In many parts of Eastern India, Bangladesh and Southern Pakistan, overuse of groundwater brought the level of arsenic above the safe limit of 0.05 milligrams per litre of drinking water, as prescribed by the World Health Organisation. Now, as climate change reduces the rate at which rainwater seeps underground, the arsenic concentration is getting worse. Arsenic in drinking water can cause stomach ailments, skin diseases, fever and even cancer.

When the problem was first diagnosed in 1983, 22 affected villages were identified in West Bengal. Now the number has gone up to 3,417. Though specialised filters have been developed, on the ground, hardly any filter is in working condition. One of the worst affected areas is Nadia district in West Bengal. Here is a look at how its residents suffer.

All images by Dilip Banerjee

This article first appeared on The Third Pole.