DRP News Bulletin 06 Feb. 2017 (MSPCB Directs Reduction in Water Supply to Polluting Industries)

Maharashtra SPCB cuts 40% water supply to Taloja industries After the pollution board identified that chemical effluents from common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Taloja were polluting the Kasadi river, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) have directed to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to cut 40 per cent of the water supply to industrial plants from February 1.

According to the letter issued to the industrial plants, earlier they were receiving 24-hour water supply but after MPCB’s directive, the plants would not receive water from 12am to 8am, effective from February 1.

Last year fishermen from the local Koli community had complained of decline in 90 per cent of fish catch from Kasadi river due to pollution. They had also alleged of inaction by authorities despite several complaints.

To highlight their plight, the fishermen then collected water samples in August 2016 from the Taloja CETP pipeline areas discharging treated waste and samples from the banks of the Kasadi river, and submitted them for a water quality test at Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (NMMC) environmental laboratory.

The samples were found failing several crucial parameters and having high levels of chloride , which is toxic to aquatic life and impacts vegetation and wildlife. Several reports had also mentioned that the pumping of industrial waste into the river had raised pollution levels 13 times higher than the safe limit. 

Taking cognizance of the complaints, MPCB issued a notice to MIDC highlighting the pollution problem on Jan. 31 2017 and informing the MIDC that until the Taloja industrial area does not start online pollution monitoring, adequate water supply would not be provided to them. The plants have two months to comply or else further action would be taken.

As per data obtained by NGO Watchdog Foundation through right to information (RTI), there are 977 industries currently functioning at Taloja industrial area, spread across 2,157 acre area that comprises of chemical, pharmaceutical, engineering and food processing industries. Of these, 347 small and medium-scale industries mostly comprising chemical, pharmaceutical and food processing ones are polluting industries with one CETP treating effluents. This is interesting since it not very usual for the pollution control board to take action against polluting industry.

WORLD WETLANDS DAY 2017

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SANDRP Blog India’s Wetlands: Outside the ambit of effective governance While the World Wetlands Day is an opportunity to celebrate the role of wetlands as beautiful landscapes that provide livelihoods and protect us from disaster, there is absolutely no effective governance mechanism in place to protect wetlands of India today. The Wetland Rules, 2010 remain largely unutilized since inception. The National Wetland Authority is mostly defunct during the last six years. Following orders of NGT, it has been reactivated, with a term of just two months, instead of three years! That too happened only after civil groups went to NGT and it directed the MoEF and states to take specific steps to protect the wetlands. Most State have not even formed  Wetland Authorities. In case where they are claimed to have been formed, there is no sign of their functioning in public domain. Also see, first part of SANDRP report reviewing Wetlands related developments in India in 2016.  The second part of Wetlands 2016 review covers decisions taken by respective Govts. In the third part of Wetlands Review 2016, SANDRP presents an account of major decisions taken by respective Courts for the protection of Wetlands in India. Also see, an odd article on World Wetlands Day, advocating a more science based approach (which no one would deny) rather than saying that wetlands are necessarily useful for disaster risk reduction. What the article misses though is that it does not even mention the state of the wetlands, their governance, their destruction and lack of attention to wetlands in decision making. So indirectly, it seems to be a status quoist piece, even as it does mention the movement for ROOM FOR THE RIVER in Netherlands and role for wetlands in inland floodplains.

IWP Report Wetlands in deep water Good to see that India Water Portal has highlighted the treats that Ramsar wetlands are facing in India. One blemish of this exercise is that it should have highlighted that LOKTAK lake is affected by the NHPC’s Loktak Hydropower project. Similarly it should have highlighted the governance vacuum in protecting the wetlands and centre’s move to dilute the Wetlands rules of 2010 through draft 2016 rules and subsequent NGT orders. The fact that Ramsar convention does nothing in saving the Ramsar sites here also needs to be highlighted. Also see the list of frequently asked questions about wetlands and their answers put together by India Water Portal. 

Punjab Keshopur Wetlands, the first community notified reserve Known as Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve or ‘Chhamb’ in Punjabi, the land is just 12 km from the Indo-Pak border and right in the middle of the Ravi and Beas rivers. It is believed that the area must have been a flood plain of the two rivers before barrages and dams tamed their spirals. Now rain and groundwater feed the land. The 850-acre-marsh was home to over 25,000 migratory and native birds during last winter. It is also the first-ever notified community reserve of India, coming soon after the concept was introduced in the Wildlife Protection Act in 2002. This means that the locals and the forest department jointly manage the wetland and the ownership rests with the five villages.

