DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 17 May 2021: Dead Bodies in Rivers & Civilization

The human dead bodies in the rivers and on the river banks are one of the many defining images of the Corona pandemic that India is in grip of currently. There is clearly complete failure of governments at several levels in this pandemic, starting from complete failure to have systems in place to ensure that the pandemic situation would not have become such a massive disaster. No explanation or accountability is likely to come our way from the governments. They are too busy suppressing the critical voices exposing the abject failure of the governments, building Central Vista project or harassing the elected governments ruled by other parties.

As one of the reports mentioned in this issue of weekly DRP Bulletin shows, similar scenes were seen also during the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic in India. But we may remind our rulers and ourselves that a century latter our governance is supposed to have improved and the 1918-19 pandemic was several times much larger one. Moreover our governance today should be much better than the governance of the British Govt a century ago?

The following poem from Jacinta Kerketta (originally written in Hindi, here given with the English translation), a young poet-writer-freelance journalist, belonging to an Oraon Adivasi community of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand so insightfully talks about the death of the rivers for lack of oxygen even before the corpses were seen floating in the river. Thanks, Jacinta! Salutes!!

Time for Civilizations to Die (© Jacinta Kerketta, Translation from original Hindi – see below – by Rajender Negi)

Many rivers died
due to lack of oxygen
but nobody paid heed
to their corpses
still floating
in the dead water

Dumping human corpses
on top of lifeless rivers
does not make anyone’s crimes wash away in the water
they all keep floating
like with the rivers
human bodies are still floating
in the dead waters.

One day when all rivers die
due to the lack of oxygen
then in the dead rivers
will there be skeletons of civilizations afloat.

Rivers know
when they die
civilizations are not far behind.

………….…………………..

सभ्यताओं के मरने की बारी (Original Hindi)

ऑक्सिजन की कमी से
बहुत सी नदियां मर गईं
पर किसी ने ध्यान नहीं दिया
कि उनकी लाशें तैर रहीं हैं
मरे हुए पानी में अब भी

नदी की लाश के ऊपर
आदमी की लाश डाल देने से
किसी के अपराध पानी में घुल नहीं जाते
वे सब पानी में तैरते रहते हैं
जैसे नदी के साथ
आदमी की लाशें तैर रहीं हैं
मरे हुए पानी में अब भी

एक दिन जब सारी नदियां
मर जाएंगी ऑक्सिजन की कमी से
तब मरी हुई नदियों में तैरती मिलेंगी
सभ्यताओं की लाशें भी

नदियां ही जानती हैं
उनके मरने के बाद आती है
सभ्यताओं के मरने की बारी ।।

(© जसिंता केरकेट्टा, 11/5/2021, Source: https://www.facebook.com/jacinta.kerketta.7)

Dead Covid patients buried near drinking water source in Chennai These bodies are being taken to the Kosasthalaiyar river banks in Koilkuppam hamlet. Some are buried and some are burnt. The worrying trend is that the site is close to a source that pumps drinking water to adjoining villages. Nandakumar S of Koilkuppam told Express that bodies of Covid victims are buried almost at all times of the day at the river banks. “This is a drinking water consumption location. These bodies are buried here without following WHO guidelines. I have written to CM Stalin for his intervention,” he says.
https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/may/19/dead-covid-patients-buried-near-drinking-water-source-in-chennai-2304425.html, May 19 2021 [Thanks to our reader Kumar SN for bringing this to our attention.

Madhya Pradesh Covid-19: Dead bodies found floating in MP’s Runj River After Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, now dead bodies suspected to be of covid-19 patients were found floating in Runj River Madhya Pradesh. Sources claimed that bodies were floating in the Runj river in Nandanpura in Panna. Villagers claimed that the bodies were floating in the river for the last 3 days but authorities are not acting upon this very distressing development. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/covid-19-dead-bodies-found-floating-in-mps-runj-river/videoshow/82567326.cms  (12 May 2021)

Disturbing report of what happened in Narmada River and along its banks in 1918-19 influenza epidemic. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-when-corpses-of-influenza-victims-were-dumped-in-narmada-river-in-1918-7310909/  (12 May 2021)

GANGA Bodies of Covid-19 victims among those dumped in Ganga river: Govt Bodies of Covid-19 victims have been found dumped in some Indian rivers, a state government said in a letter seen by Reuters, the first official acknowledgement of an alarming practice it said may stem from poverty and fear of the disease in villages.

“The administration has information that bodies of those who have succumbed to Covid-19 or any other disease are being thrown into rivers instead of being disposed of as per proper rituals,” a senior state official, Manoj Kumar Singh, said in a May 14 letter to district heads that was reviewed by Reuters. “As a result, bodies have been recovered from rivers in many places.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bodies-of-covid-19-victims-among-those-dumped-in-ganga-river-govt-101621165753886.html  (16 May 2021)

Centre asks states to check future incidences of people dumping bodies in Ganga, its tributaries The Centre on Tuesday (May 11) asked states along the Ganga to ensure strict vigilance and check future incidences of people dumping bodies in the river and its tributaries. In a letter to District Ganga Committees which are chaired by district magistrates or collectors, the National Mission for Clean Ganga — the apex body that monitors rejuvenation of the river and its tributaries — also asked the authorities to dispose unidentified bodies of suspected COVID-19 victims in accordance with safety protocols.

“Ensure strict vigilance along length of the river within territorial jurisdiction of the district to prevent and check such future incidences of people dumping dead bodies in Ganga and its tributaries and of any other activity hazardous for river Ganga and health and hygiene of the area,” NMCG Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra said in the letter to the chairpersons of the committees. It has also asked them to submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) to the NMCG in the next 14 days, the letter said. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/centre-asks-states-to-check-future-incidences-of-people-dumping-bodies-in-ganga-its-tributaries/articleshow/82556431.cms  (11 May 2021)

Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Tuesday termed the incident of corpses found floating in Ganga river in Bihar as “unfortunate” and asked concerned states to take immediate cognizance. “The incident of corpses found floating in Ganga in Buxar region of Bihar is unfortunate. This is definitely a matter of investigation. The Modi government is committed to the cleanliness ‘mother’ Ganga. This incident is unexpected. The concerned states should take immediate cognizance in this regard,” Shekhawat tweeted. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jal-shakti-minister-asks-concerned-states-to-take-immediate-cognisance-of-floating-corpses-in-ganga-101620714875128.html  (11 May 2021)

Experts on Wednesday (May 12) said transmission of coronavirus through water is not a concern. Satish Tare, professor at IIT-Kanpur stressed that dumping of bodies will not have a significant effect on transmission. Dumping of bodies primarily leads to pollution of rivers, he said. Even if the bodies of suspected COVID-19 patients were fished out, there is a lot of dilution that happens (during the flow of water). The effect may not be significant, he said.

