Sonbhadra, Rae Barelli, Unnao in Uttar Pradesh have been groping with the problem of Fluoride in the past, the problem is now getting much bigger and getting into the very hinterlands of Mathura Agra, Ghaziabad as well.
It was earlier believed that Balia, Varanasi and most places in UP on the eastern gangetic belt had Arsenic in their groundwaters because of their being on the eastern stretch but it was a myth; one can easilly presume so, as now the problem can be seen all over UP and people from Bahraich, Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Bareilly, Basti, Chandauli, Unnao, Moradabad, Sant Kabir Nagar seem to be bearing the brunt as well!
Shocking how fast not only these contaminants but also others like Chromium, iron have been spreading in Uttar Pradesh lately, and yet when you look around to see who’s been working on these issues there’s not many good examples you can find
A non descreipt village in Sonbhadra affected by Fluorosis; with almost everyone having twisted legs and hands looks as if it’s straight out of Zombieland,
A middle aged women in Ballia feels ashamed to show herself and her children to others with brown spots that cover their whole body.
A young boy of 25 in Unnao whose growth has been stunted and looks barely 11 years old saying “I have never seen a drop of water from that tap,”. “We are still drinking the same water which has deformed me. If it wasn’t for my handicap, I would have killed the people who have done this to us.”
These are real people, these are real agonies and this is some real pain.
Although there have been things tried on the field that have tried to minimize these miseries and showcase to the government what needs to be done; Rakesh Jaiswal and eco-friends in Bhairich on arsenic, Banwasi Seva Ashram in Sonbhadra, Saurabh Singh in Balia have all been vallient attempts.
But these efforts havent added up and have not been able to substantially link with the government; A big vacuum can therefore be seen between what the government is doing and what field NGO’s and others including researchers have been trying out.
Jal Chaupal is a people’s forum that got going through the efforts of Wateraid India, the Fluoride and Arsenic Networks with a small meeting in Lucknow on the 7th of August, 2015 in order to try and fill this big vaccum
It’s billed to be an “Individuals first” forum; an unbiased space where everyone’s ideas can be heard and everyone has a stake.
Find more about Jal Chaupal here-The Jal Chaupal publication