Agrochemicals responsible for uranium in water: PU experts

Faridkot, Punjab: In view of reports of high uranium concentration in groundwater in Punjab and it leading to multiple heath hazards, a team of 12 senior teachers from physics, chemistry and geology departments of the Panjab University has blamed the agrochemical process in the state for the problem.

“Besides making irrational use of chemicals and fertilisers, farmers in Malwa region use maximum of canal water and there is limited use of groundwater. The less use of groundwater is adding to the problem of waterlogging and salinity in the groundwater, thus making the groundwater stale,” observed the research group.

More and more salts are adding to the groundwater with irrigation with canal water. “While this water evaporates, salts are left behind and this is the reason that most of soils in Malwa region have high salt contents. The excessive use of fertilisers further contributes to chemicals in the groundwater,” they said.

The high groundwater table due to waterlogging and formation of bicarbonates in the region due to percolation of carbonic water through soils rich in calcium carbonate contents, leads to many fold enhancement in its efficiency for leaching uranium from soils, observed the research group led by Dr Devinder Mehta, Department of Physics, Panjab University.

“So, there is an urgent need of continuous replacement of the logged water to avoid further chemical poisoning of the groundwater. Usage of groundwater is to be encouraged by making cyclic use of canal and groundwater,” recommend the research team.

At present, farmers of the region are pampered with canal water irrigation, which will result in further poisoning of the groundwater. There is no way to get rid of salinity in groundwater except to dilute it or remove it. It requires exhaustive collective effort by people and the government.

Advising the state government to provide RO treated and canal based drinking water supply in the whole region on priority basis, the team recommended the regular use of natural critic acid available in the form of citrus fruits, like orange and lemon as it provides a viable solution to detoxify human body.

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