Arsenic Poisoning in Bihar - Problem and Mitigation


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The crucial global issue of arsenic contamination in the ground water reserves alone has been stated to be “one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of mankind”. It is resulting in fatal health impacts through direct consumption of contaminated water, or through contaminated food chain, or both. An increasing number of persons in the affected areas are suffering from melanosis, leuco-melanosis, keratosis, hyperkeratosis, dorsum, oedema, gangrene and skin cancer. Melanosis (93.5%) and keratosis (68.3%) are the most common presentations among the affected people. Patients of Leucomelanosis (39.1%) and hyper-keratosis (37.6%) have been found in many cases. Few cases of skin cancer (0.8%) have also been identified among the patients seriously affected by arsenic poisoning. The occurrence of arsenic diseases depends on the ingestion of arsenic compounds and their excretion from the body. It has been reported that 40% to 60% arsenic can be retained by the human body. It indicates that the level of hazards will be higher with the greater consumption of arsenic contaminated water.
Arsenic mitigation is a complex task given the heterogeneity of the occurrence of arseniferrous aquifers, their geochemistry, social and economic scales of the affected population, and responses of the different stakeholders. A suitable arsenic mitigation strategy will have to take into account the social and economic status of the concerned area, utilize local resources and build sustainability to the project through adoption of green technology, all these being underlined by community acceptance and mobilization. Such an approach can act as a catalyst of bringing about a change in the community’s outlook and development

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Arsenic Poisoning in Bihar - Problem and Mitigation

  1. 1. Arsenic Contamination in Ground WaterDr.Ashok GhoshProfessor -in-ChargeDept. of Environment and Water ManagementA. N. College, PatnaArsenic Poisoning in Bihar – Problem and Mitigation
  2. 2. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Poisoning - Did Arsenic KillNapoleon?• Officially, Napoleon Bonapartedied of stomach cancer at theage of 51• But two French scientists saythey have new evidence that theFrench emperor died of arsenicpoisoning while in exile on theisland of St. Helena• The scientists said strands of hairshowed levels of arsenic about35 times higher than normal
  3. 3. www.ancollege.orgOrigin of arsenic crisis in Indian subcontinent[switching from surface water to underground water]People used surfacewater until 1970sPoor qualitydue to pollutionHigh prevalence ofwater-borne diseasesMillionsof tubewellsinstalledUndergroundwater becamewidely popularReduction of infantand child mortalityBest option:undergroundwaterHigh infant andchild mortalityDemand forpathogen free safedrinking waterPoses severehealth problemsAffects almostwhole countryProblems arosedue to arseniccontamination
  4. 4. 4High arsenic release byMiningActivity -AnthropogenicHigh arsenic concentrationin groundwater - GeogenicArsenic – A Natural ElementGlobal Distribution
  5. 5. Tibet PlateauHimalayaGangaBay of BengalGMB PlainArea 569749 sq kmPopulation >500 million
  6. 6. 1976 - Chandigarh1983 - West Bengal1995 - Bangladesh2001 - Nepal2002 (June) - Bihar2003 (October) - Uttar Pradesh2003 (Dec)–2004 (Jan) - Jharkhand2004 (Jan–Feb) - Assam2006 - ManipurCourtesy:Dr.D.Chakravorty
  7. 7. www.ancollege.orgGangaNEPALIndian CratonBIHAR - Play Ground ofRiversArsenic inBihar -HighlyArsenicInfested
  8. 8. www.ancollege.orgEast ChamparanSitamarhiMadhubaniSupaulArariaKishanganjPurniaKatiharDarbhangaMuzaffarpurSheoharSaranSiwanVaishali Samastipur SaharsaMadhepuraGopalganjBhojpurRohtasKaimurBuxarPatnaJehanabadGayaAurangabadNalandaNawadaJamuiBankaMungerLakhisaraiSheikhpuraBegusaraiBhagalpurKhagariaWest ChamparanArsenic Map of Bihar - 20021 Arsenic Affected District
