Dyeing units turn Hapur hamlet into deathtrap
A village in Hapur district of Western Uttar Pradesh has become a nightmare for its dwellers as 11 people had died during the last 21 days because of cancer. Allahbaksh Village is situated near Ganga River and according to environmentalists the groundwater here is heavily contaminated. It contains arsenic at dangerous levels and is causing cancer to the inhabitants of this village.
With the rate of cancer-affected patients increasing rapidly in the village, the environmentalists have raised a red flag.
“Apart from the 11 deaths, there are nine others from this village who are suffering from cancer. They are undergoing treatment but their condition is deteriorating with every passing day,” said noted environmentalist Professor Abbas Ali.
Prof Ali claimed that the dyeing units operating alongside river Ganges are disturbing groundwater. The villagers have no other option than to drink and use this polluted water in the absence of any alternative for the clean drinking water. “There are many dyeing units near this village and chemicals being used by the unit seep into the ground and is solely responsible for the contamination of the groundwater,” said Ali.
Those, who lost their lives, were due to intestine cancer, lever cancer, lungs cancer and womb cancer. Aas Mohammad, Sharief, Ilyas, Kaneez, Mahfooda, Afsari, Shafeetullah, Idreesh, Khalid, Bindu and Santbeer died of cancer in the last 21 days. Shamshaad, Afsana, Mustkeema, Farzana, Khaleel, Tosheef, Zabbar and Naresh are undergoing treatment for cancer, said Ali.
“Drinking arsenic-contaminated water over a long time could cause cancer of the skin bladder, kidney or lung. Diseases of the blood vessels, diabetes, high blood pressure and reproductive disorders could also be caused by contaminated water,” a health expert said.
When asked about the deaths of 11 villagers due to cancer, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Hapur district Dr AK Singh confirmed that such deaths have taken place in this village. The CMO, however, denied the cancer cases reaching an epidemic proportion in the village.
“This belt has a population of around 40,000 people and deaths have taken. This also true the cause of these deaths is due to cancer. We are trying our best to provide medical help to the villagers. Improving water quality in this area is not my domain as it is for the Environment Ministry is to look after the presence of arsenic in the groundwater,” the CMO added.
However, AK Singh said polluting below 300 feet is difficult for cloth dyeing units operating in this area unless they deliberately pump water through reverse boring.
“This area has been affected by the pollutants discharged by Simbhaoli Sugar Mills in the past. After Supreme Court order to ban dyeing units in the National Capital Territory (NCT), these unit have been shifted to National Capital Region (NCR). The dyeing units have been located in this area and the owners assumed that being in a remote area, they can function,” said Vijay Pal Singh Baghel, an eminent environmentalist.
“In 1984, this 84-kilometre stretch of river Ganges was declared Ramasar site where breeding of dolphins were noticed. But in 2013-14 two dolphins were found dead in the water due to high level of pollutants in the water. Dyeing units are not the only cause, domestic garbage, including phenyl and other pesticides are being discharged on high level in the Ganges and polluting the water,” Baghel added.
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