West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
27 days detailed field survey information from April 1999 to February, 2000
days detailed field survey information
Field Survey: 13th April 1999 (District
District Narayanganj; Police Station - Sonargaon; five villages surveyed.
We had surveyed this district and
this police station earlier, but all the 5 villages we went to
Figure-3 shows our journey route and Table-13 & 14 show report of water analysis and patients with arsenical skin lesions.
As there are no tubewell installation regulations and restriction in Bangladesh, we found many families had more that one tubewell. Even in joint families, 3 to 4 tube-wells are not so uncommon. Installation of a shallow depth tube-well is not expensive (around 100 US $ for 10 m depth hand tube-well) in Bangladesh. The exact number of hand tubewells in Bangladesh is not available. The estimated range is 4-5 million including both govt. and private [Pratham Alo (a daily newspaper) Bangladesh, December 20, 1999].
findings of 13th April field survey
Field survey: 15-19 April 1999
During 15 to 19th April we covered 5 districts, 8 Police Stations and 26 villages.
Districts and Police Stations and number of villages covered were
Figure-3 shows our journey route. Table 15 & 16 show reports of water analysis and patients with arsenical skin lesions
Important Findings of 15-19 April Field Survey
Field Survey: 15th April 1999 (District Chapai Nawabganj)
In the village of Maharajpur Mintola of the police station Chapai Nawabganj, district Chapai Nawabganj in the family of Afzar Hussain (M/33), his wife Hanifa (F/30) and all three minor daughters, Rojina (F/10), Rajia (F/6), Silpi (F/5) have arsenical skin lesions (Photograph-10). Afzal mainly stays outside the village because of the nature of his job and drinks from the contaminated home tube-well only occasionally. He has no skin lesions. The tubewell from where they are drinking water for last 12 years has arsenic concentration 0.17 µg/l. Normally, even if the nutrition status is poor we do not get skin lesions in such young children drinking arsenic-contaminated water of concentration 0.17 µg/l, and this is one of the few cases we observed during our survey in Bangladesh. In the village of Chandipur, of district and police station Chapai Nawabganj, the arsenic concentration of the tubewell from which the family of the principal, MD. Sadiqar Alam, of Ala Baks Memorial College fetches drinking water, had the arsenic concentration 0.26 µg/l and all the 5 members of his family have the arsenical skin lesions. The nutrition status of the family is quite good. We went to Chandipur village just before evening and found 32 arsenic patients within 2 hours. We believe there are many patients in Chandipur village of Chapai Nawabganj.
In the village Jagannathpur, P.S. Shibganj of District Chapai-Nawabganj, Tashima Khatun (F/15) has severe skin lesions (++). The tubewell water she was drinking contains arsenic to the tune of 0.16 µg/l. The tubewell was installed 7 years back and she said that she got skin lesions within 2 years of drinking its water. She said she drinks about 6-7 liters of water per day. In the DPHE office of Chapai-Nawabganj there is a roof top rainwater-harvesting unit (Photograph-11) but no one drinks from that source (which is not properly maintained either). In the DPHE office area there is a Tara pump (depth 162 m) and its arsenic concentration is 0.11 µg/l (Photograph-12).
Field Survey: 16th April 1999 (District Rajshahi)
In the village of Harirampur, P.S. Bagha, district Rajshahi, many people are affected. We found 27 patients in this village from our preliminary survey. This was one of the areas known to be affected from our survey of August - October 1996. At present, all are drinking safe water but skin lesions are still persisting. This is one of the villages in Bangladesh where many children are affected. We found that out of 27 patients 9 were children between ages 4 and 12 (Photograph-13). Photograph-14 shows Ferdosa (F/8) whose skin lesions - spotted melanosis (leuco) - are visible.
Pinjra Begam (F/26)
In the Miapur Paschim Para village of Charghat P.S., Rajshahi district, there was a woman named Pinjra Begam (Pinjara means cage, Begam means queen). She got married at the age of 15 to Masud Rana, who works in a Mill. Pinjara's mother in law, Howa, said that Pinjara was really pretty when she got married to his son. After marriage she started getting dark and within 2-3 years got skin lesion and deteriorated fast. The villagers said she was the most arsenic affected woman in that village. When we went to her house, she was in Rajshahi Medical College and suffering from lung cancer. Pinjra had a daughter, Sapla (F/7), who has skin lesions; a son, Arif (age 5), and another son Jyoti, who is eight months old. Arif and Jyoti have no skin lesions but all have high arsenic in hair and nail. Pinjra's condition worsened after her last child Jyoti was born. Finally, Pinjra died last year. Photograph-15 shows Pinjara's three children and mother-in law.
In the Harirampur village of
Bagha, P.S., district Rajshahi, Tafikul Islam (M/24) reported that he
got an interview for a job in the army, but was not selected due to his