“If the water is passed for water supply, then it passes through the water supply system. Normal treatment takes care of it, said Tare, who teaches environmental engineering, water quality and wastewater treatment. He, however, added that there are patches where people draw water directly from the river. But even during this people do exercise caution. https://www.news18.com/news/india/as-bodies-found-dumped-in-ganga-yamuna-experts-rule-out-transmission-of-coronavirus-through-water-3732155.html  (12 May 2021)

The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday (May 13) issued notices to the Central, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar governments on a complaint about bodies found floating in the Ganga in the past few days. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nhrc-notice-to-uttar-pradesh-bihar-on-bodies-in-ganga/article34551129.ece  (13 May 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Over 2000 dead bodies found within 1140 km along Ganga  According to a report by Hindi Daily Dainik Bhaskar, over 2000 bodies were found on the bank of river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh within 1140 kilometers. Bhaskar’s reporters traveled to Bijnor, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Aligarh, Kasganj, Sambhal, Amroha, Badanyu, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Kanpur, Unnao, Raebareli, Fatehpur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh Visited the ghats and villages along the Ganges in Varanasi, Chandauli, Ghazipur and Ballia. Ganga travels 1140 kilometers in these districts of UP and enters Bihar. As per the report, the situation was very bad in Kanpur, Kannauj, Unnao, Ghazipur and Ballia. https://hwnews.in/news/national-news/up-horror-over-2000-dead-bodies-found-within-1140-kilometers-on-bank-of-ganga-river-says-report/156908  (15 May 2021)

Here is link for Dainik Bhaskar Hindi exclusive report. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/news/uttar-pradesh-ganga-ghat-coronavirus-situation-report-update-worst-condition-in-kanpur-unnao-ghazipur-and-ballia-128491371.html  (14 May 2021)

The Ganga ghat at Baksar in Unnao has seen an unprecedented rush as dead bodies await their turn to be cremated, or buried. As the poor cannot afford the Rs 15,000 required for a cremation, they are choosing to bury their dead for Rs 700. https://en.gaonconnection.com/unnao-dead-bodies-baksar-ganga-ghat-deaths-coronavirus-covid19-villages-uttar-pradesh-kanpur/  (14 May 2021)

Exposing the vulnerability of rural population to Covid-19, rain earlier this week in central and eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh led to horror among masses as it uncovered mass shallow graves along the Ganga in different districts of the state.

Taking a serious note of the development, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has advised Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (the two most populous states) to immediately check the trend of burying bodies along the banks of the river as it could lead to further spread of infection. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/mass-shallow-graves-on-banks-of-ganga-in-uttar-pradesh-253433  (16 May 2021)

Days after bodies of suspected Covid-19 victims washed up on the shores of Ganga in Ghazipur and Ballia districts, six unidentified bodies were found floating in the river in Chandauli district and another eight bodies were found in the river in the neighbouring Varanasi on Thursday (May 13).  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/now-14-bodies-found-floating-in-ganga-in-up-s-chandauli-varanasi-101620973017835.html  (14 May 2021)

After multiple reports of bodies of suspected COVID-19 patients being found by the Ganga River in parts of Uttar Pradesh all through last week, police units in different districts across the state have stepped up patrolling by the banks and on the river itself to prevent bodies from being thrown into the river or buried along it.

In full-page ads in all newspapers on Sunday, the UP government appealed to residents not to dump bodies in any water bodies including the Ganga and said ₹ 5,000 would be given to anyone who could not afford to perform the last rites of their loved ones.  https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/river-patrols-rs-5-000-aid-as-body-pile-up-by-the-ganga-continues-in-up-2442954  (16 May 2021)

In Unnao, at least 200 such dead bodies were laid bare by shifting sand along the Ganga after heavy downpour this week. In Ghaziabad, at least five unclaimed bodies were found at the Gehmar ghat in Ghazipur after their barely three-feet burial pits were washed out by the river. Many dead bodies, possibly abandoned, were also found to be floating in the river. https://thewire.in/health/ganga-covid-19-bodies-uttar-pradesh  (15 May 2021)

Just a few days after dozens of dead bodies found floating on the banks of river Ganga in eastern districts of Ghazipur, Ballia and Chandauli, at least seven bodies (five males and two females) were found floating near Sujabad village in PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi on Thursday (May 13).

Confirming the development, Ved Prakash Rai, the station officer of Ramnagar police station of Varanasi district, said “there were a total seven bodies, many of which were partially decomposed, that were found floating near Sujabad village. All the bodies were retrieved from the river and buried safely by following all safety protocols by the local administration.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/may/14/dead-bodies-found-floating-in-ganga-in-pm-modis-varanasi-constituency-2302227.html  (14 May 2021)

Multiple bodies were found buried in sand in at least two locations along the Ganga river in Unnao district on Wednesday, NDTV reported. Authorities have not been able to confirm yet whether the bodies were of Covid-19 patients. District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar said that some of the bodies were found in an area far away from the river, ANI reported. https://scroll.in/latest/994784/now-bodies-found-buried-in-sand-along-ganga-river-in-uttar-pradeshs-unnao-district  (13 May 2021)

Over 100 bodies found floating in Ganga in Ghazipur Over 100 bodies, suspected to be that of covid-19 patients, were found floating in River Ganga in Ghazipur. This came a day after over 150 bodies were found floating in River Ganga in Bihar. Locals alleged that there was no wood available for cremation and hence, many resorted to dump the bodies in the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/lucknow/covid-19-over-100-bodies-found-floating-in-river-ganga-in-ghazipur-uttar-pradesh/videoshow/82540887.cms  (11 May 2021)

Human corpses being found in Ramganga river in Bareilly.

Bihar Over 40 Bodies Wash Up On Banks Of Ganga Bloated, decomposing bodies washed up this morning on the banks of Ganga at Bihar’s Buxar in frightening new visuals that expose the scale of India’s Covid crisis. Dozens of bodies were seen floating in the river at Chausa town – on Bihar’s border with Uttar Pradesh — and later piling up on the banks, to the horror of residents. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bihar-buxar-coronavirus-covid-panic-in-bihar-town-as-over-40-bodies-wash-up-on-banks-of-ganga-2438888   (10 May 2021)

This report says ambulances throwing dead bodies in Ghaghra river through ambulances from Jayaprabha bridge in Saran district. https://www.jansatta.com/rajya/the-most-frightening-picture-of-corona-era-in-bihar-bodies-being-thrown-from-bridge-found-floating-in-river/1715958/  (11 May 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Meghalaya Plea to save Umngot river for future generations. https://theshillongtimes.com/2021/05/13/save-umngot-today-save-a-generation-tomorrow/  (13 May 2021)

Punjab Govt specifies Share of Hydropower in its Renewable Purchase Obligation Trajectory The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has invited comments, suggestions, and objections to the staff paper for revising the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) regulations to factor in hydropower purchase obligation (HPO).

