Arsenic Contamination Current Affairs

ADB to $245 million provide loan for safe, sustainable drinking water service in West Bengal

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved financing package of $245 million to implement project for providing safe, sustainable drinking water service to million people in three districts of West Bengal affected by arsenic, fluoride, and salinity. The project will provide continuous potable water through metered connections to about 390,000 individual households in three districts of North 24 Parganas, Bankura and Purba Medinipur. This project will play pivotal role in reducing burden of disease from arsenic and fluoride while preserving groundwater and enhancing climate resilience.

Key Facts

Through this project, potable water will be provided through bulk water systems, consisting of intakes, water treatment plants and transmission mains that will be connected to grid with existing and new systems in these three districts. The project will use high-technology based smart water management system to efficiently manage services. It will be first of its kind technology to be used for large scale rural water schemes in India.

The total cost of project is $349 million, for which ADB will provide loan of $240 million and grant of $3 million will be provided from Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction financed by Government of Japan. The West Bengal government will provide $106 million in funding. The project is due for completion in June 2024. This project will play important role in capacity building of institutions and stakeholders involved in delivering drinking water services.

Background

High arsenic and fluoride levels in drinking water are serious threat to public health in India. About 85% of water in India’s rural areas comes from groundwater and around 27 million people are at risk from arsenic and fluoride contamination. West Bengal is by far worst affected state in high arsenic and fluoride levels in drinking water in India. Arsenic in drinking water can lead to range of serious health problems including cancer, while high exposure to fluoride can cause dental or skeletal fluorosis and bone diseases.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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1.04 crore people hit by arsenic contamination in Bengal: Report

According to recent report tabled in the Lok Sabha, West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic-affected people in the country. State’s 83 blocks in eight districts have ground water affected by arsenic contamination.

Despite the State government’s efforts to curb the Arsenic menace, there is still a lot to be done. So far, state government was able to provide safe drinking water to 52% of the arsenic-affected areas in Bengal.

Key Facts
  • The total number of arsenic-affected people in the country is about 1.48 crore (as of March 2017).
  • West Bengal has topped the list with more than 1.04 crore arsenic-affected persons.
  • Bihar is second with 16.88 lakh persons, with Assam is third with 14.48 lakh victims.
  • According to the WHO’s guidelines for drinking water quality (2011), the permissible limit of Arsenic in groundwater is .01 m/ litre.
  • However, in India the permissible limit in drinking water was only recently been revised from .05 mg/litre to .01 mg/litre.
  • West Bengal government recently had initiated a project to provide safe drinking water to more than six lakh people in the arsenic-affected blocks.
  • However, there is slow progress in setting up water treatment plants since the technology for removal of arsenic is new and expensive.

About Arsenic Contamination

  • Arsenic is a natural component in the earth’s crust. It is widely distributed throughout the environment in the air, water and land. It is highly toxic in its inorganic form.
  • Contaminated water used for drinking, irrigation of food crops and food preparation poses the greatest threat to public health from arsenic.
  • Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking-water and food can lead to chronic arsenic poisoning. It can cause cancer, skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.
  • The most important action in affected communities is the prevention of further exposure to arsenic by providing them of a safe water supply.
  • It is a high-profile problem in the Ganges Delta, due to the use of deep tubewells for water supply. The groundwater in these tubewells have high concentrations of arsenic in deeper levels .

Arsenic contamination

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018States Current Affairs - 2018

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