Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ganga is still waiting for its purification.

In spite of several announcements and promising by the different Governments Ganga still remains polluted.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) presented a time frame of another 10 years to the Supreme Court of India, promising to clean up Ganges by 2020.

Much polluted water has flown under the bridge since the Central Ganga Authority (CGA)was formed in 1985 under the Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, promulgating the Ganga Action Plan (GAP). At the 1981 session of Indian Science Congress at Varanasi, scientists expressed concern at the growing pollution in the river Ganga in presence of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi who inaugurated the session. At her instance, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the then member, Planning Commission asked the Central Board for Preventation and Control of Water Pollution, New Delhi to conduct studies on the state of the river Ganga. In collaboration with the State Pollution Control Boards of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal and the centre for study of Man and Environment Kolkata (Calcutta), studies were conducted on the ‘Sources’ of pollution including all human activities, land use pattern and water quality of the river at selected sites during 1981-82 and report entitled “Basin, sub-basin inventory of water pollution in the Ganga basin part-II” was published in 1984. According to this report sewage of 27 class I cities and towns and effluents from 137 major industries were the main source of pollution of the river. In addition cremation.

In spite of several announcements and promising by the different Governments Ganga still remains polluted. The World Bank has stepped forward with an offer of $ 1 Billion to help save the Ganga. Funds are sufficient but its lack of political will and bureaucratic apathy that stands in the way.

This river has became the dumping ground for domestic and industrial wastes. The uninterrupted release of toxic materials into the river not only affected the aquatic life of this river but also turned these natural sources of water virtually into a nullah carrying all the city waste.

There has been a steady deterioration in the quality of water of Indian rivers over several decades. India’s fourteen major, 55 minor and several hundred small rivers receive millions of litres of sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes. Most of these rivers have been rendered to the level of sewage flowing drains. There are serious water quality problems in the cities, towns and villages using these waters. Water borne diseases are rampant, fisheries are on decline, and even cattle are not spared from the onslaught of pollution.

According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) five rivers in Asia serving over 870 million people are among the most threatened in the world, as dams, water extraction and climate change all take their toll.

The Ganges, Indus, Yangtze, Salween-Nu and Mekong-Lancang rivers make up half of the WWF’s “top ten” most threatened river basins.

River Ganga (Ganges) of India has been held in high esteem since time immemorial and Hindus from all over the world cherish the idea of a holy dip in the river under the faith that by doing so they will get rid of their sins of life. More than 400 million people live along the Ganges River. An estimated 2,000,000 persons ritually bathe daily in the river. Historically also, Ganga is the most important river of the country and beyond doubt is closely connected with the history of civilization as can be noticed from the location of the ancient cities of Hardwar, Prayag, Kashi and Patliputra at its bank. To millions of people it is sustainer of life through multitude of canal system and irrigation of the wasting load. Hundreds of the villages and even the big cities depend for their drinking water on this river. It is believed, a fact which has also been observed, that the water of Ganga never decays even for months and years when water of other rivers and agencies begins to develop bacteria and fungi within a couple of days. This self purification characteristic of Ganga is the key to the holiness and sanctity of its water.

During the past three decades, the country's explosive growth (at nearly 1.2 billion people, India's population is second only to China's), industrialization and rapid urbanization have put unyielding pressure on the sacred stream.

Ganga, the most sacred of rivers for Hindus, has become polluted for some years now. But a recent study by Uttarakhand Environment Conservation and Pollution Control Board says that the level of pollution in the holy river has reached alarming proportions.

Things have come to such a pass that the Ganga water is at present not fit just for drinking and bathing but has become unusable even for agricultural purposes.
As per the UECPCB study, while the level of coliform present in water should be below 50 for drinking purposes, less than 500 for bathing and below 5000 for agricultural use—the present level of coliform in Ganga at Haridwar has reached 5500.

In Varanasi, India's most sacred city, the coliform bacterial count is at least 3,000times higher than the standard established as safe by the United Nations world Health Organization. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria that are normally found in the colons of humans and animals and become a serious contaminant when found in the food or water supply.

A study by Environmental Biology Laboratory, Department pf Zoology, Patna University, showed the presence of mercury in the Ganga river in Varanasi city. According to the study, annual mean concentration of mercury in the river water was 0.00023 ppm (parts per million). The concentration ranged from NT (not traceable) to 0.00191 ppm.

Study done by Indian Toxicological Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow during 1986-1992 showed maximum annual concentration of mercury in the Ganga river water at Rishikesh, Allahabad district and Dakshineswar as 0.081, 0.043 and 0.012 ppb (parts per billion) respectively.

Monitoring of Ganga River from Rishikesh to Varanasi indicated that Kannauj to Kanpur and Varanasi are the most polluted stretches of the river Ganga . Analysis of upstream and down stream water and sediment revealed a 10-fold increase in chromium level.

The tannery industry mushrooming in North India has converted the Ganga River into a dumping ground. The tanning industry discharges different types of waste into the environment, primarily in the form of liquid effluents containing organic matters, chromium, sulphide ammonium and other salts. As per an estimate, about 80-90% of the tanneries use chromium as a tanning agent. Of this, the hides take up only 50-70%, while the rest is discharged as effluent. Pollution becomes acute when tanneries are concentrated in clusters in small area like Kanpur. Consequently, the Leather-tanning sector is included in the Red category of industries due to the potential adverse environmental impact caused by tannery wastes.

What hope is there for the Ganga? There is, in the River Thames in England. “Thames, which remained polluted for many years in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and rapid urbanization is now pristinely clean”. It is just a matter of having the will and working together.

Indeed we have no choice but to work together to salvage the Ganga, if we expected to be bestowed with salvation by this river from the heavens any longer.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Geochemistry of Iodine with special reference to Bihar state of India.

Iodine deficiency is an important global health problem.
8 person out of every hundred, suffer from goiter in India.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Halogens are present and are volatile trace elements in most geological samples. Among them, iodine has the lowest abundance; less than 0.1 ppm in igneous rocks and less than several ppm in sedimentary rocks.

Iodine is least abundant of the halogens and is lithophile element. It is typically a dispersed element and is never concentrated enough in rocks or sediments to form independent minerals. The content of iodine is higher in air masses of marine origin than in those over the continents (Rankama and Sahama, 1950). The content of iodine seems to have some relationship to the salinity of the sea water as it is found to increase to the rise in salinity. Iodine is carried away from the atmosphere partly by rainwater and partly by direct adsorption into the soil and into plants. High solubility of iodine makes it enriched in soil and its highest concentration is noted in cultivated soil. According to most comprehensive observation by Goldschmidt(1954), the concentration of iodine in different media is as follows:

Igneous rock- 0.3 gm/tonne.
Cultivated soil- 2.0 gm/tonne.
Air- 0.0005 gm/tonne.
Rain water- 0.001-0.003 gm/tonne.
Sea water- 0.05 gm/tonne.

Konovalov (1959) found that rivers draining Tertiary marine sediment have higher iodine content than rivers draining other areas and this was considered to be due to iodine being easily leached from the marine sediments.

There is very marked increase in the iodine content of soils as compared to the rocks from which they derive. Many authors have suggested that much of the iodine in soils is derived from atmospheric sources, while another major source of soil iodine is that supplied by plant remains. Silty and clay soils appear to be enriched in iodine. It was found that clay fractions of soil fix iodide, a feature which is most marked for illite.