  9. 9. www.ancollege.orgEast ChamparanSitamarhiMadhubaniSupaulArariaKishanganjPurniaKatiharDarbhangaMuzaffarpurSheoharSaranSiwanVaishali Samastipur SaharsaMadhepuraGopalganjBhojpurRohtasKaimurBuxarPatnaJehanabadGayaAurangabadNalandaNawadaJamuiBankaMungerLakhisaraiSheikhpuraBegusaraiBhagalpurKhagariaWest ChamparanArsenic Map of Bihar -20042 Arsenic Affected Districts
  10. 10. www.ancollege.orgEast ChamparanSitamarhiMadhubaniSupaulArariaKishanganjPurniaKatiharDarbhangaMuzaffarpurSheoharSaranSiwanVaishali Samastipur SaharsaMadhepuraGopalganjBhojpurRohtasKaimurBuxarPatnaJehanabadGayaAurangabadNalandaNawadaJamuiBankaMungerLakhisaraiSheikhpuraBegusaraiBhagalpurKhagariaWest ChamparanArsenic Map of Bihar -20054 Arsenic Affected Districts
  11. 11. www.ancollege.orgEast ChamparanSitamarhiMadhubaniSupaulArariaKishanganjPurniaKatiharDarbhangaMuzaffarpurSheoharSaranSiwanVaishali Samastipur SaharsaMadhepuraGopalganjBhojpurRohtasKaimurBuxarPatnaJehanabadGayaAurangabadNalandaNawadaJamuiBankaMungerLakhisaraiSheikhpuraBegusaraiBhagalpurKhagariaWest ChamparanArsenic Map of Bihar -200712Arsenic AffectedDistricts
  12. 12. www.ancollege.orgEast ChamparanSitamarhi MadhubaniSupaulArariaKishanganjPurniaKatiharDarbhangaMuzaffarpurSheoharSaranSiwanVaishali Samastipur SaharsaMadhepuraGopalganjBhojpurRohtasKaimurBuxarPatnaJehanabadGayaAurangabadNalandaNawadaJamuiBankaMungerLakhisaraiSheikhpuraBegusaraiBhagalpurKhagariaWest ChamparanArsenicMap of Bihar -200916 Arsenic Affected Districts
  13. 13. www.ancollege.orgSources of arsenicaffecting humanhealth
  14. 14. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Ingestion Routes•Drinking Water•Irrigation Water - FoodChain•Burning Cowdung Cake
  15. 15. www.ancollege.orgThe Hottest Arsenic Hand Pump of Bihar1860 ppb - Panday Tola,BhojpurArsenic Concentration of 1861 ppbPanday Tola – 100 % handpumps with arsenic> 50 ppbKrishna Kumar Panday
  16. 16. www.ancollege.orgMaximum As. Conc. In DifferentDistricts of Bihar in mg/lt
  17. 17. www.ancollege.orgBIHAR FINDINGS (Ghosh• 7,218 of 27,061 hand pumps testedhad arsenic contaminated water of>10ppb.[26.67%]• Highest As. Value Recorded – 1861 ppb• A total of 16 Bihar districts ( 57 blocks)are affected by high level of arsenic inthe groundwater• Trivalent arsenic 87 % in ground waterof Bihar• Worst-affected districts are Bhojpur,Buxar, Vaishali, Bhagalpur,Samastipur, Khagaria, Katihar, Chapra,Munger and Darbhanga.
  18. 18. www.ancollege.orgArsenic in foodchain of BiharFood ChainMaize:Total As -0.24 ug As g-1Rice - 0.36 ug As g-1Irrigation Tube well =As 980 ppb
  19. 19. www.ancollege.orgConsequences ofArsenicosis
  20. 20. www.ancollege.orgConsequences of arsenicosis (Health )Health consequencesDermatologicalRespiratoryGastrointestinalCardiovascularHepaticNeurologicalHaematologicalRenalMutagenesisReproductiveCancerMental health
  21. 21. www.ancollege.orgConsequences of arsenicosis(Social )Social consequencesSocialhazards/instabilityMarriage relatedproblemsStigmatizationSuperstitionPoverty
  22. 22. www.ancollege.orgA few arsenic poisoningsymptoms in Bihardetected by my researchgroup
  23. 23. www.ancollege.orgRam Ashan Panday – Ex Army Man – Developed Symptoms after hisReturn to native village - Panday Tola,BhojpurGift of home coming………KeratosisKeratosis
  24. 24. www.ancollege.orgDiffuse and Spotted Keratosis on Palm
  25. 25. www.ancollege.orgGift of home coming……Kisan PandayEx army mandevelopedsymptoms after hisreturn to nativevillage,PandayTola,Bhojpur six yearsago.Keratosis
  26. 26. www.ancollege.orgWife of Munna Panday[25 years oldwith 4 children] –Arsenicosis with lowBlood Pressure – Panday Tola,Bhojpur,BiharLow Blood Pressure and Anemic
  27. 27. www.ancollege.orgAunty of Munna Panday [45 years] – PandayTola,Bhojpur,BiharAnd Anaemia – Panday Tola ,BiharArsenicosis with Low BP
  28. 28. www.ancollege.orgAnuj Panday ofPanday Tola withearly symptom ofarsenicosis hasvery high BP anddepression - dueto uncertain future??Hypertension – Depression
  29. 29. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Patients – Bhaglpur-Kahalgaon
  30. 30. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Patients – Khagaria
