Some 29 percent of Bangladesh's population are affected by arsenic contamination, UNB news agency reported Sunday.
"All tube-wells in 8,000 villages across the country are found 100 percent arsenic contaminated," chief engineer of the Department of Public Health and Engineering Mustafizur Rahman said at a press briefing here Sunday.
The briefing was held on the eve of launching the "Sanitation Month-October 2007" following the United Nations' declaration of the year 2008 as "Sanitation Year" highlighting the benefits of sanitation. The campaign is designed to set up sanitary latrines at every household and ensure people's access to pure drinking water.
Health Adviser Dr ASM Matiur Rahman said Bangladesh government started the sanitation movement across the country to ensure sanitation for all by the year 2010.
He said some 84.73 percent coverage of sanitation has been attained in the country till June 2007 while some 33.21 percent of families used sanitary latrines in 2003 when the formal campaign for sanitation began.
Nearly 100 percent sanitation coverage has been achieved in four out of the country's 64 districts, 95 out of 478 sub- districts and some parts in capital Dhaka City Corporation, he said.
Dr. Rahman emphasized on environment friendly sanitation system and the need for practicing individual health habits. "Only hand washing can reduce some 70 percent diseases," he said.
Water supply, management of toilets and sanitation facilities in public places in big cities including Dhaka are quite difficult to ensure, he said, adding that sanitation for the floating people is always a "big challenge."