It has been generally accepted that the oceans are a major source of atmospheric origin; other sources are volcanic gases and rotting bio-materials. It has also been observed that some iodine in urban atmosphere may be derived from combustion of fossil fuels.

Iodine is a micro constituent in all plants and animals. Its influence on plant life is unknown and it may only be ballast element (Rankama and Sahama, 1950). Average content of iodine in marine life (from both plant and animal) is more than the fresh water and inland life (Cauer, 1938). In higher animals like mammals it plays a very important role, when it is present in the thyroid gland in the form of amino acid-thyroxin that controls the rate of metabolism.

Aside from tungsten, iodine is the heaviest element to be essential in living organisms, and iodine is the heaviest element thought to be needed by higher animals. About 19,000 tons are produced annually from natural sources.

A case study of Bihar State in India:

Iodine deficiency is an important global health problem with an estimated 200 million people affected by iodine related problems (Moynahan,1979). Indian Coalition for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) reveals that 79 million or 8 person out of every hundred, suffer from goiter in India (Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 25-11-2001).

The human body contains very little iodine (0.00004% or 0.4 ppm), yet it is essentially required to be maintained through food and water. Any disruption in iodine content jeopardizes the human metabolism. Thyroxin, a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland located on both side of the trachea contains about 65% iodine. In the absence of optimal quantity of iodine, the gland increases in size to compensate the deficiency of iodine and adversely affects the human metabolism. Water with iodine concentration less than 5-10 µg/l produces goiter.

The Gandak basin in Bihar is also known to be goiter prone since long. A detail research was carried out by Prof. N.C. Ghose (2003) of Department of Geology, Patna University on distribution of iodine in soil-water system in the Gandak Basin in Bihar.

According to Prof. Ghose, the vast tract in Gandak basin in north Bihar is known iodine deficient area and the population is prone to dreaded and endemic disease like goiter. Surface water of this area, iodine content ranges from 1.56 µg/l to 5.52 µg/l, while in groundwater which is the only source for drinking, it varies from 2.1 µg/l to 4.56 µg/l. In soil, the iodine content ranges between 3.65 µg/gm to 12.59 µg/gm. Season wise, there is considerable variation in iodine content both in surface and groundwater. During monsoon it reduces considerably in surface water due to dilution and in groundwater it reduces owing to heavy recharge of the aquifer system through infiltration. In soil, there is no definite pattern in seasonal variation in iodine content. In major part of the study area, the iodine content is deficient and ranges between 3 and 4 µg/l. The cause of low iodine is attributed to repeated floods and erosion of top soil which is the main source of iodine to the groundwater system.

The spatial variation of iodine in both surface and groundwater reveals a striking feature. It is observed that the abundance of iodine both in surface and groundwater decreases downstream from West Champaran to Vaishali. However, in surface water, the profile of iodine content of river Gandak increases again near Hajipur, where it rises to 5.52 µg/l. the high incidence of iodine at the confluence of Ganga and Gandak near Patna is due to mixing of the two river waters.

Low iodine content in water (1-4 µg/l) in the vast tract of land in East and West Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali districts of North Bihar plain makes the people vulnerable to goiter.


Rankama, K. and Sahama, Th. G. (1950) Geochemistry, Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago,912p.

Goldschmidt, V.M. (1954) Geochemistry, Clarendon Press, Oxford,730p.

Cauer, H. (1938) Chemisch-bioklimatogische Studien in der Bretagne. II. Mitteilung: Beeinflussung de mitteleuropaischen Jodmilieus durch die Breton ische Jodindustrie auf dem Wege der Luft. Biochen, Z. 299, p.69.

Moynahan, E.J. (1979) Trace elements in man. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London, B-288, pp.65-79.

Konovalov, G.S. (1959) Removal of microelements by the main rivers of the U.S.S.R. Dokl. Acad. Sci. S.S.S.R. 129, p912.

Ghose, N.C., Das, K. and Saha, D. (2003) Distribution of Iodine in Soil-Water system in the Gandak Basin, Bihar, Journal of Geol. Soc. of India, pp 91-98.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trees are threat to the President of India.

Trees were cut down mercilessly.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Most of the old trees were cut down on the route of President of India in Ranchi. She is arriving here on 9th December for the convocation in Ranchi University. Local administration feels that these trees are threat to the President. But astonishingly most of the top authorities and ministers are unaware of the cutting down the trees. So this is the way we are protecting our

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Presence of Arsenic in different geological environment.

In modern parlance, arsenic is viewed as being synonymous with “toxic”.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

As old as recorded history, arsenic has existed through the centuries as a curative, a pigment, a cosmetic, on mirrors, part of alchemical lore, and most notoriously, the deadliest of poisons. In its various forms- as tasteless and odorless arsenic trioxide, the gold-bearing yellow arsenic sulfide, the deadly gas arsine, the practical alloy copper-arsenic, common pesticide white arsenic, and the electronics staple gallium arsenide-arsenic has served with fascinating ease human impulses both noble and wicked.

The long history of arsenic in science, medicine and technology has been over shadowed by its notoriety as a preferred poison in homicides. In modern parlance, arsenic is often viewed as being synonymous with “toxic”.

Widespread arsenic contamination of groundwater has led to a massive epidemic of arsenic poisoning in India and Bangladesh and neighbouring countries. Presently 42 major incidents around the world have been reported on groundwater arsenic contamination. It is estimated that approximately 57 million people are drinking groundwater with arsenic concentrations elevated above the World Health Organization's standard of 10 parts per billion.

The notoriety and lingering concern about the potential effects of arsenic on various fauna and flora has inevitably engendered a lot of research on the many facets of this element in the environment. This paper represents an attempt to bring together the key research results from the different geological work.

Arsenic is considered to be a rare but ubiquitous element of the upper lithosphere. Arsenic is occasionally observed in the native state in nature. However it is more frequently found combined with sulfur, selenium, tellurium and also as sulfo salts and arsenides of various heavy metals such as copper, iron, nickel and cobalt. It also forms a number of pentavalent arsenate minerals that bear a close geochemical relationship with phosphates and vandates with which it can form some isomorphic compounds.

Arsenopyrite, which is the most abundant and widespread mineral of arsenic, is found in pegmatites but more frequently in high temperature gold-quartz veins, high temperature tin-veins, and in contact with metamorphic sulfide deposits.

The numerous oxidic minerals of arsenic observed in nature are a result of the oxidation of sulfide and arsenide deposits in contact with the free oxygen of the atmosphere. The arsenate mineral are the most preponderant of the oxide minerals. Some arsenate minerals have been observed in metamorphic rocks deep in the earth.

It is not surprising to find that there has been increased interest in coals, together with work on rocks, soils, plants and waste materials, probably because of possible adverse health effects of high concentrations. Arsenic with some other environmentally sensitive elements, coal tends to be seen as a major source of arsenic, whereas, where as it only contributes 1.8 % of the total emissions to the atmosphere, which is about the same as wood fuel. There is a wide range of values from less than 1 ppm to several hundred ppm, sometimes enrichment being related to nearly arsenic rich ores. Arsenic has similar chemical properties to phosphorus (P), the element immediately below arsenic on the periodic chart. During coal combustion, arsenic oxidizes and forms gaseous As2 O3 and enters the atmosphere. This volatilization causes concerns for governments of many countries because of environmental pollution due to extensive use of coal.