  31. 31. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Patients – Bhaglpur-Pirpainti
  32. 32. www.ancollege.orgChromosomal anomaliesCytogenetic MutationGenotoxic eventsGene MutationArsenic Induced Cytogenetic and Gene MutationArsenic – Ahumancarcinogen
  33. 33. www.ancollege.orgGenotoxicity of Arsenic in humansMicronuceiDNA DamageChromosomal Aberrations
  34. 34. www.ancollege.orgSome additional findings• Consistent dose-response relationships were foundbetween As. exposure and risk of skin lesions.• Thinner/weaker persons are more likely to beaffected by As exposure.• Use of fertilizer and excessive sun exposure increasethe susceptibility to risk of skin lesions due to Arsenicexposure.• Tobacco smoking and high level of Arsenic exposuresynergistically increase the risk of skin lesions andcancer.
  35. 35. www.ancollege.orgOther emerging health problems identifiedby our research group•Adverse relationship betweenarsenic level and intelligence inyoung children?•Adverse affect on foetus• Low birth weight• Obstructive airway diseases inyoung adult and children
  36. 36. www.ancollege.orgFactors which may aggravate Arsenicosis• Type of arsenic and level of exposure• Body immunity and geneticconfiguration plays significant role• Nutritional status and food habit• Low haemoglobin level may enhance illeffects of arsenic
  37. 37. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Management
  38. 38. www.ancollege.orgManagement of arsenicosis•Arsenic free safe water•Dietary Supplement and anti-oxidantfruits/vegetables/protein is important along withapplication of ointment (5 – 20% Urea and salicylic)• Complicated cases like skin cancer, ulcer, gangrene needsspecialized medical and surgical management• Social, economic and physical rehabilitation.•Mass community awareness and support to developcommunity based rehabilitation system.
  39. 39. www.ancollege.orgImprovement by Drinking Arsenic FreeWater
  40. 40. www.ancollege.orgMAJOR PROBLEMS OF “ARSENICOSIS”MANAGEMENT•Lack of knowledge information and training for casedetection and management by field workers•Poor community motivation for safe water usecomplicated by physical nature of arsenic in water(tasteless, colorless and odorless)•Socio-economic hazards due to ill-conceived idea about“Arsenicosis”•Poor Resource allocation for rehabilitation and treatment•Indiscriminate installation of Tube-well both private andpublic sector
  41. 41. www.ancollege.orgLack of Awareness•The unsafe sources (PAINTEDRED) are still being used byvillagers due to lack of awareness.•Intensive awareness campaign isrequired in affected villages.
  42. 42. www.ancollege.orgArsenic Mitigation Options
  43. 43. www.ancollege.orgArsenic mitigation strategies and sustainabilityPondSurface•Pollution•Accessibility•AcceptibiltyLowRainwater harvestingRain•Collection•Preservation•Seasonal variabiltyLowDug wellSub-surface•Bacterialcontamination•AcceptabilityBetterOptionsWater sourceProblemsFeasibility
  44. 44. www.ancollege.orgArsenic mitigation strategies and ……………Deep wellDeep aquifers•Uncertain•ExpensiveBetter but…….Piped waterDeep aquifers/treatedSurface water•Expensive•No infrastructureLowArsenic removal filtersArsenic contaminatedwater•Effectiveness?•Expensive•EnvironmentallyproblematicBetterOptionsWater sourceProblemsFeasibility
  45. 45. www.ancollege.orgMost of mitigationstrategies have failed inBihar
  46. 46. www.ancollege.orgAll of afore-mentioned schemes,though well-conceived, could not besustained• The required structures for these mitigation schemes are beingconstructed randomly, and are insufficient for the densepopulation.• Water quality monitoring units exist at Panchayat level, butthere is a lack of follow-up action and lack of communicationbetween the Panchayats. Hence the concept of adecentralised, demand driven water quality initiatives is beingcompromised.• Failure of the authorities to undertake monitoring andmaintenance work in the post-construction phase has renderedthe projects defunct.• District-level water quality monitoring laboratories are not wellequipped.
