Dangerous Levels of Uranium in Punjab Waters Confirmed by ExpertsZEE NEWS
In what may
press the authorities to take steps to improve the quality of drinking
water in Punjab, the water samples taken from the state
have revealed high traces of uranium.
Reports said on Thursday, July 12, 2012, that the water samples taken from several districts in Punjab and tested by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have shown presence of uranium between 6 to 600 parts per billion (ppb), while the permissible limit is 60 ppb.
Bathinda and Moga districts of Punjab are the most affected, where the concentration of uranium is highest. Over 35 per cent of the water samples collected from Punjab has shown higher concentration of uranium than the permissible limit.
The BARC experts attribute high concentration of heavy metal to presence of granite in sub-soil
In view of the above findings, India's Department of Atomic Energy, through BARC, had already signed a MoU with the Guru Nanak University (GNDU) in Amritsar for the analysis of water in the state.
Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) R K Sinha has informed that BARC had conducted field experiments and used reverse osmosis technology for removal of uranium from water.
During a presentation
before the state’s Chief Minister, the AEC chairman
also outlined the measures for removal of impurities in water, methods
to increase productivity of crops, waste management and increasing the
life of crops.
The AEC chief has, however, ruled out that fertilisers were responsible for the presence of uranium in Punjab’s water.
Sinha has also categorically rejected speculations that uranium-contaminated water was the main cause of large number of cancer cases here, especially in the Malwa region.
He says, “Uranium can damage the kidneys, but there is no correlation between uranium and cancer,” adding that, “Tata Memorial Hospital will be carrying out a study to find a correlation.”
In view of the BARC report, Punjab Chief Minister has urged the experts to recommend a suitable water purification technology to improve the quality of drinking water in the state.
He has also asked AEC to send a team of water experts to suggest a time-tested technology to ensure supply of safe drinking water.
Edited for sikhchic.com
July 12, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: S. Singh (Sacramento, California, U.S.A.), July 12, 2012, 11:35 AM.
A recent study of uranium in the water supply and cancer in North Caorlina, USA, directly contradicts Sinha's statement: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21080052 There IS a correlation.
2: Gurpreet Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), July 12, 2012, 12:05 PM.
Sikh organizations of South Africa and the people of Punjab should honour and thank Carin Smit for highlighting this issue through her research a few years ago: http://carinsmit.co.za/
3: G.C. Singh (USA), July 12, 2012, 1:51 PM.
R.K. Sinha, Chairman of Indian Atomic Commission, is not telling the whole truth and is trying to shield the Indian Government, whose policies have caused this tragedy. While Bhakra Dam power is being transferred to other states, Punjab is being inundated with coal-fired power plants by private companies by bribing the Punjab politicians who help them steal land from the Sikh farmers. An investigation carried out by the Observer newspaper in 2009 revealed the possible cause of contamination of soil and ground water in the Malwa region of Punjab to be the fly ash from coal burnt at the thermal power plants, which contains high levels of uranium and ash as the region has the state's two biggest coal-fired power stations. Tests on ground water carried out by Dr Chander Parkash, a wetland ecologist and Dr Surinder Singh, also at Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, found the highest average concentration of Uranium at 56.95mcg/l in the town of Bhucho Mandi in Bathinda district, a short distance from the ash pond of Lehra Mohabat thermal power plant. At village Jai Singh Wala, close to the Batinda ash pond, similar test results showed an average level of 52.79mcg/l. In 2009, under a Greenpeace Research Laboratories investigation, Dr Reyes Tirado from the University of Exeter, UK, a study conducted in 50 villages in Muktsar, Bathinda and Ludhiana districts, revealed chemical, radiation and biological toxicity rampant in Punjab. 20% of the sampled wells showed nitrate levels above the safety limit of 50 mg/l, established by WHO, the study connected it with high use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. With increasing poisoning of the soil, the region once hailed as the home to the Green revolution, now due to excessive use of chemical fertilizer, is being termed the "Other Bhopal".