Although it has been stated categorically that arsenic is present in coal as arsenopyrite and that ‘little exists in any other form’, the only good evidence for the nature of the association of arsenic with pyrite has come from a detailed study of an eastern U.S. coal. It was found that the arsenic was most likely to be present in solid solution in the pyrite, and it was noted that the arsenic was predominantely in fractures in the coal and in microfractures in the pyrite. Arsenic was also detected at isolated points in some pyrite grains, perhaps because small arsenic and selenium bearing minerals inclusions formed and were incorporated into the pyrite at the time of crystallization. However, not all high pyrite coals contain high arsenic, an observations that has also been made in respect of many Australian bituminous coals. This probably means that some coals contain arsenic in other forms, for example organically associated, associated with clays, perhaps as arsenate ions or with phosphate minerals, where (As04)3- could replace some (PO4)3-. Studies need to be carried out on a variety of coals, in order to clarify the nature of the mineral association of arsenic in coals. The extent of organically associated of arsenic is not clear, although organic bonding has been suggested for many Bulgarian coals, for some low rank Canadian coals and for some low sulfur Siberian coals. For most coals, arsenic seems to be mainly associated with the mineral matter, with varying smaller amounts being associated with organic matter.

Many researchers recognize arsenic as a sulphophile element. The occurrence of arsenic in coal is chiefly associated with sulfide minerals, pyrite in particular , and subordinately with organic matter. Therefore, there is commonly a positive correlative relationship between arsenic and total sulfur content in coal.

The distribution of arsenic in a coal - bearing basin appears to have been profoundly modified by the combined effects of many factors , such as the diagenesis of arsenic matter derived from vegetal matter , or the surrounding rocks , the geochemistry of peat formation including pH and Eh conditions of the basin and many other variables. Syn- depositional tectonic activities also exert an impact on peat accumulation and on the quality of coal as well.

A high coal bearing index indicates a relative balance between the rate of basin subsidence and the compensative peat accumulation over a long period of deposition. The weaker the tectonic disturbance, the higher the coal – bearing index and the lower the arsenic concentration in the coal. High concentration of arsenic in coals reflects the relatively vigorous tectonic activities during deposition.

Under the geological and geochemical conditions described above, the secondary arsenic enrichment occurs in part of coal beds. Because the secondary arsenic enrichment results from deuterogenic tectonic (mainly faults ) and hydrothermal activities, the enrichment is local in extent. Thus within the same mining area, the arsenic distribution in coal can be divided into two major distribution types : synsedimentary and secondary.

Deuterogenic arsenic concentration in coal is controlled to some extent by the original sulfur content of the coal. This is manifested by the apparent strong positive correlation of arsenic and total sulfur in the coal.

According to different geo-scientists basalts and diabases contain an average of 2.0ppm arsenic and gabbros 1.4ppm. At present a value of 1.5ppm arsenic may be assigned to basaltic rocks. Fifty-six individual samples of granitic rocks analyzed by different workers gave an average of 1.6ppm arsenic. The average for granitic rocks may be taken as 1.5ppm. Thus the granitic average does not differ enough from the basaltic and gabbroic averages (1.5 and 1.4ppm, respectively). Rhyolitic rocks and silicic glasses are higher in arsenic than other common rock types. The average content of arsenic in igneous rocks may be taken as 1.5ppm arsenic based on the average for granitic rocks, basalts and gabbros.

In nonmarine carbonaceous shales and near shore marine shales and claystones , the arsenic content is not related to the organic carbon content of the samples. However, in offshore marine samples arsenic is concentrated in high carbon – samples. Arsenic occurs in some samples in syngenetic pyrite but also is present in relatively large amount in samples that contain little pyrite. In general, arsenic is present in iron sulfides, clay minerals ( possibly in adsorbed form), organic matter etc in shales. Because of the wide variation of arsenic among the shales, it is not easy to obtain a precise average. At present the average for shales may be taken as 13ppm arsenic. A tentative average for sandstones may be taken as 1ppm arsenic. Analysis of many sandstone samples from the various parts of the world are desirable. Cherts usually contain about 1ppm arsenic. An average of 1ppm arsenic may be given for limestones and dolomites.

Data on the arsenic content of metamorphic rocks are not abundant, and therefore, behavior of arsenic is metamorphic reactions is not well known. Arsenic is likely to be lost in the transformation of slates and graywackes into schists and gneiss in regional metamorphism. In metamorphosed sedimentary iron ores containing coarsely crystalline hematite the arsenic seemed to have been removed by some leaching process.

Many arsenic compounds are water soluble and hence arsenic contamination of water can occur readily. Water is the major means of transport of arsenic in the environmental compartments. Sedimentation of arsenic in association with iron and aluminium may sometimes be considerable. Rivers and lakes generally contain less than 0.01 mg/1.arsenic. The concentration in ground water depends on the arsenic content of the bedrock. Where ever arsenic is present in natural waters, it is most often found as the anion, either as arsenate or arsenite.

The solubility of arsenic oxide in water is 2.05 g. As2 O3 per 100 g. of water at 25 0 C. The solubility of arsenic sulfide As2 S3 in water in extremely low.

Arsenic as a tendency to become precipitated in the hydralyzates. It is more concentrated near the surface than deep in the sediments. It is enriched in oxidate sediments, chiefly by absorption on ferric hydroxide. The manganese – rich oxidates are lower in arsenic than the iron rich type.

Arsenic is present in air mainly in the particulate form as inorganic arsenic. Though both tri and pentavalent forms occurs in air, the pentavalent form is more predominant than the trivalent form. Methylarsenic is also present in small amounts in air of suburban , urban and industrial areas.

Data on the arsenic content of soils were summarized by different scientists. Their results showed that about 30% of the soils contained less than 5ppm arsenic, about 50% contained 5 to 10ppm and about 20% contain more than 10ppm (parts per million). Most of the recent data on arsenic in various soils give less than 10ppm arsenic. The average value of arsenic in soils probably lies in the range of 5 to 10ppm arsenic. Thus soils are enriched in arsenic compared to igneous rocks.

Arsenic, in small quantities, is a universal contaminant of plants and animals and may sometimes be notably concentrated in organisms, e.g. in land plants growing in soil rich in arsenic and in marine and fresh – water organisms , such as fishes , mollusks , crustaceans , plankton , and some brown algae.

Though organic arsenic compounds are beneficial as a growth stimulant for animals and arsenic compounds have been used as medicines , there is no firm evidence that arsenic in any form is essential to man. In fact arsenic compounds are proved to be toxic. The toxicity of arsenic compounds depends on the chemical and physical form of the compound, the route by which it enters the body and dose and duration of exposure. In man, subacute and chronic arsenic poising may be insidious and pernicious. The symptoms of mild chronic poisoning are fatigue and lot of energy. In more severe intoxication the following symptoms may be observed: kidney degeneration, tendency to edema , liver cirrhosis , bone marrow injury , gastrointestinal catarrh , polyneuritis , exfoliate dermatitis and altered skin pigmentation.

No true tolerance of arsenic has ever been demonstrated. During chronic exposure, trivalent arsenic accumulates mainly in bone , muscle , and skin and to a lesser degree in the liver and kidneys.

A W.H.O task group, applying the linear non-threshold model estimated that a life time exposure to arsenic in drinking water at a concentration of 0.2 mg/1 gave a 5% risk of getting cancer of the skin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Red clouds above Ranchi city.

