According to a study conducted by a group of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, ‘the ground and river waters of western Bengal basin contain high amounts of pesticides and toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which is unfit to drink.
More than a hundred of samples were taken into consideration containing groundwater and river water both which is consumed for drinking purpose right from the Farraka Barrage to the Sunderbans. And the results showed high amounts of toxic chemicals.
In the words of researchers, ‘ the entire region has shown the existence of pesticides, chemicals and PAH for the very first time in the country’. The presence of POPs (persistent organic pollution pollutants), as pesticide residues and PAHs, were found out in-ground and river waters.
Professor Mukherjee and his team had taken samples from more than 230 locations for groundwater, 32 locations for river water and 20 locations for surface sediments spread across 350 km. The samples were studied for three consecutive years and the outcome showed the presence of toxins. In fact, some of the samples even indicated the presence of pesticides in drinking water 46 times higher than the allowed limits.
The study also found out that the rural areas contain a high concentration of pesticides (particularly agriculture districts like Murshidabad and Nadia) while as we go southwards, a high amount of PAH is seen in urban and semi-urban areas such as North 24 Parganas and South Nadia. The study was conducted in one of the densely populated areas of South Asia.
Image Credits – Future Directions
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