Bhubaneswar: It is the quality that differentiates drinking water from any other water. In this sense, there are many habitations in Orissa which have severe quality problems like iron, salinity, fluoride and chloride contamination and also bacteriological contamination.
Due to geo-hydrology, growing population, depletion of ground water, rapid industrialization etc. the drinking water quality is deteriorating day by day and this has become a major threat for drinking water provisioning.
Fluoride contamination in drinking water and associated health hazards is a matter of concern in Orissa.
In the remote rural Orissa, tube well is the only source of drinking water. It is found that many of those tube wells are fluoride contaminated.
Fluorosis – the disease caused by ingestion of excessive fluoride, is a crippling disease and has no cure.
There are two things which can be done in the fluoride contaminated patches i.e. providing alternative drinking water sources and extracting fluoride from the water or de-fluoridation. As the former one is quite costly, RCDC is currently working on the later one.
With the objective of providing fluoride free water to the people, RCDC is currently exploring most viable low cost community based defluoridation technologies to be installed in fluoride contaminated zones. In this process one technology has been identified and installed in Raipali village of Bolangir district known as “Membrane Filtrate Technology”. This technology has been developed by the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. The technology has been installed since six months and community capacity is built on operation and maintenance of the technology. The technology is functioning well and yielding fluoride free water.
As prevention is better than cure, a one day workshop was organized by RCDC on “fluoride and de-fluoridation” to share the learning gathered through installation of the technology and to get direction from experts in replicating the technology in other remote pockets of Orissa, where there are no alternative drinking water sources.
Inaugurating the workshop, Mr. Ashok Goel, Director, Central Water Commission said that the technology sounds quite interesting as cost is low, no need of electricity and most importantly community can easily operate and maintain that. He expressed his hope that the technology installed by RCDC will definitely create a model in de-fluoridation.
Mr. G. C. Pati, Superintending Hydrologist, Central Ground Water Board said that fluoride is emerging as a menace in Orissa and all should work collectively to mitigate the problem.
Attending the workshop, Mr. Subhas Devi, Director, Membrane Filtrate Technology said that the technology does not require electricity and can be fitted into a hand pump tube well, which can be most viable and people friendly de-fluoridation technology for remote Orissa. He also stated that the technology has been widely accepted by states like Tripura and Jharkhand.
The workshop started with warm welcome and objective sharing by Mr. Bikash Kumar Pati, Programme Officer, Water Programme, RCDC.
Dr. Manoj Mahapatra of RCDC had presented a paper on fluoride and de-fluoridation which gives clear picture on extent of fluoride contamination in Orissa along with the strategy to mitigate the fluoride contamination. Mr. Suresh Bisoyi, Director-Field Operations, RCDC and Mr. Sanjoy Patnaik, Director-Research, Advocacy and Campaign, RCDC were also present in the workshop.
There were around 50 participants in the workshop from various NGOs, Government Departments, Academicians and Media Houses.