Geological Survey of India to assess groundwater contamination by heavy metals in Punjab and Haryana : The Tribune India

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Geological Survey of India to assess groundwater contamination by heavy metals in Punjab and Haryana

The project, to be executed over a two-year period, will cover areas in the districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Nawanshahr in Punjab and parts of Rohtak and Bhiwani districts in Haryana

Geological Survey of India to assess groundwater contamination by heavy metals in Punjab and Haryana

Photo for representation



Tribune News Service

Vijay Mohan

Chandigarh, May 27

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is taking up a project to determine the level of contamination by trace elements and heavy metals in groundwater in parts of Punjab and Haryana and prepare a geo-environmental map to identify contaminated and non-contaminated areas.

The project, to be executed over a two-year period, will cover areas in the districts of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Nawanshahr in Punjab and parts of Rohtak and Bhiwani districts in Haryana, according to GSI officials.

Trace elements and heavy metals are those whose presence in environment is in very low quantity and can be toxic to humans if consumed at high levels over long periods. These include mercury, nickel, platinum, thallium, uranium, lead, iron, arsenic, manganese and radionuclides.

The project will also trace the geogenic, that is, factors originating in the soil, as well as anthropogenic, that is related to human activity, causes of the contamination and suggest possible remedial measures.

GSI will execute the project in association with the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), with which a memorandum of understanding had been signed last year to carry out collaborative studies and exchange data, GSI officials said.

The project has been initiated in the backdrop of official reports that 13 districts of Punjab have arsenic values well above the safety limit. Further, groundwater samples collected from 15,384 homes in Punjab indicated heavy metal contamination.

GSI has earlier carried out several hydro-geological and geo-environmental studies in different parts of Punjab and Haryana to locate the occurrence of groundwater and assess the quality of groundwater from open wells.

High values of arsenic and fluoride have been reported in the groundwater of Majha belt in Amritsar and Gurdaspur, of selenium from Doaba belt in Hoshiarpur and of uranium and fluoride in certain areas of Punjab and Haryana.

According to experts, the highly industrialised areas of Ludhiana and Jalandhar districts of Punjab are also affected by heavy metal pollution. Seven districts of Punjab and 14 districts of Haryana have fluoride concentration beyond the permissible limits, according to the hydrological investigation carried out by the CGWB.

Some studies have indicated industrial and domestic effluents, aerosols, fly ash, exhaust from fertiliser plants, sewage sludges and pesticides as probable reasons for the presence of high levels of toxic contaminants in these areas.

 

 

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