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The impact of providing arsenic contamination-free drinking water and simultaneous alteration in different socio-economic variables in a highly arsenic-prone area in Bangladesh

Published onJun 16, 2023
The impact of providing arsenic contamination-free drinking water and simultaneous alteration in different socio-economic variables in a highly arsenic-prone area in Bangladesh

Introduction: The main source of safe drinking water in rural Bangladesh is shallow tube wells (STWs), 80% of which are contaminated with arsenic and 50% of rural people are consuming this poison every day. There is a socio-economic disparity in access to arsenic-free safe water in rural areas. Therefore, this study was conducted to find out the impact of drinking arsenic-free water and the change in various socio-economic conditions over a period of time in a highly arsenic-affected rural area in Bangladesh. Method: A total of 220 households (HHs) were included in the baseline survey, of which 192 HHs were surveyed in the end line from three villages of Goalmari union where arsenic concentration in drinking water exceeded the limit recommended by WHO and the Government of Bangladesh. Water samples from STWs, deep tube wells, and HHs were tested for arsenic concentrations following the standard procedure. The surveys included socioeconomic variables, sources of drinking water, storage, main sources of food, number of meals per day, educational status, and possession of electronic devices. Statistical analysis was conducted to compare the data between the surveys. Results: The consumption of arsenic-contaminated water and storing of drinking water were decreased due to the supply of safe drinking water in the study population. The consumption of rice decreased but other foods increased. Use of electricity and electronic devices increased in the end line survey than baseline. Education levels in the studied population increased in primary and secondary/higher education levels in the end line survey. Conclusions: The availability of arsenic-free safe drinking water by Grameen Veolia had a significant impact on the consumption of arsenic-contaminated drinking water. The awareness-building regarding safe drinking water and other socioeconomic variables over time might also have an impact on behavior change which influences to have a positive effect on various socioeconomic conditions.

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