Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chaitanya Mallapur - 46 million Indians are being slowly poisoned

Around 46 million people in India – or the size of the population of Spain – are exposed everyday to contaminated water, which could lead to serious health issues such as crippling skeletal damage, kidney degeneration, cirrhosis of the liver and cardiac arrest.

Water from as many as 78,508 rural habitations is contaminated by arsenic, fluoride, iron or nitrate. Pesticides and fertilisers also contaminate potable water sources, according to data released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Arsenic poisons the water in 1,991 of these habitations, home to nearly 2.9 million people, and fluoride poisons another 14,132 habitations.

Only 35% of Indians in rural areas have access to potable water within their homes, while people living in 22% of rural households have to travel more than half a kilometre in search of potable water, according to the 2011 census. The United Nations observed World Water Day on March 22, 2015, and this year’s theme was Water and Sustainable Development.

Globally, an estimated 1.8 billion people are drinking contaminated water. The per capita availability of water in India was 1,816 cubic metres, as per the 2001 census, which has declined to 1,545 cubic metres as per the 2011 Census.

While drinking water is a state subject, the central government has been assisting state governments through the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). A primary focus of the programme is tackling arsenic and fluoride contamination of drinking water... read more: