Majority of India has likely been drinking 'poisonous' water, according to the government's research on ground water, a major water supply source to many residents of the country.
The research has presented data showing the current conditions of drinking water in the country.
The figures presented by the Indian government show that resident might have been drinking 'poisonous' water for a long time now.
The data says that most of the districts, of almost all the states, of the country were found with excess amounts of toxic metals in the groundwater, reports Live Mint.
India has also been suffering due to severe water shortage during heat waves covering the northern regions through May.
In some parts of 209 districts of 25 states, the amount of arsenic in groundwater is more than 0.01 mg per liter.
While, 491 districts of 29 states show that the amount of iron is more than 1 mg per liter. About 29 districts of 11 states show cadmium is more than 0.003 mg per liter.
Over 62 districts of 16 states show the amount of chromium is more than 0.05 mg per liter.
Who is exposed to the 'poisonous' drinking water?
More than 80% of the country's population gets water from the ground. Therefore, if the amount of hazardous metals in groundwater exceeds the prescribed standard, it means that the water is becoming 'poison', according to a document of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
About 671 reidential areas are affected by fluoride, 814 areas with arsenic, 14,079 areas with iron, 9,930 areas with salinity, 517 areas with nitrate and 111 areas with heavy metals.
The problem is more serious in the villages than in the cities, as more than half of India's population lives in villages. The main sources of drinking water here are hand pumps, wells, rivers or ponds. Here, water comes directly from the ground. Apart from this, there is usually no way to clean this water in villages. Therefore, people living in rural areas are forced to drink poisonous water.
Effects of toxic water
The amount of arsenic, iron, lead, cadmium, chromium and uranium in groundwater exceeding the prescribed standard of drinking water has a direct effect on our health.
Excess arsenic means increased risk of skin diseases and cancer, while excess iron can mean diseases related to the nervous system like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
High amount of lead in water can affect our nervous system, while high amounts of chromium can cause diffuse hyperplasia in the small intestine, which increases the risk of tumors.
High levels of cadmium increase the risk of kidney diseases, while excess amount of uranium in drinking water increases the risk of kidney diseases and cancer.
Preventive measures of the government
In the presentation, the central government informed that the matter of contaminated water is a state subject and it is the responsibility of the states to provide drinking water to the people. The central government further informed that they are also running many schemes to provide clean drinking water.
On 21 July, the government had told Lok Sabha that the Jal Jeevan Mission that was launched in August 2019, will see to it that every rural household gets drinking water through taps by 2024.
They further informed that out of 19.15 crore rural households in the country, 9.81 crore households are being supplied tap water so far.
Apart from this, AMRUT 2.0 scheme has been started by the central government in October 2021. Under this, a target has been set to supply tap water to all cities in the next 5 years ie by 2026.