In this picture taken 16 March 2006, Bangladeshi farmer Badiuddin Ahmed cultivates his employer’s field with cows at Hothatpara. Water — the lifeblood of Bangladesh’s agriculture-based economy — is everywhere in the South Asian nation.Formed from the deltaic plain at the confluence of three major rivers, the country is also criss-crossed by hundreds more.During the monsoon, anything from 20 to 65 percent of the impoverished country floods.And yet, during the dry season farmers in the northwest say severe shortages have forced them to abandon their lands. In the south, millions of villagers live with the constant threat of ill-health from arsenic-contaminated drinking water. AFP PHOTO/ Farjana K. GODHULY
One of the world’s great poisoning mysteries may have been solved – the source of the arsenic that turns up in lethal quantities in hundreds of thousands of wells across Bangladesh. The answer is ponds.