GUWAHATI – If the findings of a random sample survey conducted by an environment group in the lower primary schools of the Lutumari area in Nagaon district in relation to fluorosis are to be believed, things are very disquieting. Basing on the findings of its survey, the Kampur-based environment group Environment Conservation Centre (ECC) has expressed the fear that over 20,000 of the around 50,000 residents of the Lutumari area in Nagaon district are perhaps affected by fluorosis. This needs to be examined by the Government agencies in a war-footing manner.
According to ECC secretary Dharani Saikia, of the total 869 students studying in 19 lower primary schools in Lutumari area of Nagaon district, 356 are suffering from dental fluorosis, while six of them are suffering from skeletal fluorosis and one from non-skeletal fluorosis. The total percentage of fluorosis-affected students in this area stands at 41.
Sonapur Primary School of the area reported the highest percentage of fluorosis-affected students with 69 per cent of its students suffering from the dreaded disease.
The fluorosis-affected villages and localities include Sonapur, Khengaon, Srimal Kacharigaon, Bargaon, Bundura, Topakuchi, Langka, Deurigaon, Pahartoli, No.9 Kherani, Majgaon, Ranipukhuri, Bijoy Nagar, Changkhola, Kuhimari, Agaratoli, Hajanggaon, Barsalani, Sarusalani, Pachim Longpa, Amarpur, Udmari, Dapora, Atigaon, Matikhola, Joysagar, Amtola, Beduripur, Khagorjan, Narayanpur, Madhupur, Natun Dumaihagi, Haladhibari, Dumaihagi and Garukhunda, among others.
In the water drawn by the hand pumps has been found containing excess quantity of fluoride, while the urine of the children of these villages have also been found to be containing high amount of fluoride, said Saikia.
The survey found that the drinking water extracted from tube wells in this area contain fluoride at the rate of 2 parts per million (ppm), while the fluoride content found in the water drawn from the ring wells of the area is 0.05 ppm. The water of the Changkhula public water supply system (PWSS) of the area is found to have containing 2ppm of fluoride. The urine of the school students tested during the survey reported 4 ppm of fluoride content. Groundwater is the source of water of the PWSS there.
The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has provided fluoride filters to each of the lower primary schools of the area, while the panchayat and the PHE have provided tube wells. Tube wells sunk by individuals are also there.
Till date, no preventive measure is taken by the authorities concerned, except providing fluoride filters to the lower primary schools.
It is noteworthy that the Kapili, Barpani and Lutumari flow across Lutumari area. These rivers are veritable sources of surface water, which is free from fluoride. But so far there is no step taken to tap these rivers for the purpose, said Saikia.