Arsenic and Fluoride Detected in Groundwater in Several Districts Across India

Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu, informed the Rajya Sabha that arsenic has been detected in groundwater in parts of 230 districts across 25 states, and fluoride in 469 districts across 27 states in India. The contamination, primarily geogenic, remains relatively consistent over the years. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) regularly monitors and assesses groundwater quality, conducting studies in collaboration with other institutions. The occurrence of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater beyond permissible limits has been reported in isolated pockets, prompting the CGWB to sign an MoU with the Geological Survey of India for further studies.

Key Points

  1. Geographic Spread: Arsenic contamination has been reported in 230 districts across 25 states, while fluoride contamination is observed in 469 districts across 27 states.
  2. Nature of Contamination: The contamination is primarily geogenic, indicating that constituents are naturally present in the rock or soil matrix and enter groundwater through various chemical processes.
  3. Monitoring and Assessment: The CGWB, along with the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), prepared a report titled “Mitigation and Remedy of Groundwater Menace in India: A Vision Document” in 2010.
  4. Focus Areas for Study: A recent MoU between the CGWB and Geological Survey of India targets groundwater contamination studies, including arsenic and fluoride, in eight states: Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Assam.
  5. Contaminant Concentration: The Minister noted that there is no conclusive evidence regarding an increase in the concentration of contaminants over time. Changes may be attributed to the revision of permissible limits and an increase in the number of sampling points.
  6. Permissible Limits: The increase in instances of arsenic contamination is linked to the revision of permissible limits from 50 ppb to 10 ppb by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 2015. The rise in fluoride instances may be attributed to the expansion of the monitoring network.



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