(AP) A new report estimates that some 20 million Bangladeshis are still being poisoned by arsenic-tainted groundwater drawn from government wells. That number remains unchanged from 10 years ago, despite years of action to dig new wells.
The report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch blames nepotism and neglect by officials. It says they’re deliberately having new wells dug in areas convenient for their friends, families and supporters, rather than where arsenic contamination is highest or large numbers of poor villagers are being exposed.
Government officials declined to comment on the findings.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring and toxic element found in the soil and groundwater of some areas of the world, including vast delta regions like in eastern India and Bangladesh, where rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal.