Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Parts of Malwa, Raj drinking poison?

I P Singh, TNN, Jun 16, 2010, 04.07am IST

FARIDKOT: In the wake of discovery of high levels of uranium and other heavy metals in hair samples of 80% of 149 neurologically-disabled children, samples of five children from worst-affected village of Teja Rohela, near Fazilka — with maximum congenitally mentally and physically challenged children — have been sent to Microtarce Mineral Lab Germany by the Baba Farid Centre for Special Children, Faridkot. Experts say the results from the village could be more alarming.

While high concentration of uranium is attributed to use of depleted uranium in the Afghan war by US, the problem appears to be due to no stooping of release of effluents in water channels, something which the government machinery has failed to check. The report from Germany on water samples from Budha Nullah has revealed heavy metal content and the presence of uranium one-and-a-half times more than the reference range. "Toxicity of single element may not be that harmful, but when heavy metals are coupled with uranium, the toxic effect increases manifold," said Dr Amar Singh Azad, a paediatrician working on neurological disorders in children at Baba Farid Centre at Faridkot. Budha Nullah and Chitti Bein carry industrial waste into river Sutlej; its waters are used by the people in Malwa and parts of Rajasthan.

The report from German laboratory has revealed that if chromium was present over 50 times the reference range, aluminium and iron content was 20 and 60 times higher than the set parameters. The samples from Budha Nullah also have high concentration of silver, manganese, nickel and lead.

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