Acceptance and Use of Eight Arsenic-Safe Drinking Water Options in Bangladesh

January 30, 2013 · 0 comments

Acceptance and Use of Eight Arsenic-Safe Drinking Water Options in Bangladesh. (2013). PLoS ONE 8(1): e53640. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053640

Jennifer Inauen, et al.

Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a serious public health threat. In Bangladesh, eight major safe water options provide an alternative to contaminated shallow tubewells: piped water supply, deep tubewells, pond sand filters, community arsenic-removal, household arsenic removal, dug wells, well-sharing, and rainwater harvesting. However, it is uncertain how well these options are accepted and used by the at-risk population. Based on the RANAS model (risk, attitudes, norms, ability, and self-regulation) this study aimed to identify the acceptance and use of available safe water options. Cross-sectional face-to-face interviews were used to survey 1,268 households in Bangladesh in November 2009 (n = 872), and December 2010 (n = 396). The questionnaire assessed water consumption, acceptance factors from the RANAS model, and socioeconomic factors.

Although all respondents had access to at least one arsenic-safe drinking water option, only 62.1% of participants were currently using these alternatives. The most regularly used options were household arsenic removal filters (92.9%) and piped water supply (85.6%). However, the former result may be positively biased due to high refusal rates of household filter owners. The least used option was household rainwater harvesting (36.6%).

Those who reported not using an arsenic-safe source differed in terms of numerous acceptance factors from those who reported using arsenic-safe sources: non-users were characterized by greater vulnerability; showed less preference for the taste and temperature of alternative sources; found collecting safe water quite time-consuming; had lower levels of social norms, self-efficacy, and coping planning; and demonstrated lower levels of commitment to collecting safe water.

Acceptance was particularly high for piped water supplies and deep tubewells, whereas dug wells and well-sharing were the least accepted sources. Intervention strategies were derived from the results in order to increase the acceptance and use of each arsenic-safe water option.

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