Chandrapur: The latest report of the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) has revealed the grim status of groundwater pollution in the district. While fluoride pollution remains the persistent problem, alarming rise in nitrate level in groundwater is disturbing.
The health department and GSDA carried out joint survey of water sources in district between November 2014 and March 2015. A report published by the GSDA in April suggests that as many as 5,893 water sources, out of total 11,280 sources tested in 847 gram panchayats, are positive for various kinds of pollutants above permissible limits. More alarming is the fact that 63.72% of polluted water sources have tested positive for very high content of nitrates.
Natural level of nitrates in groundwater is expected to be between 10-20mg per litre. However, India holds the safety standard to be 45 mg/l for nitrates. However, a majority of water samples in Chandrapur have nitrate content between 100-145 mg/l.
Tehsils with highest nitrate pollution in groundwater are Jiwti (100%), Korpana (97.57%), Rajura (92.20%), Ballarpur (91.63%), Mul (88.54%), Chandrapur (84.72%), Nagbhid (75.08%), Bramhapuri (68.04%), Gondpipri (63.02%) and Sindewahi (57.52%). Other tehsils in the district too have water sources polluted with nitrate contents, but their percentage is comparatively low.
Water sources polluted with fluoride is the other cause of concern. Out of total 5,893 water sources, as many as 952 (16.15%) sources were found polluted with fluoride. Warora (40.32%), Pombhurna (32.95), Saoli (31.94), Chandrapur (29.25%) and Mul (20.25%) tehsil top the chart of fluoride pollution in district.
Suresh Chopne, member of regional empowered committee of MoEF, blamed the high emission from industries and use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture operation for the high nitrate pollution in water. “Consistent consumption of nitrate contaminated water can cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome) in infants aged below six months. This ailment decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of blood vessels leading to infant death. High nitrate contents in drinking water could also lead to deformities in unborn babies and diseases like dermatitis, gastric and intestine cancer, kidney ailment and other skin diseases,” Chopne warned.
Senior geologist, GSDA Chandrapur, YS Walde said the ZP administration executes fluoride control programme to tackle fluoride polluted water sources. “Not all the water sources in a particular village are fluoride polluted. If some sources have higher fluoride content, villagers can avoid them and use others that are free of fluoride. Moreover, most of the villages have rural water supply scheme and people there get purified water,” he said.
Walde claimed, however, that there are no remedial measures to control nitrate pollution. “Reduction of nitrate rich discharge from industries and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture operation is only way out,” he said.
Chopne has apprised union minister of state for chemical and fertilizer Hansraj Ahir and guardian minister Sudhir Mungantiwar about the grave situation of groundwater pollution in the district. He has also submitted a complaint letter to collector, ZP CEO, district health officer and regional office of MPCB, urging them to take remedial steps to curb the pollution.
IN A NUTSHELL
Health department and GSDA joint survey of water sources in Chandrapur between November 2014 and March 2015
Report published in April says 5,893 water sources, of total 11,280 sources tested in 847 gram panchayats, positive for various pollutants
63.72% of water sources tested positive for very high level of nitrates
16.15% sources found polluted with fluoride