Assessment of Health Impacts on Residents Living on the Banks of the Buckingham Canal, Chennai

Abstract

Water pollution is one of the most serious threats to human welfare. Water is polluted by industries, commercial establishments, hospitals as well and households. Polluted water contains low level of oxygen due to toxic contaminants discharged by the industries as effluents and household waste being released into water bodies. Industrial effluents contain chemicals and waste metals such as arsenic, zinc, mercury etc that are harmful to human health and the ecosystem. Health effects bear upon on human or labor productivity and many people are forced to forego days of work because they are vulnerable to and are affected by illnesses related to water pollution, especially if they reside close to polluted water bodies. The present dissertation is an assessment of health impacts on residents living around the heavily polluted Buckingham Canal in Chennai. Primary data for this purpose was collected through questionnaires in slum settlements in three locations on the banks of the southern portion of the Canal. The three locations are Indra Nagar, Mylapore and Nilankarai. A sample of 30 households was interviewed in each of the three locations. Information regarding economic status, living conditions and health of these residents were obtained. The study showed
that the Canal in these locations is polluted mainly by sewage and sullage from slum settlements on the banks of the Canal.

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