Improving Human Security by Mitigating Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh
June 16, 2004
- On June 16, the Government of Japan and the United Nations (UN) decided to extend a total of 1,318,692 dollar assistance through the Trust Fund for Human Security for the project "Improving Human Security by Mitigating Arsenic Poisoning" to be implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Bangladesh.
- This project is intended to raise awareness of arsenic pollution, provide emergency health and medical support and install Arsenic Removal Units in five unions of Shahrasti Upazillas and five unions of Hajigonj Upazillas under the Chandpur District of Greater Comilla, where tube wells are severely contaminated (98% of the wells) with arsenic.
- This project is expected to reduce mortality and morbidity caused by exposure to arsenic in the drinking (ground) water through ensuring a safe drinking water supply and raising awareness of arsenic pollution.
- Japan established the Trust Fund for Human Security in the United Nations Secretariat in March 1999, with total contributions of 25.9 billion yen (approximately US$ 227 million) up to the present. The Trust Fund has assisted more than 100 projects of UN agencies funds and programmes that address various threats to human life, livelihood and dignity, from the perspective of human security.
- In Bangladesh approximately 97% of the population use tube well water for drinking and cooking purposes. It has been found that millions of people are now potentially at risk for arsenic poisoning. The symptoms of which may take 6 months to 20 years to appear. Hence ignoring the danger of arsenic poisoning through drinking water will exacerbate the public health problem.
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