Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dainik Bhakar/New Delhi- July 25, 2014

Vegetable farming along the Yamuna may be banned - The Hindu/ New Delhi, July 26, 2014

Vegetable farming along the Yamuna may be banned - The Hindu


A woman seen working in a farm on the banks of
the Yamuna near Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi. Photo: Monica Tiwari
A woman seen working in a farm on the banks of the Yamuna near Majnu Ka Tila in Delhi. Photo: Monica Tiwari
Vegetables and fruits sold by the wayside along the Yamuna may look fresh and tempting. However, worried over traces of toxic metals found in them, the Delhi Government is likely to ban farming along the river.
Taking note of a World Health Organisation study that dubbed Delhi as one of most the polluted cities in the world, Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung had set up a high-level committee to suggest both short and long-term measures to check the growing air and water pollution in the city. As per the mandate, the committee, sources said, also deliberated on the farming of vegetables and fruits along the 22-km stretch of the river in the city. With scientific study conducted in the past finding presence of highly toxic metals in the vegetables produced here, officials said though a final decision is yet to be taken, the committee might recommend banning farming on the banks of the Yamuna.
“Vegetables and fruits are grown in several pockets on both banks of the river. However, reports from institutes like The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have shown toxic metals entering the food chain through vegetables and fruits grown along the Yamuna. However, several people are involved in agricultural practices. If farming is banned, they need to be provided with alternative sources of livelihood. Growing flowers for local consumption could be one option,” an official said.
A report published by TERI in 2012 had said that levels of nickel, manganese and lead in the Yamuna waters were found to be higher than the international aquatic water quality criteria for fresh water.
The study was based on 13 samples collected along the 22-km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi. The findings had revealed that green leafy vegetables contained the highest amount of metals. Samples were also collected from Dayalpur and Chandawali villages in Ballabhgarh district of Haryana, about 25 km from Delhi, to compare with those collected from the urban sector.
The study revealed that vegetables grown in the floodplains of the Yamuna showed higher levels of heavy metal contamination than those cultivated in rural areas. The study identified Wazirabad and Okhla barrage as the hotspots for soil contamination

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ken-Betwa river linking okayed ( Times of India/New Delhi-July 25, 2014)

Ganga plan takes off with 6 projects (Times of India/New Delhi- July 25, 2014)

Over 20% Delhi households have no access to safe water (The Hindu/New Delhi, July 25, 2014)


6.1 per cent households source their drinking water from untreated sources: report

It’s no secret that the Capital annually suffers from an alarming rise in the cases of cholera, acute diarrhoeal diseases and typhoid after the onset of monsoon. “Contaminated and unsafe water,” according to doctors “is one of the most common disease-causing component this season.”
The Capital’s 21.6 per cent households still have no access to safe drinking water within their homes, while 6.1 per cent households source their drinking water from untreated sources.
These figures have been released by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence in its report on ‘National Health Profile-2013’, which looked at distribution of households having safe drinking water facilities across the country.
“While as per the report, Delhi fares much better than several States across the country, the figures still don’t read good for the Capital that has the resources, infrastructure, manpower and expertise to ensure that there is at least one source of clean drinking water per household,’’ said Dr. Anil Bansal of the Delhi Medical Association.
Monsoon not only brings with it a sudden jump in the number of dengue and malaria cases but also jaundice, cholera, stomach, skin and eye infections almost all of which can be connected to use of unsafe or contaminated water, said Dr. Bansal.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rivers, Provide and not Serve | Down To Earth

