A Disaster Preparedness Network, working since 1994

Activities on Arsenic

"Bangladesh is facing the largest mass poisoning of any population in history due to the presence of arsenic in its drinking water supply. The scale of this environmental disaster is greater than any seen before and goes beyond the accident at Bhopal, India in 1984, and Cheronobyl, Ukraine in 1986."

From Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) report we have learnt that the arsenic matter was known to the government as early as 1993. The government is naturally trying to avoid panic but one cannot keep such a sensitive information as a permanent secret unless those who are at risk know what to do. Disaster Forum (DF) took an initiative on 1997 to publish a quarterly fact Sheet on Arsenic. The objective of this issue is, to aware the people of Bangladesh and concern organizations those who are involved in supplying safe drinking water. Since then D.F is disseminating the hard copy of Fact Sheet to the national and international concern organizations and advocating among the people of Bangladesh. Disaster Forum wants to open a web page to disseminate various arsenic related information in home and abroad.

 Disaster Forum’s Activities on Arsenic

"Empirical field study to find variation of arsenic in handpump tubewells during operation of irrigation wells."

Disaster Forum has conducted an "Empirical field Study to Find Variation of Anenic in Handpump Tubewells during Operation of Irrigation wells." British Geological Survey (BGS) in its last study report, March 2000, about arsenic problem in groundwater in Bangladesh said " irrigation is not the major cause of the ground water arsenic problem but its possible impacts need further study." It is also the fact that in 1970, prior to the massive national program of installation of Handpump tubewells, there were already above 200,000 handpump tubewells in the country providing drinking water to millions of people of Bangladesh. During the same time the number of irrigation wells were only a few and the number rose to a few hundred in mid seventies. Today there are over 100,000 irrigation wells in the country pumping continuously during the entire dry season abstracting huge quantity of ground water at a very high rate. With due respect to the study findings, it is felt that a small empirical study should be carried out to see the change (if any) in arsenic concentration of Handpump tubewells in real life condition when the irrigation wells are in full blast operation. The study can be conducted over a period of 12 months from November to October in an existing field condition, taking the pro, post and operating conditions of irrigation well.


What people need to know about arsenic.

The average people of Bangladesh are unaware of the cause and effect of arsenic contamination. Here are few important messages for awareness building.

Safe Water Options
Traditional ring well (kua),   Traditional ring-well (Idara) ,   Rain water-harvesting system,
Pond sand filter,   Pitcher filter,   Household mini sand filter.