High level of uranium contamination found in Karnataka’s groundwater

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According to a recently released report, high level of uranium contamination has been found in the groundwater of eastern Karnataka.

Chemical analysis of groundwater in 73 villages in Karnataka has found high levels of uranium concentration in at least 57 villages.

Major causes of uranium contamination in groundwater

  • The presence of uranium has been found in Nice (a type of rock) and Granite (class of rock) in the Dharwad region of the state.
  • Red loamy soil is prevalent in the state. Laterite soils are also found in some places, indicating a high degree of oxidation during weathering. As a result, uranase is oxidized to the uranyl ion (soluble in water).
  • Oxidation also makes weathering easier due to the decreasing water level. This allows more uranium to be incorporated into the circulating water.
  • Water bodies in 16 states of the country have shown signs of uranium contamination in groundwater.
  • Uranium is of concern because of its chemical toxicity.
  • With continued consumption, it damages internal organs and can cause leukemia and cancer of the stomach and urinary tract, as well as kidney toxicity.

Drinking Water Standards for Uranium Concentrator:

  • World Health Organization (WHO): 30 micrograms per liter
  • Atomic Energy Regulatory Board: 60 micrograms per liter.
  • However, the Bureau of Indian Standards has not yet specified the criteria for uranium level in drinking water.

Source – The Hindu

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