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Monday, April 2, 2012

Contamination in water double this year: Tests

PROBLEM WORSE IN RURAL AREAS

Pune: Tests conducted by the State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) on thousands of samples of water collected from various sources in 35 districts of the state show largescale contamination. The contamination level in Mumbai stood at 8% as against the mere 4% in February last year. 
    Microbial contamination—both bacterial and viral—which can pose a serious threat to human health was seen in most samples found unfit. Such contamination can cause a number of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, and infectious gastrointestinal diseases. 
    In Mumbai, 8% of the 4,618 water samples tested were found unfit for drinking as against last year's 4% samples, tested during the same period. In rural parts of Pune, 421 (11%) of the 3,809 samples were found unfit for consumption as against 9% last year. Pune's city limits, which till recently maintained zero contamination, reported slight deterioration in its quality this time. 
    A significant percentage of the samples in the city areas of Jalgaon, Nagpur and Gondia and rural parts of Aurangabad, Parbhani, Nanded and Hingoli were found unfit for drinking, the report states. "The data is representative. However, it gives us a fair idea of water contamination level in urban and rural parts of Maharashtra," V G Jaybhay, chief technical officer of SPHL, told TOI on Monday. 
    Jaybhay, however, maintained that the situation is not that grim in Pune and Mumbai as compared with the state's other parts. Usually, contamination crossing 20% in rural parts and 10% in city areas is considered as worrying where instant measures need to be taken, he added. 
    R P Dongre, senior scientific officer of SPHL, said, "Samples were analyzed for microbial and chemical contamination. But as cities have more water treatment plants, the level of contamination is not that high as in rural parts."

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