| BP Ojha, director, water quality cell, PHED, addresses the workshop in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna, Aug. 17: Researchers are working towards getting $7 million and facilitating sharing of knowledge with the Netherlands and Bangladesh to arrive at innovative, sustainable and pro-poor arsenic mitigation strategies.
It is feared that ground and surface water, soil and even food crops in 18 districts of the state could be contaminated with arsenic. The department of environment and water management of AN College is working on strategies to counter it. Today, it organised a workshop on “Arsenic mitigation in the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta” in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, and University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The interaction was organised as part of the procedure before submitting a final proposal to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)-Wotro for seeking funds to the tune of $7 million to execute a project on arsenic mitigation in the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta in India and Bangladesh.
The organisation funds and monitors research on global environmental issues.
Ashok Ghosh, professor-in-charge, department of environment and water management, AN College, said: “Our project was first among 10 shortlisted proposals at a preliminary screening by NWO-Wotro in May this year. We would submit a final proposal of our project in the first week of September which would be reviewed for approval.”
Stakeholders attending today’s workshop included state government and Central Ground Water Board officials and farmers affected by arsenic contamination.
Highlighting arsenic contamination in the groundwater in Bangladesh, Kazi Matin U. Ahmed, a faculty in department of geology at University of Dhaka, said: “Around 30 per cent of groundwater in our country is contaminated with arsenic and an estimated 30 million people are exposed to it. We don’t have advanced research facilities, so this project would help us.”
Ghosh said the project’s motive is to use advanced, but socially acceptable, technologies such as geoscience and remote sensing studies for arsenic mitigation.