Kanjli: A wetland in despair The wetland with a spread of 183 hectare used to host a good population of migratory birds till the early 1980s, but now it is under extreme stress. While the water inflow has reduced over years, the rate of siltation has gone up. Dumping of sewage has increased the pollution load resulting in the infestation of weeds. The flow of farm chemicals from adjoining fields is another source of pollution that impacts oxygen levels in the water and hence breeding of aquatic life. The impact of pollution on Kanjli is so enormous that most of the bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts have been skipping it for many years now.

Assam Of rare birds and vanishing wetlands Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre has identified 3513 numbers of wetlands in the state. However, many of these wetlands are fast disappearing. In a survey carried out in 2015 by Nature’s Foster, a local NGO, it was found that many Asian water fowls are now on the brink of danger due to degradation of wetlands. The survey also found no existence of more than 20 wetlands in western Assam either due to climate change impacts or conversion of these wetlands for other activities. Siltation is another major cause for the loss of wetlands. Due to heavy siltation, many wetlands are now turning into woodland. This is very detailed blog on wetlands and related biodiversity in Assam. On the other hand, in the wake of 26 greater adjutant Storks death at Deepor Beel Wetland Neha Sinha points out that no effective steps have been taken to protect the Ramsar site from growing garbage and pollution.   

West Bengal EKW world’s largest organic STP Kolkata produces almost 750 MLD of wastewater and sewage. Strangely, the core area of the city does not have a single sewage-treatment plant as the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), treats all the waste water through natural process. Good to see this detailed positive story about the East Kolkata Wetlands.  At the same time a yet to be published study has reiterated that the EKW may soon be history if more and more buildings keep coming up there. As per the study the rapid conversion of land use has hobbled the fisheries and vegetable farms in the area and led to a crash in the local economy, resulting in distress among people who have been living here for long. Also see, Kolkata faces ‘renal failure’ as plastic chokes wetlands

Manipur The water runs deep  Director Haobam Paban Kumar’s debut feature film boldly straddles a fictional tale and the real-life struggle of the fishermen of Manipur’s Loktak Lake. Salutes to award winning director Haobam Pabin Kumar of Manipur for making first and award winning documentary FLOATING LIFE on struggle of affected people of Loktak and now a feature film LADY OF THE LAKE also on the same back drop, involving the local people as actors. However it’s a bit strange that the article does not mention Loktak Hydropower project of NHPC, cause of the problem. 

Maharashtra 507 wetlands identified by forest department The state forest department has identified 507 wetlands (369 in forest areas and 118 in non-forest areas) for taking up conservation and management in a holistic manner for wise use for the benefit of local community, conservation of biodiversity and usefulness to the society. Of the 507 wetlands, maximum are from Vidarbha with Nagpur (35), Bhandara (88), Gondia (42), Gadchiroli (52), Chandrapur (41) and Yavatmal (21). These wetlands were identified in accordance with Wetlands Rules, 2010. As per the Wetlands Rules 2010, wetlands identified in forest area are 10 hectare and above in size while those in non-forest area are 500 hectare and beyond. However, State Government has notified not a single Wetland site so far. 

Madhya Pradesh Can we save our wetlands? Taking the case of Madhya Pradesh and its wetlands as an example, environment expert K.G. Vyas explains how the wetlands can be saved from further deterioration. The report presents pointers about wetlands in Madhya Pradesh. 

HYDRO POWER 

Center Revival package for stalled hydro projects soon: Piyush Goyal  Good to see this ADMISSION from UNION POWER MINISTER that Hydropower projects are TOO COSTLY, UNVIABLE AND REMAINED STALLED not because of agitations or environmental issues alone, but for being too costly and unviable. This is even without accounting for the social and environmental costs. Proposal to provide push for them through more subsidies, even as a last resort is clearly wrong and would be disastrous. 

