Drinking water being tested for arsenic as cancer stalks villagers in Sarlahi

Sarlahi, March 1

Three settlements at Ghurkauli of Hariwan Municipality, Sarlahi, witnessed the deaths of 26 people due to cancer in the past two-and-a-half years.

Cancer has been a leading cause of death at Siddhartha, Dhanapati and Gole villages in the municipality in recent years. Presently, eight people are being treated for cancer.

The cause of the fatal disease might have been associated with arsenic from underground drinking water, said ward Chair Nagendra Saha. Most of the victims, including the dead from Hariwan Municipality-5, were diagnosed with throat and lung cancer, according to Dr Sabin Adhikari of BP Koirala Cancer Hospital, Chitwan.

He also cited unsafe drinking water as the cause of cancer there. He had treated two to three patients from there and came to know that people were fighting with drinking water issues.

Under the Federal Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Project, drinking water arsenic test has begun in the settlement after news about it appeared in several media.

During the test, high level of arsenic in the underground drinking water was found. Water samples collected from a shallow tubewell had the presence of arsenic up to 0.063 milligrams.