Contamination, Pollution and Quality

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)
December 4, 2019 To adapt well & build resilience, climate change strategies need to factor in efforts towards water security, writes Vanita Suneja, Regional Advocacy Manager (South Asia), WaterAid.
Image credit: WaterAid/Prashanth Vishwanathan
December 2, 2019 Water stewardship is an approach predicated on the concept that water is a shared resource and so water risks are also shared risks that everyone in a catchment will face
Picture credit: Romit Sen
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)
November 21, 2019 Excessive and unregulated pesticide use has not only poisoned the soil, water and environment in villages in Punjab’s Malwa region – it has also increased health risks for the people.
Farmer spraying pesticide (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Overexploitation of groundwater highest in Punjab: Government
News this week Swati Bansal posted 9 months 4 weeks ago

Punjab no.1 in overexploitation of groundwater 

Overexploitation of groundwater highest in Punjab (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Sanitation empowered her
Community response to the slum sanitation improvement project hinges on grassroots leadership in a slum settlement in Dhenkanal. Amita Bhaduri posted 10 months 1 week ago

In a corner of the Kathagada locality in the Parhatiya Sahi slum of Dhenkanal stands a small neat house. Surrounded by a well-tended garden that is planted with fruit trees, flowers and grass, this is Reena Rani Singh’s home. She is a multi-purpose local leader and is a member of the local Self Help Group (SHG), Mahila Arogya Samiti and Slum Sanitation Committee (SSC).

As a part of Project Nirmal, community structures including Slum Sanitation Committees (SSCs) and Ward Sanitation Committees (WSCs) were constituted at the slum and ward level (Image: SCI-FI, CPR)
Ganga's riverine communities in troubled waters
The fishing community is the most vulnerable as its members come into direct contact with the river water and thus, suffer the maximum impact of pollution. Amita Bhaduri posted 10 months 3 weeks ago

A large section of the population living in the Ganga river basin still depends on the river for daily use activities and livelihood. Hence, the cleaning of the Ganga river’s water and making it safe for use remains a major goal for policymakers.

There is a need to formalise the traditional occupation of riverine fishing by providing proper licensing facilities to allow for targeted policies for the community in order to mitigate the livelihood challenges being faced by it. (Image: Pikrepo)
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 10 months 3 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 11 months 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)
Groundwater extraction: NGT gets strict with commercial entities
Policy matters this week Swati Bansal posted 11 months 1 week ago

NGT bans granting general permissions for groundwater extraction to commercial entities

NGT gets strict with commercial entities (Source: IWP Flickr album)
Understanding Atal Bhujal Yojana through the program guidelines
The program envisages promoting panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management. Amita Bhaduri posted 11 months 1 week ago

Groundwater fulfills the drinking water requirements of nearly 85% and 50% of the rural and urban Indian population, respectively. 65% of the total irrigated area utilizes groundwater. It also caters to the water needs of the industrial sector in India.

Community participation is expected to facilitate bottom-up groundwater planning process to improve the effectiveness of public financing and align implementation of various government programs on groundwater in the participating states (Image: Water Alternatives, Flickr Commons)
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 11 months 2 weeks 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 11 months 2 weeks 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)
A third of world’s children poisoned by lead: UNICEF
Urgent action needed to abolish dangerous practices including the informal recycling of lead acid batteries. Amita Bhaduri posted 11 months 2 weeks ago

Around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL), a level that the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated requires global and regional interventions.

Two girls recycle metal from used batteries at a workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Image: UNICEF/Naser Siddique)