December 04, 2007

Vapi? Sukinda?

Rings a bell? Nope!

Well, these two places are very much in India. Their claim to limelight? - they find their way into the World's 10 most polluted places list collated by Forbes magazine.

Admist enjoying the cosy comforts of AC, cushioned chair, steaming hot coffee, AR Rahman song in the headphone, it was quite a jolt to read the article..
"In some towns, life expectancy approaches medieval rates, and birth defects are the norm, not the exception," Forbes says, quoting the Blacksmith Institute, based on a study this fall. "In others, children's asthma rates are measured above 90 per cent and mental retardation is endemic," said the study, done by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, among others.

"Sukinda is home to 97 per cent of India's chromite ore deposits and one of the largest open-cast chromite ore mines in the world," says the magazine. "Seventy per cent of the area's surface water and 60 per cent of the drinking water contain covalent chromium at more than double national and international standards," it adds. While the main types of pollutants are covalent chromium and other metals, the potentially affected people number 2.6 million.

Vapi, on the other hand, has pollutants because of the production of dyes, petrochemicals, pesticides, pharma, textiles, fertilizers, leather products, paint, chlor-alkali and mercury, Forbes says. "Vapi's groundwater is reported to be polluted 96 times higher than the World Health Organization's health standards ," says Forbes.

"In addition, local produce can contain up to 60 times more heavy metals - copper, chromium, cadmium, zinc, nickel, lead, iron - than non-contaminated produce in control groups."

Gosh! We seem to be separated by lightyears of development ;-(

1 comment:

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