Sky above Ranchi city is covered with red clouds.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

On 19th night layers of Red coloured clouds were seen in the sky of Ranchi city, the capital of Jharkhand State of India. These colour is due to pollution mixed with reflection of city light. From last several days lots of fire crackers were used due to Diwali and other festivals.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toxic smokes due to fire crackers.

Toxic smoke is seen in the sky above Ranchi city.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi.

In the above picture stagnant toxic smoke is seen above Ranchi city in Jharkhand state of India. It is due to the fire crackers and other explosives burnt during Diwali night and the next day. Such smokes are contaminated with toxic heavy metals injurious to lungs, eyes etc. It may cause breathing problems, irritation in eyes, increase in blood pressure etc. If it rains it may also cause acid rain.

Lighting firecrackers increases the sulphur dioxide level 200-fold, above the safety levels prescribed by the World Health Organisation.

More chemicals are added to give colour, Metals, such as aluminum, magnesium, and titanium, burn very brightly and are useful for increasing the temperature of the firework. Fireworks produce smoke and dust that may contain residues of heavy metals, sulfur-coal compounds and some low concentration toxic chemicals. These by-products of fireworks combustion will vary depending on the mix of ingredients of a particular firework. (The color green, for instance, may be produced by adding the various compounds and salts of Barium,

Fireworks were invented in ancient China in the 12th century to scare away evil spirits.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

झारखण्ड एवं बिहार के भूमिगत जल में फैल रहा है आर्सेनिक का जहर I

बहुत सारे छेत्रों में अपना प्रभाव दिखा रहा है I
डा. नितीश प्रियदर्शी

आर्सेनिक शब्द का नाम आते ही नेपोलियन की याद आती है जिनके बारे में यह कहा जाता है की उनको आर्सेनिक का जहर देकर मारा गया था I
देश के कई भागों में आर्सेनिक युक्त जल पीने के कारण लोग कैंसर की चपेट में आ रहे हैं। पश्चिम बंगाल, उत्तर प्रदेश, झारखण्ड तथा बिहार के अनेक गांवों में भूजल में आर्सेनिक तत्व पाए जाने की पुष्टि वैज्ञानिकों ने की है।
पश्चिम बंगाल के मालदा, मुर्शिदाबाद, वर्धमान, नाडिया, हावड़ा, हुगली, उत्तर 24 परगना, दक्षिण 24 परगना और कोलकाता जिलों के लोग इस पानी को पीने से विभिन्न रोगों के शिकार हो रहे हैं।
पूरे विशव मे करीब बीस मिलियन लोग इससे प्रभावित है , कई तरीकों से इससे उत्पन्न हुये रोगों से निजात पाने की चेष्टा की गयी लेकिन अभी तक कोई ठॊस परिणाम सामने नही आये हैं ।

आज पश्चिम बंगाल के कई जिले इस जहर से प्रभावित हैं. वहां के भूमिगत जलों में आर्सेनिक की मात्रा खतरनाक स्तिथि तक पहुँच चुकी है I हजारों लोग इससे प्रभावित है I
बिहार एवं झारखण्ड के भी कई जगहों पर यह जहर यहाँ के भूमिगत जल में तेजी से फैल रहा है. तथा हजारों लोग इस आर्सेनिक के जहर से त्रस्त हैं I धरती की सतही जल में इसकी उपस्थिति लगभग नगण्य होती है किन्तु जैसे जैसे पृथ्वी के भीतर की और बढ़ते हैं एवं जल पाइराइट नामक खनिज के संपर्क में रहता है आर्सेनिक की सांद्रता बढ़ती जाती है I
दोनों राज्यों में आर्सेनिक की मात्रा १० पि. पि. बी. (पार्ट्स पर बिलियन ) की संख्या को पर कर चूका है तथा अपना प्रभाव दिखाना शुरू कर दिया है I झारखण्ड में सबसे ज्यादा प्रभावित जगह है झारखंड के पूर्वी-पश्चिमी सिंहभूम, सरायकेला-खरसावां, कोडरमा, हजारीबाग, साहेबगंज, राजमहल, चतरा, दुमका, पाकुड़, उधवा, आदि जिले पूरी तरह आर्सेनिक की चपेट में हैं। यहाँ पर आर्सेनिक की मात्रा भूमिगत जल में खतरनाक स्तिथि तक पहुँच चुकी है एवं कई लोग इस प्रदूषित जल को पीने से विभिन्न प्रकार के चर्म रोग से त्रस्त हैं I कई लोग तो पेट सम्भंदित बिमारिओं की भी शिकायत की है I मानव शारीर में उपस्थित आर्सेनिक केंद्रीय तंत्रिका तंत्र के लिए घातक है I इसके अलावा मांसपेशिओं की कमजोरी, भूख न लगना, जी मिचलाना, जैसी बिमारियों की संभावना बढ़ सकती है I आरेसेनिक संक्रमण से त्वचा का कैन्सर , केरोटोसिस [keratoses] जैसी समस्यायें उत्पन्न हो सकती हैं ।
वैसे तो झारखण्ड से होकर बहने वाली दामोदर एवं स्वर्णरेखा नदी भी इस जहर के प्रभाव से अछूती नहीं है. इसका प्रभाव धीरे धीरे अब दिखने लगा है I सवर्णरेखा एवं दामोदर में इस जहर का स्रोत यहाँ पर उपस्थित विभिन्न उद्योग और खनिज की खानें हैं I झारखण्ड में घाटशिला के पास भी कुछ भूमिगत जालों में आर्सेनिक मिलने की सुचना है I

बिहार में सबसे ज्यादा प्रभावित छेत्र पटना , भोजपुर, वैशाली एवं भागलपुर जिले हैं I यहाँ पर आर्सेनिक की मात्रा १० पि.पि.बी. को पार कर चुकी है I यह सारे छेत्र गंगा नदी के छेत्र हैं I सबसे खतरनाक बात यह है की यहाँ के भूमिगत जलों में आर्सेनिक की मात्रा मौसम के अनुसार बदलती है I पटना के पास मनेर इस जहर से सबसे ज्यादा प्रभावित है जहाँ आर्सेनिक की मात्रा ३० पि.पि.बी. से ६० पि.पि.बी. तक पहुँच चुकी है I भोजपुर के पाण्डेय टोला एवं बरहरा में आर्सेनिक की सांद्रता १८६१ पि.पि.बी. तक पहुँच चुकी है I भागलपुर के पास कहलगांव में आर्सेनिक का जहर सबसे ज्यादा पाया गया है I दूसरा प्रभावित छेत्र है सबौर और सुल्तानगंज I मनेर में जहाँ आर्सेनिक ६० फीट की गहराई वाले कुऐं में ही मिल जा रहा है वहीँ भोजपुर में १५० फीट नीचे में आर्सेनिक मिल रहा
है I
समस्तीपुर के एक गाँव हराइल छापर में भूजल के एक नमूने में आर्सेनिक की मात्रा 2100 ppb पाई गई जो कि सर्वाधिक है।उल्लेखनीय है कि विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन ने पेयजल में 10 ppb की मानक मात्रा तय की है जबकि भारत सरकार के दिशानिर्देशों के अनुसार अधिकतम सुरक्षित मात्रा 50 ppb मानी जाती है।

बिहार के अन्य प्रभावित छेत्र हें बक्सर, खगरिया,कटिहार, छपरा, मुंगेर एवं दरभंगा I
आर्सेनिक का जहर अगर इसी तरह बढ़ता रहा तो दोनों राज्यों की स्थिती और भयावह हो जायगी I

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coal mining destroying the environment and health of people in Jharkhand state of India.

