Research Highlight Details

Assessment of Effects of Arsenic Pollution on Health in Rural Bengal and Development and Implementation of Sustainable Technology Solution.


Arsenic contamination in groundwater in nine districts of West Bengal is rapidly taking the shape of a health disaster. Millions of rural people living in these areas are drinking ground water with arsenic concentrations far above acceptable levels. Many people have already been diagnosed with poisoning symptoms; however, much of the at-risk population has not yet been assessed for arsenic-related health problems. There is no other treatment of arsenic poisoning (i.e., arsenicosis) than to consume arsenic-safe drinking water. However, a number of issues are related to the mitigation of this arsenic poisoning: i) presence of arsenic is not physically traceable, ii) external manifestation of arsenicosis is often misleading with other common skin diseases and hence clinical examination is needed for detection, iii) lack of awareness about arsenic contamination in poor and less literate rural people, iv) availability of appropriate and sustainable technology solution, v) participation of the community people in implementing the solution and vi) assessment of the improvement in health condition after providing the solution. With this scenario in the background, the objective of this project was to design, develop and implement a methodology that would address all the issues mentioned above, and provide relief to a large community affected by arsenic poisoning. An appropriate community filter was designed developed and installed in a village in Ranaghat Block – II, Nadia, West Bengal, which is providing arsenic-safe water to 120 hundred families since June 2013, thus saving the lives of more than a thousand people from arsenic poisoning. The unit is successfully being run and maintained by a water committee comprising a small group of active members of the community.


Prof. Kalyan Kumar Bhar

Department of Civil Engineering