Water samples in some of the nine villages of Fatehgarh Sahib have traces of nitrate. This was revealed during field exercises that are being conducted jointly by the University of Utah,USA in partnership with the the Mehar Baba Charitable Trust,the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research,School of Public Health,PGI.
The field exercises are being conducted around the issues of water sanitation and hygiene,village-level nutritional services and education for girls. A group of students from the University of Utah have conducted the exercises for the past few weeks along with interns from the School of Public Health,PGI.
The hand pumps in the village have now been marked with red and green colours indicating the water that should not be consumed. Some of the samples of water were found to have higher nitrate content than the others.
The testing of village water sources were found to have dangerous levels of unsafe nitrate levels and hence the villagers were trained in the process of how to clean and chlorinate overhead water storage tanks, said programme director Sharon Talboys.
This is the second annual field exercise conducted in the villages to advance community health and development efforts. These are part of the Bassi Pathana Community Collaborative Development Project (BP-CCDP),which was initiated in 2010 to engage the villagers of nine villages in self-help community development projects to address the issues of water,sanitation,healthcare,hygiene.
The approach of the BP-CCDP programme is to bring about positive changes through community participation,explained Dr Rajesh Kumar,Head of the School of Public Health,PGIMER.
The village-level nutrition services at anganwadi centres were also studied by the students and the community leaders of the villages were trained in improving nutritional services. A senior villager,Bawa Singh,representing the nine villages,who had been coordinating with all the three agencies said that they were shocked to know that the tubewell water was not fit for human consumption,and that neither had they known about malnutrition.