Water is Essential for life, But Are We Doing Enough to Check Contamination?

All the stakeholders namely industry, agriculture, government and the public need to come together and mitigate the effects of this crisis by striving for access to clean and safe water as well as environment

A study by IIT Kharagpur scientists has detected an alarmingly high concentration of chemicals in the western Bengal basin. Pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been found in hundreds of samples of both groundwater and river water. These samples included drinking water supplied from the Farraka Barrage to the Sundarbans. This paper by Srimanti Duttagupta and Abhijit Mukherjee was published in an international peer-reviewed journal titled Science for Total Environment. 

Unsafe groundwater

The presence of arsenic in groundwater is beyond the permissible limit. Arsenic is considered to be responsible for a large number of deaths as a result of water pollution. It is all the more worrying because never before has any study detected such high toxin levels in samples from an entire area. Along with pesticides and PAHs, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were also found. These samples were collected across a stretch of 350 km and studied for three years. In certain samples, the content of pesticides was seen to be more than 45 times higher than what is permissible. 


To retain our initiative towards free spirited and independent journalism we require your support |Pay Now


Pesticide concentration was higher in agricultural rural areas, while that of PAHs was seen to be increasing in the urban and semi-urban areas such as South Nadia and North 24 Paraganas. Industrial pollution, biomass burning, vehicular combustion, etc. contribute towards increasing the concentration of hazardous chemicals in drinking water sources.

Health hazards

Who is responsible for this water pollution? Is it the industrialists alone? Is it the government? Or is it also the citizens themselves who have also failed to demand their own basic entitlements? Access to clean and safe drinking water is not a luxury but a fundamental right which cannot be compromised upon. 

The solution is not an individualized and ornamental one. Installing water purifiers might give us the psychological satisfaction of drinking safe water. But the need of the hour is to hold governments and municipal corporations accountable. Why does the water contain hazardous components? Why is it not mandatory for the industries to be more responsible while discharging effluents? Are they being subject to strict rules, monitoring, and evaluation as to their impact on their immediate environment? What will be their plan of action now? What about agriculture? What should be done to prevent further pesticide concentration? There is no one-sided solution. All the stakeholders namely industry, agriculture, government and the public need to come together and mitigate the effects of this crisis by striving for access to clean and safe water as well as environment. Only then can development be sustainable for the present as well as future generations. 

Now that you are here...
From bottled water to oxygen cans, not even the basics are free in a market-driven world. Why then, do we take free and independent journalism for granted? We find ourselves at a time when more people like you, are reading and coming out in support of The New Leam’s independent, in-depth and throughly issue based journalism than ever before. From grassroot stories and field-reports, to in-depth analysis of the pertinent political issues of our times, to news on gender, culture and educational issues- The New Leam has been dedicated to bringing out stories that speak out the soul of India and take you beyond the propaganda-filled corridors of mainstream journalism in India. We have made an important choice of keeping our journalism free of vested political interests, commercial funding and influence of partisan stakeholders, so that we can bring forward news and stories based on facts and provide a platform where readers can find information with integrity and a journalism premised on honesty. 

Your support to The New Leam is your contribution towards giving a voice to the voiceless, going to the depths of issues that others shy away from and rigorously illuminating the flame of criticality and courage in dark times. We hope that you will come forward to support The New Leam today so that we can keep delivering quality-independent journalism to you and inform public opinion in the right direction. No matter how big or small your contribution may be, it is tremendously important. It takes only a moment, Support The New Leam now!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *