the Below link shows bad effects of Endosulfan in karala used in
cashew plantations about which Rajiv Bhai was talking about in his
reference : Times of India news paper ,9 Jan 2011 , mumbai , page No 20
link is given above
ARE WE POISONING OURSELVES?
On January 1, the National Human Rights Commission asked the Centre to ban Endosulfan, the bug repellent whose use on cashew plantations in Kerala is linked to congenital abnormalities. But this is just one of many horror stories playing themselves out across India. Sunday Times profiles six locations that a government index acknowledges as critically polluted. In each, the locals live with poisoned air, water or food
Written by Saira Kurup
At least 43 industrial clusters across the country are critically polluted In and around Bathinda, 136 of 447 water samples were
found unfit for consumption Kanpur's water has four times the safe limit of fluoride, which
causes bone deformities ANKLESHWAR (GUJARAT) Toxic Town
Here, it is about working with substances that some allege to be poisonous. A worker in a dye factory reportedly finds his skin peeling off in strips each time he tries to wash off the blue pigment off. He is said to have claimed he was also finding it hard to breathe.Another man who works in a paint factory reportedly complains that his eyes water constantly.
These complaints should come as no surprise here. Ankleshwar topped the 2009 list of India's critically polluted industrial clusters. The list was based on the survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The companies involved insist there is no truth in the allegation they are simply poisoning the area. And yet, people in Sarangpur, Piraman, Dadhal, Koshmdi, Bhadhkodra, Pungam and Amboli villages —which ring Ankleshwar—insist they suffer from the toxic fumes discharged by the town's many chemical factories. The villagers allege the water is polluted too. Is this no more than a shadow boxing contest? Are the villagers, who "allege" and "claim" and "insist" destined to lose out to the companies that "allege" and "claim" and "insist"? In 2004, the Supreme Court ordered a special water supply for these very villages because it found the groundwater to be severely polluted. In March 2008, a team led by Dr N J Pawar, Suyash Kumar, and K D Shirke of Pune University's geology department said it had found critical pollution levels in 38 sample wells around Ankleshwar and from the local stream Amlakhadi.
The Pune team found high levels of molybdenum, zinc, lead, nickel, cobalt, iron, cadmium and chromium. The highest concentration of molybdenum was 2,760 ppb or parts per billion. The WHO standard is 70 ppb. The effluents treated here and in the neighbouring industrial estate of Panoli remain dangerously toxic. The Central Pollution Control Board sets a standard 100 for 'chemical oxygen demand' of effluent, which simply means that water has an acceptable organic chemical content and quality. But Ankleshwar's "purified" effluent has a chemical oxygen demand value of 1,156. A sarpanch in one of the affected villages claims "our groundwater is polluted because of the polluted local streams Amlakhadi and Chhaprakhadi. But no one in any of the seven villages raises his voice as the village representatives are harassed and court cases are filed against doctors who dare to speak. People lose their jobs if they complain."
MALWA REGION (PUNJAB) Cancerous Belt
From 'bread basket' to 'poison shaft'? Could this really be the state of Punjab today? Well, it is certainly becoming known for high rates of cancer, mental retardation and impotence. Some activists describe this as the consequence of fertilizer and pesticide misuse during the heady days of the green revolution.A study by the NGO Roko Cancer in five southern Malwa districts - Mansa, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar—detected 369 suspected cases of 3,345 mamographies conducted between October 2009 and October 2010. That's an 11% rate. "Excessive use of pesticides and changes in lifestyle are the main reasons for the high incidence of the disease," alleges Isha Bhandari, director of the NGO's India operations.Punjab's curse is equally distributed across rural and urban areas. Karamjeet Kaur, 42, is one of seven cancer patients in her Kothbai village in Gidderbaha. Manpreet Badal, her local MLA, says he has a list of 300 cancer deaths from his constituency alone. "In the 50 villages falling in my constituency, I have attended close to 300 funerals of people who died of cancer," he says. Jhoke Sarkari village in Faridkot district has 10 cancer patients — there have been 15 deaths from cancer in the last five years there. Children as young as 10 are old before their time — their hair is pepper and salt and they are arthritic.
