For representational purposes (Photo | AP)
For representational purposes (Photo | AP)

Eliminate water contamination and save lives

Water contamination deaths are a major concern even as the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is underway across India from August 2019.

Water contamination deaths are a major concern even as the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is underway across India from August 2019. Three people died in Raichur in North Karnataka of water contamination over the past week and at least 70 took ill. In October 2021, six persons died of water contamination in Makarabbi village in Vijayanagara district, also in Karnataka. According to a Lancet study, over five lakh deaths occurred across India in 2019 due to water pollution.

NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report in 2018 stated that about two lakh people die every year due to lack of access to safe water. It also estimated that about 40% of the country’s projected population is likely to face water stress by 2030. Its assessment points to the disturbing fact that almost 70% of the country’s underground and surface fresh water could be contaminated.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), urbanisation, increasing population, and unchecked encroachment are forcing water bodies to dwindle. Water pollution is mainly caused by discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage, industrial effluents, improper management of generated sewage, and maintenance of existing infrastructure.The grim situation pertaining to clean drinking water prompted the Centre to kick-start the JJM. The mission aims to provide adequate and long-term supply of quality drinking water through taps to every rural household by 2024.

With children being more vulnerable to water-borne diseases, the JJM saw a special campaign launched in October 2020 to supply potable water to schools. In his written reply in the Lok Sabha on March 21, Minister of State for Jal Shakti Prahlad Singh Patel said tap water supply is available in 8.52 lakh (83%) schools and 8.76 lakh (78.4%) anganwadi centres across India.Water is a state subject. It remains states’ responsibility to ensure fool-proof methods to prevent contamination of water. Simultaneously, people, even in the remotest corners of India, need to be made aware of the safety measures they need to take to prevent the ill-effects of consuming contaminated water.

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The New Indian Express
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