Jaundice Outbreak in Shopian: Contaminated water spurs action, CPCB and admin respond to NGT

Wajahat Shabir. Updated: 6/11/2024 12:47:56 AM Front Page

SRINAGAR: In response to a severe jaundice outbreak in Pahnoo Village, Shopian, South Kashmir, attributed to contaminated water, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and local authorities are taking immediate action.
The outbreak, which has affected at least 21 children, was initially reported by a newspaper on January 31, 2024, leading to a swift investigation and response from health and environmental agencies.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) registered a suo motu case following the report, prompting an urgent investigation by the CPCB. Preliminary findings confirmed that water samples from specific areas in Shopian were unsatisfactory, indicating significant contamination. This has underscored the need for urgent improvements in water quality management and sanitation practices.
The Deputy Commissioner of Shopian reported that health teams have been dispatched to affected areas to conduct medical check-ups and distribute essential medicines. Residents are being advised to boil water before use and to follow hygiene practices to prevent the spread of jaundice. Additionally, the district administration is working to supply safe drinking water through tankers to ensure immediate relief.
The CPCB has outlined several measures to tackle the crisis: Enhanced Monitoring: Establishment of district-level water quality testing laboratories to ensure regular monitoring of water sources. Public Awareness Campaigns: Initiatives to educate the public on water safety standards and the health risks associated with contaminated water.
Collaboration with local authorities to improve sanitation infrastructure, which is also a contributing factor to the outbreak.
Under the Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010, it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure the safety and quality of water supplies. The act mandates the creation of a State Water Policy and Plan, which the CPCB has emphasized needs to be strictly implemented to prevent such outbreaks in the future, the reply read.
Authorities are urging residents to take the following precautions: Boil water before drinking or using it for cooking. Use bottled water where possible. Maintain personal hygiene to avoid the spread of infection. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms such as fever, vomiting, or jaundice appear.
The coordinated efforts of the CPCB, local health departments, and the state government aim to control the current outbreak and put measures in place to prevent future incidents. This situation highlights the critical need for stringent water quality control and effective sanitation practices to safeguard public health in the region, it added.

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