Environment-related problem is a growing concern among the environmentalists in Bangladesh. Arsenic poisoning in ground water is, without a doubt, one of the major issues. Ground water in most parts of Bangladesh is contaminated with an alarming level of arsenic. Moreover, it has been predicted and feared that the country might face huge crisis of safe drinking water in the decades to come. To support the cause of safe drinking water and a safe environment in future, Touching Souls International has come up with their projects on environment. The organization has been working for the eradication of poverty and illiteracy from the country as well as ensuring a better health care facility to the people residing in the rural areas of Bangladesh. They give special attention to environmental pollution focusing on finding the cause behind it on finding out the best ways to prevent it.
Touching Souls International is encouraging water forum journalists of Bangladesh to do more and more research work on environmental issues. To inspire research work, this nonprofit organization is conducting fellowship programs for water forum journalists. According to the fellowship program, journalists who deliver best research work on environmental issues, like water pollution and its effects on the people of Bangladesh, arsenic contamination in ground water, betterment of the environment and related issues, are eligible to apply for the fellowship. It is mandatory for all aspiring fellows to submit their research work, which is reviewed by an expert review board comprising of noted environmental journalists. The best three researches are selected and the journalists are awarded with a Water Journalism Fellowship certificate and a certain amount of cash award.
Touching Souls International has lately been concentrating on research on the environmental condition of the country, which is facing huge crisis due to the fast growing population. Some of the major rivers of Bangladesh, which are also one of the sources of drinking water, have reached an alarming level of pollution threatening the entire ecosystem. These fellowship awards are motivating more journalists to take up the environmental issue and raise awareness among the masses about water pollution and its disastrous effects.
According to the latest survey, about one third of the tube wells in Bangladesh pump up water exceeding the arsenic standard of 50 ppb (parts per billion). In worst cases, arsenic levels are alarmingly 2000 ppb or 40 times over the acceptable level for drinking water. It is resulting one out of five deaths in the country as per some estimates. Touching Souls International is therefore inspiring journalists to do more research and find out the root of this problem and demolish it. Running arsenic awareness campaigns in areas more prone to arsenic contamination can prevent people living in those areas from becoming victims. Touching Souls International carries on their Arsenic Awareness Program to raise awareness in general population about Arsenic poisoning.
In 2010, Saiful Islam, senior reporter of New Nation, Nafiza Dowla, senior reporter of RTV and Alauddin Arif, senior reporter of Amar Desh received the fellowship awards. The topics of fellowship were ‘Distribution of water of trans-Boundary Rivers- specially Teesta ’, ‘Pollution of river water in Dhaka ’and ‘Problem of erosion in rivers flowing down the borders’. Touching Souls holistic and participatory missions, combining research and education has really worked to bring social and environmental changes. .