No respite from contaminated water

MAJOR PROBLEM

No respite from contaminated water

As if the soaring temperatures weren’t bad enough, compou­n­d­ing the problem is the quality and supply of the water by Delhi Jal Board (DJB). Though the problem exists across the national Capital, it’s North Delhiites, who are the most harried lot these days and their reaction is justified as a recent survey by DJB in coordination with the MCD has revealed that 10 percent of water in the area fails to meet the prescribed standards of drinking water.

It means that a major proportion of the population – especially those who cannot afford water purifiers, are consuming water which is unfit for drinking, making them susceptible to water-borne diseases. “Though there are people who have filters or can afford to buy treated water from the market but what about the water which they use for domestic purposes,” questions Mahendra Nagpal, leader of the house in NDMC. “It is not possible for anyone to buy water continously for their daily use. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of DJB to supply water that is fit for domestic use,” he says, pointing at the lackadaisical attitude of the government body in dealing with the problem.

Talking about Rohini, Narela and Civil Lines - the most major zones which are the worst affected, Mahendra says, “The entire water pipeline system in these areas is lying in a horrific state. Owing to heavy rust, the iron pipes have become weak and have leakage points. Since these pipelines run close to sewer lines, the sewer water mixes up with clean water contaminating it completely. There are several areas which receive less chlorinated water, thus making it completely unfit for drinking.”

Mahendra’s concerns are justified because according to the testing done by the corporation's own laboratory, 37 out of 420 samples from NDMC were found to be unfit for consumption whereas out of the 151 samples tested jointly by the civic body and the DJB, 17 per cent samples were declared unsuitable for drinking. In the South Corporation area, only three of the 242 samples failed the laboratory inspection.

“Are we paying increased water taxes each year to get dirty drinking water,” questions Vipin Marwah, general secretary, Resident’s Welfare Association (RWA), Ashok Vihar. “I don’t understand where our taxes are going. From water to sewer, every tax rate has been increased. So what is the problem in changing the water pipelines?  Officials promise that the condition will improve each time but nothing happens.”

Talking specifically about Ashok Vihar, he says, “The colony was made in 1970 and since then the water pipelines have not been changed. Sewer water is constantly getting mixed with drinking water. Our area is suffering from highly dirty and smelly water which is not even suitable for washing and cleaning purposes. No one can even think of drinking it.”

“In such a scenario, diseases like diarrhoea and gastroenteritis are most common,” says Vipin. “It is foolish when government talks about creating awareness about water borne diseases but does not make to effort to eradicate the root of the problem,” he adds. People who consume hard or dirty water, are more prone to diseases like multiple cysts, hepatitis and jaundice,” says Dr Ashish Bhanot, surgical gastroenterologist, Nova Speciality Surgery.

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