Growing poison in groundwater

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According to the recently released Central Ground Water Board report, the groundwater in two hundred and forty nine districts of eighteen states of the country is saline, while three hundred and seventy districts of twenty three states were found to have fluoride above the normal standard. There are complaints of arsenic in one hundred and fifty four districts of twenty one states. Similarly, cadmium was found in groundwater in 24 districts, lead in 94 districts, iron in 341 districts and nitrate in ground water in 423 districts of 23 states. High nitrate content has been found in groundwater in 59 districts of the agricultural state of Uttar Pradesh, 19 of Punjab, 21 districts of Haryana and 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Explain that this problem is arising in these districts due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and unscientific techniques of irrigation. The increasing amount of nitrate in the water is increasing the digestion process and shortness of breath. In response to a question asked in Parliament, the Ministry of Jal Shakti gave details of groundwater pollution on the basis of the report of the Central Ground Water Commission. According to this, due to the dissolution of deadly chemicals in the ground water of more than 400 districts of the country, there has been a serious crisis of clean and pure drinking water.

While the groundwater of many districts already had more than the prescribed standards of fluoride, arsenic, iron and heavy, the content of nitrate and iron is increasing in most of the districts. Anthropogenic encroachment has been attributed to the increase in nitrates in groundwater. It is noteworthy that nitrate is increasing more in the groundwater of those states where indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers is being done in intensive farming.

The latest UNO report states that half of the world’s population does not have access to safe drinking water. In India the situation is more dire. The increase in nitrate content in groundwater under such dire circumstances is worrying. However, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the ministry said that as per a notification dated September 24, 2020, several strict provisions have been made for the quality of groundwater nationwide, including setting up of sewage treatment plants and removing all sources of sewage into reservoirs and rivers. closure is included. Under this notification, the Central and State Governments are jointly operating the Jal Jeevan Mission.

According to the health organization, water is the cause of about eighty percent of diseases. Human causes like increasing population, urbanization and industrialization have polluted our environment. Groundwater, which is a major source of water supply in the country. The presence of nitrates in it is worrying. Nitrates are compounds formed by the combination of nitrogen and oxygen, which are found in many foods for human consumption, especially vegetables, meat and fish.

It has been observed that due to excessive solubility of nitrate in water and low holding capacity of soil particles, water flowing from fields due to excessive irrigation or excessive rainfall carries nitrate along with it to wells, drains and canals. Thus the drinking water of humans and animals gets polluted by nitrates.

The consumption of nitrogenous fertilizers in the country has also increased greatly over the years. Scientists in many places of the country have considered nitrogen fertilizers as the effective factor of increasing nitrate concentration in groundwater. In rural areas, people use only nitrogen fertilizers instead of balanced fertilizers, due to which such a situation has arisen.

Actually, nitrate itself does not cause any adverse effect on health, but its reduction to nitrite certainly makes even a small amount of it fatal. When nitrate enters the body through water or food, it is converted by bacteria in the mouth and intestines to nitrite, which is a strong oxidizer. It converts the ferrous form of iron available in the hemoglobin present in the blood to ferric. Thus hemoglobin is converted into methemoglobin, due to which hemoglobin loses its ability to transport oxygen.

In severe cases, internal respiratory obstruction can occur, the symptoms of which can be recognized by the greenish-blue color of the skin and mucous membranes. It is also called blue baby or cyanosis. This conversion is twice as fast in young children as they are more susceptible to methemoglobinemia.

Russian scientists (Petukov and Ivanov) have also observed the effects of nitrate poisoning on the central nervous system. They observed these effects in Russian children only at nitrate concentrations of 105 to 182 mg per liter. Similarly, adverse effects on the heart vascular system have also been observed due to high nitrate concentration in drinking water. Research has shown that there is a close relationship between high nitrate-rich water and gastric cancer.

The increasing amount of nitrate in water also adversely affects the health of cattle. A study has shown that nitrate poisoning has been observed in milch cattle like cow, buffalo, goat etc. Oats, millets, maize, wheat, barley, sudan grass and rye grass are the plants in which nitrate content is high. If the fodder is grown in such land, which is high in organic and nitrogen content and nitrogen fertilizers have been used in excess or fertilizers such as urea have been sprayed in a hurry, then in such a situation nitrate poisoning in the fodder becomes high.

Nitrate poisoning causes gastric enteritis in animals. Sudden death due to this has also been observed of animals grazing in the pasture. Scientists at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute Izzatnagar (Bareilly) have targeted acute nitrate poisoning in calves and chronic nitrate poisoning in goats from eating Para grass. Highly nitrate rich water in arid regions of the country When thirsty animals drink too much water in the summer, nitrate poisoning develops in them, which sometimes leads to their death.

Now the question is how to reduce the increasing amount of nitrate in water? Why are governments not taking a serious look at the presence of nitrates in water? It is worth mentioning that water has been made a state subject. But the governments of the states are being more lax towards the increasing pollutants in the water. The attitude of the central government has also always been apathetic. In such a situation, there is a need to make water a subject of the Concurrent List. Better conservation, development and management of water, including groundwater, will be possible through consensus between the Center and the States.

Nitrate pollution has become a major problem in agricultural countries, whose elimination is absolutely necessary. The Ministry of Water Resources, in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board, should develop an effective mechanism to identify critically polluted areas located in dark blocks. All State Pollution Control Boards should put in place suitable and effective monitoring mechanisms. Today the conservation of water should be our special issue or concern, so that this problem can be prevented from taking a formidable form.

The post Rising Poisoning in Groundwater appeared first on Jansatta.


Shivam Bangwal

Shivam Bangwal is an Indian based entrepreneur who is a tech, travel and coding enthusiast with a post graduation degree on Master's of Computer Applications. He is a founder of Youthistaan, People News Chronicle, Hitchhike TV, Branding Panther and many more.

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