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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences
Year: 2006  |  Volume: 9  |  Issue: 9  |  Page No.: 1617 - 1627

Collapse of Socio-economic Base of Bangladesh by Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater

M.A.I. Chowdhury, M.T. Uddin, M.F. Ahmed, M.A. Ali, S.M.A. Rasul, M.A. Hoque, R. Alam, R. Sharmin, S.M. Uddin and M.S. Islam    

Abstract: Untreated groundwater, often enriched in arsenic-one of the most important pollutants and trace elements of the aquatic system recently regarded as the major threat to drinking water-was and is being extensively used as a source of drinking for the decades in rural and semi-urban areas of the developing countries which results in a high incidence of arsenic with deleterious effects on humans and food chain. In Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and other developed countries, arsenic contamination in groundwater is considered to be the key environmental health problem of the twenty first century. In Bangladesh arsenic was first detected in the district of Chapai Nawabgonj bordering the West-Bengal district of India in 1993; since then higher levels of arsenic (exceeding the WHO standard of 0.01 mg L-1 and Bangladesh standard of 0.05 mg L-1) have been detected in many regions of the country including 61 districts out of 64. It is estimated that of the 140 million inhabitants of Bangladesh more than 100 million are at the risk of arsenic hazard, such arsenic hazards collapses the societal structure and socio-economic backbone of poor people of rural Bangladesh. The study tries to discuss the chronological extent and severity of the biggest global arsenic calamity prevailed in Bangladesh, socio-economic impact of arsenic hazard on the poor people of rural society living more than seventy percent under poverty limit in Bangladesh. Specially due consideration was given on the socio-economic impact on arsenic victims particularly earning male family member, young male, married female and young female going to be married as well as arsenic affected family and their interaction with non-arsenic-victim of the society.

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