Longevity has reduced drastically.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Children are more affected.
Contaminated community water source with low pH value
Polluted river bed.
Atmosphere is also polluted.
Black river.
Dust is every where.

The health hazards, degeneration of the health conditions of the people especially tribal women and children and water contamination is one of the most serious impacts of coal mining in Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is an area of abundant coalmines. Most of the coalmines are situated in Hazaribag, Chatra, Palamau, Rajmahal, Dhanbad and Ranchi district. Mighty Damodar River and its tributaries flow through these coalmines.

Jharkhand is the homeland of over a dozen indigenous communities, the major ones being the Santhals, the Mundas, the Oraons and the Hos. Most of their populations are concentrated around the coal mines area.

Today, the picture of Damodar River or Damuda, considered a sacred river by the local tribals, is quite like a sewage canal shrunken and filled with filth and rubbish, emanating obnoxious odours. This river once known as “River of Sorrow” for its seasonal ravages, has now turned into a “River of Agony” from the environmental point of view.

Due to extensive coal mining and vigorous growth of industries in this area water resources have been badly contaminated. The habitants have, however, been compromising by taking contaminated and sometimes polluted water, as there is no alternative source of safe drinking water. Thus, a sizeable populace suffers from water borne diseases.

The Damodar river basin is a repository of approximately 46 per cent of the Indian coal reserves. A high demographic and industrial expansion has taken place in last three decades in the region. Exploitation of coal by underground and open cast mining has lead to a great environmental threat in this area.

Besides mining, coal based industries like coal washeries, coke oven plants, coal fired thermal power plants, steel plants and other related industries in the region also greatly impart towards degradation of the environmental equality vis-a-vis human health.
The most affected part of the natural- resources is water in this region and thereby human health.

Damodar is a small rainfed river (541 km long) originating from the Khamerpet hill (1068 m), near the trijunction of Palamau, Ranchi, and Hazaribag districts of Jharkhand. It flows through the cities Ramgarh, Dhanbad, Asansol, Durgapur, Bardwan and Howrah before ultimately joining the lower Ganga (Hooghly estuary) at Shayampur, 55 km downstream of Howrah. The river is fed by a number of tributaries at different reaches, the principal ones being Jamunia, Bokaro, Konar, Safi, Bhera, Nalkari and Barakar.

The total catchment area of the basin is about 23,170 km of this, three- fourth of the basin lies in Jharkhand and one-fourth in West Bengal. The major part of the rainfall (82%) occurs during the monsoon season with a few sporadic rains in winter. Damodar basin is an important coal bearing area and at least seven coal fields are located in this region.

High increase in the population i.e. from 5.0 million (1951) to 14.6 mil- lion (1991) has been observed during the last four decades which is the out- come of the heavy industrialization in this basin mainly in coal sector.

Due to easy availability of coal and prime cooking coal, several thermal power plants, steel plants have grown up. Discharge of uncontrolled and untreated industrial wastewater, often containing highly toxic metals is the major source of pollution of Damodar River.

Mine water and runoff through overburden material of open cast mines also contribute towards pollution of nearby water resources of the area. Huge amount of overburden materials have been dumped on the bank of the river and its tributaries, which finally get spread in the rivers especially in the rainy season. These activities have resulted in the visible deterioration of the quality of the river water.

The large scale mining operations going on this region have also adversely affected ground water table in many areas with the result that yield of water from the wells of adjoining villages has drastically reduced. Further, effluents discharged from the mine sites have also seriously, polluted the underground water of the area.

Mine water does not have acid mine drainage problem. It may be due to the fact that coal deposits of this basin are associated with minor amounts of pyrites and contain low Sulphur. Iron content in this water is found in the range of 1 to 6 mg/1. Though it is not alarming but it may be toxic to some aquatic species. Mine water is generally bacterially contaminated which is clear from the value lying in the range of 100 to 2500.

Heavy metals like manganese, chromium, lead, arsenic, mercury, floride, cadmium, and copper are also found in the sediments and water of Damodar river and its tributary like Safi River. Permian coal of this area contains all these toxic elements in considerable amount. Presence of lead is high above the alarming level i.e. 300 ppm (parts per million) in the coals of North Karanpura coal field.

The study warned that long term exposure to the lead present in that area might result in general weakness, anorexia, dyspepsia, metallic taste in the mouth, headache, drowsiness, high blood pressure and anaemia etc.

The Damodar sediments are deficient in calcium and magnesium and rich in potassium concentration. Titanium and iron are the dominant heavy metals followed by manganese, zine, copper, chromium, lead, arsenic, and mercury. Other heavy metal like strontium shows more or less uniform concentration throughout the basin. Average concentration of strontium in the sediments of the river is 130 ppm. Silica is also high in the sediments of Damodar River and its tributary. The value is 28ppm.

Arsenic in the water ranges from 0.001 to 0.06 mg/1, mercury ranges from 0.0002 to 0.004 mg/1, floride ranges from 1 to 3 mg/1.

It is obvious that due to extensive coal mining and vigorous growth of industries in this area water resources have been badly contaminated. The habitants have, however, been compromising by taking contaminated and sometimes polluted water, as there is no alternate source of drinking water. Thus, a sizeable populace suffers from water borne diseases.

As per the heath survey of the local people, the most common diseases are dysentery, diarrhoea, skin infection, worm infection, jaundice, and typhoid. Dysentery and skin infections occur in high percentage in the area. If proper steps are not taken up the total population mostly tribals will be on the verge of extinction.

The Agaria tribe and other tribes that inhabit the coalfields of North Karanpura and East Parej, India are faced with severe water contamination. In East Parej, more than 80% of the community lives in poverty. Water for the community comes from hand pumps, dug wells, local streams and rivers. In some areas, mine water and river water is supplied through pipes. But most people are dependent on other sources - which are contaminated - for their water needs. Women and children in these areas have to travel more than 1 kilometer to fetch safe drinking water. Most villagers are left with no choice but to drink contaminated water. Dug wells are generally dried up during the summer and winter. Natural drainage is obstructed and diverted due to the expansion of mining. Villagers in these areas have no concept of how to preserve and purify rainwater.

Our longevity has reduced drastically, said Phulmani Kujur a 38 year old women of East Parej coal field. We avoid taking bath everyday, there are a gap of 5 to 10 days, and do not drink water adequately due to water pollution, said Mahesh a Santhal Tribe of the same village.

Study reveals that average longevity of women in East Parej coal field was found to be 45 and in most of the villages only one or two women had crossed the age of 60. In North Karanpura coal field average longevity of male is 50 years and that of female is 45 years.

The number of deaths in a period of five years, in East Parej, also reveals shocking figures in Dudhmatia village: 6 out of average 80 people, in Agariatola village: 12 out of average 100 people, in Lapangtandi: 13 out of average 115 people, and in Ulhara: 9 (seven were children) out of average 80 people.

Villagers of Agariatola complain that their only source of drinking water has been damaged due to dumping of overburden and expansion of open cast mine. Villagers have no substitute but to drink the water of well provided by the miners which according to the villagers is not good in taste with foul smell and yellow colour. Villagers of Dudhmatia of the same coal field complained about foul smell present in the water of the only hand pump.

