Govardhan, 2019.05.10: In the past two years, 25 Cancer deaths have been recorded in Govardhan’s Adeeg village which has a population of approximately 25,000 people. At present, over a dozen men and women are suffering from the deadly disease, particularly throat and kidney cancer.
While the phenomenon is yet to be studied scientifically, villagers and activists say that the striking prevalence of the malady can be ascribed to the toxic water of Agra drain and chemical pesticides used in farming.
A large part of the village land and population is engaged in cultivation of rice and vegetables. In addition to the heavy use of chemical pesticides, the Agra Drain water that is used for irrigation is also highly toxic. The drain, flowing through Okhla, carries high concentrations of industrial effluents.
Around six months back, the Water Board and other agencies conducted a study to determine the quality of this water. It was found to have unsafe levels of lead and sodium along with harmful bacterial strains. Samples of water from 18 hand pumps in the village had 20% more fluoride that the permissible limit.
The widespread use of Phorate 10G Granules, an organophosphate used as insecticide and acaricide, is suspected to be another reason for the high rate of cancer in the village. The effect of the chemical lasts for as long as 80 days. Because the rice crop takes around 110 days to mature, the impact of Phorate 10G is likely to be in the grains as well.
Considering its harmful effects, Phorate 10G was banned in the village last year, informs Dr. Vipin Dwivedi, deputy director of ‘Krishi Raksha – Agra Mandal’. He said that the post-harvest dipping of fruits in Carbendazim should also be discontinued.