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An analysis of institutional stakeholders’ opinion on arsenic mitigation in Bangladesh

WithN.I. Khan & H. Yang

This study focuses on the institutional stakeholders and elicits their opinions on various aspects of available As mitigation measures and identifies their preferences for and conflicts concerning specific mitigation measures. The results of this research give a better understanding of the factors hindering successful implementation of As mitigation

1 INTRODUCTION

It has been estimated that between 25-57 million people are potentially at risk of impaired health due to direct As exposure through drinking water exceeding the Bangladesh guideline value of 50 μg/L (Kinniburgh et al. 2003; Ahmed et al. 2004; BAMWASP 2007). People in Bangladesh are primarily directly exposed to As through the food ingestion pathway, that is mainly through the consumption of contaminated drinking water and large amounts of rice and other foods (Khan et al. 2009). Prolonged As exposure via dietary intake causes a wide spectrum of health effects including skin lesions, melanosis, hyperkeratosis, jaundice, vascular diseases and cancer of various organs or tissues such as skin, liver, lung and bladder (Smith et al. 2000; Yu et al. 2003; Tchounwou et al. 2004; Parvez et al. 2006; Rahman et al. 2007). Arsenic contamination of shallow tubewells (STWs) poses significant challenges to the water, health, agriculture and financial sectors of Bangladesh because As contamination is a complex multifaceted problem which makes mitigation a complex and expensive process. To tackle the problem, several As mitigation technological options have been introduced in Bangladesh, including deep tubewells

effective, economically viable and socially acceptable options to combat As exposure.