Lake, P.
Fenner, R.


Springer Nature

Year of Publication:



Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, while its people also suffer from a range of environmental hazards linked to the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases. These diseases are responsible for increasing morbidity and mortality and lead to other stresses within the population. Such stresses create continuous impacts on the health and well-being of the population, compounding their vulnerability and inhibiting their capacity to cope with frequent event-related shocks, such as floods and drought. A systems approach is taken to examine four important environmental hazards in Bangladesh—arsenic contamination of drinking water, arsenic transmission through the food chain, indoor air quality, and air pollution. A review of these hazards is presented in a conceptual framework that links human well-being with the key system components of infrastructure, institutions, knowledge, and behavior. This reveals key underlying factors between the hazards and uncovers system structures that can lead to more effective hazard mitigation, and the establishment of strategic intervention points. The article concludes that elimination of these continuous stresses will only come about through the culmination of multiple interventions over time, undertaken in an iterative manner that builds on the continual advancement of hazard understanding. The role of individual behaviors, together with factors such as risk awareness and perception of the hazards, has been identified as crucial for achieving successful mitigation solutions. Improved knowledge of the hazards, public awareness, and government accountability are focus points to reduce population exposure and enhance response capacity.

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