An Assessment of Arsenic Contamination in Groundwater and Appropriate Mitigation Strategies in Bangladesh
The thesis seeks to assess the situation of arsenic contamination in groundwater and effectiveness of mitigation strategies in Bangladesh from the perspective of the local people living in the affected areas – from whose context little is known or published. The study seeks to raise questions, but not generalize, based on the information gathered from the target group, analysing their knowledge on the issue and satisfaction with various mitigation programmes. For these purposes an exploratory study was conducted in Bangladesh which involved semi-structured interviews with a sample group of 60 individuals from four contaminated areas.
Based on the interviews, the findings indicate that in most of the cases the local people are not consulted or involved in the process of deciding on the alternative safe water solutions, and in many cases the development agencies do not perform hydro-geological surveying before deciding on the mitigation solution. Further, even though there is a general widespread awareness about arsenic in groundwater and arsenicosis, not everyone has had their water sources tested. This is due to the combination of lack of information about the whereabouts of arsenic testing centres and cost involved in the process. Finally, major emphasis in terms of mitigation intervention is on alternative safe water solutions, with very limited work done in the fields of arsenicosis patient identification and treatment and diet / nutrition awareness.
It is argued in this thesis that despite the fact that arsenic mitigation work has been going on for almost two decades in Bangladesh there are loop holes in the process which are affecting the success of the entire initiative. Systematic and holistic approach is required at this point for sustaining what has been done in the past and improving upon it.