1.47 crore Indians consume arsenic contaminated drinking water


NEW DELHI, May 12, 2018: A population of 1.47 crore faces a major health hazard owing to arsenic contaminated drinking water, according to The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Arsenic is present in drinking water above the permissible limits in 16,889 areas while 12,029 areas have high levels of flouride and 2384 habitations have heavy metal contamination. Iron is also present in 23613 areas and around 14069 areas have high levels of salinity. Nitrates have also been found in 1809 areas.

These areas are part of the list of 70,793 places (habitations) where drinking water is contaminated as cited by the government on April in a written reply to a question on water contamination in Parliament.

West Bengal leads in arsenic contamination with 9756 areas affected while Assam is second with 4416 areas.

Rajasthan leads in flouride contamination with 5939 affected areas while West Bengal has 1293 and Bihar has 898 such areas. Heavy metals are present in water in 2378 areas.

While the total number of habitations with contaminated water has come down in the last five years, the figures are rising again. The number of habitations affected had come down from 9,504 in 2009 to 1800 in 2015 before they began rising again from 2016 when it touched 14,143.

It  is universally known that arsenic is one of the most dangerous water contaminants. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water can cause cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney. Overexposure to flouride causes fluorosis resulting in discolouration of teeth and skeletal deformities.

TNT with inputs from The Hindustan Times

Image Courtesy: India Water Portal