Guwahati, Friday, January 29, 2016
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Groundwater contamination cases rising in State
Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - Cases of contamination of groundwater in the State are swelling up everyday, making groundwater unsafe for consumption. According to the official data, the number of the State’s districts which have got their groundwater contaminated by fluoride and arsenic has shot up to 22 and 21 respectively from 19 and 20 respectively in 2014-’15.

According to the data available with this newspaper, in 2014-’15, the arsenic affected districts of the State included Baksa, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dhubri, Goalpara, Hailakandi, Jorhat, Kamrup, Karimganj, Kokrajhar, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar and Sonitpur.

This year, Tinsukia has also been found to be affected by arsenic, raising the number of affected districts to 21, said the sources.

Till 2013-’14, nine districts – Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kamrup, Karbi Anglong, Karimganj and Nagaon – were found to be affected by fluoride.

But in 2014-’15, with the inclusion of Baksa, Cachar, Chirang, Darrang, Dibrugarh, Morigaon, Nalbari, Sivasagar, Sonitpur and Udalguri, the number of affected districts rose to 19.

In 2015-’16, with the inclusion of Bongaigaon, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia, the number of fluoride-affected districts have shot up to 22, sources said.

According to experts here, the trend of rise in the number of fluoride and arsenic affected districts should be studied, together with the impact of such contamination of groundwater, which is used by the people of many areas in these districts for the purpose of drinking as well as domestic use, on human and animal health.

Except in the two districts of Karbi Anglong and Nagaon, no comprehensive health impact studies of groundwater contamination in the rest of the districts has so far been known to have been conducted, said the experts. The origin of fluoride so far is known to be geogenic.

The State’s Department of Mining and Mineral may undertake such studies, involving also the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and the North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management (NERIWALM) in this regard, said the experts.

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