Monday, 29 August 2016

Hyderabad: Sewerage failure ups nitrate levels --- Alarming levels of contamination in city.

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy

Lack of sewerage systems in merged municipalities of GHMC has resulted in high nitrate levels in groundwater that may pose a risk of Methemoglobinemia (lack of oxygen in blood) and Blue Baby Syndrome among those depending on borewells or tankers that use unfiltered water.

A Central Ground Water Board sampling found that nitrate levels are higher than the permissible limit of 45mg per litre and can pose health risks as at least 20 per cent of the people are living in the city’s non-core area and depend on groundwater.

CGWB’s latest data reveals groundwater at Chandrayangutta, Attapur and Nizam College area has nitrates beyond permissible limits.

According to the Telangana State Ground Water Department’s data, in Ranga Reddy, Balanagar, Hayatnagar, Uppal, Serilingampally and Gachibowli are the worst-affected due to  presence of nitrates in groundwater.

Bantwaram, Basheer-abad, Keesara, Mar-palle, Mominpet, Quth-bullapur and Ibrahimpatnam also have high nitrate levels.

CGWB regional director Mr A.D. Rao said, “Non-core areas that include merged municipalities have alarming levels of nitrates due to decayed vegetable water, effluents, industrial discharge etc. Drinking water contaminated with nitrates may cause Blue Baby Syndrome.”

HMWS&SB director (Revenue) Mr P.S. Suryanarayana said, “In the core area, 98 per cent of the network gets protected water. In surrounding municipalities it would range from 60 per cent to 80 per cent. So the rest of the population would be depending on other sources of water but we can’t say how many of themdepend on borewells.”

Groundwater scientist of CGWB Mr P. Nageswara Rao said, “In other urban areas too nitrate levels are high. Not just Methemoglo-binemia, it is also carcinogenic to consume nitrate polluted water.”

Doctors say though there are studies that link nitrates with Methemoglobinemia, no city cases have been reported.  Dr Girish Warrior, a pediatric surgeon, said, “Methemo-globinemia is low oxygen in blood. It has nothing to do with heart. We haven’t seen any cases so far.”

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