Geogenic Groundwater Contamination

Session chairs : Dr R Srinivasan and Dr S A Pandit, Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science

Naturally occurring pollutants such as fluoride, arsenic, radioactive nuclides, heavy metals etc., have been contaminating our ground and surface water resources with or without human intervention. Increasing population, urbanization, land use changes, excess groundwater extraction and changing climate, have been considered as the main factors affecting the quality of water affecting human health in particular and biosphere in general. The source of the geogenic contaminants lies in the rocks and minerals. Geological structure, physicochemical nature of the aquifer of a given region influence the release of contaminants from the rocks. Anthropogenic activities could catalyze geogenic processes bringing changes in the geochemical conditions in a region.

Among several geogenic contaminants, Arsenic (As), Fluoride (F) and Uranium (U) are found to be the widespread affecting the health of large population in India. Geogenic contamination of fluoride and arsenic is fairly well known in several parts of the country (West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Punjab, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Haryana). In Karnataka, as many 18 districts out of 30 are reported to be affected by fluoride contamination of groundwater. High arsenic values are found in few districts. Recently, higher values of uranium in ground water have been found in some districts. Since 2005, Government of Karnataka and National Health Mission, Government of India have taken several steps towards mitigation of this menace by installing R.O plants in critical areas and other technologies elsewhere. They have also made provision for improving awareness about the harmful effects of these diseases through several publicity programmes and undertaken medical and nutritional intervention

The primary aim of this session is to provide a common platform for the, researchers, health experts, technologists, social scientists, policymakers etc. to discuss to

  1. understanding of geogenic contaminants,
  2. their interactions with the environment,
  3. the threat they pose to people and biodiversity,
  4. mitigation measures,
  5. existing technologies and sustainable innovations,
  6. hurdles in implementation of policies,
  7. Outreach activities and other related topics in order to provide clean drinking water on a sustainable basis.