An Eight-year Study Report on Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater and Health Effects in Eruani Village, Bangladesh and an Approach for Its Mitigation|
Ahamed, Sad; Sengupta, Mrinal Kumar; Mukherjee, Subhas Chandra; Pati, Shyamapada; Mukherjee, Amitava; Rahman, Mohammad Mahmudur; Hossain, M. Amir; Das, Bhaskar; Nayak, Bishwajit; Pal, Arup; Zafar, Abu; Kabir, Saiful; Banu, Selina Akhter; Morshed, Salim; Islam, Tanzima; Rahman, M. Mahmuder; Quamruzzaman, Quazi & Chakraborti, Dipankar
Based on several surveys during 1997-2005 and visits of a medical team to Eruani village, Laksham upazila, Comilla district, Bangladesh, the arsenic contamination situation and consequent clinical manifestations of arsenicosis among the villagers, including dermatology, neuropathy, and obstetric outcome, are reported here. Analysis of biological samples from patients and non-patients showed high body burden of arsenic. Even after eight years of known exposure, village children were still drinking arsenic-contaminated water, and many of them had arsenical skin lesions. There were social problems due to the symptoms of arsenicosis. The last survey established that there is a lack of proper awareness among villagers about different aspects of arsenic toxicity. The viability of different options of safe water, such as dugwells, deep tubewells, rainwater harvesting, and surface water with watershed management in the village, was studied. Finally, based on 19 years of field experience, it was felt that, for any successful mitigation programme, emphasis should be given to creating awareness among villagers about the arsenic problem, role of arsenic-free water, better nutrition from local fruits and vegetables, and, above all, active participation of women along with others in the struggle against the arsenic menace.
Arsenic; Arsenic contamination; Groundwater; Skin lesions; Arsenical neuropathy; Obstetric outcomes; Mitigation; Bangladesh