Tags / Arsenic Poisoning
Animal footprints across the dry rivers of sodium cyanide, formed by mine tailings of the Hutti gold mine.
Portrait of a widower.
Portrait of a village
Thirty-eight yea-old Kishan Chauhan lost his leg to gangrene after a lesion caused by arsenic poisoning became infected
Locals ominously refer to this area as ‘cyanide mountain,’ referring to the large amounts of sodium cyanide present in the tailings.
Unsafe dumping from the mine has effectively rendered surrounding farmlands both infertile and poisonous to their owners.
A view of farmlands in threat from what local farmers call the 'cyanide mountain', formed by the dumping of mine tailings from the local gold mine.
The mountain of sodium cyanide formed by mine tailings from the Hutti Gold mine
India’s abandoned Mangalur mine has been closed for 20 years, however, its toxic waste continues to haunt the lives of those inhabiting surrounding villages.
In Kanataka’s Raichur District, mine tailings continue to be dumped on farmland, rendering it not only unfertile, but also poisonous to residents. Tests on soil samples have shown this practice has effectively made the soil unsafe for use for at least 25 years.
Economic and social sectors are not the only areas suffering as a result of the toxic dumping. Locals ominously refer to the area as the 'cyanide' mountain, owing to the large amounts of sodium cyanide present in the tailings.
Chandibai, a 70-year old woman from Kiradali Tanda village, has developed deep lesions on her hands because of arsenic in the local drinking water.
Thirty-eight year old Kishan Chauhan has also been highly affected by the poisonous contents of the water. He lost his leg to gangrene after a lesion, caused by arsenic poisoning, became infected. He has since migrated over 500 kilometers away to Dodamargh, Savantwadi in Belgaum, where he earns 200 Rs (around 4 dollars) per week breaking stones. Despite his handicap, he has no choice but to work in hard labor to support his wife and two young daughters.
Dozens of such cases continue to emerge from Kiradali Tanda, where an independent study has shown has shown that water from village wells contains around 303 micrograms of arsenic per liter. The World Health Organization currently cites 10 micrograms per liter as the maximum acceptable level for human exposure.
India’s Mangalur mine, just four kilometers from the arsenic-ridden village of Kiradalli Tandi, originally began as a colonial project of Britain’s empire in the late 19th century. Karnataka’s government briefly reopened the mine nearly 70 years later, until flooding again forced it to close in 1994.
Today, the abandoned Mangalur mining office is used by farmers to store sugarcane and paddy.
Sudhram holds a photo of his wife Rukhmani Bai, who suffered and died from cancer in 2012 at the age 38. He had to sell over five acres of his land to upper-caste farmers to pay for her hospital bills. Today, he himself has the similar lesions that led to his wife's death.
He laughed when I asked him if he was afraid of death.
The well in the village without safe drinking water.
Portraits of a dying village.
Portrait of a dying village.
Chandibai, aged 70 shows lesions on her hands caused by arsenic in local drinking water.