Bangladesh’s Poisoned Wells

Millions in Bangladesh are slowly poisoning themselves from drinking arsenic-contaminated water, and the government’s response is failing to help the people most in need of alternatives.

While arsenic occurs naturally in the soil, rural, poor areas that depend on shallow tubewells—installed to counter the threat from microbial contamination of surface water—are most affected. Now, the effects are understood, yet the government is inexplicably targeting mitigation areas in low-risk areas—and Human Rights Watch believes political nepotism may be to blame.

The Numbers in Bangladesh:

  • 10 million estimated shallow tubewells
  • 43,000 people die each year from arsenic-related illness
  • 1 to 5 million of the 90 million children born between 2000-2030 will eventually die from arsenic exposure in drinking water

Human Rights Watch

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