– One of the key points that stood out in the directive was the Ministry of Power’s push for hydropower. Hydropower purchase obligation will be met from large hydro projects, including pumped storage projects with over 25 MW.

– In keeping with the notification, the Commission has proposed to amend PSERC (RPO and its compliance) Regulations, 2011. The government has issued a revised trajectory of the RPO, including chalking out a long-term course for HPO for projects commissioned after March 8, 2019, to achieve the target of 30 GW of hydropower by 2029-30. Earlier the RPO trajectory did not specify hydropower. The amendments proposed by the staff paper now include the share of hydropower in the non-solar RPO trajectory. https://mercomindia.com/punjab-specifies-hydropower-share-in-rpo-trajectory/  (10 May 2021)

Jammu & Kashmir NHPC gets nod to acquire 2 per cent equity stake of PTC India in Chenab Valley Power Projects State-run hydro power giant NHPC on Wednesday (May 12) said that it has got approval of the concerned authority to acquire the entire 2 per cent equity stake of PTC India in Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd. After the acquisition of the stake, the NHPC’s share will increase to 51 per cent to become a majority stakeholder in Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd. “Ministry of Power vide its letter dated May 12, 2021 has conveyed approval of competent authority for taking over of 2 per cent equity of PTC India Limited (PTC) in Chenab Valley Power Projects Private Ltd (A Joint Venture Company between NHPC (49 per cent), JKSPDC (49 per cent) and PTC (2 per cent)) by NHPC Ltd,” a BSE filing said. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/nhpc-gets-nod-to-acquire-2-per-cent-equity-stake-of-ptc-india-in-chenab-valley-power-projects/82591490  (13 May 2021)

JSW Hydro Energy raises $707 mn from green bond sale JSW Hydro Energy, an arm of JSW Energy, has raised USD 707 million (about Rs 5,200 crore) from an international 10 yr green bond issue. The issuer tightened the coupon rate from an initial guidance of 4.5 per cent over the US treasury to 4.125 per cent on closing. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/jsw-hydro-energy-raises-707-mn-from-green-bond-sale/82538285  (11 May 2020)

DAMS

Polavaram Project Backwaters has no impact on Telangana, AP govt. reiterates at PPA meeting The Andhra Pradesh state government has once again made it clear to the Polavaram Project Authority that the land in Telangana will not be flooded at all due to the backwater impact of the Polavaram project. It said that a joint survey has been conducted with Telangana Water Resources Department officials on the impact of the project backwater on the Kinnerasani and Murredu tributaries and details will be sent to the Central Water Commission (CWC) within 12 months. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-backwaters-has-no-impact-on-telangana-ap-govt-reiterates-at-ppa-meeting-685251  (07 May 2021)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Manthan launches new report on May 12, 2021: “A Status Review of Claims, Progress and Impacts of the National Inland Waterways Program: GRAND PLANS, MANY QUESTIONS”.

Five years after the program to develop the National Waterways for large scale commercial shipping and navigation was launched, Manthan is bringing out this report to review the progress made (before the outbreak of Covid-19), whether the claims and promises have been fulfilled and what have been the impacts of the program. Some of the key findings of this report are as follows: –

1. Large number of promises were made, grand plans announced and many benefits were claimed for the waterways.

2. The five years since the program was launched clearly show that these were largely hype. Claimed benefits of the waterways also did not materialise underlying the fact that many claimed benefits, like low costs and environmental friendliness are simply fallacious, being based on wrong or incomplete analysis. Progress and realisation of many of the projections and promises made at the start of the programme has been far below promise.

3. The actual investments, though more than in earlier years, and rising over the years, are way below the Rs 2000 crores per year promised by then Minister for Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari, and there is little evidence of any of the Rs. 12,000 crores that this was supposed to leverage. Budget 2021-22 allocates only Rs. 623 crores to inland waterways.

4. Actual investments have also fallen far short of the requirements for the projected development of waterways. Also, these seem focussed on a limited number of waterways like the World Bank funded NW-1 (Ganga) and NW-2 (Brahmaputra), meaning other waterways may see much slower development.

Full Report in Eng: https://www.manthan-india.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Grand-Plans-Many-Questions_CompressPdf.pdf

Summary in Eng: https://www.manthan-india.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Summary-English-Grand-Plans-Many-Questions.pdf

सारांश (हिंदी) –https://www.manthan-india.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Summary-Hindi-Grand-Plans-Many-Questions.pdf

The PR is covered by SPS media here. https://www.spsmedia.in/contemporary/out-of-106-national-waterways-only-23-are-feasible-for-transport-of-goods/  (13 May 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

Mula-Mutha; Pune Giving life back to Pune’s life-giving Mula-Mutha river The intention of the river rejuvenation programme must be to improve the health of the river as a natural entity. A healthy riverine ecosystem requires that its natural processes, flow regimes, and biodiversity be retained.

CEE and the Ecological Society conducted a scientific study of the Mula-Mutha river to develop an approach for restoration of the river ecosystem. A summary of the key recommendations are presented here. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/civic-sanskriti-giving-life-back-to-pune-s-life-giving-mula-mutha-river-101620732867822.html  (11 May 2021)

RIVERS

भारत में नदियों की इतनी हालत खराब कैसे हुई नदियों ने हजारों लाखों साल से हमारे जीवन को पोसा है. लेकिन वही अपने अस्तित्व के लिए जूझ रही हैं. भारत में नदियों की हालत बहुत ही खराब है. सिद्धार्थ आईआईटी से ग्रेजुएट हैं, लेकिन वह कई साल से नदियों के किनारे पैदल चल रहे है. गंगा किनारे चलते हुए उनके क्या अनुभव रहे, इस रिपोर्ट में देखिए. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R0kU_VhSqU  (10 May 2021)

Andhra Pradesh When a sacred river offers shelter, livelihood to 4 families  For nearly two decades, the sacred river Sabari and a group of four migrant fisherfolk families have remained steadfast companions near Chintoor village along the tri-State border of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chattisgarh in East Godavari Agency. The strong survival skills of the fisherfolk motivated them to make the river their permanent home by developing a tiny settlement by it.

