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Contaminated water in your pipes turns a quiet killer

DIRTY DROPS: 285 Deaths In State From 2010 To 2013 | Studies Find City Scene Alarming


In the first two weeks of May 2011, more than 30 persons took ill due to water contamination in Bangalores Dasarahalli zone. A year earlier, Mudda Gangamma, 62, of Doddaballapur died after consuming filthy water. Death due to water contamination is nothing new in Karnataka. 
    Information provided by the Union ministry of health and family welfare shows that 285 people died of diseases caused by drinking water contamination in Karnataka, between 2010 and 2013. They died due to five major diseases. The maximum number of deaths 113 was in 2012, a ministry official said. 
    Though Bangalore-specific statistics on the consequences of water contamination are not available, studies conducted by various agencies confirm that the extent of contamination is alarming. 
    A ward quality survey done by Janaagraha last year showed that 72% of Bangaloreans get contaminated water, and 15 of BBMPs 198 wards get 100% contaminated water. 
    Only two wards are known to get contamination-free water, the Janaagraha study said. About 69.83% of wellto-do households complained of bacterial contamination, as against 75.87% of poorer families surveyed. 
    Another survey by water and air purification system maker Eureka Forbes and research institution GFK found that drinking water in Bangalore was more contaminated than that available in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and other cities. The survey said total dissolved solids, hardness, chlorides and nitrates exceed permissible limits, and toxic chemicals, arsenic, lead and diseasecausing bacteria were present in high numbers. 
    The deaths in Karnataka were attributed to five diseases:acute diarrhoeal diseases, enteric fever (typhoid), viral hepatitis, cholera and acute encephalitis. Of these, acute diarrhoeal disease alone has claimed the maximum number of 120 lives. 
    Diarrhoea can last several days, and leave the body without the water and salts necessary for survival, according to the World Health Organization, which claims that deaths due to diarrhoea are actually caused by severe dehydration and fluid loss. 
    Doctors say children are most vulneable to such diseases. Those with impaired immunity, or people with HIV are most at risk of life-threatening diarrhoea, WHO says. 
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO 1 CHECK COLOUR, SMELL First clues of contamination: coloured, muddy, smelly water flows out of taps 2 CONTACT BWSSB If it is piped water, call BWSSB on 080-2223 8888 or contact local BWSSB officials 3 GET WATER TESTED If its borewell water, get samples tested for presence of salts and hardness 4 INSTAL PURIFIER If salt levels are high, install water purifier like a reverse osmosis plant. If hardness levels are high, water softening units have to be set up 5 BOIL ALL WATER Whatever the source, the age-old method works best: boil water at 1000 Celsius before using it for drinking 
    MOBILE LABS 
    HOLD CHECKS 
We have three mobile labs to collect samples from households and test them for contamination. We also have 100 service stations which take about four samples a week.