|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 100
Ground water arsenic contamination: A local survey in India
Arun Kumar, Md. Samiur Rahman, Md. Asif Iqubal, Mohammad Ali, Pintoo Kumar Niraj, Gautam Anand, Prabhat Kumar, Abhinav, Ashok Kumar Ghosh
Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Phulwarisharif, Patna, Bihar, India
|Date of Submission||12-Dec-2014|
|Date of Acceptance||13-Jul-2016|
|Date of Web Publication||09-Aug-2016|
Mahavir Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Phulwarisharif, Patna - 801 505, Bihar
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: In the present times, arsenic poisoning contamination in the ground water has caused lots of health-related problems in the village population residing in middle Gangetic plain. In Bihar, about 16 districts have been reported to be affected with arsenic poisoning. For the ground water and health assessment, Simri village of Buxar district was undertaken which is a flood plain region of river Ganga.
Methods: In this study, 322 water samples were collected for arsenic estimation, and their results were analyzed. Furthermore, the correlation between arsenic contamination in ground water with depth and its distance from river Ganga were analyzed. Results are presented as mean ± standard deviation and total variation present in a set of data was analyzed through one-way analysis of variance. The difference among mean values has been analyzed by applying Dunnett's test. The criterion for statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.
Results: This study shows novel findings ever done in this area. Halwa Patti and Doodhi Patti strips were the most affected strips with high-arsenic concentration in hand pumps. Furthermore, a correlation between the arsenic concentration with the depth of the hand pumps and the distance from the river Ganga was also a significant study.
Conclusions: The present study concludes that in Simri village there is high contamination of arsenic in ground water in all the strips. Such a huge population is at very high risk leading the village on the verge of causing health hazards among them. Therefore, an immediate strategy is required to combat the present problem.
Keywords: Arsenic contamination, ground water, river, village
|How to cite this article:|
Kumar A, Rahman M, Iqubal M, Ali M, Niraj PK, Anand G, Kumar P, Abhinav, Ghosh AK. Ground water arsenic contamination: A local survey in India. Int J Prev Med 2016;7:100
|How to cite this URL:|
Kumar A, Rahman M, Iqubal M, Ali M, Niraj PK, Anand G, Kumar P, Abhinav, Ghosh AK. Ground water arsenic contamination: A local survey in India. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2016 [cited 2017 Sep 23];7:100. Available from: http://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2016/7/1/100/188085
| Introduction|| |
In the present scenario, water pollution has caused lots of health hazards to humans. Developing countries bear the maximum burden of pollution in comparison to the other developed countries. Heavy metals as chemical pollutants in water cause severe toxicity, carcinogenicity, and severe health-related diseases in the population.  Natural as well as anthropogenic sources are quite responsible for the distribution of pollutants like heavy metals throughout the environment. Arsenic abundant presence in the earth's crust, especially in soil, minerals, surface, and groundwater has led to its vulnerability to cause contamination. 
The Gangetic belt constitutes of states Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal and the entire belt is the most populated area of India. The agricultural land area of this belt is highly fertile; therefore, agricultural practices are the main occupation of the population. In India, the arsenic-related health problems in the population were observed for the first time in the West Bengal in the 1980s with correlation to groundwater arsenic poisoning. ,, In the present scenario, more than 5 million people of the state are drinking arsenic contaminated water with concentration >50 μg/L. Most recently, these problems have also been observed in the districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. At present, in Bihar, 16 districts are reported with arsenic poisoning in groundwater. ,,, Semria Ojha Patti village of Bhojpur district was the first arsenic affected area of the state which showed high-arsenic concentrations in ground water with serious health-related problems in the population.  Recent findings have also reported high-arsenic concentrations in ground water in the three districts of Uttar Pradesh - Ballia, Varanasi, and Gazipur.  High-arsenic concentration in groundwater and its consumption by the village people has caused lots of health-related problems in the population in these areas such as hyperkeratosis, keratosis, melanosis, loss of appetite, anemia, gangrene, skin lesions insole and palm, and skin cancer. ,,,
In India, arsenic contamination in ground water is very severe in West Bengal, and now it has reached the Gangetic plain regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The most unfortunate part is that the village people of these arsenic hit area are unaware of arsenic contamination in their drinking water and are unknowingly consuming this water without aware of its facts as well as its consequences. In Bihar, the demographic assessment of arsenic in ground water is a meager reporting. This prompted us to evaluate the arsenic concentrations in the ground water of Simri village of Buxar district of Bihar, which is one of the arsenic hit areas of the state.