Migrating from Dowleswaram village in the Godavari delta in early 2000, the four families decided to make a living by taking up fishing in the Sabari, and are operating four houseboats in which they live as well as fish on the tri-State border. Their habitat now comprises four house boats, four temporary houses on the sands of the river, where four families with 25 people have settled, eking out a livelihood by fishing in the river. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/companions-of-the-sacred-sabari-on-tri-state-border/article33475225.ece  (01 Jan. 2021)

Tamil Nadu IIT Madras Develops Novel Paper-Based Sensor to Detect Antimicrobial Pollutants in Water Bodies Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) have developed a paper-based sensor that can detect antimicrobial pollutants, which can lead to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in water bodies. This sensor works on a ‘see and tell’ mechanism that makes it effective for wide implementation.

The problem of antimicrobial resistance is growing at alarming proportions in India and water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds are the major source for the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria because of the huge amounts of hospital and pharmaceutical wastes that are transferred into water bodies.

Periodic monitoring of antimicrobial pollutants and antibiotic-resistant genes can be very important and effective to assess the current situation of AMR in India. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/environment/news/2021-05-05-iit-madras-develops-novel-paper-based-sensor  (05 May 2021)

Madras HC Directs State To Form Expert Body To Keep Rivers Free From Effluents  Underling that the pollution level in the flowing water has to be reduced to the extent possible, the Madras High Court on Tuesday (20th April) directed the State Government to constitute an expert body to formulate appropriate measures. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/quality-of-flowing-water-cant-be-compromised-madras-hc-directs-state-to-form-expert-body-to-keep-rivers-free-from-effluents-172878  (21 April 2021)

Maharashtra Draft plan to tackle river pollution ready Developing sluice gates at barrages along the Panchaganga river, making sure service centres have in-house effluent treatment plant, setting up separate washing centres for clothes and cattle are some of the measures suggested by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) in its draft report prepared on the directions of CM Uddhav Thackeray. The CM after taking cognizance of the complaints about fish deaths in the Panchaganga river had asked the board to come up with a concrete plan to tackle the pollution of the river. District guardian minister Satej Patil and several other public representatives from the district have approved the draft, which will be given to Thackeray soon.

Currently, most of the sewage from Kolhapur city is treated while around 45 million litre from Ichalkaranji is discharged into the river without any treatment, which is the major source of pollution. The expert members associated with the drafting of the report said the major focus of the plan is to develop infrastructure such as treatment plants for Ichalkaranji and villages along the banks of the river.

Kolhapur city was once a major polluter of the river. Currently, around 95% of the sewage generated in the city is treated. The plan also includes the diversion of 91 million litre of treated wastewater from Kolhapur city for irrigation. Uday Gaikwad, an environmentalist and expert member said the work requires over Rs 25 crore, however, the funds can be recovered by charging fees from farmers for using the treated wastewater. Patil has asked officials to estimate the funds required to implement the measures.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/draft-plan-to-tackle-river-pollution-ready/articleshow/82438247.cms  (07 May 2021)

Refinery will lead to pollution and deprive farmers of water Sanjay Khadakkar is former member of Vidarbha Statutory Development Board “The project is not only infeasible for Vidarbha, but would prove to be a big health hazard for citizens here due to pollution. It would require huge land of farmers and also the water used for their fields. Already, the region’s irrigation backlog is 1.60 hectares. When our farmers are not getting water for their crops, from where the government will provide water for the refinery? Already, Vidarbha has so many power plants that produce 59% of Maharashtra’s power. All these plants consume a lot of water, leaving the poor farmers in lurch.”

Moreover, what’s the guarantee that only the youth of Vidarbha will benefit? Just under the pretext of creating employment opportunities, farmers’ land can’t be put at stake. It is better to bring information technology (IT) parks, health cities and textile parks that can create job opportunities along with economic consideration and without risk of pollution. Also when there are talks about bringing in solar powered vehicles by 2030, then why the need for a refinery in Vidarbha? (Sanjay Khadakkar is former member of Vidarbha Statutory Development Board) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/refinery-will-lead-to-pollution-and-deprive-farmers-of-water/articleshow/82122848.cms  (18 April 2021)

Report high cost of cheap garment exports Pragya Tiwari “These cases from Panipat, Chambal, Delhi and Tiruppur are not isolated instances – stories of depleted water resources, toxic water pollution and the horrifying consequences of both, abound across India in pockets where products that are part of the global supply chain of fashion are made.” https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/4/19/the-high-cost-of-indias-cheap-garment-exports  (19 April 2021)

GANGA Uttarakhand It Doesn’t Make Sense for Char Dham Project Case to Be Heard By a New Bench Priyadarshini Patel “The entire process of the controversial Char Dham pariyojana is an expert lesson in manipulation. It demonstrates how a few can take the law into their hands and manipulate it.” https://thewire.in/environment/it-doesnt-make-sense-for-char-dham-project-case-to-be-heard-by-a-new-bench   (15 May 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Bihar कतरनियाघाट में रह रहे घड़ियालों के निवास पर हरियाली का छापा  हाल ही में आए एक शोध में यह बात स्पष्ट हुई है कि गिरवा नदी के किनारे बढ़ती हरियाली से घड़ियालों के ठिकाने छिन रहे हैं। इस शोध में पाया गया कि नदी में पानी कम होने से बहाव कम हो रहा है। उन स्थानों पर भी पेड़-पौधे उगने लगे हैं जहां कभी घड़ियाल अपने अंडे दिया करते थे।

कतरनियाघाट में नदी के पानी से बना एक जलाशय है और यहां मछली खाने वाले विलुप्तप्राय घड़ियालों की अच्छी-खासी संख्या रहती है। हालांकि, यहां के बनिस्बत चंबल में बने घड़ियाल सेंचुरी में घड़ियालों के संख्या अधिक है। पानी कम होने का सिलसिला वर्ष 2010 में शुरू हुआ जब नेपाल से बहकर आने वाली करनाली नदी की धारा बाढ़ ने मोड़ दी। इससे गिरवा नदी में भी पानी की कमी हो गई। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/05/03/gharial-nesting-threatened-by-woody-vegetation-on-riverbanks/  (03 May 2021)

SAND MINING

Gujarat Illegal mining ‘rampant’ in Bhavnagar Senior Gujarat-based environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) in a letter to the Union secretary, MoEF, have said that “illegal” sand mining in Bhavnagar, coastal district, is “contaminating and degrading the ground water, rivers, lakes, other water resources and check dams.”

