Ganga-Meghna Brahmaputra || West Bengal || Bangladesh || Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar || Uttarpradesh
Jharkhand || North-East Hilly States || Rajnandgaon, Chattisgarh || Behala, Kolkata, WB || As toxicity- Homeopathic Treatment
Effectiveness & Reliability - As Field Testing Kits || Utility Of Treatment Plant
Causes, Effects & Remedies - Groundwater As Calamity || References

Our study on
GROUNDWATER
ARSENIC CONTAMINATION IN
RAJNANDGAON DISTRICT, CHATTISGARH

Reported work done by SOES

Summary:

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.

 

The source of arsenic is not yet clear. However, from a preliminary investigation and considering the geological formation of the area, it appears that the source of arsenic in Rajnandgaon district may not be the same as that of West Bengal and Bangladesh. The following information we have gathered may help identify the source. (i) Many villagers from Koudikasa go to nearby streams, small canals (Bhagawantala, Basta), and Shibnath river to collect gold particles; (ii) Bodal is about 5 km away from Koudikasa, where the Atomic Energy Commission had set up uranium mines from 1982 to 1989. Heaps of underground sediment are lying on the surface in Bodal; (iii) No information is available about the use of arsenical pesticide or herbicide in the area. Analysis of arsenic contamination in West Bengal and Bangladesh, showed dug-wells or surface water having about 0.01 µg/L arsenic to maximum of 0.05 µg/L due to direct contamination from a highly-contaminated tubewell nearby. The forest dug-well in Koudikasa contains high contains high arsenic (0.52 µg/L). Normally, if the dug-well water contains high amounts of iron, then arsenic is co-precipitated and goes to sediment where it may react with microbe for elimination. All the dug-wells we had analysed in Chowki block contain less than 0.1 µg/lL of iron.

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.

Reference
(1) Arsenic groundwater contamination and sufferings of people in Rajnandgaon district, Madhya Pradesh, India. D.Chakraborti, B.K.Biswas, T.Roy Chowdhury, G.K. Basu, B.K. Mandal, U. K. Chowdhury, S.C. Mukherjee, J.P. Gupta, S.R. Chowdhury, K.C. Rathore. Current Science, 77(4), 502-504, 1999.

Top