  47. 47. www.ancollege.orgAll of afore-mentioned schemes………• There is a lack of awareness and sensitization to arseniccontamination, and lack of ownership among the largelyilliterate population.• These factors have been the biggest contributory factorstowards the absence of public participation in thesegovernment schemes.• Community mobilisation is the sole answer to properimplementation of these schemes, in which privateownership is to be promoted.
  49. 49. www.ancollege.orgGanga River Piped Water Scheme launched by GoB at BhojpurRs.53 Crore GoB initiative in Bhojpur• Ganga Water supplyafter treatment• Dependent on electric power ,a scarce commodity in Bihar• Ganga is shifting from itscurrent location as per ourstudies
  50. 50. www.ancollege.orgSustainable arsenic mitigationtechnologies for rural population[possible alternatives]
  51. 51. www.ancollege.orgPossible alternative I: Gravity driven filterDeveloped and Tested byAquapal,Sweden &A N College,Patna•Gravity Driven Filter notdependent on electricity•Adsorbent based filterdeveloped by Aquapal,Sweden•Easy to maintain•Easy to operate•Low cost•Household level water supply
  52. 52. www.ancollege.orgPossible alternative II: community-based wellhead arsenic removal unit
  53. 53. www.ancollege.orgDeveloped and Tested by LehighUniversity, USA & A.N. College, Patna• Lehigh University in Bethlehem, USA and A. N. College,Patna have responded to address these constraints byinstalling the first community-based wellhead arsenicremoval unit in a remote village – Ramnagar, Maner• The unit is based on adsorption technology developed byLehigh University, USA. The project has been funded byTagore-SenGupta Foundation.• This unit will serve about 200 households of this village withapproximately 7,000 liters of treated water produced perday, supplying nearly 1,000 villagers with arsenic-safe water.• This unit can provide water without requiring electricity orexternal addition of chemicals.
  54. 54. www.ancollege.orgInstallation…….
  55. 55. www.ancollege.orgSchool Children of Maner getting arsenic freewater through our initiative & Communityparticipation
  56. 56. www.ancollege.orgProject Well_MMS_June 2009Possible Alternative III- TRADITIONAL DUGWELLSPROPERLY SANITIZED [Project Well Initiative]Courtesy :Project Well- Dr .Meera H. Smith, USA
  57. 57. The pvc pipe isshortened afterinsertionInterior of the dugwellThe delivery pipe is flexible for selfadjustable water level
  58. 58. www.ancollege.orgThe net and the tin coverare used for protection fromexternal debris andtampering.
  59. 59. www.ancollege.orgMuslundpur – West Bengal – Dugwellfor Arsenic Free Water
  60. 60. www.ancollege.orgCourtesy :Project Well- Dr.Meera H. SmithThere are 112 PROJECT WELL DUGWELLS as of2009 in N24 PARGANAS, WEST BENGAL, INDIA
  61. 61. www.ancollege.orgPossible alternative IV - Double RO SystemDeveloped and Tested by University of AppliedSciences, Germany and A.N.College,Patna
  62. 62. www.ancollege.orgProject - Bindtoli
  63. 63. ThisresearchprojecthasbeensupportedbyanErasmusMundusgrantwithintheECprogramEURINDIAINTRODUCTION Study objectives: a) Technology study on reverse osmosis as means of arsenicmitigation technology for groundwater treatment b) Case study to assess socioeconomic and health implicationsfrom consumption of arsenic loaded water and to identifycapacities to cope with issue Motivation: Contribute to advancement of arsenic mitigation strategiesapplying a holistic approach Study period: 5 months from April to August 2010 Collaborators: A.N. College of Magadh University Bodh Gaya in Patna, India Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany Resources: Funding by European Commissions EURINDIA programas well as own contributions from collaborators Water chemistry lab of A.N. College for water analyticsmachine installed in villageequipment to be shippedwater analytics @ A.N. college lab
  64. 64. 2.System design for pilot studies64
  65. 65. 65Arsenic Removal System in Bind Toli4772665680100200300400500600Quelle ZulaufVorfilterZulauf UOAnlagePermeatArsenkonzentration[µg/L]→Arsenwerte8.542.560.150246810Quelle Zulauf Vorfilter Zulauf UOAnlageEisenkonzentration[mg/L]→Eisenwerte98 % Arsenic Removal98 % Iron RemovalAbbildung 7: Wasserversorgungssystem Bind Toli [5]Arsenic reduction throughout the system, Bind Toli Iron reduction throughout the system, Bind Toli
