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Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh

Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh

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Published by Muhammad Mahadi

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Published by: Muhammad Mahadi on Jan 30, 2009
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11/06/2012

 
Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh Muhammad Mahadi. Environmental Science Discipline
1. Introduction 
:
 
Extensive Arsenic contamination of the groundwater in the alluvialaquifers of Bangladesh is probably the worst case of water pollution inthe present time. Recent study reported that out of 64 districts,drinking water in 61 districts are contaminated by arsenic though thepercentage of the tubewells contaminated vary from 90% to less then5%, exceeding the Bangladesh standard limit of 0.05 mg/l. About 30million people are either directly or indirectly exposed to arseniccontamination with varying degrees of risk. Experts have put forwardseveral hypotheses regarding the causes of the arsenic contamination.Domestic water supply and irrigated agriculture in Bangladesh isheavily dependent on the use of groundwater. Several options areunder active consideration to mitigate the arsenic contamination in thedrinking water supply. The arsenic contamination of groundwater andits implications on human health are most important issues to beconsidered for the future development of groundwater resources inBangladesh. Heavy withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation, industryand domestic use needs to be managed in an integrated manner alongwith the surface water for the sustainable development of bothsurfaces and groundwater in this country. The paper reviews the stateof arsenic contamination and mitigation measures in Bangladesh.
2. Coastal zone (CZ) of Bangladesh
:
The landmass of Bangladesh is connected to the Indian Ocean through a 700 km, longcoastline. The coastal zone is marked by a vast network of river systems, an ever dynamicestuary, a drainage path of a huge basin covering also parts of India, Nepal, Bhutan andChina and a saline waterfront penetrating inland from the sea.The boundaries of a coastal area change over time for management purposes, as theissues to be forged become more extensive or complex and require more far-rangingsolutions. Coastal zone recognized administrative boundaries in Bangladesh. The coastalzone represents an area of transition where terrestrial and marine environments interact toform unique environmental conditions.The coastal zone (CZ) covers 19 districts facing or having proximity to the Bay of Bengaland the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).BargunaFeniSatkhiraBarisal JhalakhatiShariatpuBagerhatKhulnaGopalgonjBholaLakshipurJessoChittagongNoakhaliNarailCoxs BazarPirojpu
 
ChandpurPatuakhali1
 
Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh Muhammad Mahadi. Environmental Science Discipline
Total Bangladesh area is 147,570 Km
2
of which 47,203 Km
2
falls under coastal zone. Thisis roughly 32% of the whole country. According to 2001 census, total population of Bangladesh is 123,151,246 of which 34,846,215 live in coastal area. This isapproximately 28% of the total population of Bangladesh. The national populationdensity of Bangladesh is 861/Km
2
whereas; population density in the coastal area is959/Km
2.
From 1901, coastal population increases in following manner:
YearPopulation
1901
7.2 million
1991
24 million
1998
32 million
2001
34 million
2050
50 million (projected)
Fig-1:
Map of the coastal zone of Bangladesh
3. Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh:
Arsenic contaminated groundwaters have emerged as a catastrophicproblem across much of Bangladesh. Specifically in the coastal zone,
2
 
Arsenic Contamination in Coastal Zone of Bangladesh Muhammad Mahadi. Environmental Science Discipline
arsenic levels in tubewell water ranges from “clean” to some of thehighest known concentrations. There are 12 district with high % of arsenic concentration, of which 7are in coastal zone: chandpur(90%), Gopalgonj(79%), Noakhali(69%),Satkhira(67%), Saritpur(65%), Bagerhat(60%), and Laxmipur(56%). There are 12 district with less problem arsenic, three of which arelocated in the coastal zone: Barguna(0%), Patuakhali(0%), and Cox’s-Bazar(2%).High levels of arsenic in groundwater used for drinking and cookingwater cause serious human health problems over time (5 to 15 years). The problem is acute for tubewells abstracting groundwater fromdepths betweens 10 and 100 m depth in the southeast, south central(northern part only) and southwest regions. The most seriouslyaffected areas are chandpur and surrounding districts.
Table-1:
Arsenic contamination area of coastal zone of Bangladesh
 Total number of Districts of Bangladesh64Coastal Districts of Bangladesh19 Total Area of Bangladesh147,570km
2
Coastal area of Bangladesh
47,203 Km
2
 Total population of Bangladesh
123,151,246
Coastal population of Bangladesh
34,846,215
Population density of Bangladesh
861/Km
2
Population density of Coastal zone of Bangladesh959Highly arsenic affected district of Bangladesh12Highly arsenic affected district in coastal zone of Bangladesh7Less arsenic affected district of Bangladesh12Less arsenic affected district in coastal zone of Bangladesh3
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