Arsenic Concerns in Prey Veng

A man in Prey Veng Provincial Peam Chor District Has Contracted a lot of arsenic wounds on his palms, legs and body.

By Sun Narin

Living in Sambuo village of Peam Chor district located in Prey Veng province, a forty-year old peasant, Pin Komsan, is staying on the wooden bed and has no longer worked in the farm since his arsenic disease was deteriorating a few years ago. He consumed the arsenic water in the well more than ten years without realizing the effects at all.

“I have been in the operation three times. First, there are a lot of small wounds on my legs and then they become the infected wound,” he said.

“Now I stop thinking about it [disease] because I am not the only one who contracted the disease,” he said.

Prey Veng is one of the provinces along Mekong River which are at the risk of the arsenic substance in the well. According to figures released by the Department of Water Supply at the Ministry of Rural Development in 2010, about 150,000 people living along the Mekong and Bassac rivers are consuming arsenic-contaminated drinking water for at least part of the year.

Andrew Shantz, laboratory and research director for Resource Development International Cambodia said that most of Peam Chor district is affected by Arsenic contamination.

“The more exposure, the more consumption you have in your body, the higher probability you contract the arsenic cancer,” he said, adding that his organization does not do much work in Prey Veng because it is quite far. Most of the activities are in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district.

There are roughly 80 wells in Sambuo village and most of them contain the over exposed arsenic contamination which they cannot use it, according to the commune chief. Another village Prek Chrov in the same commune whose 99 percent of the wells are arsenic contamination.

Sun Yim, Sam Bou commune chief, said that the villagers still use well and filter water in the dry season but now they can use rain water and river water for their daily life since it is the raining season. Now in his commune there is only one water filter for the whole consumption in the community. However, he complained that it is not enough for the using in the community as a whole.

“Though people are aware of the disease, some still use the arsenic water because they are far away from the arsenic-free water. They are not afraid at all,” he said. Continue reading “Arsenic Concerns in Prey Veng”