Groundwater Pollution and Contamination in India

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The problem of groundwater pollution is not hidden by anyone. The high level of contamination in groundwater is one of the prime reasons for many health problems.

Groundwater pollution mainly occurs because of the various pollutants are released in the natural underground reservoirs, popularly known as aquifers. As soon as the pollutants are mixed in the water available in these reservoirs, they cause water contamination. The more pollutants released; the higher will be the contamination levels in the water.

The various contaminants that are mainly responsible for polluting the groundwater are as follow:

  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Uranium
  • Nitrate
  • Salinity

The discharge of industrial toxic elements along with fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollution sources has increased the contamination level in the water. Other than this, the various naturally occurring contaminations and human pollution further made the overall situation worse.

The majority of the Indian regions are facing the scarcity of safe drinking water. Thus, predictions are made towards the use of groundwater for drinking, agricultural and industrial needs. But, with the high levels of contamination in the groundwater, will it be even possible to use it for these various purposes?

Thus, the need is to understand the basic details about groundwater pollution in India along with its causes, effects, and the possible treatments that can be adopted for making it safe and healthy.

 

Causes:

Before moving any further, let us understand and highlight the major causes for the underground water contaminations in India.

Natural sources:

The various substances naturally found in the soil can eventually mix in the underground water making it contaminated for use. The most common and the majority of pollutants that mix with the groundwater are arsenic and fluoride, besides sulfates, chlorides, manganese, etc.

The contamination level in the groundwater due to these natural sources can be measured using a groundwater assessment platform or GAP.

 

Septic sources and systems:

Septic systems are widely used for disposing of wastes globally. The various septic systems are the major cause of water pollution and contamination. The pollutants from cesspools, septic tanks, and privies make the groundwater unsafe for use.

The improper structure of these septic systems along with the possibility of leaks causes various harmful chemicals to mix in the groundwater. Moreover, the septic systems used for commercial needs enhances the contamination by releasing trichloroethane in the water.

 

Disposal of hazardous pollutants:

The wrong and improper disposal of some of the main hazardous pollutants such as cooking and motor oil, paint thinners, medicines, etc. also contaminates the water. They are disposed of directly in the surroundings and the heavy movement of the water or other environmental factors mix them in the groundwater.

 

Agricultural wastes:

Agriculture is one of the strongest pillars of India but the major pollutants used and released during agriculture makes the groundwater unsafe and polluted for use. The use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals slowly moves in the groundwater.

It is not a hidden fact that pesticides remain on the ground for many years which when diluted with rains are mixed with groundwater making it all dirty and unsafe. Agricultural waste has also increased the salinity levels in the groundwater.

 

Industrial wastes:

Not many of us are unaware of the role of industrial waste is contaminating the groundwater. The various waste from the industries mixes with the ground soil which then gets in the groundwater.

The high amount of sludge disposal, leakages in the underground gas tanks, and the brine disposals are some of the major causes to pollute the groundwater to the maximum.

 

Impact on daily life:

The increasing contaminations in the groundwater come with various problems that adversely impact our lives. During recent times, many cases of health problems have been witnessed due to the consumption of dirty and unsafe water.

Some of the possible impacts that can be seen amongst the people are as follow:

Health issues:

This goes without saying that the regular consumption of contaminated water results in many severe health issues and problems. The consumption of unsafe water can cause problems like diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, polio, etc. It can also hinder the normal growth of growing adults.

The major health issues that the high level of contaminated water can cause are:

  • Damaged joints
  • Skin diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases
  • Cancer
  • The blue baby syndrome affecting the new-born babies

 

Spoiled soil and agricultural quality:

Another major consequence of the contaminated water is the damaged quality of the soil and agriculture. The contaminated water degraded the soil quality resulting in damaged productivity.

Even the higher salinity levels in the groundwater have impacted the productivity rates in regions like Punjab.

 

Economic impacts:

Other than the health and agricultural impacts, the spoiled water quality has impacted us on economic grounds.

Higher investment is needed to clean the dirty collected substances on the drinkable water sources. Moreover, frequent clean-ups also demand more funds, time, and effort.

Since water is a continuous need, it has become essential to look for some alternate water source to compensate for the present dirty and contaminated water which certainly has added to the cost.

Besides, the various treatments for the health issues and diseases caused due to drinking of contaminated water need higher cost which is counted as one major economic burden in the present time.

 

Environmental impacts:

Last but not least; the impact of contaminated water is also seen on the environment.

The higher level of contamination in the groundwater has resulted in the depletion of many essential nutrients. The fast depletion of such nutrients impacts the normal ecosystem in an extreme condition.

Since the various supplies of the groundwater are high in contamination, when mixed with the existing groundwater it further contaminates it.

 

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How to make polluted water safe and drinkable?

After being aware of the contamination levels in the groundwater, it is obvious to look at the various ways to minimize it. There is an urgent and a necessary need to control the groundwater contamination and pollutants to make it safe and drinkable again.

One can take preventive measures anywhere and everywhere to ensure causing any severe contamination risks in the groundwater. Here are some of the easy yet effective steps that can be taken to reduce the contamination levels in the groundwater:

Preventive measures at home

  • Purify water on a Best Water Purifier which work on RO+UV technolgoy, if your area have high TDS.
  • If water is low in TDS then Prefer Gravity Based Water purifiers or UV+MF Water purifiers.
  • Ensure proper disposal of all types of wastes without using any chemical down drains
  • Proper and safe storage of all the harmful chemicals to avoid their mixing with the water
  • Thorough testing of the fuel tanks for any kind of leaks or damages that can harm the water
  • Proper examinations of the surrounding land areas which are at higher risks of getting polluted

 

Preventive measures at work

  • Special measures should be taken to properly dispose of all the harmful and chemical waste
  • Thorough maintenance of on-site septic systems to reduce the risks of contamination
  • Finding an alternate substitute for hazardous and harmful chemicals
  • Ensure proper covering and maintenance of waste dumpsters

 

Preventive measures at the environmental side 

  • Regularly conducting an environmental audit to check the contamination levels
  • Frequent inspection of the high-risk areas to ensure their cleanliness
  • Keeping an alternate emergency plan ready for execution
  • Creating awareness amongst people about the various harmful consequences of groundwater contamination

 

Final Thoughts:

Water is the basic need of life and a higher level of contamination is reality. The higher level of contamination is a matter of serious concern that should be handled with proper and serious efforts. Focusing and acting on the various preventive measure is the need of the hour. So, when are you acting upon some of the safety measures?

We are open to any of your suggestions to maintain the cleanliness and quality of the groundwater. Also, for any of your concerns related to the same, please feel free to comment below for any kind of assistance and help.

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