Groundwater Contamination

  • Discharge of toxic elements from industries and landfills and diffused sources of pollution like fertilizers and pesticides over the years has resulted in high levels of contamination of groundwater.
  • Nitrate contamination, the presence of fluoride, iron, arsenic and heavy metals have also touched worrying levels.
Groundwater Contamination
  • The chemical quality of groundwater (GW) is monitored once a year by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) through a network of about 15,000 observations well.
  • In South Asia, arsenic contamination in groundwater in the Ganga- Brahmaputra fluvial plains in India. In West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh in the flood plains of the Ganga, Assam and Manipur in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra and Imphal rivers and Rajnandgaon village in Chhattisgarh state have been reported to be affected by arsenic contamination in groundwater. 
  • Landfill leachate is formed when rainwater infiltrates and percolates through the degrading waste, while landfill gas is a microbial degradation by product under anaerobic conditions. Its composition can vary widely depending on the age of the landfill and the type of waste that it contains. It usually contains both dissolved and suspended materials.

Central Ground Water Authority

  • A body functioning under Ministry of Jal Shakti. It was formed in 1996 by an executive order under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 
  • Functions:
    • Regulation & control of groundwater management.
    • Issues ‘No Objection Certificates’ for groundwater extraction.
    • Frames guidelines for sustainable groundwater in 22 States and UTs, where groundwater development is not being regulated by the State or UT government. 

Effect of Groundwater Contamination

  • Arsenicosis stands for arsenic poisoning, which occurs due to accumulation of large amounts of arsenic in the body. 
  • It leads to adverse health effects through inhibition of essential enzymes, which ultimately leads to death from multi-system organ failure.
  • Arsenic increases the risk of numerous illnesses. It leads to skin damage including keratosis and skin cancer, internal cancers such as that of the lung and bladder and diseases of the vascular system. 
  • Uranium toxicity can affect various organs and bones; however, kidney is most adversely affected. Also, radioactivity of uranium is also a major concern.
  • The contamination of groundwater in the area around the landfill site due to leachate from the garbage is a serious threat to the residents and the environment. Health conditions can range from sweating, bleeding stomach disorders, to blood disorders, birth defects, even cancer, medical literature tells us.
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