MALDA, Jan. 21: Workers of the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) have detected fluoride contamination of ground water at Pakuahat and other areas of Bamongola block areas recently. The presence of fluoride was found to be above the permissible limit in drinking water sources.
After examining the collected water samples which when tested were found to be fluoride contaminated, the Unicef officials informed the Public Health Engineering department in Malda for ‘cross examination’ and urged them to take care of that area.
The PHE officials collected some water samples from different areas of Pakuahat in Bamongola block, Barind belt, and found presence of fluoride above the permissible limit in drinking water source.
Yesterday, the PHE officials, the executive engineers Mr Swapan Maitra and Mr Debasish Banerjee, met the sabhadhipati of Malda Zilla Parishad (MZP) Mrs Sabina Yeasmin to inform her of the matter and expressed their concern over the issue.
The PHE officials also urged the sabhadhipati to instruct each gram panchayat to appoint contractual workers to collect water samples from various drinking waters sources for laboratory tests.
“We would be exposed to health hazards because of the fluoride contamination in Barind belt. We have already detected fluoride contamination in drinking water sources following the report of the Unicef. Collection of water samples is now imperative to determine the extent of contamination in other areas soo that proper measures can be taken,” said Mr Swapan Maitra, the executive engineer, PHE (arsenic division).
“Three laboratories set up by the NGOs with the financial assistance from the government have been lying idle due to lack of workers for collection of sample of waters from all 146-gram panchayat areas in this district,” Mr Maitra said.
“We have got the information, from the PHE, about fluoride contamination in drinking water in Barind Belt. We have already asked the panchayats to appoint one contractual worker to each gram panchayat for collection of water samples,” said Mrs Sabina Yeasmin, sabhadhipati of MZP.
The chief medical officer of health, Dr Srikanta Roy said: “I didn’t have information about the report of fluoride contamination in Malda. Neither the PHE nor the MZP has informed us about the impending menace. We will have to take necessary measures if fluoride contamination in drinking water is found above the permissible limit.”
“Contamination of groundwater by fluoride causes ‘irrepairable’ damage to plant and human organs. It also affects tooth enamel,” Dr Roy said.