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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

Excessive arsenicosis in tubewells: Shariatpur people panicky

SHARIATPUR, Mar 30:–The arsenic content beyond the normal limit has been detected in tubewell water of different villages in Shariatpur, Madaripur and Faridpur districts creating panic among 30 lakh people of this region.

The water of 25 per cent tubewells of the region contains arsenic content beyond the permissible limit. According to a reliable source about 10 persons in Faridpur and 12 persons in Shariatpur died from arsenic water during the last five years. Besides, 5,000 people of the region have been affected by arsenic contamination.

The Public Health Engineering Department, Shariatpur district, examined samples of water collected from tubewells of different areas of the district last year and sealed some of the tubewells. But this year the authority have not taken any step for the test. Experts said that arsenic content ranging from 1.7 mg to 3 mg per litre of water against the acceptable limit of 0.05 mg litre was detected in the water of some tubewells of the district.

According to survey report of different NGOs the worst arsenic affected area is Kaharpara under Sadar upazila in Faridpur district. About 6 persons died here during the last five years. Shahid (27) and his brother Mobarak Hossain (40) Amina Begum (30), Halimon (45) and Shirin Sultana (35) at Tepakhola area died of arsenic related disease in 1998.

A-57 year-old woman Usharani Sutradhar of Kaharpara died of arsenic related disease. Shakti Rani Shil (18) and her father Narayan Chandra Shil of the same village have been attacked by the arsenic related disease.

Frustrated by the treatment of the local doctors they went to India for better treatment. Failing to get cured Shakti Rani Shil attempted to commit suicide by taking poison.

Besides, 12 persons died in Shariatpur district during last five years due to arsenic contamination.

Chhamir Uddin Chokider (80), Shaha Rari (38), Mohammad Ali Mia (40) of village Chhatramuria under Bhedarganj upazila also died of arsenic related disease during the last four years.

Meanwhile, people in affected areas are compelled to drink water that is suspected to contain arsenic contamination risking their lives in absence of alternative water sources.

A team of local journalists comprising different dailies recently visited some rural areas of Bhedarganj, Damuda, Naria, Jajira and Gosairhat upazila in Shariatpur district and talked to the local people.

They said many tubewells in the area have been sealed off by the PHED following detection of arsenic contamination. But alternative arrangement has not been made. They were of the opinion that alternative measures should be made to save lives. Otherwise it may take serious toll of human lives. ( The BD Observer )

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