Trace elements of arsenic have been found in the river systems of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Cochin in the Human risk health assessment conducted by multiple institutes. The presence of arsenic poses a potential risk to the residents and magnifies the probabilities of cancer.
As per the reports, the pollutant arsenic causes non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic concerns mostly in children whose immune system is weak.
The research team from Manipal University, Karnataka, University of Madras and National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation, Japan said that special attention should be paid to the consumption of water as there is a possibility of trace elements present in water , as reported by The Times of India.
The presence of arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium even at trace levels is dangerous. The surface water is used for consumption by humans and other organisms and therefore it is very important to know the presence of these elements in the water. The aquatic ecosystems are also affected by the presence of these toxic elements even at trace levels.
The major industrial hubs are located in South India and the pollutants released by these industries are partially treated, or untreated goes into various rivers and streams which increase the toxic elements in water.
The analysis assessed 27 trace elements in surface water samples brought from 48 sites of lakes, canals and tributaries of major rivers in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana. The presence of major pollutants like chromium, selenium, arsenic, iron and manganese indicated the toxicity level of these waters which are very harmful to the aquatic ecosystem.
The water sample was also taken from the upper Cauvery basin to figure out what impact these elements create on people in Karnataka. Manganese and iron were found in these samples which are the major contaminants in this area.
”Iron concentrations at all locations along the Vrishabhavathi river, a tributary of the Cauvery, which flows through Bengaluru city, is almost twice recommended by World Health Organization (WHO), United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The highest iron concentration was recorded downstream Vrishabhavathi river and manganese concentrations at different locations along the Vrishabhavathi river are well above the USEPA criteria values, they concluded. This suggests that Vrishabhavathi river, a tributary of the Cauvery river is a major contamination route to the Cauvery riverine system,” said the researchers, as reported by Times of India.
The elements present in the water can enter humans in three ways: ingestion, inhalation through mouth and nose and absorption through the skin. Immediate measures are needed to be taken to reduce the toxic elements in water and to make it fit for drinking.