Nirmala Hanumappa Hosamane, or Nimmi as she is fondly called, is like every other 5-year-old: curious, affectionate, and a love for playing in the outdoors. When she noticed that I was talking to her mother, Annapurana, she came running and sat swiftly on the latter’s lap.
I’d been talking to Annapurana about how children in the village have been affected by fluorosis.
“Today is one of her good days,” she says, referring to Nimmi. “The bones in her leg ache so much she finds it difficult to walk. Her knees swell at least once a month”, she says.
Nimmi is a very happy child, she says, except for the days when her legs hurt her.
Fluoride is present in high quantities in the soil and rocks in this region, which is dependent on groundwater for drinking. Groundwater in this region is, therefore, subject to geogenic contamination that occurs due to natural causes, specifically due to interaction between water and rock. Consuming this water has led to exposure to fluoride.
But how about the water harvested through RWH, I ask.
“We had little rain this time, there wasn’t enough to collect”, they say in unison.
Mustikoppa also gets water for domestic purposes from the Tungabhadra every two days, for two hours. The water is not fit for drinking, according to the people of Mustikoppa.