Assam NHPC to spend Rs 470 cr on Subansiri downstream areas As per this, Jan. 30, 2017 news report National Hydro-electrical Power Corporation (NHPC) has decided to spend Rs 470 crore for river protection, erosion control measures and sustainable developmental works for the downstream areas of Subansiri river in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts. The executive director of NHPC Rakesh said that the work on 10000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Electrical Plant at Gerukamukh won’t be stopped as demanded by some agitating parties. Terming the anti-dam agitation as meaningless, politically-motivated as well as emotionally-motivated instead of based on scientific reasoning, he said that public is like God for NHPC and NHPC won’t do anything against its God. This seems like a troublesome statement from NHPC. 

Central govt. approves Lohit Dam study Contrary to the promises made on the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well as the 2016 Assam State Assembly Elections, the BJP-led Central government on Feb. 01, 2017 has approved the Lohit Dam study carried out by the Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS). The study has ignored the issue of impacts of the hydel projects proposed on river Lohit on the downstream areas in Assam and the famous pilgrimage spot Parashuram Kunda. The report highlights how the Lohit basin study has been approved when it is such a shoddy report by WAPCOS, ignoring multiple issues, including on the impact on Parshuram Kund. 

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Himachal Pradesh Despite elections, Govt. gets no buyer for power This is yet another evidence of cheaper power rates, surplus power situation and unviable hydropower projects. Himachal Pradesh is unable to sale power above Rs 2.6 per unit, most of it gets sold even at lower rate of Rs 2.3 per unit. Also watch Why Jispa  the 8.5 min film about how the people fought to save the birthplace of CHENAB from damming by Jispa dam.

DAMS 

Narmada Dam Rehabilitation SC to appoint high level expert committee Observing remarkably delay in rehabilitation of dam affected people despite significant progress in made in Sardar Sarovar Dam work, the Supreme Court decided to appoint a high level expert committee to look into long pending rehabilitation issues of Sardar Sarovar Dam.  The committee will look into the market value of land & other properties under 2013 Act & also see whether rehabilitation is completed or otherwise. The budget required may be depicted with the apex court. The also apex court also observed while the project has to move on, people can not be made sufferer due to delay in the rehabilitation. This an important development in Narmada case in Supreme Court. 

Renuka Dam Paid Rs 450 cr to Himachal, Centre tells SC The Centre on Jan. 23, 2017 told the Supreme Court that it paid Rs 450 crore to Himachal Pradesh as reimbursement for the land acquired for the Rs 5,242 crore Renuka Dam. Appearing before a three-member Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said the state government’s appeal had become irrelevant as the Centre had reimbursed the compensation amount and sought disposal of the case. Himachal has approached the SC saying that it was not in a position to pay further compensation to comply with an order passed by the state high court on November 20, 2014. Centre has paid Rs 450 Cr to Himachal for a completely redundant project. 

Center CWC Signs MoU with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru Central Water Commission (CWC) on Jan. 27, 2017 has signed two separate MoUs with IIT Madras and IIS Bengaluru for the procurement of specified equipment and software for enhancing their capability to support dam rehabilitation efforts of CWC. The Ministry of Water Resources has taken on board selected premier academic and research institutes, for capacity building in the areas of dam safety through World Bank assisted Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). 

IRRIGATION 

Telangana KCR shames Naidu on irrigation Telangana Govt. has reportedly completed the Bhakta Ramadas project, a lift irrigation scheme on Krishna river Left Bank Canal at Palair in Khammam, in a record time of 11 months. This project is stated to irrigate 60,000 acres of land in drought prone areas of the district. And the project cost is reported as just Rs 336 crore. Ironically, both the Pattiseema project and Bhakta Ramadasu project were constructed by the same contractor – Megha Engineering. But Pattiseema cost six times more than the Bhakta Ramadasu project. According to a official, KCR has shamed Naidu by completing the project in record 11 months without paying a single paisa extra, unlike Pattiseema, in which the contractor was paid additional incentive besides escalated project cost. The benefits are more or less same. This is interesting information. 

RIVERS 

SANDRP Blog Yamuna River Developments in 2016-2- Other River Interventions This is part 2 of Yamuna Year End Review, this part includes issues related to pollution, flow reduction, small hydro on canals, river front developments, among others. The Part 1 of the blog can be seen here. 

