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Environmental irony: summoning death in Bangladesh

Atkins, P.J.; Hassan, M.M.; Dunn, C.E.

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P.J. Atkins

M.M. Hassan

C.E. Dunn


The arsenic crisis that affects at least thirty million water consumers in Bangladesh has been called the world’s greatest ever environmental health disaster. Although the problem and the potential solutions have been presented confidently in the media, the argument of this paper is that, ironically, very little of the science or the technology is certain. From the spatial and depth variabilities of contamination, through safety thresholds, to the accuracy of field testing kits, we find indeterminacy. We argue that rather than shying away from such uncertainty, however, mitigation policies must acknowledge and embrace it if any real progress is to be made.


Atkins, P., Hassan, M., & Dunn, C. (2007). Environmental irony: summoning death in Bangladesh. Environment and Planning A, 39(11), 2699-2714.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2007-05
Deposit Date Feb 13, 2008
Publicly Available Date Nov 27, 2012
Journal Environment and Planning A
Print ISSN 0308-518X
Electronic ISSN 1472-3409
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 11
Pages 2699-2714


Accepted Journal Article (286 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Peter Atkins, Manzurul Hassan, Christine Dunn 2007. The definitive peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and planning A, 39/11, 2699-2714, 2007, 10.1068/a38123

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