Rivers, Provide and not Serve | Down To Earth

Rivers, Provide and not Serve

Author: Manoj Misra
Posted on: 24 Jul, 2014

Hydro-power, long irrigation canals, sand mining and water for industrial use: these are not what Maa Ganga in its magnanimity provides. These are what we extract from an unsuspecting river, leaving her unwell as a result
Prime Minister Modi, in his thanksgiving address in the holy city of Varanasi, which had elected him to the Indian Parliament, extolled from the banks of river Ganga, the virtues of a mother “Jo bin maange parose, woh Maa hei (one who provides without asking is the Mother). 
It is known that rivers have traditionally been revered as mothers in India and the then Prime Ministerial candidate Modi’s context for the said statement was the river Ganga and his oft made promise to work, once in power, for the return of her health from the present sad state.     
Many of us at a recent seminar held in Delhi on the eco-system services of river Ganga remained quite uncomfortable throughout with the association of the term ‘service’ with the river. Has not the Prime Minister himself already defined the contours of our rightful expectations from the river? And can our expectations exceed what the river as our mother decides to provide us in its magnanimity? Is not what it chooses to provide us that we should be content with? And is it the weight of our undeserved expectations that is behind the sad and unfortunate state of the river that we otherwise fondly call as mother?
Permit me to list what mother Ganga provides us in its natural course, down the gradient?
In the hills, it provides opportunities of a spiritual journey and a grand spectacle that attracts tens of thousands annually to it’s and sister’s origins, popularly called the Char Dham, at Gaumukh, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath; Crystal clear ganga jal (water) with its amazing ability to retain freshness and wholesomeness over long periods; Caves for mendicants to meditate to their heart’s content, and suitable habitat to varied species of upland plants and animals.   
In the plains, it provides in association with its co-basin tributaries, water and sediments to keep up with its ecological role of ground water recharge, deposition and rearrangement from time to time of sand and silt over its vast plains, and surface water to the needy for use in agriculture and in homes. Moreover it provides varied habitats to an amazing diversity of plants and animals, including ghariyal and magar crocodiles, turtles, sport fish mahseer, tasty hilsa and iconic gangetic river dolphin. It is here that the holy cities of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mathura, Allahabad and Varanasi as well as the ancient and historical cities of Delhi, Agra, Kanpur and Patna, to name but few, have found refuge and sustenance.   
At its mouth in the world famous Sundarbans delta known for its vast and amazing mangrove forests, it sustains in its brackish waters, rich fisheries, salt water crocodiles and the Bengal tiger. The delta itself is the gift of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra rivers. 
Many might ask? But what about hydro-power, long irrigation canals, sand mining and water for industrial use. Well, these are not what Maa Ganga in its magnanimity provides. These are what we in our own wisdom have and continue to extract from an unsuspecting river and left her unwell as a result. An unfortunate state, to remedy which, we hope, has the Prime Minister Modi committed him to, on its banks. AMEN.

सब्जी नहीं फूल (Dainik Jagran Delhi 24 July 2014)

राजधानी में यमुना का बुरा हाल है। यमुना में प्रदूषित पानी का प्रवाह जारी है और इसी वजह से इसके आसपास के इलाके भी इसके प्रदूषण की चपेट में हैं। इसी को देखते हुए राजधानी में यमुना के किनारे सब्जियां उगाने पर पाबंदी लगाने की तैयारी चल रही है। कोई भी व्यक्ति सब्जियां अच्छे स्वास्थ्य के लिए खाता है, लेकिन प्रदूषित पानी से सींची जाने वाली धरती में पैदा सब्जियां बहुत ही हानिकारक होती हैं। ऐसी सब्जियों के सेवन से बचना चाहिए, लेकिन बाजार में जाने के बाद किसी को पता नहीं होता है कि यह सब्जियां कहां से आई हैं। ऐसे में स्वास्थ्य बनने की जगह और खराब हो जाता है।
दिल्ली में यमुना के पानी के प्रदूषण और इस वजह से आम लोगों की सेहत पर पड़ने वाले प्रभाव को लेकर पर्यावरण विभाग एक रिपोर्ट तैयार कर रहा है। इस रिपोर्ट में यमुना के किनारे सब्जियों को उगाने पर रोक लगाने की सिफारिश की जा सकती है। हालांकि इससे किसानों को नुकसान नहीं हो इसलिए उन्हें फूल उगाने की अनुमति दी जा सकती है। अगर ऐसा होता है तो यह स्वागतयोग्य कदम होगा क्योंकि इससे किसानों की आमदनी पर भी फर्क नहीं पड़ेगा और राजधानी वालों की सेहत भी खराब नहीं होगी। कई रिपोर्टो में यह बात साबित हो चुकी है कि राजधानी में यमुना का पानी बेहद खराब है और इसके आसपास के क्षेत्र में उगने वाली सब्जियों पर भी इसका असर पड़ता है। यह सब्जियां राजधानी में ही बिकती हैं और इनकों खाने वालों के स्वास्थ्य पर बुरा असर पड़ता है। इस पर पाबंदी लगने से शहर में सब्जियों की आपूर्ति पर काई विशेष फर्क नहीं पड़ने वाला है। रही बात किसानों की आमदनी की तो उन्हें फूलों की खेती का सुझाव दिया जाएगा। फूलों की खेती से किसान और ज्यादा धन कमा सकेंगे क्योंकि राजधानी में फूलों की खपत बहुत ज्यादा है। यही नहीं यहां पर फूल काफी महंगे भी बिकते हैं। आम आदमी के स्वास्थ्य को ध्यान में रखते हुए इसी तरह के कदम उठाए जाने चाहिए। इस बीच हमें यह नहीं भूलना चाहिए कि अगर हमने यमुना को इतना प्रदूषित नहीं किया होता तो आज यह दिन नहीं देखना पड़ता। सरकार को इस ओर भी अपना ध्यान आकर्षित करना चाहिए क्योंकि अगर यमुना साफ होगी तो यह सारी समस्याएं ही नहीं होंगी। उम्मीद है कि इसको लेकर भी ठोस कदम जल्द ही उठाए जाएंगे।