Fluoride Action Network

Excess arsenic and fluoride in Ghaziabad groundwater: NGO

Source: The Times of India | February 24th, 2015 | By Lalit Kumar
Location: India

GHAZIABAD: First it was chromium, now it is arsenic and fluoride that are in excess in groundwater in Ghaziabad, going by an NGO’s report.

After hexavalent chromium levels were found to be far in excess of the maximum limit of 0.5mg per litre in various parts of the city in a study commissioned last year by the UP Pollution Control Board, a Ghaziabad-based NGO has claimed tests on hand pump water samples from many areas have revealed higher than safe limits of arsenic and fluoride.

Vijaypal Baghel, convener of the Ghaziabad-based Paryavaran Sachetak Samiti (PSS), said the tests have been carried out with testing kits obtained from the Switzerland-based World Water Monitoring Organization. The exact figures of the tests were being collated and would soon be released.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Federation of Ghaziabad Resident Welfare Associations, retired colonel Tejendra Pal Tyagi, said, “We have approached the local authorities, including the local unit of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, about the severely toxic content of the city’s groundwater. But no concrete steps have been taken. We will now take this matter up with the chief of the Central Pollution Control Board. This is a critical issue for Ghaziabad residents”.

According to Baghel, the PSS had recently taken samples of water from hand pumps in several areas. These included areas near the Crossings Republik complex, beside the Gulmohar Apartments in Rajnagar Extension, at Makanpur in the Indirapuram area, at Prahladgarhi in Vasundhra, in the Mohan Nagar area and at Vijaynagar, along NH-24.

“In all these areas,” said Samiti convener Baghel, “we found chromium, arsenic and fluoride to be well above the limits laid down by the World Health Organization. We will soon announce the exact figures. You see, much of these elements seeps into the areas neighbouring the Hindon river, where industrial effluent flows all the way from Saharanpur. A lot of untreated or partially treated sewage is also discharged into the Hindon. Chromium is, of course, mainly an industrial effluent.”

He said, “Arsenic is an element found in nature, and in manufactured products including pesticides.”

According to the American Food and Drug Organization, “Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with skin cancer, bladder and lung cancer and heart disease.”

When asked, Paras Nath, Ghaziabad region chief of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, said, “We do not know about these elements flowing in hand pump water in these areas. But we will get this investigated.”

R P Varma, Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam waterworks chief, said, “I cannot comment about this, because we get only the chlorine content in the municipal water supply tested.”

Mayor Teluram Kambhoj said, “All I know is that hand pump water in several government schools was tested about four years ago. And, all the samples were found to be unfit for drinking.”