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Issue 27
July , 2010
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* EDITORIAL

Thwarted anti-pollution laws

Anjali Pandey
Source: Toxics Link, Date: July , 2010

It is believed that there are three kinds of lies: white, black and statistics. But the third might not hold true in the case of agriculture becoming chemically intensive in the diabolical case of the state of Punjab showing increasing cases of cancer, cerebral palsy and neurological disorders.

A study done by Germany’s Microtrace Mineral Lab detected high uranium levels in hair samples of mentally retarded children. Adults too were found to have the toxin. Another study, done by ecology NGO Greenpeace, indicates that Punjab is suffering the ill effects of chemical, radiation and biological toxicity. The study was conducted in 50 villages in Bhatinda, Ludhiana and Muktsar districts. Especially worrisome was the detection of nitrate pollution, linked with the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, in many wells. Two water samples in Doda found the nitrate levels at 94.3 mg/l and 72.8 mg/l, much above the WHO safety limit of 50 mg/l. In Muktsar, the home district of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, a state health department survey revealed that 1,074 people died of cancer between 2001 and November 2009 and 668 others are on their deathbed. In Lambi, the home constituency of Badal, 211 residents lost their lives and 164 got afflicted with cancer in the last eight years, revealed health department survey report.
 Industrial effluent, flowing into water bodies, has added to the problem. Cases of pancreatic and other cancers are being reported from settlements along the Ganga, with residues of arsenic and other poisons having been found even in ground water

What comes forth after seeing these cases of toxicity is that we as individuals are surrounded with toxic elements in some way or the other. The recent death of a scientist after drinking juice of bottle gourd comes as an even more shocking news than the Mayapuri incident because in the case of Mayapuri we could atelast term the substance as hazardous. Here comes a question to the central policy makers as to when will they realize that the situation is precarious, if only after an alarm bell, stats, and studies then there are already myriad. In any case, it can be said that like Malwa in Punjab, problem can arise anywhere because the larger issue here is toxicity—chemical, radiation and biological. To say, Bhatinda is just one area examined. There might be more and grave!

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