GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 251-6
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM


SINGH, Saurabh, DUTTA, Rathindra Nath, Columbia Asia Hospital, IB-193, Broadway Rd, Sector III, Bidhannagar, Kolkata, 700091, India and BHATTACHARYA, Prosun, KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 10B, Stockholm, SE-10044, Sweden

This paper is based on community arsenic mitigation work in villages of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar done with School of Environmental Sciences, SOES, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and Inner voice Foundation during 2004-2019.The Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra (GMB) plains of India and Bangladesh, are the worst affected in south Asia and currently over 100 million people are at risk from As contamination above 10 µg/Lin more than 100 districts of 12 states of India.Public health threat is very serious in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar due to high levels of arsenic contamination in drinking water sources for the population living in the Ganga plains. We have observed during our field work in arsenic affected villages of Ballia, Ghazipur, Varanasi (UP) and Bhojpur, Buxer, Patna (Bihar) that drinking water with more than 300 ug/L arsenic for several years have resulted in arsenical skin lesions. In villages our team spotted many villagers with skin lesions, hypereigmentation, and hyperkeratosis and hypo pigmentation. Children were also affected and many of the pregnant women suffered miscarriage, stillbirths as reported by our medical team.Nutritional factors, diet has an influence on prevalence of skin lesions. People with less nutritional food intake are more likely to suffer in villages. Due to poor socio-economic status, nutritional deficiency is prevalent in these two states, which indirectly enhances the risk of arsenical skin lesions.In above mentioned study area the water used from tube wells for irrigation is often arsenic contaminated.According to our latest field reports, parts of all states surveyed in the Ganga-Meghna-Brahmaputra (GMB) plains, an area of approximately 500’000 km and population over 500 million, are at risk from groundwater arsenic contamination.Safe water, raising awareness level about arsenic problem,involving community in all mitigation plans are required to tackle mass poisoning in these two states.

Key words: Arsenic, Public Health, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, toxicity, food chain, community, mitigation