The districts where they study was carried out included Bagerhat, Barisal, Bhola, Chandpur, Faridpur, Feni Jessore, Khulna, Kushtia, Laxmipur, Madaripur, Meherpur, Munshiganj, Narail, Narsingdi, Pabna and Rangpur.

This was revealed at a press conference organised by the DCH in the city Wednesday. DCH Chairman Professor Quazi Quamruzzaman and Professor Mahuder Rahman addressed the conference.

Quoting the report of British Geological Survey (BGS) carried out on shallow tubewells, they said not only arsenic, but also other heavy metals and chemicals including manganes, boron and uranium exist beyond acceptable levels in the ground water.

Such toxic metals and chemicals can cause cancer, damage intestines and can lead to malfunctioning of fertility, they added.

Citing the examples of a total of 89 countries where ground water has been proved poisonous, the professors said the use of surface water can help avoid health hazard caused by ground water.

They urged all concerned to give utmost importance to surface water and carry out massive studies on it.

Mentioning that an estimated amount of 10 billion US dollars taken as loan and grant has so far been spent for various purposes of ground water in the country, they questioned the transparency in spending of the money.

The professors said now a brisk business is going on in the country in the name of arsenic mitigation. "And that is why the vested quarters do not want the people to use surface water."

They urged the government as well as the donor agencies to apprise the people of the areas where such a large volume of fund had been spent.

"Time has come for pondering whether we should spend money any more on ground water," they said.

Terming water the most valuable natural resource, they said Bangladesh can earn a lot of foreign exchange by exporting it.

They said Bangladesh is among the six countries in the world where the per capital availability of water is the highest. In Bangladesh, the per capital water resource is 11,153 cubic metres.

The professors further said after 2025 wars will take place in many parts of the world centring water resources. They laid emphasis on the preservation and proper use of the water resources. (The Financial Express)

Copyright 1998 Global Amitech


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