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Delhi Water Minister  during a boat ride of the proposed stretch in July 2016.(Source: HT)

Yamuna Water Taxi Centre plans to start water taxis  from June 2017 As per report, the Yamuna Water Taxi project to ferry tourists and public from Palla (Delhi-Haryana border) to Wazirabad is moving as per schedule. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has been appointed to implement the project and the process to procure vessels and develop infrastructure is already underway. The authority has moved a plea seeking environmental clearance from the green tribunal. Amitabh Verma, chairman of IWAI, said as no permanent structure will be constructed, the authority hopes it will get a nod from the environment watchdog. He also said that things are very much on the track. Tenders for dredging, three passenger vessels, and jetties have been floated.

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The sinkhole in Chitravathi riverbed in Yellanur mandal, Anantapur district (Source: The Hindu)    

 Andhra Pradesh Another sinkhole in Chitravati riverbed Overexploitation of groundwater, coupled with virtually no recharge of the water table in the absence of good rains in the last six years, appears to have triggered the geological event known as “sinkhole”, the second such in this perennially drought-prone Anantapur district. A sinkhole had first formed in the last week of January 2015 on the Chitravati river bed near the Goddumarri village of the Yellanur mandal. Limestone occurs at a depth of 250 ft below the surface in the Chitravati river belt which is where the water table also starts. With the water depleting to around 750 to 850 ft, the cavernous limestone zone develops into a layer collapsing into itself.

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Telangana Garbage polluting Manair river Even as the State Government has decided to develop the Manair front on the lines of Sabarmati river front, its shores are being polluted by the Municipal Corporation of Karimnagar (MCK), which is dumping garbage generated from the town at the site. Leave alone the MCK, other private agencies such as chicken centres, hotels, private hospitals, mechanical shops and others too are also dumping garbage generated at their places into the river Manair.

Musi River sees rise in pollution The Musi river is dying a slow death contaminating its surroundings just as the locals are dumping their waste into it. Despite several attempts by various governments, Musi continues to be one of the most polluted rivers in the country. The Musi, which is a tributary of the river Krishna, is sarcastically referred to as the city’s sewage drain because most of 1,300 million litres day sewage generated by Hyderabad ends up there. 

SAND MINING 

Narmada Ceaseless sand mining puts the river at risk Informative report highlighting impacts of illegal and mechanized Narmada riverbed mining. Surprisingly on January 09, 2017, two of NBA senior activists were attacked and arrested by State Police intercepting illegal sand mining. About 20 days later, six dumpers belonging to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s nephew have been caught evading sand mining royalty and carrying sand beyond the permissible limit in district Sehore. Even after this, the CM in his usual rhetorical manner has promised strict actions against illegal sand mining from Narmada river. Meanwhile, to in-cash the issue Congress the opposition party has planned a mega rally against illegal sand mining issue in Budhni the constituency of CM.

Andhra Pradesh HC pulls up officials for failing to check illegal mining The High Court of Amravati on Feb. 01, faulted the revenue authorities of Kurnool district for not being prompt in preventing illegal mining of sand on the banks of river Handri. It was contended in the writ petition that there was a large-scale illegal mining of sand and that the revenue authorities turned a blind eye in spite of repeated complaints.

Maharashtra Sand mafia tried to mow down Solapur DM During a vigil on illegal sand mining activities near Kurduwadi village on Feb. 01, the sand extractors have allegedly attempted to murder the Tuka Ram Munde the District Collector of Sholapur. As per the report, the DM had to run for his life, as a truck diver with illegally mined sand tired to run down him on being stopped. After a chase by police, the vehicle was caught and a report has been filed against the truck driver.

WATER OPTIONS

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Women are always hit hardest by water scarcity as they have to travel longer distances to fetch water (Source: India Climate Dialogue)  

Manipur Spring revival scheme defeating droughts  Due to various reasons, , getting water from the springs all through the season has become impossible for more than a decade in the south and western parts of Sikkim. To tackle the situation the State Govt. in 2009 launched Dhara Vikas scheme. The core thrust of Dhara Vikas is to catch the surface runoff water and use it to recharge groundwater sources after identifying the specific recharge areas of springs accurately through scientific methods by digging staggered contour trenches and percolation pits. As per the report the scheme has been successfully reviving natural stream in the rural areas of the State.

