1. Agriculture World

Workers In Assam's Tea Estates Are Being Killed By Mushrooms; Find Out Why!

Experts say it's difficult to tell the difference between edible and toxic mushrooms, and that eating wild mushrooms can cause everything from gastrointestinal discomfort to death.

Chintu Das
the Association of Physicians of India (API) Dibrugarh chapter plans to undertake a mushroom awareness programme in tea garden regions of Dibrugarh
the Association of Physicians of India (API) Dibrugarh chapter plans to undertake a mushroom awareness programme in tea garden regions of Dibrugarh

In Assam, a terror of tea garden workers dying or becoming gravely ill after consuming wild and poisonous mushrooms continues repeating itself. Let's look at why this is happening, when it last happened, and what is being done about it:

What Is Causing This?

According to the BBC, such occurrences frequently make the news in northern Assam and neighboring states, where villagers seek wild mushrooms, which are considered a delicacy in some areas and are occasionally eaten as a soup or with vegetables.

According to the report, the most of the deaths occur in March and April, when the state's tea gardens are inundated by hundreds of mushrooms.

Experts say it's difficult to tell the difference between edible and deadly mushrooms, and that eating wild mushrooms can cause everything from gastrointestinal discomfort to death.

When Was The Last Time This Happened?

A health official informed Hindustan Times that 13 people died in four districts of Upper Assam in April, including a child, while four others became very ill. The patients, most of whom were from the tea-garden community, were from the Tinsukia, Charaideo, Sivasagar, and Dibrugarh districts, according to the health official.

According to AMCH superintendent Dr. Prasanta Dihingia, all of them ate the mushrooms independently and were hospitalized after exhibiting severe responses. The majority of the deaths, according to Dhingia, were caused by liver and kidney failure. "After the rains, a lot of wild mushrooms grow in a lot of areas, and people who can't tell the difference between edible and dangerous ones eat them," he explained.

'I Can't Believe It May Result In Death.'

Anjali Kharia, the mother of a victim, told Scroll, "I can't believe mushroom consumption can lead to death." She went on to say that they had been gathering mushrooms from the tea gardens for years and eating them.

"We would never have eaten wild mushrooms if we had known about the hazards of eating them, that people may die," she continued.

However, this is not a new phenomenon. Such incidents, according to Dihingia, occur every year around this time.

What Is Being Done To Address This?

"There is an urgent need to promote awareness in all 803 gardens across Assam about the dangers of consumption of wild mushroom," tea planter and social activist Robin Moran of Tinsukia district told the Telegraph.

"Because they work in the estates from morning to evening, tea garden workers seldom have time to travel to the market to buy green vegetables." They pick wild mushrooms in the gardens on their way back, which are plentiful from March to October. Wild mushrooms, once cooked, taste like meat that they can't afford to buy. Because tea garden employees are uneducated, they are ignorant of the mushrooms' harmful characteristics," Moran noted.

Fortunately, it appears that action is being taken.

According to The Sentinal, the Association of Physicians of India (API) Dibrugarh chapter plans to undertake a mushroom awareness programme in tea garden regions of Dibrugarh within a month.

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