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Arsenic and fluoride In Groundwater: NGT Issues Notices To 24 States, Four UTs

The tribunal noted in its recent order that a media report stated that arsenic was detected in groundwater in parts of 230 districts across 25 states while fluoride was found in some pockets of 469 districts in 27 states


In response to concerns over the high levels of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sent notices to 24 states and four Union Territories. In reaction to a media report, the NGT took suo motu cognizance of the issue, highlighting the necessity of “urgent preventive and protective steps” and the “very serious” nature of these compounds’ existence. As per the latest ruling by the NGT, 230 districts in 25 states had groundwater samples that tested positive for arsenic and 469 districts in 27 states had some sections of their samples positive for fluoride.


The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) confirmed the presence of arsenic and fluoride in the districts and states, confessing to their substantial hazardous effects on human health, according to a bench made up of Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Expert Member A Senthil Vel. The tribunal criticised the CGWA, which is in charge of groundwater regulation, for failing to operate independently and citing water as a state topic. The bench pointed out that a 1997 Supreme Court decision and a 2022 tribunal order had both rejected this argument.


The tribunal noted that it was surprising that the CGWA was unwilling to carry out its legal obligations and underlined how urgent it was to resolve the pervasive problem. It declared that the pertinent authorities must take prompt preventive and protective action in this regard. The CGWA and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change were among the 28 states and Union Territories that the NGT identified as parties in the case. The tribunal issued notices and asked for answers within a month.


Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, and Nagaland are among the states that have received notices. Notices have been served to Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and other Union Territories.

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