'Non-ODF areas 13 times more prone to ground water pollution' -Dipak K Dash
-The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Villages where people still defecate in open face nearly 13 times higher risk of faecal contamination of ground water as compared to open defecation free (ODF) villages, says a study by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The assessment has also found that risk of ground water contamination in Bihar, one of the states which is yet to be declared ODF, is maximum at nearly 36%.
The study, which was released on World Environment Day, is based on an assessment of 725 samples collected from 12 ODF and another 12 non-ODF villages across West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha during December-January. “The study was done in states where some villages have still not become ODF so that comparative analysis can be done. There cannot be any comparison in a state where all rural areas have got the ODF tag,” said a government official.
According to the report, the relative risk of faecal contamination of piped water supply in non-ODF villages was 2.4 times more than the ODF villages and in West Bengal the risk was nearly three times higher. Even the faecal contamination was traced to the water stored in households. The UNICEF said, “The relative risk of faecal contamination of household storage water traceable to humans was 2.48 times in non-ODF villages as compared to ODF villages.”
The study also established how both soil and food are not spared from contamination. While soil in non-ODF villages were found to be facing 1.1 times more risk of human faecal contamination in the case of food it was more than double.
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