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for building awareness about different aspects of mother’s milk including benefits of breast feeding. For last couple of years, Bangladesh has been observing Breast Feeding Week, 01 to 08 August.

282.Almost all children (98 percent) are breastfed at some time in their lives and over 80 percent of children are still breastfed at 20-23 month of age (NIPORT, 2004). According to MICS 2006, slightly above one-third infants (35 percent) are put to the breast within an hour of birth and four-fifths (82 percent) within a day, and approximately 50 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed up to 3 months and 37.4 percent of children aged less than six months are exclusively breastfed.

283.While colostrum feeding has improved in the past decade, the traditional practice of giving pre-lacteal feeds (48 percent) to the newborn has remained static (BBF, 2005). Other liquids and complementary foods are given too early in the country. Over one in five (22 percent) of infants aged under 6 months and 27 percent of infants aged 6-9 months are bottle-fed (NIPORT, 2004).

H.  Environmental conditions including water and sanitation facilities

284.Major environmental concerns of Bangladesh include arsenic contamination of shallow aquifer, air pollution in cities, river water pollution near industrial estates, solid waste, degradation of agricultural soil due to inappropriate use of fertilizer and pesticides, soil erosion, salinity of soil in coastal zones, and deforestation. The underlying causes of these challenges cover a range of issues including proper implementation of policies and regulations. To protect and promote environment, the State Party is trying to integrate national poverty reduction strategies outlined in NSAPR with programmes and policies such as Sustainable Environment Management (SEMP) Project, National Environmental Management Plan (NEMAP) and the Declaration of World Summit of Sustainable Development 2002. In recent years, many NGOs are working for protecting and promoting environment through mainly awareness development and tree plantation in rural areas and waste management programmes in urban areas.

Safe water and sanitation

285.Since 1970s Bangladesh’s drinking water and sanitation policy had focused on the installation and promotion of tube wells resulting over 97 percent of the population have access to safe water. However, progress towards ensuring universal access to safe drinking water took a serious blow with the discovery of arsenic in ground water above WHO recommended standards, dictating downward revision of achievements. About 20 million people are potentially at risk of arsenicosis. The situation in Khulna Division (92 percent) in terms of access to improved water is relatively worse than other Divisions. Integrated data on tube-wells in 269 Upazilas indicate that 30 percent of the wells tested were contaminated (DPHE and DGHS, August 2002). And the figure is increasing everyday with discovery of new contaminated area.

286.About 98 percent of households in Bangladesh, 99 percent in urban and 97 percent in rural areas, have access to drinking water from an improved source. However, because of presence of arsenic contamination in many parts of the country (48 of the 64 districts), the coverage of safe drinking water is reduced to around 75 percent.

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