Citing specific instances and seeking immediate intervention, the letter, whose copy has been sent to the Gujarat chief secretary as also state environment department office als, says, “In addition to adverse environmental impacts (for example, on ground water quality and quantity) illegal sand and lignite mining also stand to have adverse impacts on agriculture and animal husbandry dependent livelihoods in more than 30 villages.” https://www.counterview.net/2021/05/illegal-mining-rampant-in-bhavnagar.html  (09 May 2021)

ToI Image

Covid patient, 2 others killed in accident Three, including a Covid-19 patient, died while one person was injured when the ambulance they were travelling in met with an accident in Halvad taluka of Morbi district on Saturday (April 17) afternoon. The Covid-infected patient, named Ali Mohammed Rehmatullah (78), was being taken to Ahmedabad for treatment from Morbi in an ambulance. The emergency vehicle rammed into a dumper truck near Sundargarh village in Halvad taluka. The driver of the sand-filled dumper truck turned his vehicle on to the highway from lay-by without noticing the approaching ambulance due to which the collision took place. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/ncov-patient-2-others-killed-in-accident/articleshow/82121484.cms  (18 April 2021)

West Bengal Student dies in motorcycle crash, sand on road blamed An engineering student died after his motorcycle skidded over sand dumped on the road in Nadia’s Tehatta while returning home from a wedding on Tuesday (Feb. 2) night. Two persons, including the student’s elder brother, have been critically injured. The deceased student is Sagar Das, 21, who was a resident of Givindapur Purba Daspara in Santipur town. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/student-dies-in-motorcycle-crash-in-nadia-sand-on-road-blamed/cid/1805636  (04 Feb. 2021)

Haryana करनालः रेत से भरे ट्रक ने मोटरसाइकिल को मारी टक्कर, मौत जिले के इंद्री हल्के में एक बार फिर से तेज रफ्तार का कहर देखने को मिला है. एक ट्रक ने एक बाइक सवार को कुचल दिया. ये हादसा करनाल के नन्हेड़ा गांव के मोड़ पर हुआ. जहां पर एक रेत से भरे ट्रक ने एक मोटरसाइकिल को टक्कर मार दी. जिसके चलते मोटरसाइकिल सवार की मौके पर ही मौत हो गई. टक्कर लगते ही ट्रक चालक ट्रक छोड़ फरार हो गया. घटना की सूचना मिलते ही पुलिस ने मौके पर पहुंच मामले की जांच शुरू कर दी है.

Image source ETV Bharat

जानकारी अनुसार गांव इस्लामनगर का रहने वाला 65 वर्षीय मामराज अपने घर से इंद्री आ रहा था. जैसे ही वह नन्हेड़ा मोड़ के पास पहुंचा. तो उसकी मोटरसाइकिल को पीछे से आ रहे एक ट्रक ने टक्कर मार दी. जिसके चलते मामराज की मौके पर ही मौत हो गई. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/haryana/state/karnal/one-man-died-in-road-accident-near-nanhera-village-in-karnal/haryana20210403225621098  (03 April 2021)

Bihar Govt ambulance used to ferry sand amid COVID crisis The government ambulance is being used to ferry sand in the time when the nation is seeing a shortage of ambulance service. The patients are losing their life due to delayed services. The ambulance is funded under the MPLAD scheme and is being misused.

The patients and families are struggling to get an ambulance, and it’s tragic to see how there is a misuse of the ambulance taking place. The video shows the ambulance is getting loaded with the sand bags, and the money for the ambulance came from the MPLAD Scheme. It’s pitiful to see such scenarios. https://www.timesnownews.com/videos/mirror-now/politics/bihar-govt-ambulance-used-to-ferry-sand-amid-covid-crisis/96827  (09 May 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Maharashtra ‘Prima Facie Dilutes Environment Act’:  Bombay High Court Retrains MoEF from Granting Post-facto CRZ Clearance. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/bombay-high-court-retrains-moef-from-granting-post-facto-crz-clearance-173933  (10 May 2021)

Kerala CRZ to hit Kochi again The recently published Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Ernakulam district by the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) brings a major portion of the city’s urban areas under new Costal Regulation Zone norms, putting Kochi and its suburbs under scrutiny again. The 130-page document published on the agency’s website on April 22 awaited feedback from public and local bodies for two weeks, while many stakeholders had no clear idea about its implications. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2021/may/11/coast-for-concern-crz-to-hit-kochi-again-2300873.html  (12 May 2021)

West Bengal EKW face an existential threat from property developers This mosaic of salt marshes, settling basins and farmlands is said to be the world’s largest natural, biological sewage treatment system. https://scroll.in/video/994831/eco-india-the-east-kolkata-wetlands-face-an-existential-threat-from-property-developers  (16 May 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Nagaland Women Band To Revive 99 Springs, Benefit 12000 Water-Starved Households A project led by 300 women and supported by experts and government departments has helped revive 99 springs in 89 villages across 36 districts, benefitting 12,000 households across the state. The move has enabled an increase in the water discharge capacity of the springs and stopped women from having to wander to far off regions in the hope of finding water. https://www.thebetterindia.com/254892/nagaland-spring-shed-management-process-revival-khrolhiweu-tsuhah-north-east-initiative-development-agency-neida-water-crisis-convseration-women-led-initiatives-india-environment-him16/  (11 May 2021)  

By Sharad K. Jain and Paritosh C. Tyagi (Current Sc, May 10 2021): “This note suggests the need for a course on environment and social hydrology for hydrologists, for which the contents and coverage are provided.” https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/120/09/1423.pdf 

GROUNDWATER

BARC study Uranium in 83% of water samples Uranium was detected in 83.6 percent of all the collected water samples during a nationwide survey by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for mapping of uranium content in drinking water sources across India. About 55,554 surface and groundwater samples were collected for the survey.

“Out of 12 water quality parameters measured to understand the geochemical processes governing uranium content in water sources, eight were found to exceed the acceptable limits set by the BIS for drinking water,” said the study published in Current Science. Sulphate, chloride, nitrate, fluoride, total dissolved solids, alkalinity, and hardness exceeded their limits by 4.2 percent, 12.9 percent, 14 percent, 20.5 percent, 34.3 percent, 45 percent, and 51.6 percent, respectively. Uranium content in 98 percent of groundwater samples was within the national limit fixed by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board for radiological safety.

