To tackle rising cancer cases, Punjab to test tubewell water

Monday, February 14, 2011

CHANDIGARH - Acting after many cases of cancer and kidney-related disorders were reported due to drinking uranium-contaminated water, the Punjab government Monday gave the nod to test water samples of tubewells, fed by underground water tables.

The water samples of tubewells in all districts will be tested for uranium and other heavy metals, especially in the rural areas.

“Water samples from the tubewells will be collected and tested at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. We have directed the water supply and sanitation department to start working in this direction,” said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here.

“The water samples will be tested in a phased manner within the next six months,” he added.

Badal has also asked the principal secretary (health) to coordinate with the director of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here to get a research study conducted about the adverse effects of uranium-contaminated water.

Many cases of cancer and kidney-related disorders have been reported in Bathinda district of Punjab.

According to official records, so far 199 water samples from the districts of Bathinda, Mansa, Ludhiana, Moga, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar were tested in BARC.

“After analysis of the collected samples, we found higher level of uranium in the drinking water of 38 tube wells. To give immediate relief to the people who were being supplied contaminated water we have installed Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants,” said the government spokesperson here Monday.

Heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides over many years has caused the chemicals to leach and contaminate the underground water table.

Filed under: Cancer, Medicine

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