Aerogel: Gangnauli, India

Week #21: Heavy Metal Ions (Real-Life Stories)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
4 min readDec 22, 2022

Preface ✨

Hello everyone!

My intentions for writing these articles are:

  • Explain technical information about aerogels in simple terms (to the public)
  • Store information and habits for my future self and others (in <7 minutes)

Coolio? Sweet. Enjoy the series :-)

The Land Of The Billion 🗺️

Let’s give the basics. Here is a Google Earth Screenshot of Gangnauli, India.

The following stories came from hidden podcast episodes & secondary connections. आपकी कहानियों के लिए बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद।🙏

Welcome to their world.

At least one person is ill from heavy metal ions in their water.

Gangnauli is located ~180 kilometers from the capital. 5,000 people live in the village. 1/3 of the individuals are diagnosed with a defect.

Some defects include:

  • Bone Deformity
  • Stunted Growth
  • Liver Diseases
  • Cancer
  • Heart Attacks
  • Death

Villagers of Gangnauli, India make ~490 USD/month (40647.41 INR/month)

But this income barely allows the household to pay for the medical expenses of the affected.

People in Gangnauli do not possess enough cash to pay for the treatment. More than 200 people in Gangnauli had to sell their land to pay for medical expenses.


Only a few houses away lives Sanjeev Rathi who lost his mother Ram Kali, 53, to cancer 10 days ago. With no cash in hand, Sanjeev was forced to sell two acres of his land for her treatment. The land which would have normally fetched Rs 25 lakh (30133.40 USD) was sold for half the price.


Why Did This Happen? 💥

The groundwater became poisonous when industries & mills started expanding in the area. They operated without the waste-treatment facilities they are required to have.

Some industries do have waste-treatment facilities, but they do not use them. In Gangnauli, there are three primary sources of contamination:

  • The sugarcane mills in Shamli
  • Mills in Sikka Silawar
  • Slaughterhouses in Karo Babri

The sugar factory possesses a waste-treatment facility. But they don’t utilize it because it costs money (revenue) to filter wastewater.

It turns out the treatment plants were installed by the government when the sugar factory was put under pressure by the Gangnaulian residents. But with the treatment facility installed, they can dodge the security checkups from the government.

Additionally, the government claims that the water is perfectly adequate for consumption, while the doctors advise the people to never drink the water from their sources.

The question becomes:

Who should I trust?

The industry residues create muddy-plated water with many heavy metal ions. The highest level of ions are (in no specific order):

  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphate
  • Sulfide
  • Nickel
  • Manganese
Looks Refreshing!

The samples that confirmed the presence of heavy metal ions came from tube wells & hand pumps. But these elements were also found in the contaminated rivers surrounding Gangnauli.

This means that there was groundwater seepage into the potable water stored in the tube wells & hand pumps.

- Satyendra Choudhary, Resident (Gangnauli)

Common elements that have exceeded limits are as follows:

  • Sulfide: 285 mg/L | (Limit: 2.00 mg/L)
  • Lead: 0.115 mg/L | (Limit: 0.01 mg/L)
  • Mercury: 0.12 mg/L | (Limit: 0.01 mg/L)

Here is where it gets interesting.

On the other side of the river lies Ibrahimpurr Majra, another village with about the same population just 500 meters away from the edge of Gangnauli.

But no contamination is present in the water supply of Majra.

“We have here, there is no problem whatsoever.”

- Deepak Rathi, Resident (Ibrahimpurr Majra)

Further inquiry found there’s a disparity between the Jats (a raised caste) and the Kashyaps (a lowered class in the region).

The Jats who own most of the farms in Majra are well off and can afford potable water via filtration. It is those with lower incomes who are being affected by the pollution.

Attention Is Money. 💰

Current Medical Treatment For The Affected

Why Did We Write About This? 💭

I wrote about these topics because we genuinely care about the people. Yes, I faced a similar situation with heavy metal ions. But that is not the entire reason…but it helps with identifying pain points.

A necessity is easy to sell because your life depends on it.

This is why we take deep consideration of what potential users think about. One mistake costs a life.

Understanding people’s pain points allow us to build relationships and build the bridge of trust: the world’s most powerful currency.

Gangnauli, India: That Is A Wrap. ✔️

Connect →🔗



© 2023 by Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez. All Rights Reserved.