India – Daurala Groundwater Contamination
The region is flat, and liquid waste can be seen dumped in shallow lagoons near the villages. Villagers will not use certain tubewells, because of their chemical odor and known illness response. The State Pollution Control Board has tested the water for pH, hardness, conductivity, Total Dissolved Solids and chlorine but has not tested for any chemicals, their by-products or heavy metals. However IIT-Roorkee’s study found significant amounts of lead, aluminium, nickel and even cyanide in the water sources in the vicinity of the DCM group of factories at Daurala. Blacksmith had funded the Janhit Foundation to carry out investigative studies in the area in 2004-2005.
A health survey conducted by the Janhit Foundation revealed that out of the 15,000 people surveyed in the area, 14 had cancer, 1,007 epidermal ailments, 89 neurological disorders, 77 cardiac problems and 1,000 suffered from high blood pressure and arthritis. 54 people had died of cancer from 2000- 2005.
In September 2005, DCM officials met with Daurala residents and listened to their demands. A 12 point action plan was presented to the industry and the industry agreed to implement the action plan by December 2007. The industry having acknowledged the polluter pays principle has already spent Rs 8,000,000 to remediate the adverse negative impacts.
A three member citizen committee has been formed to liaise and monitor compliance. Janhit will carry out fresh testing after a year to verify improvement.