By: Dip Jyoti Chakraborty & Utpal Chakraborty
Motivation of the Project:
Natural Wetlands provide numerous services i.e.
- Habitat for flora and fauna
- Fresh water for agricultaral and domestic use
- Ground water rechrage
- Livelihood for fisherman
- Resource for tourism and recreation
Another very important fuction of wetland is to provide low cost sewage disposal system as an alternative to capital, power and technology intensive municipal sewage treatment plants.
However, indiscriminate dumping of untreated solids and hazardous industrial wastes like heavy metals, without ascertaining the assimilative capacityof the wetland, may lead to severe pollution of the wetlands and adverse health impact to local population.
This is of particular relevance to KOLKATA , where untreated effulents from factories and sewage is directly released into the East KOLKATA WETLANDS through Bagjola, Bhangar, Tiljola Canals. The water of these canals gets further mixed with water from Dhapa dump yard through leaching.
Heavy metals released from effluents after reaching Wetland Water are transferred to vegetables and fishes and finally to human beings through food chain.
This project is undertaken to ascertain,
i. If any health hazard exists to local population of Kolkata’s Wetland area due to heavy metallic contamination, and
ii. If so, find most cost effective way to remove heavy metals through Bio-remidiation process
i. Sampling and quantities chemical analysis of local water for presence of heavy metals
ii. Sampling and examinations of local fish and vegetable extracts for
iii. Comparative survey of inhabitants of polluted areas and near by pollution free area for diseases like, Diarrhea, Hook Worm, Skin disease, fall of hair, Cancer etc, to established relationship between pollutants and public health.
iv. Experimentally establish that cultivation of Water Hyacinth in polluted water reduces heavy metals in it.
By applying water hyacinths and benthos in polluted water it is observed that heavy metallic pollution decreased unto 8-10%. Water hyacinths accumulate heavy metals in their body.
This team sensitized local area inhabitants about their findings and appeal to introduce water hyacinths in to wetland. The process of sensitization is continued.
In Bhopal (M.P) toxic materials from Union Carbide factory polluted the surface and subsoil water, which creates health hazards of that locality. To prevent this hazards hyacinths may be used to clean the surface water and in tube wail charcoal may be applied. This team hopes that by applying bio -remediation water may be cleaned.
The project team tried to educate the local inhabitants about their findings and to convince them about the benefits of water hyacinth cultivation in polluted water. However, so far they met with limited success. This effort has to be continued.
Contributed by Dip Jyoti Chakraborty
Posted: March 5, 2007