Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater in Bhojpur District of Bihar, India: A Threat to Sustainability

Zanieczyszczenie wód gruntowych arsenem w dystrykcie Bhojpur w stanie Bihar w Indiach: zagrożenie dla zrównoważonego rozwoju

Avinash Ranjan*, Pammy Kumari**

*Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dhanbad, India
E-mail (Corresponding Author):
**Ranchi University, Department of Environmental Sciences, Ranchi, India


Arsenic contamination of water is now a global problem. More than 100 countries, including India, are facing a high level of arsenic in the groundwater. There is a wide range of negative impacts of arsenic contamination on society and the economy, threatening sustainability in the contaminated areas. To examine the magnitude and effects of arsenic in the Shahpur block of the Bhojpur district, Bihar, India, we tested groundwater samples from many different locations. The household survey and personal interviews were conducted to find out the societal response to this problem. Sample testing results confirm that there is a high rate of arsenic contamination in the area. Our study found that; low education level of the area is hampering the sustainable solution of the problem. We came to know that people who are suffering from arsenic diseases are discriminated against the society. Further, we have also found that the economic burdens of arsenic contamination are more on the marginalized section of the community. Since crops are irrigated with high arsenic concentrated water, soil quality is degrading, responsible for poor agriculture output and economic loss. It has also been found that most of the mitigation measures employed are not sustainable in the long term. Awareness regarding arsenic toxicity is needed for the sustainable intervention of this problem. After examining all the mitigation measures, we concluded that rainwater harvesting and rooftop rain harvesting is the most sustainable and cost-effective measure to tackle this menace.

Key words: sustainability, arsenic contamination, groundwater, water accessibility, socio-economic burden

Słowa kluczowe: zrównoważony rozwój, zanieczyszczenie arsenem, wody gruntowe, dostępność wody, obciążenia społeczno-ekonomiczne

Problemy Ekorozwoju 17(2)2022: 218-229

DOI: 10.35784/pe.2022.2.24