Due to the overall industrial development and human activities, the demand for clean water in India is continuously on the rise. There already exists a danger to the geochemical environment owing to the indiscriminate withdrawal of groundwater, resulting in the release of Arsenic (As). In some localized areas this level of As has already exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) permissible limits (10μg/L or 10ppb) for drinking water, leading to serious environmental and health consequences. Arsenic is predominantly present as inorganic species either as arsenate As (V) or arsenite As (III) in natural systems. In oxygen-rich environments where aerobic conditions persist, As (V) exists as mono-valent (H2AsO4)- or divalent (HASO4)2- anion, whereas, As (III) exists as an uncharged molecule (H3AsO3) and anionic (H2AsO3)- species in moderately reducing atmosphere where anoxic conditions persist. The concentration of arsenic above its permissible level results in skin sclerosis. Arsenic gets deposited in the tissues of the vital organs and may cause cancer of the liver, lung, and urinary bladder. This study is an attempt to (a) review the arsenic problem in Uttar Pradesh, (b) to bring out the health issues due to arsenic, and (c) find sustainable solutions to address the issue.
Keywords: Arsenic, Cancer, Environment, Groundwater, Heavy metals, Inorganic, Remediation.