None of this is surprising. Punjab's soil and water are heavily polluted. In December 2009, Bathinda health department conducted a survey of drinking water in both rural and urban areas. It found that 136 of 447 water samples were unfit for consumption. Another study, this time by British scientist Reyes Tirado, across 50 villages in Muktsar, Bhatinda and Ludhiana districts last year, showed that 20% of all the samples from wells had nitrate levels above the safe limits set by the WHO. In Ludhiana, the main culprits are the cluster of industrial units and households that discharge chemical and domestic effluents into canals. Surveys of its Budha nullah have found heavy metals and even uranium in the water. Pesticides have been detected in animal fodder, vegetables, blood, bovine and human milk samples too, indicating that the chemicals have KANPUR (UTTAR PRADESH) Water Woes
There is a commonality of suffering in Ghonghi, Rautapur, Makoor ka Majra and Vasco da Gama Nagar near Ajgain, Sehjani, Rupnikheda Jagatkheda, Magarwara, Dayalkheda and Sathra, all of which are in Unnao district. It's just next door to Kanpur. And all these villages share a dreadful tragedy—on average, at least one member of every family has a bone deformity. It's caused by the fluoride discharged by the tanneries clustered in the area. Many of the villagers find it difficult even to stand up straight. Gajju, 18, has twisted limbs and a fatalistic bent of mind. "They (the officials) have only given assurances in the form of aid. Despite a number of surveys and studies by the experts and officials in the past, none has come up with a proper remedy," he says.Orthopedic surgeon Dr AS Prasad says regular consumption of fluoride-contaminated water can affect both nerves and bones. "It makes the movement of limbs extremely difficult."
Safe drinking water is hard to find here — most sources of water are polluted. A survey conducted by the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Indian Red Cross Society found the fluoride content in the region's water was 8%, four times above the permissible limit. Villager Shiv Kumar Verma describes how hard it is to find safe water: "We go to far-flung villages to fetch water as the water available here not suitable for preparing meals. We bring water daily from nearby villages for our daily chores".
Verma says it's particularly "painful that nobody wants to marry our children".
Kuldeep Sengar is the local MLA and admits that "the contaminated water is also destroying crops and affecting cattle". He says there's really no way out except for the factories —the tanneries, textiles, pharmaceutical and dyeing units—to stop discharging effluents into the Ganga.
DELHI Capital Truth
When the backflow from the drain mixes with our water supply during the monsoon, then the water we drink smells bad," says septuagenarian Ram Gopal of Nehru Vihar. The colony is close to the tail-end of the Najafgarh drain's 61-km trail in the national capital, after which it reaches the Yamuna. The stench from the drain's inky black waters is difficult to ignore. Schoolchildren hurry by, holding their noses. Ram Gopal says many people are constantly beset by "stomach problems". What he does not know is that heavy metals have been detected in the drain water and the Najafgarh drain is ranked 11th on the Central Pollution Control Board's list of critically polluted industrial clusters in the country. The drain is also the biggest polluter of the Yamuna, contributing nearly 50% of the mighty river's contamination. There are sewage treatment plants along its path but these seem to have little impact. The drain flows through congested colonies in west, north-west and north Delhi. Why is it so dangerous? Suneel Pandey, senior scientist at The Energy Research Institute (TERI) offers some answers: "The major polluter is domestic untreated sewage. There are some small industries too, operating from homes which discharge effluents into it".
Delhi does not have large industrial plants but it does have multiple small, household units that manufacture insecticides and caustic soda and are engaged in dyeing, electroplating etc. These units are located close to the drain and discharge effluents into it. Unsurprisingly, studies have found that the drain has high levels of fluoride, nitrate, iron and chromium.Why does this matter, other than as an unsightly and smelly feature? Pandey says that "the high level of biological organic pollution can lead to infections". Experts say they're all but sure chemicals have entered the food chain. The drain's treated waters are being used for irrigation and aquaculture and the resulting crops can contain heavy metals.
"The uptake of chemicals from contaminated soil and water is much more in some vegetables like spinach, carrots and radish," says Ravi Agarwal, director of Toxics Link, Delhi. "You cannot do anything about it – 50% of the contamination stays inside the vegetable no matter how many times it's washed."
The health risks of these poisons include neurological damage in children, allergy, asthma, hypertension etc. "Chromium is a class I carcinogen," says Dr T K Joshi, director of the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Delhi. He fears that "the drinking water is not tested completely for all chemicals. People also throw pharmaceuticals into the water and these are difficult to remove. In the US, water is tested for 160 chemcials. I don't think that's done here."
CHANDRAPUR (MAHARASHTRA) Dust To Dust
Parvati Chaudhary from Nakoda village lives just about a hundred metres from the local cement factory. Two weeks ago, her 50-yearold husband died of chronic respiratory distress. She alleges that "he suffered from asthma for over six years due to exposure to the dust from the plant." Chaudhary is party to a public interest litigation filed by her neighbour Samuel Sundar against the cement company for pollution caused by its new unit. Chandrapur goes into a brand new decade hacking and coughing from the effects of the past. It claims to suffer from many chronic ailments. The sharp-eyed — and what big business calls the troublemakers—say it's because the town is in a mineral-rich region. It is home to Maharashtra's only super thermal power station, coal and limestone mines and sponge iron and cement plants. Its air is so polluted a thick smog routinely reduces visibility to just a few feet every morning and evening. The factories say they're not to blame, it's the townsfolk themselves—every winter, almost every home burns coal in an open angeethi or local burner.
