Arsenic Menace !
Arsenic contamination in the Ganga-Brahmaputra fluvial plains in India is a serious menace. Since, decades it has become a serious and also one of the world’s biggest natural groundwater calamities to the people living in and around the region. Groundwater arsenic contamination has been reported in the year 1983 in which 33 villages in the region of West Bengal were affected, and slowly it began to rise and reached up to 3400 villages which have been affected until recently. The people living in these areas are exposed chronically to drinking Arsenic contaminated water. Drinking Arsenic contaminated water is deadly serious and has far-reaching consequences. A continuous long exposure would lead to arsenic poisoning or arsenicosis, effecting vital organs like: liver, lungs, kidney and skin, and if precautionary steps are not taken of taking clean, pure and filtered water, death is inevitable. Its symptoms are: blood in the urine, cramping muscles, convulsions, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea etc. The effects has already been seen in large number of communities whose livelihood is basically centered to agriculture and farming. The Indian states which are located in the Ganga-Brahmaputra plain are West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, and Chhattisgarh, are mostly affected with arsenic contamination in groundwater aquifers. The aquifers within a shallow depth i.e. within 100 m below the ground level is contaminated and found with Arsenic. On the other hand, deeper aquifers are usually free from arsenic. Basically, the presence of Arsenic is characterized by iron, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, etc. Well, it is widely known that Arsenic (Atomic Number = 33) is a semi-metallic element found in natural ground water systems all over the world. It can also be produced by industrial outputs, with chemicals used and other by-products, which after elimination into the water bodies or soil, gets absorbed and ingestion take place in food chain, and become seriously lethal for the living beings, plants and other organisms. The concerned authorities are taking measures to tackle this situation by establishing a task force which is basically comprised of technical experts and scientists from various disciplines in order to study and provide detailed report of the problem, the health department and government has established various laboratories for detection of arsenic content in groundwater, arsenic removal plants have been established and into operation to provide clean and potable drinking water for the affected populace. At present, research studies is being carried out on a large scale, to develop scientific solutions in an efficient manner.