Friday, June 14, 2024

Arsenic found in rice: Food security at risk

A paper released yesterday has revealed that the country’s food security is at risk due to threats of arsenic contamination in groundwater and food chains posing severe health hazards to millions of people.
This was revealed at the launching ceremony of a publication titled “Towards an arsenic safe environment in Bangladesh” organised jointly by the United Nations and the government of Bangladesh marking World Water Day at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday.
Addressing the function Matia Chowdhury underlined the  need for creating awareness among the people about  the adverse effect of arsenic contamination.
She said the government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina  had  already taken steps to control arsenic contamination. It was committed to bring down the level of arsenic contamination through collective efforts.  In  this context, she said steps had already been taken  to ensure  proper management of surface water, including rainwater conservation.
LGRD and Cooperatives  minister Sayed Asharful Islam  said,  “As we celebrate World Water Day with the theme of “Clean water for a healthy world”, it is time to take some new plans in order to provide arsenic-free water to the 20 million people who are still at risk.”
Dr. A. Atiq Rahman, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced  Studies (BCAS)  made a presentation on the key issues mentioned in the publication.
There are outlines of  some of the most recent research and data regarding the country’s prevailing  arsenic problem  from different aspects  including  health, water supply and agriculture in the publication.
In addition to water, recent data from the southwestern districts of Bangladesh indicated that rice irrigated with arsenic-contaminated water also contained arsenic.
The average daily intake of arsenic from rice for a Bangladeshi adult is estimated at approximately 100 micrograms.
A recent survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF revealed that 12.6  per cent of the households equivalent to about 20 million people still drink water containing arsenic.
Scientists have identified emerging threats in the health sector of arsenic, which can significantly increase mortality  rate from  diseases like  cancer, heart ailments and cardio-pulmonary diseases, it was revealed in Dr. Atiq Rahman’s paper.
Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator said that urgent action was needed to re-focus the attention of the nation towards an arsenic safe environment.
A set of  recommendations were  made to address the issues posed by arsenic contamination in the country.
Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, health minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haque and UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Renata Lok Dessallien attended the launching ceremony.
UNB adds: The agriculture minister, however, contested the findings of arsenic in the food chains saying that tampering had been done everywhere suggesting arsenic in rice and vegetables. “The reality should be understood and we’ve to think considering our own reality,” she said.
Mentioning arsenic contamination in groundwater found in the early 90s, health minister Dr Ruhal Haque said the government was addressing the issues of arsenic problems under health and nutritional programmes.
Medical professionals, including doctors and health assistants, and also non-medical staffs had been trained to properly deal with the patients with arsenic problems.
‘Towards an Arsenic Safe Environment in Bangladesh’ also recommends taking arsenic monitoring and screening system in all sectors while overall coordination is essential to ensure that mitigation in one sector does not negatively affect efforts made in other sectors.
Three UN agencies- FAO, UNICEF and WHO- along with Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) of the World Bank have been providing continued support to the government in addressing the unprecedented challenge of arsenic contamination.
The support included several large scale initiatives to provide access to alternative safe drinking water supplies, research into health impacts, patient management, and arsenic presence in food chain; capacity building through training of health sectors and water supply sector staff, and strengthening of institutional capacity.

Courtesy of The Independent

Related News

5 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A magnitude 5 earthquake jolted a large part of the country on Sunday (2 June) afternoon., including Dhaka. The quake struck at 2:44pm from a depth of about 110km, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, and was centred in the Mawlaik area of Myanmar, 441 km southeast of Dhaka. The quake ... Read more

Over 2cr to be fed as daylong Vitamin ‘A’ plus campaign begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National Vitamin A-plus campaign is being conducted with a target to feed the capsules to over 2.22 crore children, aged between six months and 59 months. The campaign started at 8am on Saturday (June 1) and will continue till 4pm. Feeding Vitamin A capsules prevents blindness in children, ensures normal ... Read more

Postponed notice fake, HSC exams on June 30 as per schedule

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams will be held on time as per previous announcement, beginning on 30 June. The routine deferring the exams for a month that is making rounds in social media, is fake, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka said on Saturday. A circular ... Read more

3 month-long ban on fishing, tourism in Sundarbans begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The forest department has imposed this three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans. Local communities, including fishermen, wood and honey collectors, who depend on the Sundarbans for their livelihoods, are concerned about a three-month ban on all activities in the forest starting Saturday. The restriction applies to visitors, including ... Read more

Appellate Division upholds HC verdict on DU teacher Samia’s demotion

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division today (26 May) upheld the judgement of the High Court which declared illegal the demotion order of Dhaka University faculty Samia Rahman on charges of plagiarism. A four-member appellate bench headed by senior judge M Enayetur Rahim of the Appellate Division rejected the appeal of DU as invalid. ... Read more

