Sunday, January 06, 2008

Only 2 pc of tube wells in Tarai have arsenic

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, January 5:

Only two per cent of the tube wells in the Tarai region have arsenic-contaminated water. Arsenic is a natural mineral which is found in underground water and is suspected to cause cancer if consumed for a long duration.

“It is a good news for the Tarai people that water from only a few tube wells were found to have arsenic contamination,” said Abadh Kishor Mishra, the chief of Water Quality Improvement and Monitoring Section at the Department of Water Supply and Sewage (DWSS), talking to this daily today.

He was citing the preliminary results of tests of arsenic contamination in water from some 735,000 tube wells across the country. The study shows that tubewells in Nawalparasi have the highest concentration of arsenic, while other districts like Siraha, Kapilbastu, Rupandehi, Bara and Rautahat also have concentration of this element.

The government, with support from various international donor agencies, is conducting arsenic test in water from around 1.1 million tube wells in 20 southern districts by the end of this fiscal year.

The project has completed testing tube wells in most districts except in Jhapa, Morang, Mahottari, Chitwan, Dang and Bardiya. He further said that precaution should be taken to avoid drinking water containing arsenic. “Even a single tube well with arsenic contaminated water is a national problem. We are fully aware that it is the state’s duty to raise awareness among the people,” he said.

He further said that the residents of the locality with arsenic-contaminated water have been requested to avoid consuming such water.
[ KATHMANDU, JANUARY 06, 2008, Poush 22, 2064]