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Article From News From Bangladesh archives

ADB gathering data on arsenic contamination

A water resources specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Thursday said that the bank was currently studying and gathering information relating to the arsenic contamination in the underground water of Bangladesh.

"ADB is yet to initiate any programme to assist Bangladesh in mitigating arsenic problem. We, the ADB, require better understanding of this problem in this regard," ADB water resources specialist Wouter Lincklaen Arriens told the newsmen.

The five-day-long Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation Workshop on Water and Poverty concluded Thursday. Bangladesh Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) and Brac jointly organised the workshop with support from the ADB and the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark.

"One in three in Asia does not have access to safe drinking water and one in two does not have adequate sanitation facilities," the ADB expert said. The workshop, which is first of its kind in Bangladesh, laid emphasis on addressing the water security needs of the poor.

The participants in the workshop also stressed the need for implementing the existing policies to meet the most basic needs of the poor. Political will, transparency of information and shared understanding are essential for creating partnerships and harmonising the potentials of different stakeholders to the common purpose of improving the water security of the poor.

The poor themselves must be key actors in all stages of pro-poor water management processes. Participation is an agreed mechanism and is enshrined in many policies, the participants in the workshop said.

There is also a need for changed attitudes. The poor should not be seen as victims or part of the problem, but recognised as the creative adapters and the basis of the solution, they added. Prof John Sounan of the University of UK, Director General of WARPO Giasuddin Ahmed Chowdhury and Chief of Information of the Water Awareness Programme of the ADB Tim Cullen also spoke on the occasion. (The Financial Express)

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