Bhopal: Contaminated ground water found in 29 more colonies, claim gas survivors

Representatives of the Sadbhavna Trust addressed the media on the eve of World Environment Day on Saturday on the continuing spread of poisonous chemicals in the groundwater in Bhopal.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Saturday, June 04, 2022, 03:17 PM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The members of Sadbhavna Trust Clinic have claimed that they have found evidence of the spread of contamination to 29 new colonies in addition to the 42 colonies identified by the Indian institute of Toxicology Research in June 2018.

Representatives of the Sadbhavna Trust addressed the media on the eve of World Environment Day on Saturday on the continuing spread of poisonous chemicals in the groundwater in Bhopal.

"In the last one year we have tested samples of groundwater from 34 colonies adjacent to the area reported to have contaminated groundwater by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research. We found strong evidence of the presence of organo-chlorines in samples from 29 colonies," said Mahindra Kumari Soni, Laboratory technician at the Clinic.

Speaking on the health hazards of chronic exposure to organo-chlorines, Deepa Mandrai, Community Health worker at the Clinic said, "The continuing presence and spread of organo-chlorines in the Bhopal groundwater, is the second environmental disaster in this city. Organo-chlorines retain their toxicity for a long time, accumulate in the body and are known to cause cancers, birth defects and damage to the brain, liver, kidneys as well as the immunological, endocrine, reproductive and other systems. Almost all of the studies done on Bhopal groundwater have reported the presence of organo-chlorines in high concentrations."

"Testing of organochlorines in water can be very expensive. With help from one of our international volunteers, we developed a technique for qualitative testing of organo-chlorines in water that hardly costs anything. The testing of each of the samples from 34 colonies by this modified Bielstein test was carried out by two investigators independently. Samples were declared to be contaminated only when results of the two investigators matched. We found the presence of organo-chlorines in the groundwater in 29 new colonies," said Chandrashekhar Sahu, Community Research worker at Sambhavna.

Radhe Lal Napit, Community Research worker at Sambhavna claimed that theirs was the only clinic in Bhopal that provides free medical care to victims of chronic exposure to groundwater contaminated by Union Carbide's recklessly dumped hazardous wastes.

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