Title : Use of GIS in local level participatory plans to mitigate arsenic poisoning: A case study from Matlab Upazila, Bangladesh

Authors : Md. JakariyaProsun BhattacharyaProsun Bhattacharya

Abstract : A Participatory Geographical Information System (PGIS) has been developed recently to design and adapt Geographic Information System (GIS) that draws on the diversity of experiences associated with "participatory development" and involves communities in the production of GIS data and spatial decision-making tools. Participatory approach in the development of GIS helps to develop local knowledge processes. This knowledge process creates a channel of coordination between local people and the experts. The paper deals with the possibility of using spatial maps in consultation with local communities to develop an effective and sustainable distribution planning to maximize as well as ensure safe water coverage for the arsenic (As) exposed population in Matlab Upazila in southeastern Bangladesh. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods along with GIS were used to obtain relevant information from the field. Participants from different focus-groups were asked to determine their "own priorities" for spatial planning of alternative As-safe drinking water options. The study reveals that about 70% of the alternative safe water options were distributed after consultation with people. These distributed options were found to be superimposed within the existing safe water buffer zones which otherwise could have been avoided and thus increased the safe water coverage if the spatial maps were also consulted before selection of final installation sites. The study based on the community perspectives on demand-based safe water options thus reveals the suitability of using PGIS techniques for rational distribution of safe water options. The process of participatory mapping within focus-groups further makes a platform to enhance information about community needs of suitable safe water options in the study area.

Journal : Environmental Science and Health Volume : 42 Year : 2007 Issue :
Pages : 33-44 City : Edition : Editors :
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