Arsenic elevated groundwater irrigation: Farmers’ perception of rice and vegetable contamination in a naturally arsenic endemic area

Md ROKONUZZAMAN, Zhihong YE, Chuan WU, Wai Chin LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Arsenic (As) in groundwater and its accumulation in agricultural produces has caused serious threats to human health. The majority of current research on As mainly focuses on the technical aspects while bypassing the social perspectives. Farmers are the prime stakeholders as well as executors of agricultural strategies, and their adaptation largely depends on how they perceive the risk for which a mitigation strategy is proposed. This study aims to explore how rice and vegetable farmers perceive As accumulation in their rice and vegetables as well as explore current crop- and body-loading status, the subsequent health consequences of As, and alleviation possibilities with mitigation strategies and to investigate if there is an association between their socioeconomic status and their level of perception. Results reveal that one-fourth of the farmers gave a positive message regarding the As-contamination scenario in rice and vegetables. Although 10 farmers’ socioeconomic characteristics were positively significant, distinctive emphasis should be given to five predictor variables explaining 88% variances: knowledge, direct participation in farming, information sources used, participant education, and organizational participation. Path analysis depicts that direct participation in farming presents the highest positive total effect (0.855) and direct effect (0.503), whereas information sources show the highest positive indirect effect (0.624). The mean As content in all five locations was statistically significant at the 5%, 5%, 0.1%, 1%, and 1% probability levels in scalp hairs, rice, vegetables, soils, and irrigation water, respectively. The first principal component (PC1) explains 92.5% of the variation. Significant variations were primarily explained by As levels in irrigation water, rice grain, and soil. Farmers’ perception is far behind the actual field status of As level and its transfer. Therefore, intensified priorities should be administered on the farmers’ characteristics contributing to variances in perception. The findings can be utilized for policy formulation in all As-endemic nations. More multidisciplinary research can be undertaken on farmers’ attitude towards adopting As-mitigation techniques, with a focus on the socioeconomic position found to influence farmers’ perceptions. Copyright © 2023 by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4989
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Citation

Rokonuzzaman, M., Ye, Z., Wu, C., & Li, W.-C. (2023). Arsenic elevated groundwater irrigation: Farmers’ perception of rice and vegetable contamination in a naturally arsenic endemic area. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(6). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20064989

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Groundwater
  • Perception
  • Rice and vegetables
  • Scalp hair
  • PG student publication

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