More than 50% of Indian districts have reported groundwater contamination as a problem. Surface water, too, is polluted with 60% samples containing faecal bacteria. 68 crore Indians depend on groundwater as their main water source.
Elements of fluoride and chloride and salt levels have increased drastically, in some cases by 200%, because of illegal extraction of groundwater.
The Aquifier, or the purifier of our surface water and rain, is depleting very quickly too, which poses its own problems. Water is being pumped out much faster than it is being replenished. Saline water is moving inwards, and upwards, which contaminates water for irrigation purposes. This means lesser crop output.
Chemical concentrations have been increasing according to many studies that have been carried out. The solution is to replenish it with water.
Contamination from landfills is an issue that is really problematic. Landfills infiltrate with groundwater and leech toxic chemicals into it. It causes fatal diseases like typhoid, cholera and hepatitis.
The research found that contaminated water kills one person in India every five hours. The number of deaths due to water in 2017 was 1412, and the number of reported diseases was 1.08 crore. According to CSE, Indian cities produce 40,000 million litres of sewage every day, but not even 20% is treated.
A viable solution to these problems would be to replenish the surface water, but lakes have been drying out, and being sold to companies to be used as building sites. Out of the 611 water bodies in the Capital, 274 have dried up, and 337 are close to facing the same fate.
Things you can do to help are –
- Not use as many fertilisers and chemicals for your garden plants. Use organic and non-toxic ones, that will not pollute the soil.
- Manage and segregate your waste. Make sure your E-waste and chemical waste do not end up rotting in a landfill and polluting our water. Start a compost pit in your home! Reuse, reduce and recycle.
- Use biological washing powders and soaps. The water kills and contaminates fish, that humans in turn eat.
- Use natural, non-toxic household cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are all environmentally friendly, and effective alternatives.
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