| The students with the kit to reduce arsenic content in water at Gyan Niketan school in Patna. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Five Class X students of Gyan Niketan have come up with a kit to help cut down arsenic content in water by up to 50 per cent for a Central Board of Secondary Education science exhibition starting at DAV, BSEB, on Monday.
Guided by Binod Shankar of the department of environment and water management and school chemistry teacher Neetu Singh, the team, comprising Karn Kamal, Atishay, Ayush Kaushik, Ujjwal and Srijan, made the arsenic-removal kit.
Narrating the story behind the kit, Neetu said: “The main theme given by the Central Board of Secondary Education was ‘Science and Society’ and the sub theme was ‘Mathematical modelling related to daily life problems’. Maner was one of the most arsenic-affected areas. When we approached the department of environment and water management, we were referred to Binod Shankar and departmental head A.K. Ghosh. We had already tested the water drawn from different ghats of Ganga. But Prakash explained a lot of things to my team and encouraged them to make an arsenic-removal kit.”
Ayush Kaushik, a Class X student who along with Ujjwal played the role of team leaders, listed the names of ghats they went to conduct the survey — Bans Ghat West and East, Collectorate Ghat, Anta Ghat, Ghagha Ghat, Roshan Ghat, Devraha Baba Ghat, Chaaudhary Tola Ghat, Kadam Ghat, Loharwa Ghat, Gai Ghat, Adalatganj Ghat.
Ayush said: “The ghats were highly polluted and so was the river water. The ghats were scattered with polythene packets and bags, soap wrappers, while half-burnt bodies of humans and animals, flowers, garbage and wrappers floated on the river water.”
On the team’s excitement, Neetu said: “The children were so enthusiastic that the kit required so less number of things to solve the arsenic problem by up to 50 per cent.”
So, the Gyan Niketan team headed to five villages of Maner, around 10km away from Ganga. The team checked the hand pump water for arsenic. The students also conducted a detailed study of water from 12 different ghats and found out the presence of arsenic.
Neetu said: “The villages we covered were Ratantola, Gosaintola, Visenpura, Gaiyapur and Srinagar, where the arsenic level was up to 1,200ppb (per part billion) against the 50ppb standard for drinking water. We came to know about a man, Sipahi Ji, in Rampur village of Maner. AN College had installed an arsenic removal plant at his residence to help supply water to the entire village.”
At Ratantola, the team members found the arsenic in drinking water had caused gall bladder cancer, skin cancer, swelling in liver and kidney, gastritis, acidity problems and bone complications among villagers.
Neetu said: “The other four villages were no better. Gosaintola showed an arsenic level of 375ppb, Visenpura 800ppb, Gaiyapur 565ppb and Srinagar 380ppb. Their residents too suffered from various skin-related diseases.”
The team met Jitendra Kumar Singh, director of Mahavir Cancer Sansthan who explained the members about the diseases caused by arsenic poisoning.