The groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh is known as the largest natural calamity in the world in terms of the affected population. The millions of tube-wells that had been sunk for drinking water supply are now dispensing poisonous arsenic. Consequently, about 80 million people are at risk and another 30 million are potentially exposed to arsenic poisoning. Most of the recognized stages of arsenic poisoning such as melanosis, keratosis, and hyper-keratosis have been identified in Bangladesh. In addition to the health crisis, the arsenic poisoning is affecting the agricultural crops and causing many social problems. The present study is an overview of the groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh. The severity, sources, and causes of arsenic contamination are discussed in this paper. The health, agricultural, and social effects of the arsenic poisoning are highlighted. In addition, a number of urgent needs are given for combating the arsenic disaster.
Key words: Agriculture, arsenic mobilization, arsenic poisoning, drinking water, health crisis, social implications, tube-wells.
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