November 8, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The Punjab government here on Tuesday admitted that besides the declining water level, the state is facing acute problem of water quality due to high concentration of fluoride and arsenic.
Dr Veenakshi Sharma, Director, Water Quality, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, Punjab, who attended the World NCD Congress at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), said, at many pockets in the state the water was not fit for human consumption.
“Punjab is facing an acute problem of water quality due to high concentration of fluoride and arsenic. The areas of Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib are badly affected with fluoride and Amritsar and Tarn Taran belt with arsenic. Nearly 700 habitations have arsenic beyond the permissible limit,” said Dr Veenakshi while addressing the experts.
She added, “The department is installing different treatment technologies. Nano-based arsenic removal plants are being installed in arsenic-affected areas. Similarly, reverse osmosis (RO) plants area also being installed in affected areas.”
The extent of water pollution due to chemical toxicity and its health effects was presented by Prof JS Thakur from the School of Public Health, PGIMER.
“It is a serious situation and need to be addressed at the earliest. During a recent survey, we found fluoride, pesticide and heavy metals such as lead and mercury which cause cancer, skin problems, pulmonary and kidney problems,” said Prof Thakur.
He said some key recommendations were made during the session. Prof Thakur asserted that there should be a meeting of all stakeholder departments which should be chaired by the Chief Minister so that immediate action could be taken to resolve the issue.
“First of all, there should be a water quality testing laboratory in every district. The samples of all residential areas and villages should be tested every month and the report should be tabled before the Deputy Commissioner of the respective district. A quarterly report should also be shared with the PGIMER to seek opinion,” said Thakur. He added that a cooperative society should be formed at the village level for water management, reports The Tribune (TT).