New hunt for arsenic solution

The Mahavir Cancer Sansthan & Research Centre has bagged an international project on arsenic remediation.

By Shuchismita Chakraborty in Patna
  • Published 25.11.17
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Patna: The Mahavir Cancer Sansthan & Research Centre has bagged an international project on arsenic remediation.

The hospital would be part of an international project on remediation of groundwater arsenic in Ganga river basin, which would be jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc), UK, (one of the leading funds provider for independent research on environmental issues) and Union ministry of science and technology.

The head of research of Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre, Ashok Ghosh, said: "This is the first international project for the hospital. The project is important because arsenic contamination has been found near 5-10km riverland area. While Bihar and Bengal has topped in arsenic contamination in the riverbasin, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is not far behind," said Ghosh.

On the project objectives, Ghosh added: "Investigating the vulnerability of representative shallow sedimentary aquifer (underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock systems) in the Ganges river basin to increase in arsenic in long time frame is one of the objectives of the project."

He said the UK-based agency and the Union ministry would bear half of the project cost. "Each would provide Rs 4 crore. While the Bihar-based river basin contamination part would be studied by our hospital, the Bengal-related work would be looked into by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee team. There would be another team to look after Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. All the institutions have to coordinate with each other in the research," said Ghosh.

The project also aims to put forth recommendations for the mitigation of human exposure and health risks arising from current and future arsenic-prone groundwater with focus on managed aquifer recharge, based on the data and models generated in the project.

"While National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee team, would be led by N.C. Ghosh, I would lead the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Research Centre's team. The IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Roorkee teams would be led by Abhijeet Mukherji and Himanshu Joshi respectively. The UK partners are University of Manchester led by David Polya, Salford University, UK, led by Debapriya Mondal and University of Birmingham led by Stefan Krause and British Geological Society led by Daren Goody," Ghosh said.#