With downpour of monsoon rains in a geographically diverse and second most populous country of the world – India, the agricultural activities commence in full swing in rural areas. As the monsoon progresses with moderate to heavy rainfall across the length and breadth of this vast country, reports do start pouring in about the deteriorating flood situation usually in states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Orissa, to name a few.
It's an open fact that the water management has not been the priority of the Govt. at least in reality. May be on paper, it is shown to be high on its agenda and as a corollary, huge money allocated and spent (better, read wasted) too.
If you could visit even few parts of the country in monsoon season to know the ground realities of water management system in India, you would appreciate the gigantic problem of not only wastage but also pollution of water in large scale. The pathetic state of huge population suffering from water borne diseases is seen to be believed particularly in rural areas.
Before proceeding further, we may go through some facts related to water pollution:
- In India, an estimated 21% of communicable diseases are related to unclean/unsafe water.
- Water borne diseases, Diarrhoea, Cholera, Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and Filariasis, cause more than 18 lakh deaths annually.
- Water related ailments contribute more than 80% of total deaths due to various diseases.
- Most of our rivers including Ganga and Yamuna are much polluted as sewage, trash, food, animal remains and industrial wastes containing toxic chemicals are dumped in large quantities.
- Oxygen content in water is depleting very fast.
- Due to ground water contamination as a result of interaction between ground water and unclean surface water, situation has become further grave.
- Interestingly, the overall cost of making provision of clean drinkable water to one and all in the country is lesser than the multiple heath related benefits.
This list is indicative of the growing menace of water pollution and its disastrous impact on a very large population of the country. Not to re-emphasise the fact that the poor and BPL (Below Poverty line) families are the worst hit of water pollution. These sections of Indian Society, which comprises 40% of our population i.e., nearly 500 million people, have very little option but to use unclean and unsafe water. As such, various water borne diseases affect them most resulting in large number of deaths every year.
Obviously, this demands initiation and intensification of effective and urgent corrective measures at all levels by all concerned in an integrated and concerted manner.
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.