Published: Wednesday 31 March 2004

Victims of arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh have suffered a major setback, with the Court of Appeals in London ruling that the British Geological Survey (BGS) is not responsible for their plight. Consequently, the May 2003 decision of the High Court in London, which said that the BGS has a duty to pay compensation to the victims (see: 'Far-reaching verdict', Down To Earth, June 15, 2003), has become invalid. The BGS had provided expertise in a well-digging project in Bangladesh from 1983 to 1992. The victims had filed a case against it for failing to inform them that the water in their wells was contaminated with arsenic. Following the UK high court's verdict, the BGS had moved the Court of Appeals which ruled in its favour.

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