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Seriousness of the issue

The arsenic issue in Bangladesh is a huge disaster.  It is a quiet disaster because it works slowly, unseen over time.  There is no taste or smell to it. But make no mistake  it is a disaster of epic proportions. 

 Many consider it a disaster bigger than Chernobyl or Bhopal.  It certainly has killed many more people.  Chernobyl (see picture) killed between 4,000 and 60,000 people in terms of direct and indirect means. It is difficult to get a very precise figure. Bhopal killed 20,000.  Yet arsenic has killed  hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh.


Chernobyl, occurring in 1986, is considered the worst accidental nuclear disaster in history.  Yet in terms of human deaths and associated human affects, the arsenic disaster in Bangladesh and West Bengal is far more deadly but has only received a small fraction of the attention Chernobyl has.

Arsenic also has debilitated many, caused great social unrest and is responsible for limiting the mental development in many children.  One fairly recent research article concluded with these words:

Arsenic toxicity affects millions of people in Bangladesh but surprisingly, still remains a neglected public health concern… Immediate action  is required to reduce the burden of chronic disease caused by arsenic exposure in Bangladesh.

November_1970_Bhola_Cyclone_Repair (1).jpg

It is easy to note with horror such tragedies as cyclones.  It is much more difficult to have concern and publicity for the arsenic tragedy which works quietly. 


Yet it has killed more than all the cyclones put together since Bangladesh became a nation in 1971.

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