Kolkata: The West Bengal government has drawn up a master plan for providing arsenic free water to all the affected areas but the people need to be sensitized on the issue.
President of the Institute of Pubic Health Engineers K J Nath said at the discussion that most advanced and latest technologies have been used in the arsenic removal units attached to approximately 400 tubewells installed by the state government as part of the masterplan.
But many of these tubewells have various kinds of operational problems like damage to mega piped water schemes fed from arsenic free surface water sources (mostly the Hooghly river) by miscreants who cut pipe lines and steal valves. The locals have to be sensitised to take care of the projects, he said at a discussion Dwindling Freshwater Resources and Challenges of Fluoride and Arsenic Mitigation of Ground Water : Role of Innovative Technology in collaboration with Lehigh University, USA.
Recent epidemiological studies in the state, sponsored by the Arsenic Task Force and supported by PHED/UNICEF, show that in South 24 Parganas district of the 7683 people examined in 57 arsenic-affected villages, the prevalence of arsenical skin lesion was found to be 4.6 per cent. The study said in Nadia district, the same is found to be 15 per cent.
The Arsenic Task Force is an advisory body set up by the state government and comprise experts from different academic and research institutes of West Bengal and representatives of various state and central government departments like pollution control board, health and family welfare, surface water investigation, GSI, Department of Science and Technology and the referral state-run SSKM Hospital.