Average kilometers travel by the villagers to retrieve safe drinking water is 1 to 2 kilometers. In summer season we have to travel even more to have safe drinking water, alleged women of the affected areas. Sometimes organizations supply us the water through tankers but they are not sufficient, said villagers of the East Parej, North Karanpura and South Karanpura coal field.

In the absence of even primary hospital and doctors in East Parej (there is only one hospital run by Central Coalfields Limited) villagers are more dependent on the quacks as they are the regular visitor in the remote area.

Our children are the most affected due to living in such unhygienic conditions and filth, said villagers of the North Karanpura coal field, one of the biggest coal mines of the area.
These are one of the most common situations in all the coal mines area of Jharkhand. Most of the population in North Karanpura coal field is dependent on Safi River for drinking and other domestic purposes. This river is polluted because of the coalmines waste dumped along the banks of the river at different locations. Water of the area is contaminated with toxic metals like arsenic and mercury. Manganese has crossed the toxic level ( 3.6 milligram per liter against the permissible level of 0.5 mg/l.). According to WHO (World Health Organization) high manganese may affect with the symptoms like lethargy, increased muscle tone and mental disturbances.

Health survey done among the boys and girls in a local school it was found that majority of the children (both tribal and non-tribal) are lethargic may be due to inhalation of coal dust and consumption of contaminated water containing high manganese.

In the coal fields of Jharkhand most of the tribal women are employed in secondary activities such as loading and unloading of the coals. According to Chotanagpur Adivasi Sewa Samiti, a NGO working in Hazaribag district, constant contact with dust pollution and indirectly through contamination of water, air, etc. cause severe health hazard to women workers. As majority of the women workers are contract labourers, and paid on daily wage basis there is no economic security or compensation paid due to loss of workdays on account of health problems. Even during pregnancy women has to work in hazardous conditions amidst noise, air pollution that have adverse affects on their offspring.

Malaria is very common. It is found that there are numerous ditches, stagnant mine water, and open tanks breeding all the species mosquitoes. Majorities of the death were attributed to malaria. Next come the skin diseases such as eczema, rashes on the skin etc. it may be due to lack of care and cleanliness or due to the presence of nickel in drinking water. In some area like East Parej high nickel (0.024 mg/l) have been reported in the water. According to WHO nickel is a common skin allergen.

Many especially children of the coal fields suffer from dysentery and diarrhoea. According to the residents of the coal field, it is because of consuming contaminated water. About 60% of the local people are affected with seasonal allergies. Other diseases found were tuberculosis, headache, joints pain (pain begins at the age of 5 to 10 years, especially in North Karanpura), gastric, cough and cold and asthma.

When asked from the villagers in East Parej and North Karanpura about what do they think about future, they replied situation is going to worsen. They are not very confident about their life span. There is always a threat of displacement due to expansion of coal mining, which finally affects their longevity.

Fluoride, arsenic, nickel, sulfate, and manganese pose the biggest threats to water sources in the region. They have been shown to cause adverse effects when consumed over a long period of time. Health care facilities can improve the situation immensely, but it is more desirable to maintain the philosophy that prevention is better than the cure. Medical checkups can be adopted to improve the situation. Installation of pollution control equipment is needed for monitoring and analyzing pollution data. Seeing that nearly all the water sources under study are contaminated, the only short term solution for safe drinking water is rain water harvesting. Indigenous methods, such as disinfecting and purifying water with the help of medicinal plants, can be adopted for purifying water in ways that are cost efficient.

The international community can also help by providing funds to carry out research and analysis of the problem in more detail. Publishing these results can help other communities around the world figure out the best methods for improving water quality. Awareness programs should be given major importance.

These research project was sponsored to the author by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Green Grant Fund, U.S.A. and supported by Earth Day Network, U.S.A

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Diesel Generators releases black carbon which affects plant life.

It is also hazardous to the lungs and general health.

Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Fig.1. Thick layer of black carbon deposited on the fungus. Source is nearby diesel generator.
Fig.2 Black carbon being deposited on the fungus.
Fig.3 Black carbon deposited on the fungus.
Fig.4. Black carbon deposited on leafs.
Fig.5. Dead leafs due to the impact of exhaust fumes from the diesel generator.

Above photographs shows how the black carbons released by the diesel generators affect the plants. Black carbon or soot is seen deposited on fungus. These fungus are very nearer to the exhaust pipe of the generator. Even the leaves exposed to the fumes are seen dead in the picture.

Commonly known as soot, black carbon enters the air when fossil fuels and biofuels, such as coal, wood, and diesel are burned. Black carbon is found worldwide, but its presence and impact are particularly strong in Asia.

These black particulate can affect vegetation in three ways. These are:

  • Direct deposition on leaf surfaces or other surfaces exposed to atmosphere.
  • Blocking leaf stomata and /or uptake into leaf tissues.
  • Deposition onto substrates (e.g. soil) and indirect effects via changes in substrate chemistry.

Black carbon is a potent climate forcing agent, estimated to be the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide (CO2).

Soot is a general term that refers to impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of a hydrocarbon. They are classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Soot or black carbon is in the general category of airborne particulate matter, and as such is considered hazardous to the lungs and general health when the particles are less than five micrometres in diameter, as such particles are not filtered out by the upper respiratory tract. Smoke from diesel engines, while composed mostly of carbon soot, is considered especially dangerous owing to both its particulate size and the many other chemical compounds present.

Between 25 and 35 percent of black carbon in the global atmosphere comes from China and India, emitted from the burning of wood and cow dung in household cooking and through the use of coal to heat homes. Countries in Europe and elsewhere that rely heavily on diesel fuel for transportation also contribute large amounts.

Diesel combustion in trucks, buses and cars emit a lot of black carbon. The particulate air pollution also commonly comes from burning firewood, indoor cooking, and biomass burning.

Black soot deposited on Tibetan glaciers has contributed significantly to the retreat of the world's largest non-polar ice masses, according to new research by scientists from NASA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Soot absorbs incoming solar radiation and can speed glacial melting when deposited on snow in sufficient quantities.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What ancient people thought about lightning in the sky?

Lightning plays a role in many mythologies.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Lightning and thunder have awed man and beats ever since these creatures made their appearance on earth. Inevitably, these forces of nature found their way into mythology and folklore. In ancient Rome, lightning have even played a political role.

Lightning plays a role in many mythologies, often as the weapon of a sky and storm god. As such, it is an unsurpassed method of dramatic instantaneous retributive destruction: thunderbolts as divine weapons can be found in many mythologies.

Various ancient societies associated the lightning with a wheel. Marija Gimbutas has shown that the Baltic thunder god, Perkunas, was thought to procure fire by rotating his lightning-club in the nave of the solar wheel. In India the thunderbolt was envisaged as a disc with a hole in the middle that rotated when launched and shot lightning in all directions. This disc was a form of the vajra, the sacred lightning weapon of Indra, and was later depicted in the hands of Vishnu as the chakra.

References to lightning and thunder can be traced to Akkadian times (2200 B.C.) and the works of Hittite (900 B.C.). For the Vikings, lightning was produced by Thor as his hammer struck an anvil while riding his chariot across the clouds. In the Hindu mythology, lightning is the weapon of lord Indra, the king of Devas. Reportedly, there is even a temple in Tibet that is consecrated to lightning.

In ancient Rome, the members of the college of Augurs searched the southern skies for lightning. A lightning bolt passing from east to west was a good omen. If it was from west to east, it meant something was wrong with current political situation. The Augurs reports were politically exploited to postpone unwanted meetings, to delay passage of laws and event to prevent election of magistrates!

