Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Millions drinking arsenic-laced water in Bangladesh: HRW

06 April 2016, 14:48

Dhaka (AFP) -Twenty million poor Bangladeshis are still drinking water contaminated with arsenic, two decades after the potentially deadly toxin was discovered in the supply, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

A new report from the rights group said Bangladesh had failed to take the basic steps needed to tackle the problem, which kills an estimated 43,000 Bangladeshis every year, mostly in poor rural areas.

The contaminated supply dates back to the 1970s, when the Bangladesh government drilled millions of shallow tube wells to provide villagers with clean water, not realising that the soil was heavily laced with naturally occurring arsenic.

"Bangladesh isn't taking basic, obvious steps to get arsenic out of the drinking water of millions of its rural poor," HRW researcher Richard Pearshouse told AFP.

"The reasons why this huge tragedy has remained so pervasive are due to poor governance."

Bangladesh has been building deep tube wells to source water from beneath the arsenic-tainted soil.

But HRW said there was no proper government oversight of the scheme, with politicians earmarking the new wells for their own supporters rather than putting them in the worst-affected areas.

"It means the situation is almost as bad as 15 years ago," said Pearshouse.

There was no immediate response from the government, but an official who asked not to be named told AFP that individual lawmakers decided where 50 percent of the state-funded tube wells should be built.

"It's a government-approved policy. The lawmakers have every opportunity to misuse their power and divert the tube wells to their supporters rather than distributing them to the people who are affected by arsenic contamination," he said.

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) has called Bangladesh's arsenic crisis "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history".

Chronic exposure to arsenic is linked with cancers of the liver, kidney, bladders and skin, as well as heart disease, but HRW said many victims in Bangladesh had no access to health care.

It warned that millions of Bangladeshis would die if the government and international donors do not act to mitigate contamination.


Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...