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Photo Essay: Arsenic, a Daily Dose of Death by Sucheta Das

Water contaminated with arsenic becomes a killer, the hangman of humankind. West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and others Indian states situated by the River Ganges are suffering due to arsenic. Neighbouring Bangladesh is also badly affected.

Skin diseases caused by arsenic start showing their symptoms slowly, not suddenly. The effects of the poison that is arsenic is dangerous in human body; 125mg arsenic is the fatal dose.

Arsenic-contaminated water is stored in agricultural land every year. The most vulnerable people are affected the most, yet often they are not aware of the contaminated water.

Kamala Mondol, 41, sits with her wrinkled hands in Deganga 80 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 2 June, 2005. Mondol says she got poisoned by drinking arsenic-contaminated water.

Jiten Sakhari, 74, drinks water from an arsenic-affected tube well in Gutri village 75 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 2 June, 2005. Sakhari says he got poisoned by drinking arsenic-contaminated water.

Hifot Mondol (centre), 50, who is affected by drinking arsenic-contaminated water, tries to sit with the help of her daughter Angura Bibi (right), while his wife Khatojan Bibi (left) sits beside him at Kadamtala village in Raninagar block in Murshidabad, 250 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 18 May, 2005.

Jiatan Beba (left), 50, who is affected by drinking arsenic-contaminated water, washes up with the help of her daughter Sahida Bibi, at Rajlapara in Nawda in Murshidabad, 200 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 17 May, 2005.

Doli Biswas, 39, takes water from an arsenic-affected tube well beside her arsenic-affected husband Rabin Biswas at Bishnupur village in Gaighata 85 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 2 June, 2005.

Bula Samadar, 18, carries her disabled mother, Arati Samadar across an improvised bridge in Gaighata 85 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 4 July, 2004. Arati Samadar has had one leg amputated because it was affected by skin lesions caused by continuous contact with water contaminated with arsenic.

Jiatan Beba, 50, cries in pain caused by drinking arsenic-contaminated water, at Rajlapara in Nawda in Murshidabad, 200 km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 17 May, 2005.

Tarubala Bibi, 30, an Indian woman, who is affected by drinking arsenic-contaminated water, lies on bed at Chhayghari Pitala village in Baharampur block in Murshidabad, 265km north of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata on 18 May, 2005.

Arsenic, a Daily Dose of Death by Sucheta Das won Honorable Mention award in CLICK ABOUT IT, an international photography competition organised by the European Journalism Centre.

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