Unpoisoning the Well
Bringing safe drinking water to Bangladesh is a tall order, but Chemists Without Borders are rising to the occasion
Robert Kurkjian | | Opinion
“The largest mass poisoning in history” – that’s how the contamination of drinking water with arsenic in Bangladesh has been described. In fact, as many as 95 million people are chronically exposed to this danger in Southeast Asia. The outcomes of this poisoning? Long-term damage to health, ranging from respiratory disease to skin lesions and cancer. Needless to say, it’s a huge problem – and one that I felt I could help address.
I have worked on dozens of international projects: assessing acid mine drainage; providing oversight of the investigation and demolition of bulk petroleum storage facilities in residential areas; and redeveloping contaminated properties, to name a few. Each project was a collaborative effort between international consultants and local scientists, governmental agencies, the general population, and non-government organizations (NGOs). I learned that information exchange and stakeholder outreach were an essential element and keys to project success.
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