Arsenic contamination in drinking water found in Myanmar

(Last Updated On: April 24, 2010)

Arsenic contamination in drinking water has been found in all over Myanmar, according to Mizzima News’ report. Quoting Deputy Director of Occupational Health from the Ministry of Health from Myanmar, the news reported “water contaminated with arsenic at levels above 10 ppb (parts per billion) – the level set as permissible by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – was found in the states and divisions of all 12 regions”.

The survey was done in 12 regions of Myanmar which include Yangon (Rangoon), Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) , Pegu (Bago), Sagaing, Magway, Mandalay and Thanintharyi Divisions and Kachin, Rakhine (Arakan), Mon, Shan (North) and Shan (South) States. The survey was a joint cooperation between UNICEF, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Border Region Municipal. According to Dr. Than Htut of Ministry of Health, arsenic level higher than 10 ppb (parts per billion), the level permissible by WHO for drinking, was found in all 12 regions where survey was conducted. The highest level of arsenic in water was found in Rakhine (Arakan) State, Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) and Pegu (Bago) Divisions.

The highest arsenic contamination is found in river valleys and delta regions and along the rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs based on water bearing mud and sand layers. The high contamination of arsenic is reportedly found in groundwater too.

“We cannot drink arsenic-contaminated water by any means, even after boiling it. We cannot treat it by storing in a container overnight,” Dr. Than Htut said.

Source: Mizzima News

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