West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
Reported work done by SOES
This district is situated in the Chhattisgarh (during our survey it was under the state of Madhy Pradesh, India ). It is an agrarian district having dense forest. The total population of the district is about 1.5 million. Except two towns-Rajnandgaon and Khairagarh, the entire district depends on tubewells and dug-wells. The tubewells are fitted with hand-pumps or power pumps. The total depth of the tubewells range from 10 to 75 m, but most of them are less than 50 m. Some of the power pump tube-wells are of bigger diameter (15 cm). Water sample from Chowki block 146 have been analysed.
A few of tubewells and dug-wells contain water with very high levels of arsenic and people drinking water from these wells suffer from arsenical skin lesions. The total population of Chowki block is 75,898 and that of the Koudikasa village is about 2000.
Most of the villagers of Koudikasa use water from a forest dug-well which now contains about 0.52 µg/L of arsenic. The PHED tube well which that villagers were using along with the forest dug-well was found to contain about 0.88 µg/L of arsenic and was sealed 2 months back. From our preliminary analysis, Koudikasa appears to be the most affected village. With the help of a medical team we randomly examined adults and children for arsenical skin lesions and collected hair, nail, urine, skin-scale from the villagers.
Out of the total number of adults and children examined at random, 42% and 9%, respectively have arsenical skin lesions. 75% of the people have arsenic in the hair above the toxic level and 91% in the nail above the normal level. Further, 89% of the population had arsenic in the urine above the normal level and very high levels of arsenic (1500 µg/L) were also observed. Neurological studies were performed on 62 persons with arsenical skin lesions and 34% have shown positive indication.
We have also found that many villagers in Koudikasa have serious arsenical keratosis. It severe keratosis is considered as a sign of cancer, then many people are in danger. We have found a few people with suspected Bowens and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. However, people with such ulcers are to be pathologically tested and treated.