The Indian Medical Association (IMA) will adopt a slum to provide it with clean drinking water. It has tied up with a private maker of reverse osmosis (RO) filters and is looking to begin the initiative in a locality with about 1,000 households. The move has, however, brought into focus doubts over the environmental fallout from this filtration method.
K K Aggarwal, secretary general of IMA, said the nucleus of the project lay with a 2011 study done by the MCD that said that most households in Delhi receive water where the bacterial count is much higher than the permissible limit. “A large number of children die every year because of diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and typhoid. This is all because of unsafe water. This can be treated easily and that is what we are trying to achieve,” he said.
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The IMA explained that their own studies have reiterated the findings of the MCD and they will look to begin the initiative in some of the city’s worst-affected areas including Najafgarh, Nangloi and Sangam Vihar.
The moves comes at a time when the RO technology is under scrutiny at the National Green Tribunal (NGT). On April 29, the NGT had asked the Centre to respond to a petition filed by an NGO that claimed that large quantities of water is being wasted when treated by RO technology.
Aggarwal, however, refuted the claim that the RO technology leads to wastage of water. “The water that will come out of it will not be wasted. It will be used for gardening purposes and other things such as washing of dishes,” he said.
Experts insisted that the problem with RO technology lay in the fact that apart from wastage of water, it doesn’t dispose of all pollutants in water. “RO technology removes the total dissolved solids in the water. All these pollutants are absent in the water when it’s ready for drinking. But the problem is that the waste water, which is laden with the same pollutants, is then thrown away. The same pollutants mix with ground water and re-enter our system,” B Sengupta, former member secretary, CPCB, said.