Powered by

Home Environment Stories

Khan Chandpur villagers are forced to drink heavy metal-polluted water

The groundwater of Khan Chandpur and the surrounding villages has become poisoned with carcinogenic heavy metal

By pragyaanant
New Update
khan chandpur polluted water

The groundwater of Khan Chandpur and the surrounding villages has become poisoned with carcinogenic heavy metal due to the neighboring disposal of 45,000 tonnes of toxic garbage. Hexavalent Chromium, also known as Cr VI, a cancer-causing heavy metal, has been found in the water collected from hand pumps in this area for years. The watercolor is seen as bright green.

Green colour Groundwater
Green colour Groundwater| Source: PLoS ONE 7(10): e47877

One of the most dangerous by-products of the leather tanning process, Cr VI, is produced in large quantities in the Kanpur region. As a result of increased environmental rules, many tanneries have closed their doors over the past 20 years. However, the toxins stayed behind as the industry could not function. In Kanpur, much of the toxic waste from the leather tanning industries has been illegally deposited in deep boreholes, open areas, and rivers.

A hazardous chromium waste site can be easily visualized across the Kanpur-Jhansi highway near Khan Chandpur village. Less than a kilometer away, contaminating the ground and leaching into the water bodies. However, villagers drink carcinogenic water every monsoon season that leaches into the groundwater from landfills.

Contaminated Ground Water

Waste dump near Khan Chadpur
Waste dump near Khan Chadpur | Source: PLoS ONE 7(10): e47877

In nature, chromium can be found in two stable forms. Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen, whereas trivalent chromium is a necessary nutrient for human health. Industries that use chrome sulfate are the source of the hazardous waste dump close to Khan Chandpur village. Chrome sulfate is used to tan leather and is not harmful.

However, hazardous waste is generated during the process, which needs to be handled correctly. The people of Khan Chandpur are forced to live with poisonous garbage. Some people have even unknowingly renovated and built residences using hazardous materials.

The national government's Jal Jeevan Mission Yojana would reactivate the previous drinking water projects. By 2024, every home in India would have access to piped water under the Ministry of Jal Shakti's plan. The task of supplying drinkable water to every home in the area will soon begin. Additionally, the new tube wells erected in the plan will draw water from a depth of fewer than 300 meters.

The Role of NGT

 The National Green Tribunal keeps an eye on managing the village's situation. A five expertise committee of Mr. Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson; Mr. Justice S.P Wangdi, Judicial Member; Mr. Justice K. Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member; Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member; and Mr. Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member, have ordered to dispose of the hazardous waste.

There are two concerns with this situation. First, there is the question of properly disposing of the chromium dumps, which have been there since 1976 and, among other things, contaminated the groundwater, denying the locals access to drinking water. In the village of Khan Chandpur in Kanpur Dehat and Rakhi Mandi in Kanpur Dehat, all hand pumps installed in the region, tube wells, and borewells should be sealed, and drinking water extraction from the ground should be prohibited entirely.

As long as the following steps are not implemented, the State Government, through its Chief Secretary, must be instructed to ensure that the people of Khan Chandpur and the neighboring areas have daily access to drinking water via tankers.

Heavy Metal Polluted Water

According to the results of samples taken from Khan-Chandpur, Rania, Kanpur-Dehat, and UP, Total Dissolved Solid, Chromium, and Fluoride levels are higher above the BIS Acceptable Limit for Drinking water. A few samples also had sulfate and iron concentrations higher than the BIS allowable level for drinking water.

Each location's chromium concentration was more significant than the 0.05 mg/L BIS acceptable level for drinking water, at 1.87, 42.2, and 7.48 mg/L, respectively. These samples also contained dangerous hexavalent chromium at 3.37 and 13.95 mg/L.

The UPPCB has identified six industries for discharging hazardous trash. The industries were already out of order since 2005. From the industries mentioned above, around 280 crore INR for environmental remuneration is expected to be recovered. To stop the flow of effluents into the inadequately equipped treatment plant and to stop disposal into an irrigation channel, a closure order was passed against 122 tanneries. Nothing has been done to show that action has been taken regarding receiving compensation for prior environmental harm. 

The Solution

Chromate ions discharged by hazardous wastes bring up a variety of environmental difficulties that need the scientific community's immediate attention to be addressed and the proper corrective action taken. The scientific community has already investigated promising adsorbents for extracting Cr (VI), even from groundwater contaminated by chromium waste. Recently, a research group prepared an iron-enriched chitin-modified hydroxyapatite nanocomposite. In the composite, chitin-functionalized nanorods with spherical iron particles have grown on them to enhance complexation with heavy metal ions. 

The government authority can order to employ technological advancements for heavy metal removal from polluted aquifers. The technology can be established using different combinations such as a porous material, membrane, adsorbents, etc.  

Keep Reading

Follow Ground Report for Climate Change and Under-Reported issues in India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us on [email protected].