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Micro plastics, pollutants detected in groundwater sources in Sanguem

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SANGEUM (Goa): The Global Centre for Human Health & Research (GCHHR) – a non-profit organization, claims it has detected micro plastics and other pollutants, including chemicals used as pesticides in ground water sources and other water bodies in Sangeum in Goa and the neighbouring villages.

The GCHHR conducted several tests after obtaining water samples from various water bodies in the Sangeum belt during the months of April and May after suspicions of water contamination and complaints from locals in the area.

According to Prof. Ashley de Melo, one of the experts with the GCHHR who surveyed the Sangeum hinterland and conducted tests on samples from several ground water sources and water bodies including wells, during the summer months of April and May this year, the presence of micro plastics and other pollutants was much higher than the normally acceptable levels and definitely something that demands serious attention.

“Even though Sangeum is in the mining belt of Goa, this is the first time we have found micro plastics and pesticides in ground water samples in Sangeum, both in urban and rural localities. We had conducted similar tests in 2020 and the situation was much different,” Prof de Melo said, adding that seepage of sewage and waste into the water table is a major issue in the area.

According to social activist and youth leader Mithil Naique Desai from Sangeum, the natural resources of the locality are getting polluted due to the seepage of sewage into the groundwater system. Traditional groundwater aquifers are now mixed up with surface sewage creeping into the lower level water storage which holds accumulated rain water. The presence of micro plastics and other pollutants in groundwater in Sangeum is a cause for concern, Mithil said.

With the threat of water pollution taking a slow and silent toll on human life, Desai is organizing a mega Health Camp in Sangeum in July to screen for hidden diseases like pre-diabetes or developing cardiac issues.

The mega Health Camp is organised by Mithil in association with the GCHHR and a citizen’s group “We Sangekars”, and will offer over 100 free tests including HbA1c (Blood Sugar), LFT (Liver), RFT (Kidney), ECG, GST, Hb (Hemoglobin) and others. The tests would be available to all residents of Sangeum on a first come first served basis and would require re-booking to confirm testing slots.

“The news about groundwater contamination is a cause for concern and we are organizing this medical camp to help our Sangekars to screen themselves for hidden ailments and other health issues,” Mithil said.

The GCHHR report also mentions the increase in the presence of various kinds of microbes and bacteria in the water. “Twenty years ago, one could directly drink the water from many wells in Sangeum, but today it’s impossible to do so. The groundwater reservoirs are contaminated to such an extent that drinking water from most wells is dangerous,” claims Mithil.

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