“Dissolved uranium content in groundwater samples showed an upward trend with total dissolved solids and depth of water sources. No surface water samples exceeded the prescribed regulatory limit.” The study further found that about 36 percent, 30 percent, 26.5 percent, 6.2 percent and 5.2 percent of surface water samples exceeded the BIS recommended acceptable limits for hardness, alkalinity, TDS, fluoride and nitrate. In contrast, 51.6 per cent, 45 per cent, 36.3 per cent, 20.5 per cent and 14 per cent of groundwater samples exceeded the BIS recommended acceptable limits for the same parameters. “About 2 per cent of groundwater samples exceeded the AERB prescribed limits for uranium with respect to radiological safety, while no surface water samples exceeded the limit,” it added. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2021/may/16/uranium-in-83-percentof-water-samples-says-barc-study-2303036.html  (16 May 2021)

URBAN WATER

UNICEF Report In urban India, 50 million people in 15 cities have no access to safe, affordable drinking water. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/in-urban-india-50-million-people-in-15-cities-have-no-access-to-safe-affordable-drinking-water-unicef-report-101619271319685.html  (24 April 2021)  

Chennai 2 STPs to replenish groundwater in lakes In a first of its kind initiative, Metro Water is setting up two tertiary plants at Nesapakkam and Perungudi to treat sewage water. These plants, with 10 MLD capacity each, will be instrumental in groundwater recharge as the treated water will be released into lakes.

A study has been conducted at IIT and it was decided that sewage water will be stripped of smell and toxic pollutants through tertiary treatment with ultrafiltration.  The treated water will then be let into the shallow wells dug close to waterbodies. Through this method groundwater levels within a radius of 2-3 km from the lakes will be recharged. This will depend on the soil type.

In future, the existing method will be completely replaced with the new technology so that 550 MLD of sewage generated in the city can be treated and used to recharge waterbodies. The Metro Water department has also proposed tertiary treatment with ultrafiltration plants of 260MLD across the city. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/may/12/two-sewage-treatment-plants-to-replenish-groundwater-in-lakes-2301451.html  (12 May 2021)

Mumbai First underground water storage tanks to come up near Hindmata The city’s first underground rainwater storage tanks will be constructed near Hindmata as a pilot project, and depending on its efficacy as a monsoon flood-prevention measure, the plan could be replicated in other areas, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said.

The BMC has set a target of constructing two tanks in the area by June. Each tank will be of 100 meters in length, 50-meter wide and six-meter deep with a storage capacity of about 30 lakh litres of water. The project will cost around Rs 130 crore.

In 2020, a heavy monsoon downpour brought the city to a standstill thrice. The civic body was severely criticised by residents as well as political leaders for failing to prevent flooding every year. Following this, the BMC had started looking for long-term solution to mitigate flooding triggered by heavy rainfall in a very short span of time. Such tanks are constructed in countries like South Korea, Canada and Japan, the officials added.

The city’s existing sewerage system can drain out 50mm rainwater per hour. If rainfall exceeds and coincides with high tide, many parts of the city witness flooding for hours. On August 5, large parts of South Mumbai were inundated after the city recorded heaviest single-day rainfall with 293.8mm of downpour.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-citys-first-underground-water-storage-tanks-to-come-up-near-hindmata-7221606/  (10 March 2021)

Bengaluru BWSSB worker loses eyesight A BWSSB contract sanitary worker has suffered vision impairment in both eyes due to an injury caused by water mixed with bleaching powder (calcium hypochlorite). The incident happened last year but he’s yet to get any compensation. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/the-price-of-keeping-our-city-clean-bwssb-worker-loses-eyesight-986673.html  (17 May 2021)  

Chandigarh Water wastage: 1,134 notices, 156 challans issued in 1 month Three water meters were also disconnected. The annual inspection drive, which started on April 15, will go on till June 30 in view of shortage of water during the summer. If wastage is detected at some place, the owner of that house is served a notice. He or she is asked to fix the problem. In case it is not done, the owner is issued a challan with a penalty of Rs 5,000. The water connection of repeat violators is disconnected. The UT Administration had increased the fine for water wastage from Rs 2,000 to Rs5,000 through a notification on the water tariff hike in September last year. The civic body is also mulling over continuing its challan drive throughout the year after Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma proposed it. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/water-wastage-1-134-notices-156-challans-issued-in-one-month-253509  (16 May 2021)

WATER

Telangana Village well turns super-spreader point How a well in Tanda village has become source of spreading Covid as large number of people gather here every morning to get their water. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/village-well-in-telangana-turns-super-spreader-point/article34412057.ece  (26 April 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Study Carbon footprint and water footprint of rice and wheat production in Punjab The present study simultaneously quantified the carbon footprint (CF) and water footprint (WF) of rice and wheat production in the five agro-climatic zones of Punjab, India using farm survey data. Further, the variability in CF among the five agro-climatic zones and farm sizes was analysed. *Residue burning, direct methane emissions and fertilizer use were the most important factors that contributed to the CF of rice and wheat production in Punjab. Nitrogen fertilizer use was identified as the major hotspot for mitigation. The average WF of rice and wheat was found to be 1097 and 871 m3 /t respectively. A disparity between CROPWAT estimates of blue WF and actual blue water use was established indicating the need for actual blue WF accounting, particularly for flood irrigated crop production. Additionally, policy measures based on ground situation are discussed and the major role of local government policies in mitigating carbon and water footprint is highlighted. https://econpapers.repec.org/article/eeeagisys/v_3a186_3ay_3a2021_3ai_3ac_3as0308521x20308209.htm  (2021)

Punjab Can crop diversification be widely adopted to solve the water crisis  This article by Shruti Bhogal and Kamal Vatta collates empirical studies to ascertain handicaps associated with crop diversification in Punjab for framing an indefectible crop diversification policy. Such a policy cannot be implemented in isolation but requires multifaceted policy action with the Government playing a key role. (Current Science Apr 25 2021) https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/120/08/1303.pdf

Bharat Dogra on Unseasonal rains in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in a week in April 2021. https://countercurrents.org/2021/04/erratic-rainfall-and-weather-increase-distress-in-himalayan-region/  (28 April 2021)

SUMMER 2021

CWC RESERVOIR STORAGE BULLETIN OF 13.05.2021

1. ALL INDIA STATUS The total live storage capacity of these 130 reservoirs is 174.233 BCM which is about 67.58% of the live storage capacity of 257.812 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 13.05.2021, live storage available in these reservoirs is 53.664 BCM, which is 31% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

2. REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS: a) NORTHERN REGION- The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are 8 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 19.17 BCM. As per Reservoir Storage Bulletin dated 13.05.2021, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 3.90 BCM which is 20% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 43% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 33% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

b) EASTERN REGION- As per Reservoir Storage Bulletin dated 13.05.2021, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.04 BCM which is 25% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 41% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 29% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

c) WESTERN REGION- TAs per Reservoir Storage Bulletin dated 13.05.2021, the total live storage available in these reservoirs is 12.97 BCM which is 37% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 39% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 25% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/13052021-fb-pdf.pdf 

BBMB Water storage down to 10%, Bhakra can meet only 30% demand for irrigation The available storage in the reservoir at Bhakra Dam has plummeted to just 10 per cent (28% in 2020) of its total capacity. This can meet only 25-30 per cent of the regular demand for water for irrigation till the reservoir starts filling up, and power generation has reduced by about 20 per cent.