| Methods|| |
The study was conducted in India in Simri village of Buxar district of Bihar. The village is a flood plain region (25°38'17.6"N 84°06'49.4"E) of Simri Block of Buxar district. The population of the Simri village is 17,670 in 2011.  There are 2621 households in 2011.  The village is so large in area that it is divided into seven strips - Bakulaha Patti, Bhan Bharauli, Khaira Patti, Ramo Patti, Halwa Patti, Doodhi Patti, and Gope Bharauli. Among these seven strips, Doodhi Patti strip acquires the largest part of the Simri village.
Arsenic analysis and survey
For the collection of water samples, 500 ml polypropylene bottles were utilized and were cleaned and pretreated with hydrochloric acid. Altogether, 322 water samples in duplicates were collected from hand pumps of the households every 50 m of distance in each strip of the Simri village. After the collection, water samples were on spot analyzed utilizing Merckoquant Arsenic Field test kit (Merck, Germany). Final confirmation was done using Thermo Fisher ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer through the silver diethyldithiocarbamate method against a blank at 520 nm.
For the estimation of the per capita consumption of drinking water through hand pumps by the village people, a survey in all the seven strips of the village was conducted utilizing a questionnaire method. The questionnaire was filled after proper interrogation with elderly, adults, and youths of the village (2680 people) related to the amount of daily consumption of drinking from their hand pumps, their household hand pump depth, and their health-related problems. Handheld global positioning system receivers with an estimated accuracy of ≈10 m were utilized for the determining the exact location of the area. The correlation between arsenic contamination in ground water with depth and its distance from river Ganga were also analyzed.
Statistical analysis was done utilizing statistical software (GraphPad Prism 5), and the values were expressed as mean ± standard error of mean. The difference between the groups were analyzed statistically by one-way analysis of variance using Dunnett's test.
| Results|| |
Ground water arsenic contamination in Simri village
The Simri village is situated near the vicinity of the river Ganga. The nearest point from Simri village that is Khaira Patti strip to the river Ganga is hardly 1.65 km. The study also emphasizes that longer the distance from the river, the higher is the arsenic concentration in the ground waters of hand pumps [Table 1].
|Table 1: Comparative analysis between distance from river Ganga to different strips of Simri village, average arsenic concentration in groundwater in strips and average depth of hand pumps (analysis of variance test) |
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High prevalence of arsenic contamination in ground water was found after analysis of 322 water samples [Figure 1]. The different strips showed different patterns of arsenic contamination in ground water. All the seven strips showed a unique pattern of arsenic contamination in the groundwater as the middle region of the strips were arsenic free, but their periphery showed severe arsenic contamination in the hand pumps [Figure 2]. Among the most severely affected strips were Halwa Patti and Doodhi Patti where the arsenic contamination was much higher in most of the analyzed water samples [Figure 3] [Figure 4] [Figure 5] [Figure 6] [Figure 7] [Figure 8] [Figure 9] [Figure 10]. The Halwa Patti strip showed hand pumps with arsenic contamination between 60 ppb and 300 ppb while Doodhi Patti strip showed hand pumps with arsenic contamination between 60 ppb and 400 ppb. The average depth of the hand pumps in all the strips were 80 feet (24.38 m) [Figure 11]. The correlation between arsenic contamination in ground water with depth and its distance from river Ganga were analyzed which was found to be highly significant [Table 1].
|Figure 3: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in ground water in seven strips of Simri village|
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|Figure 4: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Bakulaha Patti strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 5: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Khaira Patti strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 6: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Ramo Patti strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 7: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Halwa Patti strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 8: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Doodhi Patti strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 9: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Bhan Bharauli strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 10: Graph figure of arsenic contamination in hand pump water in Gope Bharauli strip of Simri village|
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|Figure 11: Graph figure of depth of hand pumps in seven strips of Simri village|
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| Discussion|| |
The groundwater arsenic contamination has been well studied in the villages of Ganga Delta of West Bengal and Bangladesh. ,,, In Bihar, the similar trend in the ground water was firstly reported in 2002 in Bhojpur district  and then after, the number has increased to 16 districts.  The most of the arsenic affected districts are from the Gangetic plain area denotes again the onset of similar pattern in Bihar also.
