AGRA: Water being pumped up from underground sources and used for domestic as well as irrigation purposes in several parts of Agra division is high on fluoride content and is alkaline besides containing a high volume of heavy metals. All these are harmful for both man and animals and affects plants as well.
Samples of groundwater collected from seven areas of Agra division have recorded six times more Fluoride, a chemical compound, in the groundwater. It is responsible for causing skeletal deformities. The water also contains a large volume of TDS (total dissolved solids), high degree of pH level (alkaline) and excessive quantity of iron ore.
According to a recent report of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), nearly 46% of water samples collected from 15 blocks of Agra registered the presence of 6 to 7 milligram per litre (mgl) Fluoride in groundwater sources.
Areas within a 2-km range of river Yamuna such as Sikandra, Nagla Padi, Deori ki gariya, Barauli Ahir, Barauli Gujar, Nagla Pratap Singh and Mohammadabad reportedly had the highest level of Fluoride in the water. Two villages coming under Patti Pachgai and Pachgai Khera of Barauli Ahir block were listed as “highly critical” in terms of exceeding the permissible limit chemical presence in groundwater.
The permissible limit of Fluoride is only 1.5 mgl.
According to Khalid Ahamad, senior official of Jal Nigam, “Natural abundance of Florahalite ore in the soil of Agra and the continuous dumping of untreated sewage water into the Yamuna has resulted in contamination of groundwater.”
He said, “Presence of Fluoride in water leads to formation of brittle bones and teeth in humans, while high pH level (alkaline) creates gastrointestinal disorders and excessive quantity of iron ore presence in the groundwater helps to breed bacteria.”
At present, the content of iron ore and TDS is nearly 80% the groundwater of Agra division. While the pH level is nearly 10, exceeding the permissible limit set by Bureau of Indian Standards. The permissible level is 2000mg/litre and iron is .3mg/litre.
After the directives from district administration following the GSI report, Jal Nigam came with a plan to provide Fluoride-free water in the worst-affected areas.
Talking to TOI, Anil Kumar, assistant research officer of Jal Nigam, said, “Two Fluoride removal units (FRUs) have been installed at Patti Pachgai and Pachgai Khera of Barauli Ahir block.”
He said, “A proposal for installing more FRUs has been sent to the administration. But if we focus on rain water harvesting then we can tackle the situation cheaply without much effort as well.”