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Posted at: Apr 22, 2019, 8:57 AM; last updated: Apr 22, 2019, 8:57 AM (IST)

Veggies near Buddha Nullah not safe: Study

Heavy metals such as chromium, lead, arsenic and cadmium found above permissible limits

Minna Zutshi

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21

Green, leafy vegetables are the best bet for a healthy, nutritious meals. But these very vegetables could pose a serious health risk if not consumed with caution. A survey has found that the vegetables, especially leafy and root vegetables, grown in fields near the Buddha Nullah contain heavy metals such as chromium, lead, arsenic and cadmium etc. above the permissible limits. Consumption of these vegetables laced with heavy metals has been found to be a significant factor in premature births, heart attack, kidney failure and mental illness among the consumers.

The recent survey was conducted by research scholar Jagdev Singh from the Department of Botany at the Lovely Professional University (LPU). Jagdev Singh, who is doing PhD under Dr Anand Mohan from the LPU, compared the population consuming vegetables grown along the banks of the Buddha Nullah with the people consuming vegetables grown in the fields away from the Buddha Nullah. He found a striking difference in the prevalence of diseases among both populations. Comparatively more people consuming vegetables grown along the banks of Buddha Nullah were found to be suffering from some or other kind of heavy metal related diseases than the people consuming vegetables grown in ‘normal’ fields. Shockingly, Jagdev Singh’s survey revealed that about 85% of the population was not aware of what heavy metals are and what damage they do to a human body. Only 15% of the population surveyed was aware of only one disease, cysticercosis, caused by the eggs of tapeworm through the consumption of unwashed cabbage.

“Heavy metal accumulation in vegetables and the health risk posed by them to the consumers is a great concern because once accumulated the heavy metals cannot be removed from vegetables by any method. So it is the need of the hour to conduct food and health awareness programmes among the consumers,” says Jagdev Singh. Heavy metals are highly toxic not only to human beings living near the affected areas but also a serious threat to ground and surface water resources, adds the research scholar.

According to Jagdev, it is urgently required that industries monitor the effluents and take necessary actions to properly treat the wastewater prior to its disposal in water bodies. It is also recommended that proper legislation should be implemented and monitored regularly, he says.


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