Bahraich and 16 district in UP are inching to cancer day by day

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Mukta Kaushik

Lucknow. In Uttar Pradesh’s 17 districts the groundwater is found to be contaminated with “Arsenic” which is a hazardous element. The use of water contaminated by this element can have serious repercussions for human health, but then also the state and the central government has not taken any strong steps, to protect the masses from this situation.

The areas in which groundwater is contaminated with Arsenic:
On 26 July, 2018 in the Lok Sabha the Union Minister Uma Bharati in response to the question, answered that 10 hamlets in Ambedkar Nagar, 2 in Azamgarh, 538 in Bahraich, 107 in Balia, 1 in Balrampur, 7 in Basti, 8 in Deoria, 8 in Gorakhpur, 23 in Lakhimpur Khiri, 19 in Kushinagar, 1 in Lucknow, 3 in Maharajganj, 8 in Mau, 1 in Sambhal, 6 in Sant Kabirnagar, 5 in Siddharth Nagar, 1 in Sonbhadra have groundwater contaminated with arsenic.

Responsibility Relegated to the State Government:
When Uma was questioned again, she responded in Lok Sabha that though human health is in danger due to arsenic contamination but the responsibility for it falls on the State government. The Central government’s role is restricted to providing a technical and financial solution. She further stated that for this the Uttar Pradesh government spent Rs. 1,317.08 crore in the financial year 2015-16, Rs. 891.96 crore in the financial year 2016-17, and Rs. 990.60 crore in the financial year 2017-18. Whereas in the financial year 2018-19 it is believed that Rs. 1240 would be spent to completely remove arsenic from groundwater.

Most Hamlets of Bahraich Affected:
According to the Central government, the Bahraich district in the state of UP is most affected with 538 hamlets groundwater contaminated with arsenic. These are 2013 estimates. After preliminary investigation when the government came to know about arsenic contamination the taps were fitted with arsenic filters but these too became dysfunctional after a few months. In Bahraich the arsenic content in groundwater is 250 ppb, i.e. parts per billion but according to the World Health Organization, this figure should not be more than 10 ppb.

At greater Depth More Arsenic:
During “Soil profiling” or soil investigation it was found that the hand pumps which were deeper than 100 feet their arsenic content was higher. Due to arsenic contamination, people living in these hamlets of Bahraich are facing health complications like painful swellings, lesions on feet and black spots on teeth. If arsenic is continuously consumed it may give rise to cancer.

The Quality of Groundwater is Precarious in The Whole Country:
The quality of groundwater is deteriorating. Along with arsenic it also has contaminants like fluoride the content of which is high and which may lead to serious health complications in humans. According to statistics of the Ministry
of Drinking water and sanitation “In India 1, 47, 00,000 people are at the risk of Arsenic and Fluoride contamination”. The Ministry found that in the country 16,889 areas groundwater is contaminated with Arsenic, whereas in 12,029 areas it is contaminated with fluoride. Also, 2,384 areas groundwater shows the presence of heavy metals, 23,613 areas portable water is contaminated with harmful iron and groundwater in 1809 areas shows the presence of harmful nitrate.

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