According to media reports, officials have stated that researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur have developed an artificial intelligence-based prediction model for detecting arsenic pollution in drinking water. A spokesperson from IIT Kharagpur has stated that the researchers mapped the high and low arsenic zones across the entire Gangetic delta using artificial intelligence (AI) and the number of people exposed. The study has been recently published in the international journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’
AI predicts High Arsenic in groundwater
One of the authors of the paper and research scholar Madhumita Chakraborty said that the AI models predict the occurrence of High Arsenic in groundwater across more than half of the Gange river delta covering more than 25 percent area in each of the 19 out of 25 administrative zones in West Bengal.
Model to be used in other parts of the country
Although the predictive model framework will prove to be important typically for the identification of drinking water sources in arsenic affected areas of West Bengal it will also be used in other parts of the country that are suffering from severe groundwater pollutants. All this information will form the baseline knowledge for the recently initiated ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ of the Government of India.
Mission to provide safe drinking water
Research team leader Prof Abhijit Mukherjee, IIT Kharagpur's Department of Geology and Geophysics, while speaking about the project said that the mission is based in providing safe drinking water to every household in the country by 2021 and the outcome of this research helps in providing information for the location of safe groundwater which is the primary source of drinking water for most of the country.
AI algorithms have been used on environmental and geological and human usage parameters which will enable the team to find answers and build prima-facie understanding before further detailed field-based investigation or validation.
He further stated that such regional-scale models do not however completely eliminate the need for field investigation in many cases especially for groundwater contaminants like arsenic which is known to exhibit well-to-well variability in concentration.