Sustainable safe-water supply in Asian rural communities: with emphasis on children and women of reproductive age

Research Project , Research Report 2006

Chiho WATANABE Dep. of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, Univ. of Tokyo
Masahiro UMEZAKI Dep. of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Medicine, Univ. of Tokyo
Jun YOSHINAGA Dep. of Environmental System Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
Makiko SEKIYAMA IR3S, University of Tokyo

Abstract

Access to safe water is one of the most pressing needs of the people in the developing countries. Among many obstacles that hamper the achievement of this need, contamination of the water by chemical substances become an emerging problem. In this study, different type of such water pollution issue has been addressed; the first one is groundwater contamination by arsenic in rural Bangladesh, the other one is river contamination by pesticides in West Java, Indonesia. In both cases, vulnerable subgroups in the population, i.e., children and/or the women of child-bearing age, have been focused. In Bangladesh, the importance of malnutrition both as the endpoint and modifying factor of the arsenic toxicity has been revealed, indicating the existence of factors that would not be relevant, and need not be addressed, in developed countries. In the West Java, although it was found that the extent of contamination would not suggest immediate health risks, unfavorable conditions existed regarding the handling of pesticides or awareness of the risks associated with pesticide use. By transferring and providing appropriate, efforts should be made to avoid unnecessary adverse consequences on the health and environment.

Keywords:

safe water, groundwater, arsenic, surface water, pesticides, children, women of reproductive age