A recent study by the Hyderabad based research institute, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) found residues of Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), and Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in the ground water as well as surface water of Andhra Pradesh with a concentration higher than that prescribed by the WHO. The organochlorines in the water were found to be the result of excessive usage of the pesticides. Organochlorines may cause adverse effects like cancer of the reproductive system, and can also lead to infertility among many other ailments.
The research took samples from Gajulamandyam region along the Swarnamukhi river basin in Chittoor, this research got its significance after the recent mysterious disease in Eluru was also related to organic chemicals used in pesticides.
The research paper authored by Rama Mohan Kurukla and Keshav Krishna Ardhi titled as “Occurrence and distribution of HCHs and DDTs in surface water and groundwater from the Gajulamandyam region along the Swarnamukhi river basin, Andhra Pradesh, India” was published in the International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry.
The research was done to find out the presence of organochlorine pesticides in water, the method followed for the extraction of the water through solid phase extraction followed by the determination through gas chromatography-mass spectrometer(GC-MS). The findings reveal the presence of DDT and HCH in the water.
The highest concentration of DDT was found to be 2020 ng/L and the mean value stood at 653.6 ng/L in surface water. While in groundwater samples, the highest DDT concentration was 1540 ng/L and the mean level was 527.3 ng/L. 63% of the samples had concentrations higher than those prescribed by WHO; WHO has prescribed a maximum level of 1000 ng/L for DDT. Similarly, the highest concentration of HCH was at 2970 ng/L with a mean value of 795 ng/L in surface water. In groundwater the HCH concentration stood at 2150 ng/L with a mean value of 649 ng/L. The prescribed concentration of HCH by WHO is 2000 ng/L.
Alternative forms of farming including but not limited to organic farming techniques without the use of harmful chemical pesticides needs to be taken seriously. It would be appropriate to highlight the significant efforts put in by former CM of AP – Nara Chandrababu Naidu in promoting Zero Budget Organic Farming. He even attended 10- day natural farming symposium held by Subash Palekar, a renowned farming expert and a vocal activist against use of chemical fertilizers, in which he announced to bring 2 crore acres under natural farming and highlighted there has been a 11% increase in agricultural yield and 96% in income levels of the farmers by following Palekar’s methods. The recent outbreak of the mysterious disease in Eluru and parts of Nellore makes it all the more serious for the YSRCP government to look back and learn from its predecessor.