The Symbiosis Arsenic Mitigation Program

The Symbiosis Arsenic Mitigation Program tests water from wells in Bangladesh for naturally occurring arsenic which is frequently present in groundwater. Long term exposure to arsenic can result in serious health conditions. After testing, those wells with a high arsenic level are painted red to indicate that the water shouldn’t be used for drinking or cooking without treatment. Symbiosis distributes simple filter systems that effectively allow villagers to cheaply purify the water for their families and communities.


Sobita's Story

Sobita and her husband Prodip live in Kolshindur village. She is 45 years old and has two married daughters and one grown son, who is studying. Because her husband is the only member of her family who is earning an income, they are very poor.

Sobita heard about the savings groups of Symbiosis Bangladesh from her neighbour. After completing her 8 months of functional education, she and her friends created the “Asher Prodip” (light of hope) Savings group. Sobita can now read books & the newspaper, and decided to attend an Arsenic class arranged for the group by Symbiosis’ SAMP Staff. At that class Sobita was shocked to learn that naturally occurring Arsenic in Bangladesh’s water can lead to diseases despite the fact that the poison has no color, taste or smell. Sobita requested that a SAMP staff member test her well for arsenic contamination, and sure enough, the test showed that the water from her tube well had a rate of arsenic above 0.05, which means it is not safe to drink. SAMP staff painted the head of the tube well red to warn of its contamination, and then provided Sobita with a simple but effective three pitcher filter, enabling her to clean her drinking water.

Now Sobita’s family and neighbors collect their arsenic free drinking water from the three water pitchers.  Many in her community are benefiting from this simple health project, and Sobita is happy and grateful to Symbiosis Bangladesh.