The utilization of digging hand pumps in every household eventually started in Bihar in the late 1980s. But, due to the immense utilization of ground water for agricultural practices in the 1990s caused lot of damage at the geological level in the Gangetic plains. This in turn led to the lowering down of the water table in summer season causing oxygen to reach into the aquifers. The oxygen caused oxidation of arsenic-rich iron sulfide in sediments leading to contamination of the entire aquifer with arsenic after water recharge. ,, In Bihar, the arsenic poisoning in Buxar district has been well documented. ,
In this study, the groundwater assessment in Simri village is the novel work ever done in this field. The most fascinating finding deciphers that the arsenic poisoning in hand pumps of the village strips are in the periphery of it. The reason behind is that the village is located near river Ganga in oxbow lake area, formed due to meandering of river. Such area has alternating point bars and clay plugs. Usually, the population is high in uplands where new alluvium containing arsenopyrite is less and these point bars are insulated by alternating clay plugs which blocks arsenic mobilization from other point bars where arsenopyrite arsenic is higher. It is also interpreted that a free-moving groundwater flux is present in the highly permeable gravel and gravelly sand below the sequence boundary. The flux effectively flushes the permeable sediment, hence, the low-arsenic concentration. Arsenic-enriched water that percolates downward from the point-bar sand to the sequence boundary accumulates at the top of the free-moving groundwater flux; hence, the peak in arsenic concentration.  The second most important finding also deciphers that the strips which are closer to the river Ganga especially Khaira Patti and Ramo Patti are having low concentrations of arsenic in the groundwater but the strips which are far away from the river Ganga such as Halwa Patti, Doodhi Patti, Bakullaha Patti, Bhan Bharauli, and Gope Bharauli strips are having higher concentrations of arsenic in the groundwater. The reason behind is that the village is located near river Ganga in oxbow lake area, formed due to meandering of river. Such area has an alternating point bars and clay plugs. Usually, the population is high in uplands where new alluvium containing arsenopyrite is less, and these point bars are insulated by alternating clay plugs which blocks arsenic mobilization from other point bars where arsenopyrite arsenic is higher. It is also interpreted that a free-moving groundwater flux is present in the highly permeable gravel and gravelly sand below the sequence boundary. The flux effectively flushes the permeable sediment, hence the low-arsenic concentration. Arsenic-enriched water that percolates downward from the point-bar sand to the sequence boundary accumulates at the top of the free-moving groundwater flux; hence, the peak in arsenic concentration. 
The depth of the hand pumps of the village showed no arsenic concentration up to 60 feet but below that depth between 70 feet and 300 feet high-arsenic concentration was observed. The most affected strips were Halwa Patti and Doodhi Patti strips with high-arsenic concentration in hand pumps. The present research work on arsenic concentration pattern in hand pumps in the Simri village is the exclusive novel study ever reported.
| Conclusions|| |
Thus, present study concludes that the village people of Simri village are at very high risk as they are consuming drinking water having high-arsenic concentration in their hand pumps. This has led to severe health-related problems in the population of the village people.
Therefore, an immediate proper strategy is required to cater the health-related problems in the population of the Simri village caused by arsenic poisoning.
The authors are thankful to the Department of Science and Technology, (SSTP Division) Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi for the grant of this research work and to the institute for providing infrastructural facilities.
Financial support and sponsorship
Department of Science and Technology, TDT-SSTP Division, New Delhi, India (Government of India). Research Project No. DST/SSTP/Bihar/155/2011 (G).
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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