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Groundwater Arsenic contamination in West Bengal-India (20 years study )

Reported work done by SOES

Groundwater arsenic contamination status of South 24-Parganas district, one of the nine arsenic affected districts of West Bengal-India

Location and demography
South 24 Parganas is the southern most district of West Bengal covering an area of about 9960 sq. km with a population of 69,06,689 (35,64,993 males and 33,41,696 females). The geographical extent of the district lies with a latitude of 20´20" N and 22´ 06" S and longitude 88´20" E and 88´60" West. Presently there are five sub divisions (Alipore, Baruipur, Canning, Diamond Harbour and Kakdwip), 29 blocks and 7 Municipalities. Officially there are 2087 inhabited villages in South 24 Parganas district.

Arsenic contamination status in groundwater of South 24 Parganas district
To date, we have analyzed 8334 hand tubewell water samples from 1374 villages/Para/wards in 79 GP’s/ Municipal area from 17 blocks of this district. Table I shows the distribution of arsenic in tubewell water from South 24 Parganas district. Figure I shows the groundwater arsenic contamination status in 17 blocks of South 24 Parganas with Pie-diagram distribution. Table I shows that arsenic concentration above 10 µg/L in 3500 (42%) hand tubewells and in 2359 (28.3%) above 50 µg/Land 547 (6.6%) had arsenic concentrations above 300µg/L. From the above analysis, it appears that groundwater in 12 block contains arsenic above WHO guideline value of arsenic in drinking water (10 µg/L) and 11 blocks exceeds  Indian standard value for As in drinking water (50 µg/L). Arsenic level above 1000µg/L was found in 30 tubewells; the maximum arsenic contamination level found in this district is 3700µg/L in the Baruipur block.  In blocks Diamond Harbour, Gosaba, Joynagar II and Thakurpukur all the tubewells analyzed were arsenic safe (below 10µg/L). The probable reason may be being coastal area most of the tubewells draw water from less contaminated deep aquifers. Many blocks such as Kakdwip, Namkhana, Sagar, Mathurapur are very near to the coastal zone so the number of hand tubewells are much less and if at all present they are deep tubewells. Although I did not cover these blocks but it can be predicted that tubewells in these blocks will also be arsenic safe.

Groundwater arsenic situation and sufferings of people in South 24-Parganas district

Block
Total samples analysed 
Distribution of total samples in different arsenic concentration (mg/L) ranges
%of Samples with As >10mg/L
% of Samples with As >50mg/L
Max. conc. mg/L (samples with As >1000mg/L

≤3

4-10

11-50

51-100

101-200

201-300

300-500

501-1000

Baruipur

4594

2298

182

552

482

495

209

194

156

46.0

34.0

3700 (26)

Basanti

10

8

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

10

Bhangar I

239

127

15

36

16

20

9

13

3

40.6

25.5

810

Bhangar II

195

95

3

63

24

10

 

 

 

49.7

17.4

164

Bishnupur I

203

133

9

32

11

5

3

9

1

30.0

14.3

521

Bishnupur II

6

5

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

16.7

0

40

Budge Budge

43

38

3

1

-

1

-

-

-

4.7

2.3

125

Canning I

14

9

3

1

1

-

-

-

-

14.3

7.1

55

Canning II

8

2

3

1

-

1

-

-

1

25.0

11.5

130

Diamond Harbour

157

157

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

<3

Gosaba

4

4

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

<3

Jaynagar I

175

101

4

16

16

19

12

5

2

40.0

30.9

590

Jaynagar II

11

11

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

>3

Mograhat I

25

23

-

1

1

-

-

-

-

8.0

4.0

55

Mograhat II

301

123

1

25

28

50

32

18

23

58.8

50.5

1040 (1)

Sonarur

2270

1195

202

412

164

140

62

66

26

38.5

20.3

2480 (3)

Thakurpukur

79

79

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

<3

Total

8334

4408

427

1141

743

741

327

305

212

42.0

28.3

3700 (30)

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