Shantaram Naik MP today raised the issue of pollution of ground water in the country during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha and said that as per the report of the ministry of Water Resources groundwater in pockets of 158 out of the 639 districts has gone saline. It says in pockets across 267 districts, groundwater contains excess fluoride; in 385 districts, it has nitrates beyond permissible levels; in 53 there’s arsenic and there’s high level of iron in 270 districts.
Besides this, Naik said aquifers in 63 districts contain heavy metals like lead, chromium and cadmium, the presence of which in any concentration poses a danger.
Drinking fluoride-laden water beyond safe levels can lead to fluorosis which hits teeth and bones. Arsenic causes problems in the nervous system, reduces IQ level in children and in extreme cases can also cause cancer. Chromium is a known carcinogen. Presence of nitrates in drinking water leads to what is commonly called as blue baby disease which hits infants and can lead to respiratory and digestive system problems, he said.
Nearly 80% of India’s rural drinking water comes from underground sources, where there no facilities to carry on tests.
Referring to Goa, Mr. Naik said that Central groundwater board has carried surveys of groundwater in Goa since 1976. Goa, according to experts, Mr. Naik said, has about 2 MCM groundwater and it is exploited about 35-40 % but this is underestimate as government has no figures of groundwater use by private tankers and the industrial estates.
A 1994 study by Dr. Chachadi of Goa University and Glen Kalavampara has studied how tourism industry has affected groundwater in coastal area. The study was doen in dept. of earth sciences of Goa university and was titled-” Preliminary assessment of salt water-fresh water interface between Fort aguada and candolim coast, north Goa.
Besides, impounding of water for illegal pisiculture in low lying khazan lands of Goa also increases salinity of water in village wells nearby. This salinity however gets cleared after the rains, Mr. Nail said.
The wells near almost all industrial estates (Pilerne, Corlim, Tuem, Kundaim, Markaim, Cuncolim) are polluted due to contamination of groundwater. The groundwater table in mining area has affected due to over mining.