Climate change is worsening the decades-long problem of arsenic poisoning in groundwater in Nadia, the West Bengal district with the most victims
In many parts of eastern India, Bangladesh and southern Pakistan, overuse of groundwater first brought the level of arsenic above the safe limit of 0.05 milligrams per litre of drinking water, as prescribed by the World Health Organisation. Now, as climate change reduces the rate at which rainwater seeps underground, the arsenic concentration is getting worse. When the problem was first diagnosed in 1983, 22 affected villages were identified in West Bengal. Now the number has gone up to 3,417 villages.
Specialised filters have been developed. But on the ground there is hardly any filter in working condition. One of the worst affected areas is Nadia district in West Bengal. Here is a look at how its residents suffer. See: Indian scientists develop low cost arsenic water filter.
All images by Dilip Banerjee