West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
27 days detailed field survey information from April 1999 to February, 2000
Field Survey: 17th April 1999 (District Munshiganj)
In this field trip we found, for the first time, arsenic patients in Munshiganj district.
Earlier, on the basis of the results of our analysis water samples from Munshiganj, we expected arsenic patients from there. We found arsenic patient in villages Duhuri and Khidripara of Louhojang; P.S. Piyoshi Begam (F/28) has arsenical skin lesions with a non-healing ulcer (Photograph-16) for couple of years.
Manikganj District (no patient so far confirmed)
Although in many villages of Manikganj district we have found arsenic in groundwater above 0.05 µg/l, we have not found any arsenic patient so far. We got information from NIPSOM that in Police Station Singair of JAMSA Union in Sarasia village there were arsenic patients but we could not identify any patient in that village. We have found that in DPHE office the hand tubewell contains arsenic (0.085 µg/l) (P.S. Singair). Mr. Hasmal, mechanic of the office, told use that although he knows the tubewell of DPHE office is arsenic contaminated people are drinking water from the DPHE tubewell because there are no safe tubewells nearby. However, after analyses, we have found many tubewells in the area that are safe to drink (less than 0.05 µg/l), as per the maximum permissible limit in Bangladesh. The tap water of that area contains arsenic 0.034 µg/l.
Field Survey: 19th April 1999 (District Mymensingh)
In this trip, we identified arsenic patients in Mymensingh district for the first time.
In the village of Anandipur, P.S. Mymensingh Sadar of Mymensingh, we found arsenic patients.
In the family of Dr. Giasuddin Talukdar, we identified 3 patients. Photograph-17 shows Ayatulamin (M/40) having melanosis and keratosis.
We had found a dug-well (Photograph-18)
in the area installed in the Bengali year 1344 (English 1937). Villagers
said this well was the only source of drinking water in the village 15
years back, but no one uses it any more as people have access to tubewells.
The dugwell was well maintained by villagers when they were drinking from
Mr. Jahangir, who belonged to Talukdar family, died in 1995 at the age of 38. His family members said that he had severe skin lesions.
Field Survey: From 30th September to 5th October 1999
In this trip, we identified arsenic patients in Rangpur district for the first time.
From 30th September to 5th October, we covered 6 districts, 9 police station areas and 21 villages. We had surveyed the other 5 districts earlier. All the villages/part of the villages covered in this trip had not been surveyed earlier.
Figure-3: Shows our journey route and Table-17 & 18 show report of water analysis and patients with arsenical skin lesions.
Districts, Police Stations
and villages covered are reported below
Important findings of 30th September to 5th October 1999 field visit.
Field Survey: 30th September 1999 (District Rangpur)
Before this trip we had no idea that Rangpur district had arsenic patients. In our earlier report a year before, we predicted on the basis of our water analyses results that probably the ground water of Rangpur is safe to drink. But later on we not only encountered higher arsenic concentration in Rongpur but also a large number of arsenic patients. From village Pathaksikhar, P.S. Pirgachha, we had analysed 79 samples for arsenic in groundwater and out of that 33 samples were found to have arsenic above 0.05 µg/l, and 10 have arsenic above 0.5 µg/l. From Pathansikar, we had examined at random 195 villagers including children. Out of them 24% were found to have arsenical skin lesions and, incase of adults, the figure was 35.5%. Thus, we had underestimated Rongpur district from the point of view of arsenic contamination. The villagers of Pathaksikhar said that that we had seen only 10-15% of the total population affected with arsenical skin lesions from the village.
Many villagers in Pathaksikhar are suffering from serious arsenical skin lesions (Photograph-19) and and all these patients were drinking contaminated water having arsenic concentration 0.94 µg/l. The villagers told that they are noticing arsenical skin lesions for the last 10 years.
All melanosis are not arsenical
While working in Padhanskhar, we encountered an ice-cream seller named Mohit Mia of village Deo-doba under P.S. Sundarganj, district Gaibandha. Mr. Mohit has skin lesions similar to severe spotted melanosis (Photograph-20), but he has no keratosis. Such melanosis without keratosis is very uncommon. In the evening we went to his village in Gaibandha district and met his family. We found that his father and brother too had similar skin lesion but to none rest of the family members. His father said he had seen similar skin lesion on his father's body. We confirmed that Mohit's skin lesion melanosis was not due to arsenic by analysing water, hair, nail samples the whole family.
Field Survey: 1st October 1999 (District Kushtia)
We had surveyed Kushtia district earlier. But in this survey we went to new affected villages. We had got information about these villages during our previous surveys.
In this survey, we got a quite well to do arsenic affected family, known as the Molla family (village Islampur, PS. Bheramara, District: Kushtia), which started drinking their tubewell water from 1971 and began noticing skin lesions from 1990. Out of the 28 people in the family in the age range of 5 to 80 years, most of the adults (number = 18) had arsenical skin lesions. The youngest victim was Sahadul (M/14), who got skin lesions about 2 year's back. Children at the age group one and half year to 11 years in that family had no skin lesions. The arsenic concentration in drinking water of the tubewell they installed in 1971 and they used till October, 1997 is 0.57 µg/l. The family started drinking safe water from a deep tubewell from November 1997. At present, the arsenic concentration in drinking water is less than 0.003 µg/l. They are a rich family of that area and getting nutritious food. Those suffering reported that after drinking safe water for the 2 years were feeling better. But most members of the family said their skin lesions had not subsided. Some of them reported about 20% decrease of skin lesions. (Photograph-21 is of the whole family).
Montaj Ali of this family, who
had severe arsenical skin lesions, died of liver cirrhosis in 1996