Nearly all cultures believed that thunder and lightning were caused by the activity of sky gods. These sky gods were associated with planets; they reigned supreme, and thunderbolts were their emblem of power over heaven and Earth. In Scandinavia, it was the great god Thor swinging his mighty hammer. The Greeks believed that it was Zeus (Jupiter) who threw thunderbolts. In Germanic mythology, Thor is specifically the god of thunder and lightning, wielding Mjolnir. In Maya mythology, Huracan is sometimes represented as three lightning bolts.

The Goddess of Lightning, also called Dian Mu in Chinese, is a supernatural being that has magic power and is in charge of lighting in the heaven. It is said that she is the wife of the God of Thunder. She is viewed as the symbol of justice as she can distinguish good from evil and uphold justice.

The history of the Goddess of Lightning can date back to the period of Song Dynasty (960~1279). In ancient China, the image of the Goddess of Lightning was often depicted as a kind and elegant woman. She has two lightning mirrors, which can help her look carefully whether the person is good or evil.
There spread a legend about the Goddess of Lightning. The legend goes that, in ancient times, there was no lightning during the thunderstorm. One night, the God of Thunder killed a good woman by mistake. He blamed himself for a long time. Then he told the Jade Emperor about this woman. Jade Emperor also commiserated with the woman and conferred the Goddess of Lightning on her. From then on, the God of Thunder and the Goddess of Lightning worked together to chase away the evil spirits and punish the criminals. In order not to kill the good people, the Goddess of Lightning would use her mirror to judge first and then the God of Thunder will make thunder to punish the evil. Therefore, we can always see a flash of lightning before hearing the thunder during the thunderstorm.

There is a good reason why all mythologies in the world contain references to lightning. Most of the natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclones, floods etc., result in deaths of many people. But lightning seems to choose its individual victims! Apparently, the vengeful Gods punish only the erring individual! There must be something divine about lightning!

Even today, lightning and thunder can, and occasionally do, strike fear into the hearts of humans by their dazzling display of fire-works, by deafening roar and by their enormous destructive potential. Lightning wreaks havoc by causing forest fires, by interrupting power distribution, by disrupting communications, by destroying property and by causing injury and death to humans and other animals.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Suicides at India’s Nuclear Plants.

The largest number of suicide cases at 74 have been reported from Uranium Corporation of India Ltd, Jharkhand.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
197 employees belonging to a number of nuclear establishments and related institutes in India have committed suicide and 1,733 scientists and employees belonging to these centres have died of illnesses like multiple organ failure, lung cancer, cirrhosis of liver etc, as per a report compiled by Mumbai-based RTI activist Chetan Kothari..

Suicide is often committed out of despair, or attributed to some underlying mental disorder which includes depression, bipolar disorder,schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug abuse, Financial difficulties, interpersonal relationships and other undesirable situations play a significant role.
Over one million people commit suicide every year. The World Health Organization estimates that it is the thirteenth-leading cause of death worldwide. It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35. There are an estimated 10to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide.

The report based on 175 pages of documents sourced through 32 such centres also reveal that 1,733 employees and scientists from these establishments died due to various illnesses that include cardiac strokes, liver failure, multiple organ failure, tuberculosis, cardio-respiratory diseases, lung cancer, septicemia, cirrhosis of liver, cerebro-vascular dieseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, mellitus etc amongst a host of other diseases.

Some of these illnesses can be contributed to Occupational Health Hazard. Exposure to radiation, chemicals and other biological agents account for one of the most common and most harmful of occupational health hazards that effect several industries. The health risks from these hazards include liver damage, cancer etc.

The largest number of suicide cases at 74 have been reported from Uranium Corporation of India Ltd, Jharkhand, and those who died of other illnesses mentioned above stood at 203 at this centre. Major cause of suicide in this area may be attributed to its remote position . As this area situated in very remote in Jharkhand State does not have any recreation spots as it is in metro cities or big towns. Lack of recreation coupled with work pressure and working in adverse condition and in hazardous condition may increase mental disorders among the officials and workers.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, have reported highest number of deaths, at 680, of its employees and scientists due to various illnesses.
The data has been sourced from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India in Mumbai, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Tata Memorial Hospital, Department of Atomic Energy, Atomic Energy Rgulatory Board, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (Kolkata ), Uranium Corporation of India (Jharkhand), Nuclear Fuel Complex (Hyderabad), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Environmental and Industrial safety (Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu), The Institute fo Mathematical Sciences (Chennai), Department fo Atomic Energy, Heavy Watyer Plant (Tuticorin), Harish Chandra Research Institute (Allahabad), Institute for Plasma Research Centre (Gandhinagar), Institute of Physics (Bhubaneshwar), Heavy Water Plant in Kota (Rajasthan ), Heavy water Pklant, Talcher (Orissa), Raja Ramanna Centre for Advaced Technology (Indore) amongst several others.

Source of this informations:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Radiogenic Osmium in Ganga river sediments of India.

Ganga river Sediments are the major source of radiogenic Osmium.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

The Ganga sediments are characterized by high Re/Os (rhenium-osmium) ratios and are extremely radiogenic as evident from their 187 Os/ 188 Os isotopic ratios. Samples from the tributaries Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Gandak and Ghaghra show pronounced 187 Os/ 188 Os. High Os concentrations combined with sediments flux makes the Ganga an important source for soluble Os isotopic evolution in oceans.

Interest in rhenium-osmium systematics in rivers has risen sharply in recent years due to the revelation of changes associated with sea water Os isotopic compositions during the past 70 Ma. Radiogenic 187 Os is produced from the β- decay of 187 Re. Osmium isotopic composition in sea water is derived from the weathering of basaltic and peridotitic oceanic crust, hydrothermal solutions, additions from cosmic dust and continental weathering products.

Os isotopes in the oceans convey the then prevalent continental weathering processes. The Osmium isotopic composition of the present day sea water is markedly higher since the past 70 Ma. This enhancement in radiogenic Os in sea water is largely attributed to the Himalayan tectonics with its accompanying increased silicate weathering and in particular, chemical weathering of the extremely radiogenic black shales in the lesser Himalayan region.

Marine black shales have been proposed as a source of very radiogenic Os because of their large enrichments in Re and because they can even at trace amounts weather very fast due to oxidative processes. If true, this then has the possibility of tracking exposure and weathering of organic carbon in the form of black shales in the past, e.g. uplift of the Himalayas or the Andes.

According to the article published in Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta in year 1999, Indus and Brahmaputra are less radiogenic than the Ganges, presumably due to the erosion of ophiolitic assemblages exposed along the Indus-Tsangpo suture zone.

The tributaries in the upstream, Alaknanada and Bhagirathi flow through predominantly silicates (shales, phyllites, quartzites, crystalines) and show high Re/ Os ratios of 24.9 and 19.8 respectively. Re is preferentially incorporated into the silicate minerals relative to Os.

Rivers draining the Canadian Shield have radiogenic values at low concentrations (24 to 35 fmol/kg). They are more radiogenic than the Zaire draining the Congo shield (1.4) or the Tapajos draining the Amazon shield (1.33) in the tropics.

Recently osmium concentrations and isotopic compositions in groundwater samples from the Bengal plain have been reported. Groundwaters have Os concentrations (16.9–191.5 pg/kg), about 5–10 times higher than those published for most rivers or seawater. 187Os/188Os varies widely (from 0.96 to 2.79) and is related to the isotopic signatures of the sediments constituting local aquifers.

