Dr Maharjan noted that awareness of the issue is increasing. The younger generation will be “change-makers”, he added.
“Students are very important. They are the change-makers … If we teach students about arsenic, about water quality, the importance of safe drinking water, then they take messages home to their family, and they will share with the parents and other family members,” he said.
“From that family, it goes to the neighbour’s house. And so then it will spread in the community.”
However, not everybody is convinced of how serious the problem is.
“When arsenic is dissolved in water, it has no color, no smell, no odour, no taste, nothing. It is very difficult to convince them … People may ask that we are drinking from our (place) where our grandparents drank. And nothing happened to them,” explained Dr Maharjan.
“In any community, if some people are found with symptoms, then it becomes easier for us (to explain the situation). If there are no people (who suffer from arsenicosis), then it’s difficult, they don’t believe it.”
Ms Samjhana Chaudhary, who is deputy mayor of Ramgram, one of the municipalities in Nawalparasi, said that she plans to raise the issue at the national level, arrange more programmes at a local level to “mitigate” the issue as well as request for foreign help.
Meanwhile, the issue remains a complex one.
Ms Chaudhary noted that some cannot afford water filters, and continue to rely on hand pumps to draw water from dug wells.
“The economic condition of the people here are mostly from poor backgrounds, they can’t afford the filter for their homes,” she noted.