CHANDIGARH: As per a report of the National Health Profile (NHP) 2017 released by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, there are 214 habitations across Punjab with excess presence of arsenic in groundwater. Amritsar tops the list with 132 habitations with high arsenic content in water.
The report says that there are 11 districts in Punjab where the presence of arsenic was found in ground water above permissible levels. After Amritsar, Gurdaspur comes second with 42 affected habitations followed by Tarn Taran (23), Ropar (6), Ferozepur (5), Patiala (2), Fazilka, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Bathinda (1 habitation each).
The reports also reveals that Punjab has as many as 286 rural habitations with excess fluoride quantity in water. These habitations are yet to be provided safe drinking water by the state government.
Patiala district is at the top with a total of 174 such habitations getting water with excessive fluoride content followed by Sangrur with 27 such habitations, Fatehgarh Sahib (23), Fazilka (10), Mohali (9), Ferozepur and Mansa (8 each), Tarn Taran and Ludhiana (5 each), Barnala, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur (3 each), Amritsar, Pathankot and Bathinda (2 each) Moga and Kapurthala (1 each).
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.”
At the same time, according to WHO, “Ingested fluoride reacts with gastric acid to produce hydrofluoric acid in the stomach. Thus, acute exposure to high concentrations of fluoride results in immediate effects- abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea and vomiting. Seizures and muscle spasms may also occur. Death due to respiratory paralysis is a possibility.”
Meanwhile Haryana has as many as 161 habitations affected by high quantity of fluoride in water. Rewari district has 39 such habitations followed by Jind (38), Palwal (37), Gurugram (31), Mahendergarh (26), Sirsa (15), Kaithal (8), Panipat (3), Mewat (2) and Sonepat (1).