Journal article: Ecosystem Perspective GW As Contamination India Relevance Policy
Ecosystem Perspective of Groundwater Arsenic Contamination in India and Relevance in Policy. Atanu Sarkar. EcoHealth (2010): DOI: 10.1007/s10393-010-0309-y
Millions of people living in India are at risk by consuming arsenic contaminated groundwater. Several technological solutions have failed to address the problem due to segmental approaches, resulting in human suffering for a period of three decades. The article is based on an analysis of arsenic-related health problems from an ecosystem perspective through a primary survey conducted in five arsenic affected villages in the state of West Bengal and review of existing research and policy documents. Although modern agricultural practices and drinking water policies have resulted in arsenic contamination of groundwater,current mitigation policy is essentially confined to
biomedical approaches, which includes potable water supply and medical
care. The study also shows that existing disparity, difficulty in coping, inaccessibility to health service and potable water supply and lack of participation in decision making have resulted in more suffering among the poor. On the other hand, spreading of arsenic contamination in the ecosystem remains unabated. Foods grown in the affected area have emerged as additional sources of exposure to humans. There is lack of evidence of any perceivable benefits due to sustainable agriculture, as present nature of agriculture practice is essentially driven by crop yield only. Further research is needed to generate credible evidence of alternative agriculture paradigms that may eventually reduce body burden of arsenic through reduced dependency on groundwater.