Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Mystery illness in Eluru


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various water borne disease

Mains level : Drinking water issues

Over 550 people in Eluru town of Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district have been suffering from convulsions, seizures, dizziness and nausea.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Which of the following can be found as pollutants in the drinking water in some parts of India?

  1. Arsenic
  2. Sorbitol
  3. Fluoride
  4. Formaldehyde
  5. Uranium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2, 4 and 5 only

(c) 1, 3 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Eluru illness

  • The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has found traces of lead and nickel in blood samples of 25 victims out of the 45 samples sent by the state government.
  • The primary suspicion is on water contamination by heavy metals. Scientists suspect that pesticide or insecticide has seeped into drinking water sources.
  • Experts from Hyderabad who collected water, blood, and food samples say there are indications of lead contamination but can confirm this only after detailed test reports.

Possible cause: Water contamination

  • Eluru receives water through canals from both Godavari and Krishna rivers.
  • The canals pass through agricultural fields where runoff laced with pesticides mixes with water in the canals. Many aspects of the mystery illness have baffled scientists.
  • People who only use packaged drinking water have also fallen sick.

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