Water of death

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

THE country's "gravest ecological disaster" is shaping up in West Bengal. Concerned by the extent of arsenic poisoning, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an updated and detailed report on arsenic poisoning in six districts - Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, Burdwan and the Z4 Parganas (North and South).

The NHRC move came in response to a petition filed by a Delhi-based advocate and a British human rights activist who have asked the commission to look into reported incidents of lakhs of people getting disabled or dying because they have to drink water from contaminated wells as no other source has been provided by the government. According to the petitioners, about 1,65,000 people were suffering from incurable diseases and the lives of 7.5'-Iakh people were at risk. Water samples from the affected districts have shown an arsenic content 25 times higher than the safety level prescribed by the World Health Organization. The commission has called for the report by the middle of May.

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