Contaminated water, a serious threat to Haryana

| | Chandigarh
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Contaminated water, a serious threat to Haryana

Sunday, 20 December 2015 | Nishu Mahajan | Chandigarh

More than 2 lakh population in Haryana is affected due to contamination of poisonous substances in drinking water.

Besides the high levels of arsenic, the presence of fluoride and other heavy metals are contaminating the drinking water of the State.

The latest data with Union Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation reveals that more than 600 habitations were found to be affected due to water contamination in Haryana.

As per the laboratory tests of water samples during ongoing financial year 2015-16, 678 habitations were found to be affected due to contaminated drinking water while the number was 489 habitations during the previous

fiscal 2014-15. At least one source in these habitations was found to be contaminated as per the lab testing.

While three habitations were found to be affected due to presence of high level of arsenic in water, 480 had reported contamination of fluoride above the permissible levels, 114 habitations were found to have salinity in water and 81 habitations reportedly had iron content.

As per the data, the State departments dealing with rural drinking water supply have reported arsenic, fluoride, iron, salinity, nitrate and heavy/toxic elements in some parts of Haryana with concentrations above prescribed permissible limits in rural drinking water sources.  The heavy/toxic elements being reported from the laboratories included manganese, copper, aluminum, mercury, uranium, lead, cadmium, chromium or zinc.

The arsenic levels beyond the permissible levels were found in Ambala and Yamunanagar. Other districts affected due to groundwater contamination included Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Jind, Mahendragarh, Rewari, Rohtak, Palwal.

The data further revealed that around 80,827 State population is affected due to presence of heavy metals in drinking water. Around 36,000 population is affected due to fluoride contamination, about 15,489 due to salinity of water and 6,705 due to iron contents in the drinking water.

Notably, the Union Ministry had earlier this year directed Haryana to prepare an action plan to contain the water contamination.

Recently, the sample reports of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) had also found habitations in Haryana affected with arsenic in groundwater beyond the permissible limit of 0.05 milligram per litre. The arsenic levels beyond 0.05 mg/l was found in Gharaunda and Karnal (Karnal district), Bhuna (Fatehabad), Ambala, Nuh and Nagina (Mewat) and Kharkhauda (Sonipat).

The groundwater of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Rohtak, Panipat and Panchkula was also found to be contaminated.

According to the experts, prolonged consumption of excess arsenic in drinking water may cause Arsenicosis (Keratosis and Melanosis). The symptoms range from skin lesions to even cancer. Excess fluoride in drinking water may cause dental, skeletal and non-skeletal fluorosis while many of the heavy metals/ toxic elements may cause a variety of health problems including cancer.

Recently, the State Government had directed the Department concerned to take immediate steps to rectify water leakages so as to prevent wastage as well as contamination of drinking water in various parts of Haryana.

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