The provision to have safe drinking water is every human being’s right and this is something that every country is entitled to offer to their citizens. It is a basic civic right that needs to be safeguarded at any cost. The picture is however a little different in Bangladesh, a country which is often deprived of its soil fertility by being continuously subjected to floods and tidal storms. Researches have proved that it was back in the year 1990’s when the rural population of Bangladesh was threatened by poisoning due to arsenic. Being a naturally occurring chemical in soil and Bangladesh’s geographical location in the delta regions of the Ganges, little could have been done to combat this problem. The result was that nearly 25 percent of the country’s 4 million wells got contaminated and posed a grave life risk to the rural population.
Arsenic is a chemical that causes many types of cancers in the skin, lungs, and bladder. A lower concentration of arsenic can even be deadly. Arsenic poisoning has affected about 85 million people in the country which means that the life of seven out of ten citizen of the country is endangered. Latest estimates have shown that about 1/3 of the tube wells in Bangladesh pump up water exceeding the arsenic standard of 50 ppb and in worst cases in some villages, arsenic levels have reached to 2000 ppb which is 40 times over the acceptable level for drinking water.
Arsenic contamination is a severe problem in the country. Even after five years of the approval of National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation and Implementation Plan, two hundred thousand people in the country still face the threat of cancer every year due to arsenic contaminated drinking water.
Non profit organization like Touching Souls International in this regard has taken steps to tackle the problem to some extent. Awareness is the key to safely avoid the bad effects of being affected by arsenic poisoning. Volunteers of Touching Souls International spread awareness among the rural mass to safeguard them. They educate the mass by distributing leaflets, educational CDs in schools, colleges, and giving lectures in market places to make them aware of arsenic poisoning. Moreover, Touching Souls International request people not to fetch water from the hand pumps which have been marked red indicating high levels of arsenic contamination and encourage them to fetch water from rivers, ponds, well and also harvest rain water which is free of arsenic contamination. Volunteers of Touching Souls International teach the villagers about the ‘bucket treatment’ which is one of the best ways of getting rid of low levels of arsenic and other pollutants present in water. A healthy diet is also suggested specially rich in protein and vegetables to counter arsenic poisoning.
The efforts of Touching Souls International have been commendable as they have played a major role in making the environment safe and saving the people of Bangladesh from the hands of death due to arsenic poisoning..