West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
Our study on arsenic groundwater contamination status and sufferings of people in Bangladesh (10 years study )
Out of 20 major incidents of groundwater arsenic contamination round the robin , the magnitude is considered highest in Bangladesh. We began our work in Bangladesh during 1995. At that time we had identified only 3 affected villages in 2 police stations in 2 districts. Our current data shows arsenic level above 50 µg/l in 2000 villages, 189 police stations of 50 affected districts in Bangladesh.
The area and population of 50 districts of Bangladesh are 118849 sq. km and 104.9 million respectively. This does not mean that the population living in these areas are drinking arsenic contaminated water and will suffer from arsenic related diseases but no doubt they are at risk. A summary of our last 8 years survey report on Bangladesh is presented in Table. Figure shows the groundwater arsenic contamination status in different districts of Bangladesh.
We have so far analyzed 50515 hand tube-well water samples from Bangladesh by FI-HG-AAS, of which 43% contained arsenic above 10 µg/l and 27.5% arsenic above 50µg/l. Our estimation on the basis of 50,515 water samples analyses from Bangladesh shows that at least 32 million people are drinking arsenic contaminated water in Bangladesh above 50 µg/l. British Geological Survey (BGS) estimated that 35 million people in Bangladesh are at present drinking water contaminated with arsenic above 50 µg/l. So far we have screened 18991 people in Bangladesh for arsenical skin lesions from 244 villages and 3762 (19.8%) have been registered with arsenical skin lesions. Sub-clinically affected individuals were identified from our analyses of 11000 biological (hair, nail and urine) samples of people living in arsenic affected areas and on an average 89% of biological samples from arsenic affected districts of Bangladesh have arsenic above the normal level.
Table 2: Present Arsenic Groundwater Contamination Status in Bangladesh