3.2 million children at risk as Cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh coasts: UNICEF

News Desk : dhakamirror.com As Cyclone Remal hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh, over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, are at high health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety risks, according to UNICEF. ‘Our thoughts go out to the children and their families at this critical moment as they endure the storm’s impact,’ said UNICEF ... Read more

Classes suspended at coastal area schools due to cyclone

News Desk : dhakamirror.com No classes will be held at schools in the coastal areas due to Cyclone Remal, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohibur Rahman. He said this after a meeting of the inter-ministerial disaster management coordination committee at the Secretariat on Sunday. According to a bulletin of the Met Office, ... Read more

Cyclone Remal forms over Bay, signal 7 at Payra and Mongla

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The deep depression over the east and west central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm “Remal” at around 9:00 pm today and is expected to hit the country’s coasts between 6pm and 11:59pm tomorrow, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). The Met Office asked the Payra and Mongla ... Read more

Admissions for Class XI start tomorrow

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of applications for Class XI admission for the 2024–2025 academic year will begin tomorrow, May 26, and run through June 11th. According to the XI class admission circular 2024-25, the online application system is divided into three phases with designated application windows, result announcements, and confirmation periods. Students ... Read more

Exam will not be postponed for Cyclone Remal: NU

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National University has decided not to postpone the Introduction to Government Policy exam for 4th-year Political Science honours students for the academic year 2022, despite the warning for the approaching Cyclone Remal. The exam is scheduled to be held on Sunday (26 May) at 1:00pm, the same day that the ... Read more

Gold price cut by Tk 1,084 per bhori

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The prices of gold in the country’s local market witnessed a fall on Thursday as the Bangladesh Jewellers’ Association (Bajus) slashed the price of 22-carat gold by Tk 1,084 per bhori (11.664 grammes). The new rate for the precious metal will come into effect on Friday, BAJUS said in a press ... Read more

Don’t pay anyone for visas, or work permits: Italian envoy

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Antonio Alessandro, advised visa-seekers not to pay anyone for visas, emphasising that the embassy only charges small taxes and processing fees. “Our services are free except for these official fees,” he said today (21 May) following a meeting with Shofiqur Rahman Choudhury, the State Minister for Expatriates’ ... Read more

Bangladeshi mountaineer Babar Ali conquers Everest

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Babar Ali from Chattogram has summited Mount Everest and raised the red and green flag on the world’s highest peak. He reached the summit at 8:30am local time (8:45am Bangladesh time) on Sunday, proudly raising the red and green flag of Bangladesh. He began his journey on 1 April, after necessary ... Read more

Price of gold increases by Tk1,178 per bhori

The new rate will be effective from Sunday (19 May) News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Jewellers Association (Bajus) today (18 May) increased the price of gold by Tk1,178 per bhori, followed by a price hike in the local bullion market. According to a Bajus statement, 22-carat gold will now cost Tk1,18,460 per bhori (11.664 ... Read more

9 Bangladeshis named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Nine Bangladeshis have been named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list for their contributions across various industries. Forbes announced its prestigious “30 Under 30 Asia” list for the ninth consecutive year yesterday (15 May), showcasing 300 exceptional young individuals under the age of 30 who are making significant strides across ... Read more

SC Stays HC Verdict On Condemn Cell

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division on Wednesday stayed a High Court verdict that asked the jail authorities not to put death sentence inmates in the solidarity confinement before the end of all legal processes. The Appellate Division judge in chamber, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, granted the stay after hearing an appeal filed by ... Read more

BRTA to take ‘no helmet, no fuel’ policy for bikers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has decided to take a “no helmet, no fuel” approach for motorcycle riders across the country. Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka, according to decisions taken at a meeting ... Read more

MV Abdullah finally arrives at Ctg port

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The 23 crew members of Bangladeshi flag carrier MV Abdullah, which was recently freed from the captivity of Somali pirates, has reached the Chittagong Port today (14 May). The Chittagong Port Authority has a reception at the New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) to welcome back the sailors. Their family members are ... Read more

JnU female student gets 5 yrs in DSA case

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A Dhaka tribunal has sentenced Tithy Sarker, a suspended student of Jagannath University, to five years imprisonment in a DSA case filed for making derogatory comments about religion on Facebook. However, it has granted her a year-long probation on eight conditions, including regular care for her aged father, following traffic rules, ... Read more

Detention in condemned cells before final disposal of the case unlawful: High Court

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The High Court (HC) has ruled that it is illegal and unlawful to detain convicts in the condemned cell (blind cell) of the prison before the death sentence is finalised by the verdict of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division. The High Court bench of Justice Sheikh Hasan Arif and Justice Md ... Read more