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'Bottled' Contamination And a Brewing Battle

hich is the major source of drinking water to our teeming millions, is subject to contamination due to the extensive use of land for irrigation, industries and other human activities. Extensive usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and unintelligent waste management have grave implications, some of them irreversible. Unacceptable levels of chemicals and toxins, such as arsenic, nitrates, mercury and lead, to name a few, have been reported in the ground water from various states. These toxins could cause severe physical impairments and mental deformities among the exposed population.

It is therefore imperative that we, as individuals and as global citizens, should bear in mind, that groundwater is an essential resource highly susceptible to contamination. The sensible solution to prevent contamination is by practicing ground water management effectively and by being incessantly vigilant.

Although mitigation through water quality monitoring by the government’s ‘watch-dogs’ is diligently being carried out, we lack the administrative platform to penalize the offenders. What has been shamefully alarming is that there are no standards set under the law in our country to monitor contamination in soft drinks or non-alcoholic beverages. This has had an impact in diminishing the effectiveness in enforcing norms.

So how have industries, such as these soft drink units, which have broken every rule, been allowed to survive in our country? Is it due to the indifference that we, as a nation, harbor towards human lives and sufferings? Is it due to our sympathetic tolerance towards perpetrators of offence? Is it perhaps due to our psyche, which thinks global but fails to act local? Is it an idealization of backwardness in the name of growth? Answers to these queries and appropriate actions are long overdue.

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