Groundwater contaminated in 31 of 38 Bihar districts: ESR

PATNA: There is massive chemical contamination of groundwater in much of rural Bihar, where drinking water sources are unsafe for consumption and pose a health risk to the population, state economic report (ESR) 2021-22 has revealed.
The report submitted recently in the meeting states that groundwater in rural areas in 31 of the 38 districts is being affected by arsenic, fluoride and iron pollution. The affected districts are Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Buxar, Darbhanga, Katihar, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Munger, Samastipur, Saran, Sitamarhi, Patna, Vaishali, Aurangabad, Banka, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Jamui, Kaimur, Munger, Nalanda, Rohtas, Sheikhpura, Nawada and Araria.
“The high concentration of arsenic, fluoride and iron in groundwater in rural areas in 31 of the 38 districts poses a major health risk. There is chemical contamination in groundwater in 30,272 rural wards. A total of 4,742 rural divisions in 14 districts along the Ganges have been particularly affected by arsenic contamination,” the report said.
It said drinking water sources in 3,791 rural neighborhoods in 11 districts have been affected by fluoride contamination. There is excess iron in nine Kosi basin districts and some areas in other districts. Consumption of contaminated water causes skin, liver, kidney and other waterborne diseases.
The report referred to the internal assessment and findings related to the mapping of Bihar’s water quality by the Department of Public Health Engineering (PHED). The department, which is responsible for providing safe drinking water for the people in these affected districts, has started drilling deep-water wells.
PHED Secretary Jitendra Srivastava told PTI, “We understand the gravity of the situation, which has led the department to go for a mix of surface water and groundwater based schemes.”
He said the department has not only commissioned a tap water supply system, but also strengthened water quality monitoring and surveillance through a state-level National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratory (NABL),” he said.

Rahul Singh
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