You can run, you can hide but death will certainly find you any way. Your parents and your love ones will be dying in front of your eyes but you will be helpless to help them out. Believe me, just after next 5 years during the year 2015 about 10 millions people will die, about 25 million people will suffer from deadly diseases. And 25 % of the urban population will end up their lives. Yes ! The end is coming towards your town..
Change or die..
Deteriorating quality of water is a particular threat in India, where hundreds of millions of people lack access to clean drinking water and a large quality of sewage is discharged into surface waters without waste waste treatment. In most of the cities people compete for access to polluted water to satisfy their consumption needs. With many water shot households forced to rely on contaminated water supplies, waterborne diseases like schistosomiasis. jaundice and cholera are on the rise.
Clean Water is absolutely essential for healthy living. Natural water from the streams, rivers, wells and ponds is normally clean and hygienic. Human activities specially the industrial ones, bring contaminants into the natural resources including the underground water. The contaminates could be in the form of discharge at a higher temperature making the water resource unfit for aquatic life. The sewage flow containing microbes responsible for dreaded diseases like hepatitis, cholera and diarrhea has often been the culprit in developing countries for such diseases in epidemic form.
More dangerous than sewage contamination is the chemical contamination that may be from radioactive substance with a large decay time, though this is rather rare. The chemical contamination id difficult to detect for the laymen as these are at a very low concentration to give any taste and smell and yet over a long period of intake may cause irreversible damaged. The chemicals often of salt-type cause hardness in water. The pesticides like DDT and fertilizers often in use of enhancing agriculture output and perseverance of the product passes into the ground water and keep in circulation through the food chain in the human body. The DDT accumulates in the fatty deposits of the body and is very difficult to get rid off. It has reached extremely high concentration in India and other developing countries. It is the cause of several metabolic disorder and slow development of several forms of tissue growth and perhaps cancer.
The contamination of arsenic in ground water was detected in India about twenty years ago. This was in certain parts of West Bengal. A large number of hand operated water pumps were installed in rural areas to provide clean drinking water. the water quality was also examined. Arsenic was the element not examined because it was never expected. Arsenic in ground water, since then, has been detected in Bangladesh, China, Mongolia, Nepal, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Taiwan and the US. This is perhaps the one element in drinking water which has caused the slowly developing sickness in a population as large as ten-million in an epidemic form. It has not been possible to find out from where the arsenic has come to get concentrations as high as 50 to 180 parts per billion against the permissible limit of 10 parts. there is no other remedy except to discourage use of such water even for irrigation purpose. In the latter case, arsenic finds its way through the food chain in the human body.
Lead in another toxic element which finds its way into the drinking water. The pipe lines supplying water are lead based because of their corrosion resistance. Water flowing through these lines dioxides which is highly insoluble. A change in the chemistry of flowing water may dissolve lead dioxide to soluble lead.
Chlorination is done in water works to purvey water. However, this process also leads to formation of halogenated organic compounds which are in may cases carcinogenic. Therefore, the chlorination is being replaced with treatment with chloramines. Chloramines, however, are less oxidizing and lead to the distribution of lead in the drinking water. This has been reported from several towns in the US. The remedy lies in replacing the lead based pipelines’. Easier said that done.
Aluminum is another metal which enters the human body through drinking water though it is less toxic; it has been linked with premature graying of hairs, kidney damage and Alzheimer’s disease. Alum is being used for cleaning of water in water works since long times. Its concentration should walks be chucked with reference to supplied water rather than treated water.
Fluoride in drinking water, if present in large amounts has been known to cause fluorosis. There are large endemic areas such as Rajasthan. The nutritional factors are known to prevent fluorosis. These are regional in nature and perhaps have evolved through experience well-spread over several generation.
Water testing for drinking purpose and other uses such as irrigation should be a continuing process and must be frequently updated. It should be a part of health maintaining process of the local authorizes. Slackness in this direction has always proven to disastrous as well as costly to the nation.
It is no misnomer that the Earth is often referred as to as ‘the water planet’. The earth is unique among planets of our solar system, largely because of it abundant water –in oceans, in the atmoshpere, in glaciers and as fresh water on land. Without clean pollution free water, life as we know it , would not exist.
Save the planet
Even though water us abundant, the amount of potable unpolluted water available is a tiny fraction of the total amount of water even in the world, not to talk of India. The vast majority of the world’s water is in the oceans, but because of the pretense of slats in ocean water it is largely unsiuatble for use. Water is life, but the supply of fresh water is limited, vulnerable to human abuse and not evenly distributed in both time and space. We have to guard against non-sustainable practice to ensure its regular and sufficient supply. We have only two options; Change or die…
About the author : K.K Srivastava is the former Director, DRDO.
Edited by Users
Groundwater Level Plummets In North India
NASA Findings Present A Grim Picture
At a time when the bleak specter of drought looms large over India, some recent findings made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of USA have confirmed what many Indian scientists and agriculture experts had long been aware of. The government as well as the experts have for quite some time been aware of the fact that the groundwater level in some parts of India has been declining at a steady pace. Inconsistent crop patterns and deficient produce in various regions of the nation are proof enough to it. In such a gloomy backdrop, the NASA report, which reveals that the groundwater levels in northern India have been declining by as much as 33cm (one foot) per year over the last decade, has come across as an ominous sign of the things to come in near future.
