Arsenic Mitigation Program (AMP)

The amount of arsenic in water is extremely intensive in many parts of Bangladesh particularly in the West and Southwestern parts. Some 30 million Bangladeshis are exposed to drinking water exceeding the national standard for arsenic (50 parts per billion or 0.05 mg/1). Amongst these there are millions drinking water with arsenic levels as high as 300-500 ppb or even more. This concentration of arsenic can lead to cancer and death. However, the only ‘Cure’ for arsenicosis is arsenic free water.

HEED Bangladesh first intervened arsenic mitigation program in the western part of the country in July 2003. Gradually we extended our arsenic mitigation programs in other arsenic effected areas across the country.

Interventions made in the community:

  • Provide arsenic free, portable drinking water to the affected people
  • Extensive education awareness through Behavior Change Communication (BCC)
  • Periodically screening all tube-wells
  • Setting up shallow tube wells
  • Advocacy and networking
  • Identify patients and Arrangement for treatment
  • Capacity building
  • Research and documentation

Implementation Process:

  • Baseline survey (through PRA)
  • Formations of Arsenic Action Group Committee (AAGC) in each village
  • Formation of the Bangladesh Arsenic Sharing Group

Major Achievements:

  • Equipping and staffing the Chuadanga field office ((of HEED Bangladesh).
  • Baseline survey of 1,300 households and making village map
  • Mobilization of 67 village Arsenic Action Group Committees
  • Training AAGs, upazilla health personnel and Arsenic Sharing Group members
  • Provision of good drinking water – 30 shallow hand pump tube wells, six 3,000 liter0-rainwate harvesting tanks and 18 gutter systems to collect rainwater.
  • Repair and improvement of existing water sources
  • Awareness activities such as essay competition and World Water Day observation
  • Medical care- ointment for 120 patients and vitamin therapy for eight
  • Facilitating an arsenic-sharing network among like-minded NGOs
  • Initiating arsenic test programme in three PDP unit offices

Impacts:

Community people are now aware about arsenicosis. They do not collect water from tube wells having arsenic. Now they collect and preserve rainwater. They know where to go for treatment for arsenic caused diseases. Children know about arsenic and its remedies.

Look Forward:

Reports and researches reveal that arsenic is spreading in more regions of Bangladesh. And people of the newly effected areas do not know yet how to avoid arsenicosis. Therefore, more interventions are required to address this issue immediately otherwise a vast section of people in the new areas will suffer from different fatal disease caused by arsenic in those areas.