Arsenic poisoning causes health risk in Kishoreganj, locals worried

Published : 13 Mar 2023 08:16 PM

Millions of poor people in Kishoreganj are still drinking groundwater without testing tube well water. This is creating fear in the public mind. About 6 percent tube wells in the district were found to have excessive arsenic. Due to excessive arsenic in tube well water, people are facing health risk. It is reported that arsenic was found in 6 percent of tube wells during the arsenic screening program under the Arsenic risk mitigation project in Kishoreganj district.

According to the sources of the Directorate of Public Health and Engineering, 2 lakh 55 thousand tube well water has been tested under the Arsenic risk reduction project in water supply.

Of these, 14,000 tube wells were found to have excessive levels of arsenic. The analysis of data showed that a total of 18,000 tubewells were tested in Kuliarchar. Among them, the number of tube wells found arsenic is 2700.

Which is 15% more than other upazilas. There are 7-8 lakh deep tube wells in the district. The water collected from these tube wells is being used for household activities. Based on the information obtained from the survey, if the necessary measures are not taken, the incidence of arsenic-related diseases may increase in the future.

While visiting different villages of Kishoreganj district, many people are seen drinking water without testing it. Even drinking arsenic-laced water from red-stained tube wells. In the past, government and private sector activity in setting up arsenic-free tube wells has been seen, but it is alleged that it has slowed down in the last few years. Although there is a program to mark arsenic contaminated tube wells with red color, many say there is no such program. However, Kishoreganj District Department of Public Health and Engineering says that arsenic compounds have not subsided in any activity.

Some of the field workers of the Arsenic Risk Mitigation Project, who did not want to be named, said that various irregularities are ongoing under this project.

As a result, people in rural areas still cannot distinguish between arsenic-free and arsenic-containing tube wells. Common people are dependent on the tube well workers. They tell how many feet below the water is arsenic and free.

Khairul Islam, Member Secretary of Conscious Kishoreganj Forum, said that due to the negligence of the officials in charge of the concerned office authorities, 70 thousand to 1 lakh people of Kishoreganj are unknowingly using arsenic water without testing.

The only reason for this is that the field workers are sitting in the office preparing fabricated reports and sending them to higher officials without testing for arsenic.

Shaheed Syed Nazrul Islam Medical College Hospital Liver and Medicine Specialist Muhammad Abidur Rahman Bhuya said, drinking arsenic water for a long time can cause outbreak of this disease in the body, fever, vomiting (vomiting blood), headache, abdominal pain, unusual pain in the body, blood dysentery and May cause diarrhea. Black spots appear on the body. The palms of the hands and feet become hard crusted and may appear as small hard bumps that later turn black. The skin becomes thick and scaly. Kidney and liver can become useless. Arsenic poisoning can cause liver, skin, kidney, lung and bladder cancer.

District Environment Protection Movement President Principal Rabindranath Chowdhury said, we are not health conscious, but we should be. As excessive arsenic has been found in about 6 percent of tube wells, a massive publicity campaign is needed on the issue. Directorate of Public Health Engineering should also disseminate the matter to the public. This will reduce the health risk to some extent.

Mahbubur Rahman, executive engineer of Directorate of Public Health and Engineering of Kishoreganj district, said that the arsenic screening program is an ongoing process under the Arsenic Risk Mitigation Project. Tube wells with excess arsenic from the project are marked red.