2017 SKINPACT Award-winning project to prevent potential catastrophic contamination in West Bengal
« Water treatment to mitigate arsenic pollution in different arsenic affected villages of West Bengal » is a noble cause. This SKINPACT Award-winning project could in fact help prevent catastrophic arsenic contamination with a potential to affect up to 37,000km2 and a population of 34 million.
This project aims to provide arsenic-free « safe » drinking water to the villagers under seven districts of Paschimbanga in West Bengal, India, where arsenic levels in groundwater are reported to be at alarming levels and already affecting 560 villages and over one million people. Further, the project will engage and motivate rural communities to take action in the purposeful mitigation of arsenicosis preventing continued widespread contamination.
Under the project, which will be brought to life thanks to the $10,000 (USD) SKINPACT Awards grant received, relief from skin disease for the affected victims will be provided. The first signs of arsenicosis are changes in skin pigmentation, often occurring on the soles of feet and palms of hands, making walking and working with hands extremely painful. Prolonged exposure to arsenic, a potential carcinogen, can also lead to skin cancer or gangrene.
The source of arsenic in West Bengal is geological, with high levels of arsenic in basement rocks. Rural communities will be empowered to prevent and reduce arsenic contamination in groundwater using low cost, low maintenance, and sustainable solutions such as rainwater harvesting and surface water treatment plants.
Research and development into the mitigation of arsenic pollution will be conducted, leading to an overall sustained environmental development and better quality of life will be assured with the socio-economic upliftment of the people.
The Water Treatment project, affiliated with the Swasthya Bhabna Welfare Organization and led by Dr Pradip Kumar Das, received the Expert Panel Award in the Community Leadership category having been selected by the 2017 SKINPACT Awards panel of dermatology experts.
Watch the presentation Q&A video as Dr Das shares more about the project at the Awards ceremony that took place last January at DERMACON 2018 in Kochi, India.
Interview of the Water Treatment dermatologist project leader, Dr Pradip Kumar Das.
Share this article