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Northeast in troubled water!

High iron content in NE groundwater; consumption imperils human organs; among NE States, maximum iron concentration is in Assam

GUWAHATI, May 22: Iron contamination in groundwater has been found to be exceedingly high in the Northeast that may lead to debilitating diseases damaging human organs. Beware of the safest drink on earth then in the region!
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has found a very high concentration of iron in groundwater in most of the northeastern States, exceeding the permissible limit of 0.3 mg/litre. Among the NE States, the maximum concentration of iron has been observed in Assam (14.92 mg/litre).

According to data available with the CGWB, distribution of iron in groundwater with a concentration of 1 to 3 mg/litre has been found across Assam. But concentration of more than 3 mg/L has been found mostly in the Brahmaputra valley.

The results of high concentration of iron has been found after the CGWB collected water samples through its permanent network of 678 groundwater-monitoring stations in the Northeast, covering Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

Doctors at Gauhati Medical College & Hospital and experts at the CGWB said continuous consumption of iron-contaminated water may lead to a condition known as “iron overload” which, if left untreated, may lead to hemochromatosis, a severe disease that can damage body organs.

Water with high pH value (up to 9.5) has also been found in Assam. Consumption of water with pH value beyond 7 is known for leading to digestion malfunctions, cardiovascular problems, and extra burden on kidneys.

On other hand, barring Assam, other NE States are in the safe range in case of chloride content in water. Fluoride contamination of groundwater was found to some extent in Assam (5.2 mg/litre) where the value exceeds the permissible limit of 1.5 mg/litre.
The level of arsenic in groundwater in Assam is higher than the permissible limit of 0.05 mg/litre. The highest concentration of arsenic was found at Tipamia in Jorhat district (0.1467 mg/L).

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Ankur Kalita