We never heard earlier that water pollution is causing cancer in any part of the world in such a huge number. But it is happening in one of the biggest democracies of the world. Yes in democracies there is a government of the people by the people and for the people. But in India apart from poverty, diseases and riots, the menace of water pollution is also playing havoc with hapless masses that have nothing to do with the corrupt government practices.
Bad news for Ganges communities
This is a bad news for all who live along the banks of Ganges in Indian estates of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. They are more susceptible to the fatal disease of cancer than their compatriots living in other parts of the India. Actually they have to pay the price for residing near the holy water of the river Ganges. Religiously its water is holy but from health point of view it has become poisonous and cancerous. They don’t have any choice but to drink the worst polluted water they get from their local water supply system which comes through this river.
Cancer-causing substance present in Ganges water
A study recently conducted by the National Cancer Registry Program of India revealed that the water of the river Ganges is full of heavy metals and poisonous chemicals that cause cancer if it is used for the drinking purpose. Moreover, its use for washing, bathing and cooking is also equally dangerous and may cause skin cancer.
Cancer cases on rise in people living along Ganges
The incidence of cancer is on the rise in people living around the area where water of this river is used for domestic purpose including for drinking purpose. Indian media has always been so active to point out the rising cases of cancer in referred areas. But now the confirmation of the presence of the cancerous material in Ganges water has opened the eyes of all. However, Indian government is still far from taking any practical step to purify the Ganges water to mitigate its cancerous effects as much as possible.
Cancer affecting various human organs
In areas of east Uttar Pradesh and the flood plains of Bengal and Bihar the cases of cancer in gallbladder, kidneys, food pipe, prostate, liver, urinary bladder and skin are rife. Even if the Ganges water is used for non-drinking purpose it may also make its user suffer from the skin cancer. Most alarmingly the number of some forms of the cancer like in gallbladder in referred areas is highest in the world. According to the survey conducted by the NCRP, out of total people surveyed nearly 15 per cent found suffering from gallbladder cancer.
Who is responsible for cancerous Ganges water?
The water of Ganges has not become poisonous and cancerous in days, months or even years. It took decades for it to reach at this dangerous level. Lethargy of pollution control agency of India, its legislatures and industries alongside the river are equally responsible for the rising level of water pollution in Ganges river. But the ultimate sufferers are poor people as it always happen in every poor country, is it of Asia or Africa.
How water becomes cancerous?
How the water becomes cancerous. The effluent of industries has carcinogenic material that causes cancer. When such effluent of industries is directly dumped in huge quantity into a water body without its treatment it adds the carcinogenic material in its water. As a result whoever consumes such water for a longer period of time becomes directly vulnerable to this fatal but curable disease.
It remains to be seen when India’s concerned departments wake up from the deep somber and escape its huge population living along this cancerous river. They must urgently take the following steps to rescue the Ganges communities:
- First they have to bind industries not to dump effluent without treatment
- Apply mitigation measures to reduce carcinogenic material from the Ganges water
- Impose penalties on industries which do not follow green laws
- Make communities aware on harms of Ganger water
- Supply water to Ganges communities through other sources till its carcinogenic impact is removed
It is admitted that the above wish list is not easy to implement. For this purpose all the stakeholders of the concerned areas including central government, estates, local governments, industries and civil society have to stand together to counter this menace of water pollution in the most holy river of India.