Arsenic contamination in groundwater is becoming more and more a worldwide problem. Except of high arsenic contents related to mining operations and arsenic rich geothermal waters, an increasing number of cases with high arsenic groundwater contents of non-anthropogenic origin were reported during the last decade.
This study focus on the widespread increased concentrations of arsenic in the groundwater of the Bengal Delta Plain (BDP). Main objects are the mechanisms of mobilisation and transport which are leading to the “largest mass poisoning of human in history” (SMITH 2000) and their consequences for the local population.
In this paper, scale of this calamity and possible pathways for arsenic in the BDP are described. Furthermore, preliminary results based on the first sampling campaign are giving an overview about the extend of an arsenic hot spot in groundwater found in Malda district (West Bengal) which generated under an anoxic environment.
Smith, A.H., Lingas, E.O. & Rahman, M. (2000): Contamination of drinking-water by arsenic in Bangladesh: a public health emergency. – Bulletin World Health Org. 78 (9): 1093-1103.