Article courtesy of Arunav Sinha | September 1, 2014 | The Times of India | Shared as educational material
LUCKNOW: Once considered an alien and virtually an unknown chemical element as far as city’s water supply is concerned, Arsenic contamination in the past few years has increased its presence felt in Lucknow and in its underground water resources. A study conducted by the Central Ground Water Board confirmed presence of arsenic above the prescribed BIS desirable limit (0.01mg/litre) in water samples collected from 10 out of 11 localities of the city. The Bureau of Indian Standards parameter complies with limit set by the World Health Organisation.
And it is the posh area of Gomtinagar, which has come under the vicious tentacles of arsenic contamination. A large part of Gomtinagar, also comes under Lucknow East assembly constituency, which would be voting on September 13 to elect its next representative in the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. Interestingly, the presence of arsenic in Gomtinagar exceeds almost three times of the BIS desirable limit (of 0.01mg/litre).
The study titled ‘Occurrence and distribution of Arsenic in ground water and surface water of Lucknow city’ has also revealed presence of arsenic even in samples of water from Gomti river — one of the major source of Lucknow’s drinking water.
The areas affected (in descending order) include Gomtinagar – 0.030 mg/litre, Vijaynagar – 0.023, Behsabagh – 0.022, Aliganj (handpump) – 0.020, LIC Hospital – 0.019, Transport Nagar – 0.018, Sujanpura – 0.017, Ashiyana Colony – 0.016, LDA Colony – 0.015 and Lucknow Zoo (shallow tubewell) – 0.010. Arsenic presence was found safe (below 0.01 mg/litre) only in water samples from Murlinagar, Udaiganj and Regiment Bazar (handpump) of Cantt Road area.
Groundwater experts say that the presence of arsenic is completely natural. “It is a general belief that rocks with arsenic eroded from Himalayas, got deposited as sediments in the alluvial layers of the Gangetic plain over thousands of years. Sedimentary rocks are supposed to contain higher concentrations of arsenic as compared to igneous & volcanic,” said a groundwater expert.