News and Culture

Problems Today, More Problems Tomorrow – Water in Bangladesh

So, i’m on my break at work and stumbled across a research thesis on detecting arsenic in tube wells of Bangladesh. This resulted in me reading more on arsenic and the introduction of arsenic in the tube wells of Bangladesh. Let’s just think about this for a second. After a long history of inequality and followed by the Bangladesh Liberation war of 1971, water wasn’t quite suitable for drinking in the area. Diseases and contaminants from businesses all lingered in the open water sources like ponds ,lakes etc. that were used by communities before. And if that wasn’t problematic enough…

Fast forward and incomes UNICEF with a good idea. It’s a common idea- if the surface water is contaminated, you go in-land and take a look at the ground water. Look to the aquifers in the ground to get clean water. It’s a practice used all over the world. Wells are extremely common especially in developing countries and usually are quite beneficial. UNICEF implemented this practices by building hundreds of tube wells in Bangladesh offering clean water to locals.

Unfortunately this is  not quite what happened here. Arsenic is traditionally found in rocks. Even though rocks are abundant in and around aquifers; it was not a contaminant tested for during the building of these wells by UNICEF. I can’t say much on the fact considering I’m no environmental scientist or engineer of the sort and am in no way suggesting UNICEF should have known better. I’m purely making an observation here. Hundreds of residents now face lesions on their hands, feet and body, cancer and other fatal health concerns.

Interesting eh? Even large organizations designed to help people can make mistakes. What do you think? Is this widespread health catastrophe product of negligence that should have been avoided or a genuine mistake? That was my little stumble upon for the day!

Interested in learning more? Here’s a few reads I was taking a look at;

Arsenictainted water from unicef wells is poisoning half of bangladeshl
WHO Bulletin 


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