National खेत तालाब क्रांति की आहट  वित्त मंत्री ने जब कहा कि मनरेगा के तहत पांच लाख कृषि तालाब बनाए गए हैं और मार्च 2017 तक दस लाख कृषि तालाब बन जाएंगे. यह कोई सामान्य आंकड़ा नहीं है. देश में दस लाख कृषि तालाब बन जाएं और मीडिया से लेकर किसी को खबर न हो, इससे पता चलता है कि हम वाकई बेखबर लोग हैं. Excellent report by Ravish Kumar of NDTV on Finance Minister claims in budget speech that a million farm ponds would be constructed in India by March 31, 2017.

GROUND WATER 

Study Groundwater withdrawals increased 10 fold in 6 decades A new study, titled ‘Relative contribution of monsoon precipitation and pumping to changes in groundwater storage India’, has found that groundwater withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold in six decades, from 10-20 cubic kilo meters per year in 1950 to 240-260 cubic kilo meters per year in 2009. Measurements have also shown major declines in groundwater storage in some parts of the country, particularly in northern India, where it fell 2 cm a year between 2002 and 2013.

The study conducted by scientists from IIT Ganghi Nagar and published in the journal Nature Geo science says that changing rainfall patterns and sea surface temperature in Indian ocean are likely to be most responsible behind depletion of groundwater. It also asks us not to dismiss the problem of lowering water tables as being unfixable. The scientists suggest shoring up groundwater resources, using better water management techniques and safeguarding our food and water securities in the process.

Gujarat Study reveals excessive TDS in Ahamdabad groundwater A recent analysis of total dissolved solids (TDS) and acidic levels of the groundwater from 33 areas has revealed that the TDS levels were higher than the highest desirable limit (HDL) of 500 mg per litre. This study revealed how over-extraction of groundwater in the city has led to higher TDS levels. However a Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) report of  2001-12 had suggested aquifer structure of the area a reason behind the high TDS levels in groundwater. As per the report, more than 13,500 residential societies in Ahmedabad depend on groundwater for their daily requirements.

WATER 

Tamil Nadu NHRC issues notice over hazardous water supply  The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that potable water supplied to 1.5 lakh residents from the Bhavani river in Mettupalayam is unfit for consumption. The residents of the area have been contracting skin diseases and also finding it difficult to stand by the odour of the river water. The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks. On the other hand, State Environment Minister K C Karuppannan on Feb 05 has dismissed the notice saying that there was no pollution in Bhavani river caused by industrial wastes.

Traders decide to stop sale of soft drinks Inspired by the Jallikattu protests. Traders in Tamil Nadu have decided that they will not sell soft drinks manufactured by Multinational Companies (MNCs) from 1 March, and promote only Indian brands, The Hindu reported today. The decision comes in the aftermath of the massive Jallikattu protests which recently rocked the state. Many people who made the Jallikattu protests about preserving the local culture had also lashed out at PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), headquartered in the United States, and American brands such as Pepsi and Coke. 

DROUGHT 2017

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A view of the almost dried-up Bhavani river in Attappady, Palakkad (Source: The Hindu )  

Kerala Attappady tribes abandon huts due to water scarcity Fear of drought-related deaths are looming large over Attappady with the rain shadow region recording 90 per cent deficit rain during the last rainy season. The region comprising 192 tribal settlements are facing unprecedented drinking water shortage while Tamil Nadu is accusing Kerala of diverting the Siruvani water. The eastern parts of Attappady are the worst affected as most wells have turned dry. In others, the water level has depleted alarmingly. With summer rains hardly anywhere in sight, perennial rivers Bhavani and Siruvani have dried up almost completely. 

SOUTH ASIA 

India-Bangladesh Delhi, Dhaka push Ganga basin project  Bangladesh and India have held talks on the Ganga basin development project after dialogue on the Teesta water sharing agreement slowed down. The project is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of PM Sheikh Hasina’s next visit to India which is yet to be finalized. The Ganga basin development project was first conceived during the UPA rule and came up for discussion during PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit in 2011. The talks on the Teesta river sharing has been stalled due to differences between West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and PM Modi. 

India-Pakistan Survival of IWT appears ‘weak’: UN report According to a UN report water scarcity in Indus basins since the early 1990s has brought the agreement under strain and its survival appears weak. The report titled ‘Development Advocate Pakistan’ released on Feb. 01, 2017, further says that the treaty has failed to address the water shortages in dry years and the cumulative impact of storages on the flows of the River Chenab into Pakistan. Wular Barrage and Kishenganga project on the Jhelum and Neelum rivers present a similar problem. Also see, Water Security: Pakistan’s most critical development challenge UNDP report has some write ups that are critical of upstream projects in India.   

