June 4, 2009

Source of Arsenic Contamination of Drinking Water in Bangladesh

Arsenic is a deadly poison with a history of use in intrigue and assassination.But the element and its derivatives are also used in many industries, such as metal smelting and as a component in products ranging from insecticide to micro-chips.And unfortunately, it is also found in abundance in the soil and rock in Bangladesh. It's leached up through the water table in tens of millions of water wells across the country.The source of arsenic in soil water is still a controversial issue and yet to be resolved.So what is the cause of Arsenic Pollution in Bangladesh?
  • Scientists say that sedimentation with arsenic laden soils began in this region about 25,000-80,000 years back in the Quaternary era which was most popularly known as the Younger Deltaic Deposition or YDD.
  • Sedimentation continued years after years and pockets and rocks of arsenic have been created in specific zones of the country.
  • Bangladesh is situated at the lower end of the three great river systems: the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna and their total catchment area is around 1.5 million square kilometers comprising the Himalayan Mountain System, the Indian Shield, the Shilong Plateau, and the great Gangetic Plains.
  • The area produces huge amount of sediments each year due to geologic reason. An estimate says that the three great rivers carry over 2.4 billion tons of sediments each year through Bangladesh. Frequent floods in Bangladesh have a link with this process.
  • Holocene and recent sediments mostly cover Bangladesh and almost all sediments contain arsenic compounds.
  • Both national and expatriate experts assume that irrational over utilization of soil water for irrigation purpose have caused dissociation of arsenic from the compounds with consequent water contamination.

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