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NGT Alerts 24 States, 4 UTs Over Arsenic and Fluoride in Groundwater

The nationwide concern arises as NGT prompts urgent action against toxic groundwater elements in numerous districts of the country. NGT assures immediate preventive and protective measures being taken.

Ravisha Poddar
Representational Image (Courtesy: Freepik)
Representational Image (Courtesy: Freepik)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to 24 states and four Union Territories regarding the presence of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater.

Highlighting the severity of these chemicals and their detrimental impact, the tribunal emphasized the immediate necessity for preventive measures. Arsenic contamination in drinking water can lead to various health issues, including skin problems, cardiovascular diseases, neurological effects, and an increased risk of cancer. Whereas fluoride, otherwise beneficial for dental health, can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis when consumed in excess.

The green panel had taken a suo motu (on its own) cognizance of a media report that highlighted the presence of arsenic and fluoride beyond permissible limits in groundwater. In the aftermath, arsenic contamination was identified in groundwater across 230 districts spanning 25 states. Additionally, fluoride was found in certain areas of 469 districts within 27 states.

The bench, comprising Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Expert Member A Senthil Vel, referenced a report from the Central Ground Water Authority acknowledging the presence of these hazardous elements in various districts and states.

The tribunal expressed astonishment at the Central Ground Water Authority's (CGWA) failure to take necessary actions.

Further, the NGT asserted that immediate preventive and protective measures by all relevant authorities are imperative.

The NGT made 28 states and Union Territories, along with the Central Ground Water Authority and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, respondents in the matter, issuing notices and demanding responses within a month.

The list of states receiving notices includes Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and others. Meanwhile, notices were also dispatched to Union Territories like Delhi and Puducherry.

The tribunal scheduled further proceedings on February 15, 2024, to address this critical issue plaguing multiple regions across the nation.

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