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Issue 24
, 2010
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Report: Fishing Toxics - Mercury Contamination of Fish in West Bengal

By: Toxics Link, Source: Toxics Link Website, Date: , 2010

Fish is a popular human food. Over two and a half billion people globally obtain their daily nutrient intake through fish. Over 100 million tonnes of fish is consumed each year globally. In India too, estimates suggest that over 50 percent of the population eat fish regularly, and over 30 of its 1.2 billion population earns a livelihood through fishing. It is particularly an important poor personís diet in developing countries. Contamination of this vital food is a key issue. However, it is probably the least explored in developing countries. Alongside, mercury is an obnoxious pollutant, which if consumed can have adverse effects on human health.

Fish is a major nutrient and a diet for many in West Bengal. What if this popular human food is found to be contaminated with mercury, due to the contaminantís presence in fresh water bodies and lakes in the state of West Bengal? This might also pose a great threat to contamination of rivers and water bodes in other states, which have not been examined at all.

Toxics Link in association with DISHA therefore felt responsible for highlighting this grave issue of mercury contamination of fish in West Bengal, on the basis of a scientific study conducted in the lab, and have come up with a report, which clearly shows that many types of fishes have high mercury content. The research by Dr Sanatanu Chacraverti and Dr Abhay Kumar is both scientific and exploratory.