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unpublished manuscript, written in 2005

TitleArsenic in domestic water sources : the human side of the Bangladesh and West Bengal crisis
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHanchett, S, Howard, G
Pagination31 p.; 4 tab.
Date Published2005-01-01
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordsarsenic, arsenic mitigation water supply project (bangladesh), bangladesh, bangladesh arsenic mitigation water supply project (bamwsp), gender, health care, india west bengal, social aspects, social processes, socioeconomic impact, toxic substances, water sources, water-related diseases

This paper reviews the social issues associated with arsenic contamination of drinking water and mitigation programmes in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Poor people are more likely to be susceptible to arsenic related illnesses and suffer significant social and economic consequences if they develop arsenicosis. Awareness of arsenic is relatively good. People have become aware of arsenic through a variety of means, although educated people tend to know more about the arsenic problem than uneducated. Referring to arsenic as a ‘poison’ may cause confusion. The idea that arsenic poisoning symptoms are contagious is widespread; public education programs appear to help people understand that they are not. Because of differences in social status, affected women are less likely to receive health care than men; and girls with arsenicosis appear to have greater difficulty getting married than boys. Introducing new technologies to arsenic affected communities is as much a social exercise as a technical one, but mitigation projects have not been as successful with water management group formation as they claim, with the result that some safe water options are not maintained. In Bangladesh villages, people of different socioeconomic levels respond differently to the various safe water options on offer through mitigation projects. Poor people need community-managed options more than others. There is a need for further research on why people do or do not change water sources when they learn that their usual sources are contaminated with arsenic. Areas of mitigation programme planning generally needing further review and improvement are: cost sharing arrangements, more involvement of women in planning mitigation options, and a greater role for local government institutions. Future projects should be more sensitive to the social factors influencing people’s awareness and their receptivity to mitigation options. [authors abstract]

NotesWith a list of references on p. 25 - 28
Custom 1203.3



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