– Deficient snow and rainfall during the preceding winters have been cited as the reason for low water storage. Further, unseasonal rain and snow in many parts of the Himalayas during May kept temperatures low, thereby reducing snow melt. Bhakra Dam, which lies on the Sutlej, is primarily snow-fed while the other two major dams in the region, Pong (15% vs 54%) on the Beas and Thein (31% vs 52%) on the Ravi are primarily rain-fed.    https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/water-storage-down-to-10-bhakra-can-meet-only-30-demand-for-irrigation-252854  (14 May 2021)

FLOOD

Cyclone Tauktae CWC predicts severe flood situation in Kerala, TN As of 8 am on May 15, 2021, rivers Manimala, Achankovil in Kerala and Kodaiyar in Tamil Nadu continued flowing in ‘Severe situation’, all three above their danger levels. As cyclone Tauktae furthers closer into the Indian West Coast, the Central Water Commission (CWC) on Saturday issued an ‘orange bulletin’ for Kerala and Tamil Nadu, predicting a severe flood situation in the two states. Water levels are likely to reach ‘danger’ and highest flood levels, the CWC said. https://telanganatoday.com/cyclone-tauktae-central-water-commission-predicts-severe-flood-situation-in-kerala-tn  (15 May 2021)

As heavy rains continue to pour in Kannur, owing to the formation of cyclone Tauktae over the South Arabian sea, the district administration has decided to open the Pazhassi Dam partially by Sunday afternoon. The District Collector T.V. Subhash said that currently, the water level in Pazhassi Dam has reached 24.55 m. The shutters of the dam have been allowed to partially open at 12 noon today for safety reasons as heavy rains continue in the catchment areas of the dam at 10 cm per hour.  Meanwhile, the heavy winds and rains caused severe damage in the district. As many 21 houses were partially destroyed and one well was completely destroyed. Payyannur Municipality has opened the shutters of Kanai Meenkuzhi Dam. This is due to the heavy rains that caused the river to overflow and flood the areas.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cyclone-tauktae-pazhassi-dam-will-be-opened-partially-in-kannur/article34570352.ece  (16 May 2021)

The Thrissur district administration said spillway shutters of the Peringalkuthu dam will be opened if the water level crosses the permitted limit of 419.41 metres.

In a statement, the administration has urged the people living on the banks of Chalakudy river to be cautious.

Shutters of Malankara dam in Idukki district will be opened on Sunday, as the water level has increased, the district authorities said.

The administration has directed those people living on the banks of Thodupuzha river, Muvattupuzha river and their tributaries to be cautious. https://www.ndtv.com/kerala-news/cyclone-tauktae-water-level-rises-in-dams-as-heavy-rains-lash-kerala-2442713  (16 May 2021)

Farmers of Saurashtra, who are in the midst of harvesting their summer crops, say the rainfall could not have come at a worse time. The cyclone is likely to make a landfall between Porbandar and Bhavnagar coasts on the intervening night of Monday (May 17) and Tuesda (May 18)y. Under its influence, Saurashtra is likely to experience rainfall and windy conditions for the next two days.

Officers of agriculture department of the state agree. “Farmers are in the early days of harvesting their summer crops like green gram, black gram, sesamum and pearl millet. Rain at such a time can result in complete loss of pulse crops. Therefore, we have advised farmers to harvest their crop, if it is ready, and shift it to safer place or cover it with tarpaulin sheets post-harvest on the field itself,” JN Parmar, district agriculture officer (DAO) of Porbandar, said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/in-the-middle-of-summer-harvest-cyclone-tauktae-worries-saurashtra-farmers-7317965/  (17 May 2021)

URBAN FLOOD

Bengaluru Urban Flood Modal By Scientists of Indian Institute of Science and officials of  the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center (KSNDMC). From the abstract: “An integrated urban flood model for Bengaluru city, Karnataka, India has been developed with a modular approach, which includes real-time rainfall and weather monitoring, and a rainfall forecast system feeding into a comprehensive hydrologic flood model. An output management and information dissemination channel for timely disaster preparedness and response is integrated in the framework, with active involvement of the government. The framework and outcomes of the system are summarized and presented here.” (Current Science May 10, 2021) The details of the project funded by the Dept of S&T are available at https://sites.google.com/site/urbanfloodmodelbangalore. https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/120/09/1441.pdf

CLOUD BURSTS

Uttarakhand Spate of cloudburst like events cause damage on Char Dham project route An analysis by IMD concludes that a cloudburst like event occurred in the upper reaches of Devprayag in Tehri Garhwal district on Tuesday (May 11) evening leading to a sudden rise in water flow in a seasonal rivulet, Gadera. Heavy flow of water in the rivulet damaged buildings, other infrastructure and took debris up to Alaknanda.

“Our data indicates about 25 mm rain in an hour was recorded at Devprayag. If you go by the exact definition of cloudburst, it’s at least 10 cm rain received in an hour. But we have evidence that even 3 to 5 cm rain in an hour can trigger severe mudslides and landslides because soil is very loose in this region. We suspect that is what has happened in Devprayag,” said M Mohapatra, director general, IMD. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/imdwarns-of-dangers-to-char-dham-project-101620846946173.html  (13 May 2021)

Cloud bursts in Devprayag A cloudburst took place in Tehri district’s Devprayag area on Tuesday (May 11) at 5 pm, causing damage to around 12-13 shops and other properties. No casualties have been reported so far. The water level is on the rise and a rescue operation is underway, MS Rawat, SHO Devprayag, said.

