Thursday, July 1, 2004

State of our 'water resource': an alarming example

We had been to two villages in Chapai Nawabganj districts this month (June 25 & 26, 2004) and worked there for two days. With the collaboration of a local NGO we carried out a quick survey in the two villages and a summary of the survey is given below:

For limitation of time and manpower we only included 58 households who are drinking water from arsenic contaminated tube wells in the villages Maharajpur and Chhatrajitpur. There are other similar households we did not include.

- these households include 458 members, 70% are children and women
- all are drinking and cooking from arsenic contaminated tube wells
- very badly affected arsenicosis patients are common, we have seen 14, we had no doctor to identify.
-average annual income ranges from 20000 to 100000 ( equivalent to US$ 350 to 1700 )
- the NGOs and local government identified their tube wells as arsenic contaminated several years back but they are still without any safe drinking water.

We with the help of our friends (Dr. Alauddin of Wagner College NewYork, Dr. Munir from Sono filter, Kustia, Mr. Paul, a medical student of Chicago Medical School, the Local NGO, BAIC and my students), we purchased 40 Sono filters for arsenic removal and distributed them on subsidized and soft loan basis to the families who will share these among themselves. We also plan to provide them with Selenium supplement and vitamins to flush out the arsenic they already ingested.

-Professor Iqbal Zuberi, University of Rajshahi.

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