West Bengal || Bangladesh
Middle Ganga Plain, Bihar ||
North 24-Pargana District
The area and population of North 24- Parganas are 4093.82 sq.km and 7.3 million respectively. From all 22 blocks of North 24-Parganas, we have so far analyzed 52475 water samples, and in 21 out of 22 blocks, groundwater has been above 50 µg/l and in 21 blocks above 10 µg/l (Figure 2). Out of total 52475 samples analyzed, 53.01% contains arsenic above 10 µg/l and 29.63% above 50µg/l. Total 22500 hair, nail and urine samples have also been analyzed at random from people of the affected 16 blocks and an average 75% of the people have arsenic in biological samples above normal level. Thus, many people are expected to be sub-clinically affected. Detailed survey report of North 24-Parganas is given in Table 2. According to our present calculation on the basis of number of hand tube-wells we had analyzed and people drinking water from each contaminated tube-well and extrapolation of the data reveals that about 2.1 million people were drinking arsenic contaminated water above 50 µg/l from North 24-Parganas alone. Even today, the number of affected villages is steadily on the rise and some of the villagers are totally ignorant of the fact that they are drinking contaminated water, which in turn, is responsible for their skin lesions. During our preliminary screening of 33000 people from 16 of the said 21 blocks where groundwater contains arsenic more than 50µg/l, we have registered 2274 (6.8%) patients suffering from arsenic related diseases.
Table 2: Arsenic situation in North 24-Pargana one of the nine arsenic affected districts of West Bengal-India