Fluoride Action Network

High arsenic levels in 21 districts

Source: The Assam Tribune | March 17th, 2015 | By Ajit Patowary
Location: India

GUWAHATI – In Assam, groundwater in 21 districts has so far been found contaminated with high amounts of arsenic, while the groundwater of nine districts has been found to be contaminated with high amounts of fluoride.

Experts engaged in the fight against fluorosis and arsenicosis, maintain that information at the micro level of fluoride and arsenic contamination of groundwaters is very scarce.

Disclosing this, Dr Sundar Rajan Krishnan, executive director of the Anand, Gujarat-based India Natural Resource Economics and Management (INREM) Foundation and Safa Fanaian from the Hyderabad-based SaciWaters told this correspondent that an effort has been made to evolve a communication strategy to make the people at the grassroots level aware of the adverse impacts of fluoride and arsenic contamination of groundwater. This is expected to result in the evolution of a strategy to eradicate the menaces of fluorosis and arsenicosis.

Dr Krishnan is looking after the activities of the INREM Foundation’s Fluoride Action Network, while Safa Fanaian is coordinating the activities of SaciWaters’ Arsenic Knowledge and Action Network. These two networks are engaged in generating awareness on water quality-related issues, and, more particularly on fluoride and arsenic contamination-related issues, all over the country. They are also engaged in developing strategies to check both fluorosis and aresnicosis.

It needs mention here that INREM Foundation, supported by the Tata Trust and the Bangaluru-based Arghyam, has scripted a success story in checking the spread of fluorosis and curing the victims of this dreaded disease in Jhabua district of Western Madhya Pradesh by making safe drinking water available and providing locally available low-cost nutritious food items to the people.

Both Dr Krishnan and Fanaian visited the city in connection with a three-day workshop jointly organised by the INREM Foundation and the SaciWaters from March 10. The workshop was organised to generate awareness of the leading social activists, bureaucrats as well as doctors of the State Government on the water quality-related issues and to prepare them for a joint venture to eradicate Fluorosis and Arsenicosis.

State’s nine districts, which have so far reported presence of fluoride in their groundwaters are — Karbi Anglong, Nagaon, Dhubri, Barpeta, Karimganj, Golaghat, Sonitpur, Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup. Now around 1.5 million people of the State are affected by fluoride contamination of groundwaters, Paul apprised.