Mission 227: Bangladesh

Is there arsenic in your coffee?

I just made a cup of coffee using tap water provided by my local municipal government. I drink it all the time. I don’t worry about it being tainted, polluted, or contaminated. I trust it and I trust those who maintain and provide clean, drinking water to my house, my office, and local restaurants.

If you lived in other parts of the world, you’d have to worry about the water you drink.

In most of Bangladesh, for example, arsenic contaminates the drinking water. Excessive amounts of arsenic in the water lead to serious health problems, including skin lesions and internal cancers.

In response to the health crisis arsenic poisoning creates, SIM established the Arsenic Awareness and Alleviation Project. This program provides education and training surrounding the dangers of arsenic contamination through literature distribution and small group instruction.

Through this project SIM researches the latest appropriate means of providing arsenic removal for individual household wells and advertises these in the affected areas. This project assists the government and other agencies in implementing remedial solutions for the arsenic contamination in targeted areas.

The ongoing arsenic-related SIM development work of the past fiscal year met the numerical goals established with the Bangladesh government. The first goal was to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by high arsenic levels in the drinking water.

SIM conducted informational meetings in a variety of public formats. They taught at schools, community centers, tea shops, household meetings and a variety of other localities. They exceeded their goal of 65 meetings by conducting 99 meetings attended by around 1900 people.

SIM’s second goal was to provide remedial solutions for households that drink arsenic-contaminated water. In some locations in Bangladesh, a high quality filter is produced locally that can reliably remove arsenic. The filter is called a SONO Filter and it costs about US $32. The filter can daily produce 150 liters of water, which more than meets drinking and cooking needs. The filter is a stand-alone unit, gravity-fed, and can be placed in the kitchen or other appropriate area. SIM sells the filter at a subsidized rate of about US $8.

The goal last year was to provide 100 filters, and SIM ended up providing 130 filters that benefited about 1300 users.

Mission 227 is making a contribution toward the Arsenic Alleviation Project in Bangladesh. I’d like to challenge you to make a donation as well.

Don’t take your next glass of water for granted. You are blessed to have safe, clean drinking water. Help those who don’t have the same privilege enjoy clean water too.

(Most of the information above was taken directly from SIM.org. Some edits were made.)

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