Arsenic in the Water Is Slowly Killing this Village
“Whatever is here is poison for us”, said Nomita Bishwas grieving over the deadly poisoning which has contaminated the ground water. Arsenic poisoning of the ground water is a major concern for the villagers of Madhusudankati in West Bengal.
The water, in Madhusudankati village located in Gaighata which is 14 kms away from the Bangladesh border, has high content of arsenic. Villagers of Madhusudankati are suffering from physical as well as mental illness due to the arsenic contaminated water. Not only is the drinking water contaminated but also the food. The arsenic traces have entered the food chain and impacting adversely on the entireecosystem. Due to long exposure of deadly arsenic contaminated water, the people are prone to cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney, as well as other skin pigmentation that cause light patches in the skin.
An Indian NGO along with a French company are trying to tackle the issue, but clearly a lot more needs to be done.
Below are photographs from the village:
Pure water is world’s first and foremost medicine. Sulabh is extending hand to arsenic poison effected people.
Chlorine is used as a disinfectant at initial stage of purification of arsenic laden water. They use beam balance to measure the quantity of chlorine.
New water treatment plant was set up and operated by (SISSO), Delhi-based NGO.
The pond water is treated by Madhusudan Kati Water Plant by using various methods of filtration.
Fatal hands: A villager shows the effects of severe arsenic poisoning on his hands.
More than 200 tube wells are found in this village, which contains arsenic contaminated water. A woman pumps water from tube well to wash clothes.
Sapan Das(right), 50, is suffering from Bowen's disease - a pre-cancerous condition due to consumption of arsenic-contaminated water.
Tapoti Das like many other village women is consuming vegetable which have traces of arsenic, is the core reason of her irregular mensuration.
Shifali Das, 48, is herself a victim of arsenic water, shows her effected feet. Her elder daughter was also effected by the same.
Life threatened: A villager points out the white patches all over his body which is Arsenicosis, due to intake of arsenic contaminated water.
A villager shows the developed stage of Arsenicosis, caused by long exposure to deadly arsenic poisonous water.
(Cover Photograph: Nomita Bishwas, 42yrs resident of Madhusudan kati village, arsenic poisoning proved fatal to her father, brother and grandmother. She and her husband both are victims too.)