NASA’s Propulsion Laboratory released the report in mid-August 2009. According to the NASA release, more than 108 cubic kms (26 cubic miles) of groundwater disappeared from aquifers in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi between 2002 and 2008. The NASA scientists found a fitting analogy to highlight the ominous nature of the phenomenon. The spokesman for the team of scientists involved in the project said, “The amount of groundwater lot in northern India between 2002 and 2008 is enough to fill Lake Mead, which is the largest man-made reservoir in the US, three times.” Indeed, the amount of groundwater lost is more than the water stored in some of the biggest surface reservoirs of the world. It may be mentioned in this context that the total water loss during the period under consideration is equivalent to double the storing capacity of the Upper Wainganga Reservoir in Madhya Pradesh, which is India’s largest surface water storage facility.
The rate of groundwater depletion in the area under consideration is indeed very alarming, to say the least. This brings to mind an obvious question : what may be the reason behind the groundwater vanishing so fast in the said area? This particular question befuddled the scientists as well, and they tried to ascertain the factors behind the phenomenon. The team of distinguished hydrologists, led by Matthew Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, found that northern India’s underground water supply is being pumped and consumed by human activities, which include irrigating cropland among other thing. As a result of this excessive utilization, the aquifers in the aforementioned States are being drained faster than the natural processes can replenish them.
The latest finding are based on images captured by NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites that have the special ability to perceive the changes in the Earth’s gravitational field and related distribution of mass, including water masses stored above the surface of the Earth such as dams, seas, etc., as well as those below the surface of the Earth. Using the observations made by GRACE, scientists can monitor and tell water storage changes in critical areas of the world without actually visiting those areas.
The findings made by NASA are not exactly identical to the estimates made by the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of India. The data provided by the Indian Government to NASA also suggested that the groundwater depletion in northern India is exceeding natural replenishment. However, the data sent by India was somewhat vague regarding the actual rate of depletion and the reasons behind it. On the contrary, the result of the NASA research implied that the amount of irrigated water that goes out from aquifers and the rate of groundwater withdrawal were substantially higher than the estimates made by the Government of India. In addition, the government cited natural climate variability as a main reason. In this regard, the NASA report said that while 2002 was a dry year, 2003 and 2008 were wet years and rainfall in the other years was within a few centimeters of normal. Hence, the reduction in groundwater levels cannot be attributed to natural climate variability alone, because there was no rainfall decline during the six years under consideration. Instead, there is a substantial possibility that the depletion has been caused by irrigation and other human activities.
The findings came simultaneously with the Meteorological Department of India’s indication towards the alarming possibility of drought, as it downgraded its seasonal rain forecast for the country to 87 percent of its regular monsoon quota (88cm) from its June 2009 forecast of 93 percent. The researchers have warned that unless quick countermeasures are adopted, 11,40,00,000 residents of the region may soon face a shortage of not only agricultural produce but also of potable water.
What has further aggravated the problem is the fact that there is every possibility of fresh water supply becoming the most contentious issue worldwide in the coming decades, especially in the densely populated nations like India. The lack of availability of fresh water has long been a grave issue in the Indian context. It is for quite some time that unsustainable water use has been a major threat to agricultural production in India. It has raise the specter of major water crisis in the years to come. The issue of water shortage has been recognized as a serious problem for a long time. The major reasons behind this problem include avoidable wastage of water resources; indiscriminate use of canal water; poor condition of irrigation facilities; corruption in the Irrigation Department, etc. Not that the government has not been trying to rectify these problems. But one thing has to be kept in mind always that merely passing regulations cannot be a long-term remedy. Mere regulations are not sufficient to reduce this rampant wastage and misuse of water resources. What is more important is the strict execution of the rules. In addition, induction of proper methods of irrigation, making efficient use of water (such as drip irrigation), etc., can go a long way in saving both the water resources and the degradation of land.
Some quarters have also expressed the opinion that the rapid rate of groundwater depletion indicates that the Green Revolution has been a roaring success in these north Indian States. It may be mentioned here that the paddy crop was introduced in the region during the Green Revolution. The paddy crop requires a lot of water and that is why it i not very much suitable for States like Punjab and Haryana, which traditionally lack groundwater. These two States are annually producing a large quantity of rice, which is taking a heavy toll on the already depleted groundwater resources of the region. In this regard experts suggest that in order to reduce the decline of water levels in north India, the most desirable step would be to change the agricultural habits of the farmers of the region and introduce alternative crops which do not rely as heavily on water as rice does.
Water is more important than any other resource for the uninterrupted existence of mankind. if the current trend continues, it will, in near future, surely lead to widespread socio-economic stresses and other tensions in the society. Keeping this in view, it is the time all the stakeholders involved, including the government, the people, various concerned organizations, etc., made serious and conscious efforts to prevent this catastrophe.