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Article From News From Bangladesh archives


Nat'l arsenic mitigation plan afoot - 26 Dec 02

For the first time, the government is preparing a national plan to combat arsenic contamination of groundwater in the country.

Sources said the national plan is aimed at 'integrating' the efforts of donor agencies and other organisations in this field and resolving the arsenic problem in a 'well- coordinated way'.

A group of experts and officials at the Local Government, Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives Ministry has been formulating the 'umbrella plan' and it is likely to be finalised within a fortnight.

The sources mentioned that so far donors prepared schemes for mitigating arsenic contamination and the government acted on the basis of those. But this time the government itself is formulating the plan.

The need for a national plan was felt as isolated efforts by donors and other organisations in certain areas of the country to fight arsenic contamination have not proved so effective. The UNICEF, DANIDA, UNDP, Swiss Development Corporation and the World Bank have been working in this field separately.

In such a situation, the LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan initiated formulation of the umbrella plan, sources pointed out.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Mannan Bhuiyan said, a 'concept paper' has already been pre pared and the national plan now being finalised would be the first government-formulated one to resolve arsenic problem. "We will invite all donors, especially those working in this field, to join us in the fight against arsenic contamination."

He said the WB and other donor agencies have appreciated the government initiative and agreed to work under the plan.

The worst affected areas would be given priority in implementation of the national plan.

The minister further said the government has also planned to ensure supply of arsenic-free water through pipeline in all villages of the country in stages. - The Daily Star



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