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  Arsenic Contamination in the Bengal Basin

Rash B. Ghosh, Ph.D (Founder IIBB)  
(510) 870-4988 (510) 575-5112  

IIBengalBasin@gmail.com & usak2@yahoo.com  




Arsenic Contamination in the Bengal Basin (West Bengal in India and Bangladesh)

Bangladesh-Arsenic Affected Areas

Purification of drinking water using  various methods was practiced in  ancient India and it is a shame to find the very source of potable water contaminated in the Bengal Basin. The region has constantly struggled in its attempt to administer safe and adequate water resources, making it easier for people in the Bengal Basin to access safe drinking water. By the late 1980s, surface water was the main source of drinking water in the region. This was severely polluted. As a result the population largely suffered from diarrhea and various water-borne diseases. Children were the most affected, many died.  The Bangladesh government, UNICEF and various other aid groups tried to help the people of  the Basin. Their solution was to use groundwater as an alternative source for drinking water. They began  installation of approximately 4 million tube wells to provide drinking water  from the ground. This idea seemed logical because of the ample amount of aquifers in the Bengal Basin and the deltaic alluvium which was easy to dig. Unfortunately, this project was the cause of one of the worst environmental calamities in the delta's history.

West Bengal-Arsenic Affected Areas





    People in the Bengal Basin drink a lot of water because of the hot climate, the demands of physical labor, and the lack of alternative beverages. The groundwater
    used as a source of drinking water is contaminated with arsenic. In 1993, studies detected the first patient suffering from arsenic-contaminated groundwater. The
    Bangladesh government began to face a very difficult and serious water problem. Arsenic, is a known carcinogen and is highly toxic. It has gradually affected 
    people in the Bengal Basin. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that exists in the earth. Triggered by the installation of tube wells without careful scientific
    investigation, arsenic dissolved into the drinking water. People did not realize that arsenic was present in the drinking water since it is colorless, tasteless and
    odorless. Moreover, people didn't even know what arsenic was, and could not recognize its outward manifestations.

 

Now, this disaster is widespread in the Bengal Basin. About 40 million, one-third of the population of the Bengal Basin suffers from various diseases, such as warts, skin lesions, and cancers. This serious water problem can be attributed to the combination of ineffective water resource management, industrialization
and the rapid increase of population.


  

 

    In order to improve the water quality as well as to prevent further environmental disasters, the government needs to conduct effective water 
    management. The arsenic-contaminated groundwater problem is mainly caused by the lack of knowledge of water resources. One of the worst 
    calamities in history could have been prevented with the careful study of geochemical, geology (including quatemary geology) and 
    hydrogeology. We stress the importance of the knowledge of water resources and the need to thoroughly understand the cause of the arsenic
    contaminated drinking water. Water is a necessity and the lifeblood of human beings. It is vital that the basic human right to safe and drinking
    water is not endangered.




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Welcome to Bengal Basin  |  Deceased Irish Citizens  |  Upcoming Events August 2015  |  Upcoming Events July 2013  |  Donation to IIBB  |  4 Scientists  |  Join IIBB/Member Benefits  |  Arsenic Contamination in the Bengal Basin  |  Frequently Asked Questions  |  History of Bengal  |  Historic Figures of Bengal  |  Language Day  |  News Articles  |  News Articles  |  International Symposia Series on Toxic Contamination  |  Human Rights Symposia Series  |  Raja Ram Mohan Roy: Father of Modern India - Symposia Series  |  Recent Event-8th International Symposium in Bangladesh: Background, Registration, and Fees  |  Upcoming Events  |  Visva Bharati University  |  Message Center  |  Discussion Groups  |  Maps/Photos  |  Links  |  Contact us  |  Stand Against Injustice  |  Sheik Majibur Rahman  |  Founder and Institute Fight to Save Property  |  About the Institute  |  ghosh



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