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Arsenic test on drinking water begins as cancer stalks villagers in Sarlahi

Shankhar Pahadi, SARLAHI: Three settlements at Ghurkauli of Hariwan municipality-5 in Sarlahi witnessed the deaths of 26 people due to cancer in the past two and half years. Cancer has been a leading cause of death at Siddhartha, Dhanapati and Gole villages in the municipality in recent years. Presently, eight people are under medication for cancer.

The cause of the fatal disease might have been associated with arsenic from the underground drinking water, said ward chair Nagendra Saha.

Most of the victims including the dead from Hariwan municipality-5 were diagnosed with throat and lung cancers, according to Dr Sabin Adhikari of BP Koirala Cancer Hospital, Chitwan. He also cited unsafe drinking water as the cause of cancer there. He had treated two-three patients from there and came to know that people were fighting with drinking water issues.

Under the Federal Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Project, drinking water arsenic test has begun in the settlement after news about it came in several media. During the test, arsenic in the underground drinking water has been found to be at high level. During the survey, water samples collected from a shallow tube-well had the presence of arsenic up to 0.063 milligrams. Water containing arsenic up to 0.01 milligrams can be used for emergency purposes.

Water samples from all shallow tube-wells and water resources being used by locals have been collected for the test which will have 27 types of parameters including arsenic.

Project CDE Rajesh Kushwaha said preparations are going to install a large boring machine for the distribution safe drinking water in three settlements for the time being.

Around 400 families are at potential risk of health hazards due to the compulsion of using arsenic-containing drinking water, it is said. RSS

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