Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  

1484 arsenicosis patients in Satkhira
Arsenic in groundwater beyond WHO limit

Large scale arsenic contamination of tube-well water beyond the WHO permissible level has been detected in seven upazilas of the district.

According to a survey conducted jointly by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED and a local NGO, there are 1484 arsenicoses patients and 3762 'suspected cases'.

Of the arsenicosis patients, 685 are in Kalaroa upazila, 450 in Tala, 256 in Assassumi, 65 in Debhata, 28 in Kaliganj.

The survey was conducted from January to November this year.

According to survey, 51463 tube-wells out of 78996 in the upazilas are contaminated with arsenic beyond the WHO (World Health Organisation) permissible level.

The rate of contamination is over 50 microgrowns per litre in 16195 tube-wells out of 17859 in Kolaroa, 16277 out of 24605 in Tala, 7949 out of 12299 in Assassuni, 6666 out of 9270 in Debhata, 4202 out of 12723 in Kaligonj and 174 out of 2240 in Shyamnagar upazila.

The survey in 14 unions in the Sadar upazila is going on.

The number of arsenic affected people is increasing and the situation may turn serious if measures are not taken immediately, PHED sources said.

When contacted, PHED Executive Engineer Abdul Hamid Mia said a programme has been taken up to supply arsenic-free drinking water in rural and coastal areas in the district.

He said 211 deep tube-wells and 90 PSFs (pond sand filter) will be installed in the district; seven deep tube-wells and 10 PSFs in the Sadar upazila, 70 deep tube-wells in Kalaroa, 29 deep tube-wells and 25 PSFs in Tala, 33 deep tube-wells and 40 PSFs in Assassumi, six deep tube-wells and 15 PSFs in Kaliganj and three deep tube-wells in Shyamnagar upazila.