Survey finds excess fluoride in waters of rural Karnataka

Over 72 per cent of those in villages have no toilets; lack modern hygiene


The quality of water too is a cause for alarm with 60% of water containing fluoride in excess of the permissible level; these are some of the findings of a state-level water and sanitation survey, released here on Monday.

Governor H R Bhardwaj released the findings of ‘A survey of Household Water and Sanitation (ASHWAS),’ a participatory survey conducted across rural Karnataka at Raj Bhavan. The survey covers 17,200 households.

Presenting the gist of the findings, CEO of Arghyam, Sunita Nandamuni, said the sanitation front in rural areas was begging for improvement. The absence of toilets forced 72% of ruralites to defecate in the open, causing them acute embarrassment.

Raichur, the worst

Raichur presented the worst scenario with 98% forced to relieve themselves in this manner while only 15% in Dakshina Kannada had to do so.

“It is the women who suffer the maximum and are forced to opt for dawn or dusk hours to relieve themselves.”

Ninety two percent of the sick, aged,  disabled, adolescent as well as pregnant women found it inconvenient.

Quality of water

The quality of water was again a huge area for concern. A total of 2,114 water samples across the State were tested during the survey. Sixty percent of water had fluoride levels beyond the permissible one ppm, 38 per cent had bacteriological contamination while 20 per cent revealed more than the permissible nitrate levels.

“The rural parts of Kolar, Chitradurga, Davangere, Chikkaballapur and Bellary areas were particularly bad with more than 90% contamination,” Nandamuni said.

On the water source front, 87 per cent of households depend only on groundwater. Poor operation and maintenance was the reason for disruption of  water supply in 73 per cent of the cases.

Women lack facilities

Another big cause for alarm was the menstrual hygiene with a majority women lacking access to modern and hygienic forms of sanitary protection.

“A shocking 94 per cent of women had to use cloth for protection and 46 per cent of them changed them only after two or three months.”

These aspects make them vulnerable to fungal and other infections, the survey said.

Diseases abound in rural areas too. The average annual amount spent by households for treatment of chikungunya was Rs 2,809 while a sum of Rs 1,122 was spent annually for treating diarrhoea.

Startling facts


Rural Karnataka was divided int four sub-regions (SR) for the purpose of the survey.

* Survey held in rural Karnataka

* OD-Open defecation

* SR refers to Sub-Region

* SR-1: Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bellary, Bijapur, Bidar, Dharwad, Gadag, Gulbarga, Haveri, Koppal.

* SR-2: Bangalore Rural, Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Kolar, Ramnagaram, Tumkur.

* SR-3: Chamrajnagar, Mandya, Mysore and Hassan.

* SR-4: Chikmagalur, Kodagu, Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Udipi, Uttara Kannada.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry