Socio-Economic Impact of Groundwater Pollution Due to Disposal of Textile Effluent ? A Case Study from India
The dependency on groundwater, particularly in the developing countries like India, has been increased to a great extent due to increase in population, industrialization and new agricultural practices. However, domestic and industrial wastes disposed both in liquid and solid forms in land and water bodies percolate into the groundwater and get transported in the direction of groundwater flow. As a result, different pollutants reach into the groundwater system and pose a threat to groundwater quality, which ultimately affects the socio-economic life of the people, who depend on groundwater for various purposes. The people living in a village downstream of Tiruppur have been taken as a classic example. There are about 750 dyeing and bleaching units located in Tiruppur, which discharge around 85 mld of untreated or partially-treated effluents into the Orathupalayam reservoir, constructed in 1992 across the river Noyyal and around 30 kilometers downstream of Tiruppur. In time, this reservoir continuously received textile industrial effluents from the Tiruppur area and became highly polluted. The water stored at the reservoir was rendered unfit for irrigation and fisheries owing to the high TDS and other pollutants. Hence, a study was carried out to study the socio-economic consequences of the groundwater pollution, particularly the poor and the socially-deprived communities. The quality of groundwater was analyzed in and around the reservoir which revealed that it falls under highly polluted zone. The socio-economic impact due to groundwater pollution was analyzed through focus group discussion and questioner survey. The analysis indicated that groundwater pollution has affected rural economic activities like agriculture, livestock, fisheries, unemployment and migration.