The smoke from the domestic coal burners may be a factor. But what of harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, emitted from industrial units. Till now, there's no reliable data on groundwater pollutants but experts say that fluoride from the limestone mines is affecting the water quality. Dr Mahesh Gulwade and Dr Ashok Wasalwar, joint secretaries of the state-level and local chapters respectively of the Indian Medical Association, claim that at least 10% of their patients now suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, intestinal diseases, skin and eye diseases and even lung cancer.
Paediatrician Dr Gopal Mundhada is president of the Chandrapur Bachao Sangharsh Samiti and points to the most obvious indicator of severe water pollution—fish are dying in the Wardha and Erai rivers near the city. "Industries (707 in all) either do not run effluent treatment plants and the electrostatic precipitators or run them only for a few hours to save on electricity bills. They dump effluents in the river. The Pollution Control Board does nothing beyond seizing their bank guarantees, ranging between Rs 1 and Rs 10 lakh, which is peanuts looking at their turnover worth many crores," he says. Environmentalist Bandu Dhotre recalls how "even NASA has warned of the possibility of acid rain in Chandrapur district due to rising pollution levels. But the government is still allowing new industries in."
Suresh Chopne, an environmental activist and president of Green Planet Society points to a 2006 study conducted by the zilla parishad, which revealed that 10% of 23, 000 screened persons suffered from respiratory disease. The break-up was as follows:
19% acute respiratory distress.
There has been no comprehensive follow-up study ever since. Chopne got hold of this information using the Right To Information Act. But he is not triumphant, just downcast. "Things won't change until the local and regional leadership takes the issue seriously," he warns gloomily.
NOIDA (NCR) Effluent City
Our wards are full of people with respiratory problems, and cancer cases are on the rise," says a doctor with a government hospital here. He asks not to be named. If he's right, it's not hard to find the culprit. Noida's air is known to have benzene and alarming levels of benzopyrene, both from vehicular emissions. Both benzene and benzopyrene are known carcinogens. Even so, no study so far reveals any discernible impact on the general health of those who live and work here. Should Noida be given a clean bill of health then? Not at all, says Professor Arvind K Nema of IIT Delhi, who helped develop the methodology used to calculate the Comprehensive Environmental Protection Index that ranks Noida as the 12th most polluted industrial cluster in India.
Nema says it could be one of two things: "Either the data is faulty, or the effects of the toxins have not yet begun to show up in people."
The government hospital doctor adds a caveat —the link between air quality and lung problems cannot be established without proper studies.
That gap may soon be filled. By the middle of the year, the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research in Lucknow is likely to release the results of its three-year study of the contamination of air and groundwater around Noida's SEZ area. It looked for local evidence of respiratory problems and persistent health issues such as a recurring fever, renal failure and skin problems. Experts point out that much of Noida's population lives in close proximity to its industrial areas. Its pollution control measures have been found wanting anyway. Squadron Leader (retd) PJB Khorana, who is president of Noida Phase II Industries Association, has written many letters to the Noida office of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) about the alleged dumping of waste by a factory in the Phase II industrial area. He alleges that the Board "has done little up to now".
But Paras Nath, the Board's regional officer, clarifies that "the factory's effluent treatment plant (ETP) was not working properly. The factory was served a notice and the plant will be fixed soon."
But what of a larger, integrated action plan to tackle the industrial pollution issue? Nath says it's on its way and "will include regular collection and analysis of effluent samples, upgradation of ETPs that are not functioning properly, upgradation of Noida's air monitoring units, and beginning the supply of CNG—to pare down fossil fuel use — to industrial, vehicle and domestic users".
LOOK WHAT YOU'RE INHALING
Ghaziabad's air has 6 times the permissible limit of fine dust, which can cause asthma and bronchitis. Its surface water has 190 times the upper limit of cadmium — which can damage the central nervous system, and cause cancer — and 11 times the limit of lead — which causes kidney damage, miscarriages, infertility, and diminished learning in children.
Jodhpur's surface water contains mercury, which can affect the brain, the nervous system, and reproductive systems. If the metal gets into the food chain, it can alter DNA.
Manali, a suburb of Chennai, contains 7 times the limit of organic chemicals that cause photochemical smog which may lead to allergies and damage to the central nervous system. Some cause cancer.
Navi Mumbai has 5 to 9 times the limit of lead and benzene — which can cause rashes, headaches, vomiting, and cancer in the long run — in the air.
Singrauli has 6 times the permissible limit of mercury in its surface water.
Howrah has iron, which in high concentrations can damage the liver, spleen and heart, in its groundwater.
The Varanasi-Mirzapur region has high concentrations of lead in its air and phenolic compounds (which can cause cancer) in its surface water and groundwater
Reported by Paul John in Ankleshwar, Snehlata Shrivastav in Chandrapur, Balwant Garg in Bathinda, Vaivasvat Venkat in Ludhiana, Saira Kurup in Delhi, Faiz Rahman Siddiqui in Kanpur and Parakram Rautela in Noida
KASARGOD, Kerala, March 2001: Sainaba, a victim of Endosulfan, died after months of suffering