Biological Pollution

Featured Articles
December 6, 2019 A report by the India Rivers Forum highlights the need to focus further than the main stem of the Ganga river.
Distant snow clad mountains, the smaller hills and the Ganga river (Image: Srimoyee Banerjee, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)
November 21, 2019 A report by NIUA brings to light the chinks in Jaipur's sewage system and suggests some solutions.
Routine check done by the sewage treatment plant staff in Delawas, Jaipur. The plant is part of the ADB best practices projects list. (Image: Asian Development Bank, Flickr Commons)
October 30, 2019 A global study on pathogens in rivers finds that Indian rivers harbour dangerous levels of diarrhoeal disease-causing pathogens.
The river Mutha in Pune (Image Source: India Water Portal)
October 25, 2019 Groundwater use has doubled in Pune. Comprehensive mapping of groundwater resources and better management and governance is the need of the hour.
Groundwater, an exploited resource (Image Source: India Water Portal)
September 16, 2019 Floating 'islands' give new lease of life to a lake in Indore
An attempt to make our lakes pollution free (Image: Clean Water)
July 25, 2019 A young college graduate shares his experience working with Tata Trusts in Assam on water issues.
Stream Network in Tezpur, Assam. Image credit: Rohit Sar
Holy waters, unholy outcomes!
A study found that mass bathing events in the Kshipra river not only led to high pollution, but also to the presence of multidrug resistant pathogenic bacteria in its waters, posing a risk to health. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 8 months 2 weeks ago

Rivers are revered and considered holy since times immemorial in India and mass bathing in some rivers is an age-old ritual. A holy dip and a holy sip of the river waters are considered to be a highly purifying. But is the dip really cleansing at all when almost all the rivers in India are known to be highly polluted?

A priest offers water to the sun at Ramghat on the Kshipra river at Simhastha (Image Source: Makarand Purohit)
Locals struggle with WASH issues post-Amphan
Cyclone Amphan wreaks havoc in the Sunderbans at a time when the country was already battling a large spread of Covid-19. Amita Bhaduri posted 8 months 4 weeks ago

UN’s recognition of safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right recently hit a decade and this makes us ponder even more about the situation in the Sundarbans after the Amphan cyclone. The destruction caused by Amphan in the Sundarbans poses a massive threat to the very right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation of the people living there.

Having no source of water is proving to be extremely difficult for the people living in the Sundarbans. (Image: WaterAid, Subhrajit Sen)
India-UK team tackles antimicrobial resistance spread in waterways
Experts are joining forces to investigate the impact that releasing antibiotics from antibiotic manufacturing into India’s waterways has on the spread of potentially fatal drug-resistant infections. Amita Bhaduri posted 9 months 1 week ago

An estimated 58,000 babies die in India every year from superbug infections passed on from their mothers, whilst drug-resistant pathogens cause between 28,000 to 38,000 extra deaths in the European Union every year.

The Musi river in Hyderabad, which has high concentrations of antibiotics released from production facilities (Image: Newcastle University)
When solving one problem triggers another
Use of guppy fish to control mosquito populations in water bodies has given rise to another problem - that of its negative impact on native freshwater diversity. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 9 months 1 week ago

Come monsoons and vector borne diseases start making headlines every year in many parts of India, especially mosquito borne diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis.

What are vector borne diseases

Guppies for mosquito control (Image Source: Rchampagne via Wikimedia Commons)
Reinventing waste management during Covid-19
There is an urgent need to revamp our municipal waste management systems. Amita Bhaduri posted 10 months ago

India stares at a Covid-19 induced waste management crisis and there is a need to strengthen waste management services. An important sanitary barrier to prevent the dissemination of illnesses and diseases, waste management’s impact on the world’s healthcare systems, and the economy are significant.

A lab technician discarding disposable gloves (Image: CDC/Kimberly Smith, Christine Ford acquired from Public Health Image Library)
Water fleas can warn of water pollution!
Water fleas, tiny organisms found in water can help save rivers! Read this interview with freshwater biologist, Dr Sameer Padhye, to know how. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 10 months 1 week ago

Water fleas are small crustaceans widely found in varied aquatic habitats. They are very sensitive to changes in the water quality of water bodies such as rivers and streams that they inhabit.

Water fleas can warn of water pollution (Image Source: Sameer Padhye)
Covid-19 threatens to worsen India's water crisis
Regulations for water use, innovation for treating antimicrobial resistance and monitoring of infected plastic leakage needs to be prioritised to curtail the water crisis. Amita Bhaduri posted 11 months 3 weeks ago

While the world has got a reprieve from pollution with emerging wildlife, cleaner air and clearer water bodies during lockdown, Covid-19 might actually be worsening the present water crisis in an inconspicuous manner. The world is still developing more clarity on safeguards that can prevent transmission, treatment and post treatment complications.

Marine litter. Plastic bottles on a beach. (Image: Bo Eide, Flickr Commons; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Will access to piped water ensure safe water in India?
A study from Maharashtra found that piped water supply did not ensure access to safe water. Intermittent water supply and poor sanitation triggered water contamination and antibiotic resistance. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 year ago

While Covid-19 has brought forth the need for better access to water for WASH practices to the forefront, how India plans to bring water at the doorstep through the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) continues to be a challenge. This is especially in the context of not only access but also quality of the available water.

Safe drinking water, a major challenges for India (Image Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Global infections from water poised to rise with climate change
As climate change handshakes water contamination, we pass by very much uncertain times. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 1 year ago

Climate change triggered heat waves threaten water availability

Ninjallama rues as she remembers, " It was a terrible summer. The heat wave was killing. Three people died in my village. People with skeletal fluorosis suffered .. "

Water contamination, a growing concern (Image Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Gearing to overcome water quality woes
A workshop highlights the need to give a boost to affordable household water treatment and storage technologies. Amita Bhaduri posted 1 year ago

India has the most people in the world without access to safe drinking water (133.9 million). Many studies indicate that poor and marginalized populations are the worst affected from waterborne diseases resulting from the consumption of contaminated water.

HWTS solutions are best suited for villages (Image: WaterAid)