Nepal Work on Trishuli hydro project set to resume  The under construction 60 MW Upper Trishuli IIIA HEP in Nepal, damaged in the April 2015 earthquake, remains non starter as the issue of who will repair the approach road has been resolved and repair work handed over to Nepal army, but the Chinese contractor is still waiting to get extension of the loan grace period, over since May 2016. 

Bhutan Annual Budget emphasis on importance of hydro projects Bhutan seems to going ahead with a large number of hydropower projects, if we go by this report. However, this claim here is not correct: “Bhutan has committed to cultivating its hydro potential in an environmentally responsible way, and is in fact a contributor to the government’s “Gross National Happiness” index.” 

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Also see the Power of the River movie trailer an adventure documentary from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. This little Buddhist nation, home to the world’s most ambitious commitment to protect nature, faces urgent pressure to dam every river. A man named “Good Karma” guides an expedition into the unknown to keep his country’s mightiest river wild and free. 

THE REST OF THE WORLD

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The new images of the Amazon Reef were taken from a submarine launched from the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza 

Discovery First photos of new Amazon coral reef system released Environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace released the images, which were taken from a submarine that was launched by one of Greenpeace’s ships, according to the Guardian. Scientists first stumbled upon the reef during a research expedition in 2012 while chasing a rumor of the reef’s existence, and they later announced the reef’s discovery in a study published in April 2016. Given the region’s murky waters, they were surprised to find one at all in that location. This is amazing discovery which may change a lot that we know about coral reefs and estuaries and deltas. 

New Zealand Earthquake-induced groundwater changes Cromwell Gorge is the site of a series of spectacular, extremely deep-seated landslides in schist.  These landslides became famous during the construction of the Clyde Dam between 1976 and 1988, when a huge programme of mitigation was enacted to ensure that they remained stable during the filling of the reservoir between 1992 and 1993.  Interesting blog by David Petley about how earthquakes and landslides can have different impacts on groundwater levels, exemplified here through the example of situation upstream of a New Zealand dam.

CLIMATE CHANGE 

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Report Depleted fish stocks and huge dead zone in Bay of Bengal Last month a multinational team of scientists reported an alarming finding – a very large “dead zone” has appeared in the bay. Apart from sulphur-oxidising bacteria and marine worms, few creatures can live in these oxygen-depleted waters15. This zone already spans some 60,000 sq km and appears to be growing. The dead zone of the Bay of Bengal is now at a point where a further reduction in its oxygen content could have the effect of stripping the water of nitrogen, a key nutrient. This transition could be triggered either by accretions of pollution or by changes in the monsoons, a predicted effect of global warming. This is alarming indeed from Amitva Ghosh and Aaron Savio Lobo. 

ENVIRONMENT 

Op-Ed Environment: A non-negotiable agenda by Ritwick Dutta Important Message: “We must empower individuals, communities and civil society groups to appraise, question and challenge faulty decisions of the government and the actions of corporate entities. We must recognize that jargon and rhetorical statements like “environment and development must go hand in hand” and “sustainable development” no longer carry meaning, unless they are backed by concrete and decisive action. The reason being that we have destroyed the natural environment to such an extent that we can no longer say that environmental protection and industrial development must go hand in hand. Environmental protection must take precedence over economic and industrial interest. This is essential not only for the conservation and protection of the natural environment, but also in recognition of the fact that environmental degradation itself affects economic growth and human welfare.” 

Op-Ed EIA needed for real estate by Kanchi Kohli Just 12 years after building and construction projects first came under the purview of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) regulation there is a major turnaround. In an amendment to the EIA notification of 2006, issued on 9 December 2016, the environment ministry has assured the sector that if “objectives and environmental conditions that can be monitored” are included in the permissions granted to building by-laws and related permissions, then no separate environmental clearance will be required from the ministry. Doing away with EIA for Construction industry would be disastrous and it is good that this has been challenged in NGT. 

You may also like to visit DRP News Bulletin 30 Jan 2017 and DRP New Bulletin 23 Jan 2016

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