  66. 66. Ramnager – Sand Filter Vs Evers Filter66Water Supply Ramnager, Sandfilter Water Supply System Ramnager, EVERS EASY FILTRATION
  67. 67. 67Project in RamnagerPrefilteration for Iron Removal0%10%20%30%40%50%60%> 0,06 0,06 0,125 0,25 0,5 1 2 2,8Distribution[%]→Particle size [mm] →size distributionde ~ 0,36 mmSONE Sand [6]SandfilterEVERS EASY 400de ~ 0,95 mmEVERZIT®N400 1700500[mm][mm]
  68. 68. Project RamnagerWater samples before and after pre-filtrationWater Tank 1 clear water inflow
  69. 69. www.ancollege.orgPossible alternative V: In Situ Arsenic Treatment[TiPOT technology of Queens University Belfast, UK]Rangapur, Nilgunj ( WB) PlantSupported by World BankShower HeadCourtesy - Dr.Bhaskar SenguptaUniv. of Belfast, UK
  70. 70. www.ancollege.orgIn Situ Arsenic Treatment………..•In the in-situ treatment method, the aerated tube wellwater is stored in feed water tanks and released backinto the aquifers.•The dissolved oxygen in aerated water oxidizes arseniteto less-mobile arsenate, the ferrous iron to ferric ironand Manganese(II) to Manganese(III), followed byadsorption of arsenate on Fe(III) and manganese(III) andsubsequent precipitation resulting in a reduction of thearsenic content in tube well water.• Oxidation is further enhanced biologically by bacterialiving in the subsurface - bioremediation
  71. 71. www.ancollege.orgIn Situ Arsenic Treatment…….Courtesy - Dr.Bhaskar SenguptaUniv. of Belfast,UK
  72. 72. www.ancollege.orgIn Situ Arsenic Treatment……………..Courtesy - Dr.Bhaskar SenguptaUniv. of Belfast,UK
  73. 73. www.ancollege.orgElectrochemical Arsenic Remediation(ECAR) – University of Berkley,USACutaway rendering of thefull 100 L batch prototypeCutaway rendering of the electrodeassembly and base plate only.
  74. 74. www.ancollege.orgECAR……• A technology best used at a small community scale.• In ECAR, a small amount of electricity is used toquickly dissolve iron (contained in ordinary steelsheets) in water.• The iron forms a type of rust that readily binds to arsenic inthe water. As III is rapidly oxidized to As V during thechemical process of rust formation (specifically, as Fe IIoxidizes to Fe III, oxidants are created that readily oxidizeAs III).• The arsenic Laden rust aggregates, forming larger particlesthat can be removed from the water through filtration orsettling.
  75. 75. www.ancollege.orgECAR……• A small amount of alum (aluminum sulfate) can beadded to accelerate the separation stage at low cost.The water is left iron- and arsenic-free (final arsenic< 10 ppb, or 2 ppb with additional cost).• The efficiency gains from the small particle size ofthe rust (resulting in a large surface area) make thetechnology very low cost and capable of operatingwith very little waste sludge produced.• There is no need for media regeneration,• and the adsorbent is generated onsite from the steelplates (inputs include steel plates, electricity, andalum)
  76. 76. www.ancollege.orgUNRESOLVED ISSUES RELATING TO ARSENICCONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER SOURCES• Research into Arsenic speciation, mobilization largelyfragmented and repetitive• Almost entire investigation into the hydro-geologicalaspects of arsenic contaminated aquifers have beenconfined to Bengal basin, the geological variations alongthe entire river basins warranting immediate attention.• Lack of knowledge and medical infrastructure relating todiagnosis and treatment of arsenicosis.• Lack of comprehensive database on arsenic contaminatedaquifers and its implications• Lack of maintenance and monitoring of mitigationstructures• Lack of Community Participation
  77. 77. Path ForwardDevelopment andapplication ofmore sustainabletechnologiesToday1980 2000 20201970 1990 2010 2030NumberofEarths0. of Earths Used by HumanityNumber of Earths AvailableTargetpathwayProjectionsOpportunities forinnovation
  78. 78. www.ancollege.orgYES Water resourcemattersbecause survivalof thiscivilizationmatters !THANKS