Table-1 Osmium in Ganga River and its tributaries (in ppt).

Bhagirathi- 32.8
Alaknanda- 21.1
Yamuna- 64.3
Ganga- 37.7 to 51.7


Chakrapani, G.J. 2002. Osmium isotopic compositions in Ganga river sediments. Current science, Vol.83, no. 10.

Monday, September 27, 2010

भारत के भूमिगत जल में घुल रहा है रेडिओएक्टीव रेडोन का जहर I

भारत के कई जगहों के भूमिगत जल में रेडिओएक्टीव रेडोन गैस के पाए जाने की वैज्ञानिक पुष्टि हुई है I
डा. नितीश प्रियदर्शी

भारत के बैंगलोर, मध्य प्रदेश के किओलारी- नैनपुर, पंजाब के भटिंडा एवं गुरदासपुर, उत्तराखंड का गढ़वाल, हिमाचल प्रदेश एवं दून घाटी के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन -२२२ के मिलने की वैज्ञानिक पुष्टि हुई है I

बैंगलोर शहर के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा सहनशीलता की सीमा ११.८३ Bq/ लीटर से ऊपर है I कहीं कहीं ये सौ गुना अधिक है I यहाँ पर रेडोन की औसत मात्रा ५५.९६ Bq/ लीटर से ११८९.३० Bq/लीटर तक पाई गई है I बैंगलोर शहर में भूमिगत जल की तुलना में सतही जल में कम रेडोन पाए गए क्योंकि वायुमंडल के संपर्क में रहने के कारण यह गैस जल से वायुमंडल में आसानी से घुल जाती है I
बैंगलोर शहर के कैंसर रोगियों में से इस वक्त 10.5 फीसदी लोग लंग कैंसर और करीब 13.5 फीसदी लोग स्टमक कैंसर से जूझ रहे हैं। जानकारों की मानें तो पानी में रेडोन की बढ़ती मात्रा का कारण जमीन में मौजूद ग्रेनाइट है।

मध्य प्रदेश के मांडला के किओलारी-नैनपुर जगह के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन के साथ युरेनियम की भी मात्रा पाई गई है I युरेनियम की औसत मात्रा १३ पि.पि.बी. (पार्ट्स पर बिलियन ) से ४,५०० पि.पि.बी. तक पाई गई है I यहाँ के १३ गाँव में युरेनियम की मात्रा खतरनाक स्तिथि को पार कर चुकी है I ६ गाँव में रेडोन की औसत मात्रा ३४,१५१ Bq/m3 से १,१४६,०७५ Bq/m3 तक पाई गई है. इन सारे जगहों को काफी अधिक मात्रा के बैकग्राउंड रेडीऐशन वाला स्थान घोषित किया गया है I
पंजाब के कई क्षेत्रों, विशेषकर मालवा इलाके में भूजल और पेयजल में यूरेनियम पाये जाने की पुष्टि हो गई है। इस खतरनाक “भारी धातु” (Heavy Metal) के कारण पंजाब में छोटे-छोटे बच्चों को दिमागी सिकुड़न और अन्य विभिन्न तरह की जानलेवा बीमारियों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है।

पंजाब के भटिंडा प्रदेश के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा पाई गई है I भटिंडा शहर में रेडोन की मात्रा गुरदासपुर शहर से कम है I भटिंडा के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा ३.६ Bq/लीटर से ३.८ Bq/लीटर है.
एक अन्य शोध के अनुसार भटिण्डा जिले के 24 गाँवों में किये गये अध्ययन के मुताबिक कम से कम आठ गाँवों में पीने के पानी में यूरेनियम और रेडॉन की मात्रा 400 Bq/L के सुरक्षित स्तर से कई गुना अधिक है, इनमें संगत मंडी, मुल्तानिया, मुकन्द सिंह नगर, दान सिंहवाला, आबलू, मेहमा स्वाई, माल्की कल्याणी और भुन्दर शामिल हैं।
1999 से इस क्षेत्र में कैंसर के कारण हुई मौतों में बढ़ोतरी हुई है और तात्कालिक तौर पर इसका कारण यूरेनियम और रेडॉन ही लगता है। जिन गाँवों में कैंसर की वजह से अधिकतम और लगातार मौतें हो रही हैं, वहाँ के पानी के नमूनों में यूरेनियम नामक रेडियोएक्टिव पदार्थ की भारी मात्रा पाई गई है।
हरियाणा के भिवानी जिले और साथ लगे हुए भटिण्डा जिले में स्थित तुसाम पहाड़ियों की रेडियोएक्टिव ग्रेनाईट चट्टानों के कारण इस क्षेत्र के भूजल में यूरेनियम और रेडॉन की अधिकता पाये जाने की सम्भावना भी जताई गई है।
फरीदकोट के 149 बच्चों के बालों के नमूनों में यूरेनियम सहित अन्य सभी हेवी मेटल, सुरक्षित मानकों से बहुत अधिक पाये गये हैं। यह निष्कर्ष जर्मनी की प्रख्यात लेबोरेटरी माइक्रोट्रेस मिनरल लैब द्वारा पंजाब के बच्चों के बालों के नमूनों के गहन परीक्षण के पश्चात सामने आया है। मस्तिष्क की विभिन्न गम्भीर बीमारियों से ग्रस्त लगभग 80% बच्चों के बालों में घातक रेडियोएक्टिव पदार्थ यूरेनियम की पुष्टि हुई है और इसका कारण भूजल और पेयजल में यूरेनियम का होना माना जा रहा है।

बाह्य हिमालय प्रदेश के दून घाटी में रेडोन की मात्रा अधिक पाई गई है. यहाँ पार रेडोन की मात्रा २५- ९२ Bq/लीटर है I
हिमाचल प्रदेश के कुल्लू के कासोल प्रदेश प्रदेश में भी रेडोन के अधिक मात्रा में होने की सुचना है I यहाँ के भूमिगत जल में औसत युरेनियम की मात्रा ३७.४० पि.पि.बी.
है I
कर्नाटक के वराही एवं मार्कंडेय नदी प्रदेशों के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा पाई गई
है I
वायुमंडल की तुलना में भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा अधिक होती है I रेडोन-२२२, रेडियम - २२६ के विघटन के फलस्वरूप बनता है I जिन चट्टानों में युरेनियम की मात्रा अधिक होगी वहां के भूमिगत जलों में रेडोन की मात्रा अधिक होगी I इन चट्टानों में प्रमुख हैं ग्रेनाइट, पेग्मैटाइट एवं दुसरे अम्लीय चट्टान I
भारत में जहाँ पर भी रेडोन पाया गया है वहां पर इन चट्टानों की बहुलता है I रेडोन एक जहरीला एवं रेडियोएक्टिव गैस है I इसके शारीर में पहुँचने से शारीर को हानी होती है I खासकर इसके अल्फा विकिरण से I जिस घर के भूमिगत जल में रेडोन की मात्रा मौजूद है वहां पर स्तिथि और भी भयावह हो जाती है I एक तो जल से और दूसरा वही रेडोन जब जल के माध्यम से वातावरण में आ जाता है और जब शारीर में प्रवेश करता है तो शारीर को दुगुना हानी पहुँचाता है I ये हवा के साथ मिलकर फेफड़े और पानी के साथ मिलकर पेट पर बेहद बुरा असर डालते हैं।