Arsenic, salinity pose health hazard in Munshiganj

Some two and a half lakh residents at Sirajdikhan upazila in Munshiganj district have been facing acute shortage of drinking water because of salinity and arsenic contamination in the ground water.
The villagers at remote places are now facing acute drinking water crisis during the summer because of fall in the ground water level, high salinity and arsenic contamination in the area.
The situation goes from bad to worse during the dry season, as the main River Dhaleshwari dries up in every summer.
The level of arsenic in excess of the permissible limit is harmful to human body, experts said.
According to the World Health Organisation guideline, the desirable maximum level of arsenic in drinking water should be 0.01mg/1. In Bangladesh, the maximum acceptable level is considered to be 0.05mg/1.
People may be afflicted with cancer by consuming water contaminated with a high level of arsenic over a long period of time, a cancer expert, Dr Akram Hossain said.
Villagers said the villages which were once full of green plants now looked like deserts with crops and trees dying under high salinity.
According to local statistics, local non-government organisations collect drinking water by installing deep tube-wells and tube-wells in the area with the help of the NGO Forum, which covers only 27 per cent of the population of the upazila.
With the financial support of the forum, Gram Kalyan Sangstha implemented a project, installing about 53 deep tube-wells and 778 tube-wells at Palashpur village of Bashail union at the upazila for smooth flow of drinking water among the residents.
The NGO Forum has been working on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the area since 2000.
At the upazila, about 15,000 villagers that constitute 27 per cent of the population have been getting safe water from the project-Hygienic Sanitation Supply since 2000.
‘We are supplying drinking water to remote villages through our deep tube-wells and normal tube-wells with the help of the NGO Forum,’ said Anwar Hossain, executive director of Gram Kalyan Sangstha.
Advocacy and Information chief of the NGO Forum, Joseph Halder said, ‘We have installed deep tube-wells and tube-wells for smooth supply of water among the distressed villagers.’

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