Calcutta, June 29: More than 70 lakh people in the state are victims of arsenic contamination, according to statistics available with the health department.
The records confirm that more than 37 per cent of the population in nine districts is still using arsenic contaminated water. Besides, thousands are suffering from lung, heart, kidney, liver and other ailments because of arsenic toxicity.
In the city, water in parts of Park Circus, Lake Gardens, Garia and the Maidan area has shown presence of arsenic above permissible levels.
To control arsenic contamination in ground water, the government-appointed arsenic task force recently organised a sensitisation programme for healthcare personnel from the districts.
The All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health has also sought help from private healthcare groups. “Scientists have not been able to predict where the next contamination will be detected. We can take precaution as a whole but not earmark areas as arsenic prone,” said Indraneel Das, whose brainchild is Arsenicfree, a gadget to remove arsenic from drinking water approved by the institute of public health.
A specialist in arsenic management, Das has been travelling across the districts and in the city for a ringside view of the situation before compiling a report. “Areas like Park Circus and Lake Gardens use water laced with arsenic and the number of such zones is increasing,” Das said.
Officials of the task force said experts from Mumbai and Delhi have expressed interest in working towards a solution to Bengal’s arsenic problem.
Belle Vue Clinic has decided to carry out arsenic research at Karimpur in Nadia district and in parts of Malda and Murshidabad.