“Cloudburst was reported at 5 pm today. Around 12-13 shops and several other properties have been damaged. Since most of these shops were closed due to lockdown, no casualty has been reported yet. Water level is on the rise here, rescue operation underway,” the SHO said. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/uttarakhand-cloud-bursts-in-tehri-districts-devprayag-area-water-level-on-rise-no-casualty-so-far/755752  (11 May 2021)

नैनीताल हल्द्वानी हाईवे पर कैंची और रामगढ़ में बादल फटने की खबर सामने आ रही है। बादल फटने के बाद यहां कई मकानों और दुकानों में मलबा और पानी घुस गया। राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग भी मलबा आने से बंद हो गया है। बादल फटने से मंदिर परिसर में नुकसान की खबर आ रही है। हालांकि जनहानि की कोई खबर नहीं है लेकिन मंदिर परिसर को बड़ा नुकसान हुआ है। https://www.rajyasameeksha.com/uttarakhand/17193-cloud-burst-in-nainital-kainchi-dham  (12 May 2021)

DOWN TO EARTH on Uttarakhand Cloud Burst events. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/-climate-change-could-be-behind-uttarakhand-cloudbursts–76891  (12 May 2021)

ENVIRONMENT

Report Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees Planting trees by the millions has come to be considered one of the main ways of reining in runaway carbon emissions and tackling climate change. But experts say many tree-planting campaigns are based on flawed science: planting in grasslands and other non-forest areas, and prioritizing invasive trees over native ones.

Experts point out that not all land is meant to be forested, and that planting trees in savannas and grasslands runs the risk of actually reducing carbon sequestration and increasing air temperature. The rush to reforest has also led to fast-growing eucalyptus and acacia becoming the choice of tree for planting, despite the fact they’re not native in most planting areas, and are both water-intensive and fire-prone. https://news.mongabay.com/2021/05/bad-science-planting-frenzy-misses-the-grasslands-for-the-trees/  (12 May 2021)

Madhya Pradesh करीब 382 हेक्टेयर पर लगे जंगल पर है नजर महज चंद लाभ के लिए पर्यावरण से हो रही छेड़छाड़, for a diamond mining project. https://www.spsmedia.in/current-news/environment-lovers-across-country-mobilized-on-news-of-cutting-of-bakshwaha-forest-in-mp/  (10 May 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Opinion Pandemic reveals a world unprepared for climate crisis Omair Ahmad From the politicisation of science to disaster preparedness and technology transfer, many of the problems highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic are the same ones hobbling the global response to the climate crisis. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/pandemic-reveals-world-unprepared-climate-crisis/  (04 May 2021)

Of world’s 100 cities at greatest environmental risk, India has 43: Report 1.5 billion people live in 414 cities that are at high risk from pollution, water shortages, extreme heat, and the impacts of climate change. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/research-shows-asian-cities-face-greatest-environmental-risks-121051300113_1.html  (13 May 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan New hydropower policy About Bhutan’s new hydropower policy, called “Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy 2021”. Assam shares 267 km of India Bhutan border. The policy pushes for reservoir based and pump storage hydro. Bhutan will need to ensure downstream Assam and Bodoland Territorial Council areas that downstream impacts of hydropower project will not adversely impact them. Melting of Himalayan glaciers in Bhutan under climate change impact is going to be another critical area of environment concern that will need to be addressed before aggressively pursuing the new hydropower policy. A comprehensive assessment of the cumulative downstream impact of the proposed hydropower projects in Bhutan before rushing with implementation of the new policy will help building trust and cooperation. Bhutan’s new policy is expected to trigger a new discourse on Indo-Bhutan hydropower diplomacy. (Sentinel-Assam, 240421) https://www.sentinelassam.com/editorial/bhutans-new-hydropower-policy-535160 (24 Apr 2021)

ASIA

MEKONG Cambodian farmers can no longer rely on the Tonle Sap lake The seasonal flooding of Asia’s largest freshwater lake is being disrupted by upstream dams and climate change – and affecting 4.8 million people. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/cambodian-farmers-can-no-longer-rely-on-tonle-sap-lake/  (10 May 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Why do rivers leap from their banks? Scientists strive to predict deadly flooding events Fred Pearce, possibly the title is a bit misleading: Avulsions are often called the “earthquakes of rivers,” because they are so sudden and catastrophic. But over the past decade, research has revealed that they are also somewhat predictable. Computer analyses and laboratory models of rivers and deltas have yielded insights into where major rivers tend to avulse—and when. “Ten years ago, we didn’t know what was driving avulsions,” says Vamsi Ganti, a geomorphologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). “Now we can model the processes and start to identify hot spots.”

Yet just as researchers are gaining foresight into these rhythmic cataclysms, human activity is undermining it. Upstream deforestation and development is adding silt to rivers in unpredictable ways. Levees and dams are altering flows and paths, sometimes worsening the threat. After the Kosi flood, for example, Bihar began to build even more flood protection levees. But levees force a river to drop silt within a constrained channel, hastening the next avulsion, Sinha says. “If [engineers] don’t understand the underlying dynamics,” he says, “they are doomed to fail.”

Climate change is another wild card: Rising seas are shifting avulsion hot spots that occur on coastal deltas, another place where rivers slow down, drop silt, and raise riverbeds, “Humans are now the big instigators of avulsions on rivers,” says Jaia Syvitski, a hydrogeologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

FOR ALL THEIR destructiveness, avulsions bring benefits to both nature and society. They unleash regular floods that nourish many of the world’s great wetlands. For example, the vast Pantanal, in the heart of South America, is kept rich and muddy by the avulsing Taquari River. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/05/why-do-rivers-leap-their-banks-scientists-strive-predict-deadly-flooding-events  (13 May 2021)

Report One thousand rivers account for nearly 80% of plastic carried into oceans A new study has found that nearly 80 percent of the plastic that pollutes the ocean is discharged from 1,000 rivers world over. It was earlier thought that a handful of large continental rivers were the main polluters. However, the study has revealed that small and medium-sized rivers play the most significant role in polluting the oceans through plastic emissions.

The study finds that 454 ‘very small’ rivers contribute 25 percent of emissions, while 360 small rivers cause 24 percent of emissions; 162 medium rivers are responsible for 22 percent of emissions, while 18 large and six ‘very large’ rivers contribute to two percent and one percent of plastic emissions respectively.

The top five plastic-emitting countries include the Philippines, India, Malaysia, China, and Indonesia and they are responsible for 79.7 percent of the plastic that finds its way into the oceans.  https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/one-thousand-rivers-account-for-nearly-80-percent-of-plastic-carried-into-oceans-study-9591721.html  (5 May 2021)

Compiled by SANDRP (ht.sandrp@gmail.com)

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 10 May 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 03 May 2021

Follow us on: www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers      

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