Monday, December 22, 2014

Charting rivers beyond borders (The Hindu 22 December 2014)


IUCN atlas maps course of 54 rivers that flow between India & Bangladesh

Fifty-four rivers flow between India and Bangladesh, sustaining the lives of 620 million people along their banks. Charting their course and the cultures that grew around it is a trans-boundary river atlas, “Rivers Beyond Borders,” a first such publication brought out by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The atlas provides maps and infographics and tells the stories of the people and cultures along their banks and the tales behind the names of the rivers. The publication, part of the “Ecosystem for Life” initiative of the IUCN, is a result of three years of work of interdisciplinary experts, with joint research taken up by participants from both nations.
Not only the mighty Ganga and the Brahmaputra but even less-known rivers such as the Bizni, the Sonai Bardal and the Talma find a place in the atlas. All officially known rivers which are part of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Barak-Meghna basins are there.
Very little information is available in the public domain about these rivers, says Kalyan Rudra, a river expert associated with the project. The atlas provides information about the origin of the rivers, their confluence with the sea, important places along their course and the quality of water in them.
“The official records say 54 rivers flow between the two countries, though, in reality, there can be many more. Across the world, there are 260 rivers flowing from one country to another, and everywhere, disputes are emerging over sharing of their waters,” Professor Rudra says.
The publication says society has not always been kind to the rivers now buffeted by pollution and encroachment. Smaller rivers have hardly got the attention and importance from the governments, leading to their further decline.
The names of the rivers show the diversity of language, cultures and even the terrain as if rivers are not physical entities but carriers of cultural threads. As they cross territories and pass through different tracts, most rivers change names, the atlas says.
The Brahmaputra is called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan. In India, it is Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and Dihang in the plains of Assam. The river enters Bangladesh as Jamuna. The rivers in the atlas are in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna region. Experts say that the document will turn out to be a resource for policy-makers, students, geographers and everyone with an interest in rivers.

Pollution control body reply pending over rivers in western Uttar Pradesh (The Hindu 22 December 2014)


The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board is yet to file its reply in the National Green Tribunal over the issue of contamination in western U.P. rivers like Kali, Krishna and Hindon.
The NGT had issued a show cause notice to the pollution control body of the State after The Hindupublished a report about cancer deaths due to contaminated waters of rivers flowing in western U.P.
The NGT had also directed the U.P. Government to file a report on the issue after the petition filed by Doaba Paryavaran Samiti, a non governmental organization working in western UP.
The NGT has given two weeks time for the State pollution control body to respond.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) however in its affidavit before the NGT said that the water of Hindon river does not meet the prescribed standard and is unfit for bathing.
After monitoring the water quality of river Hindon at three locations - Saharanpur, Meerut and Ghaziabad - the CPCB declared: “The analytical results of river Hindon reveals that water quality of Hindon does not meet the prescribed standard of primary water quality criteria for bathing water under Environment (Protection) rules, 1986”.
The Central pollution control body also recommended that the untreated waste should not be discharged into river and sewage collection shall be done through a proper system so that the entire waste is collected and treated.
The CPCB also recommended that dumping of municipal solid waste along the river embankment should be “stopped immediately” and every concerned city should manage its generated waste in accordance with the municipal solid waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
According to the petition of the Doaba Paryavaran Samiti villagers in western U.P. districts of Baghpat and adjoining areas have been afflicted with cancer due to consumption of ground water contaminated by effluents discharged from sugar and paper mills and slaughter houses.

Dr. Chandraveer Singh, a retired scientist with Haryana pollution Control Board the petitioner from the NGO, the effluents is not only contaminating the river but also the ground water of villages traversed by it.

Please direct the DTC to relocate its bus depot from the river bed

18 December 2014

Sri Najeeb Jung
Hon'ble Lt Governor

Subject: Please direct the DTC to relocate its bus depot from the river bed

Respected Sir,

Greetings from Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan.

Sir, kindly recall that consequent to your land mark decision regarding the relocation of the so called Millennium Bus depot from the river Yamuna bed, taken early in the year (2014) the Delhi Transport Corporation and the DDA had in Contempt Petition (Civil) No 474 of 2013 in Writ Petition (Civil) No 5481 of 2011 given an undertaking to the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi that the said bus depot shall be relocated out of the river bed by 31 October 2014

Sir, but the fact is that the depot still continues to stand on the river bed.

Sir, despite the said undertaking and the DDA having already handed over alternate land/s to the DTC for the needful, there seems no action in place by the DTC to relocate the offending bus depot from the river bed. This shows utter contempt by the DTC of not only your directions but also of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi.

We fail to understand as to what prevents the DTC from fulfilling your honour's direction and its obligation made to the Hon'ble High Court?

We also wish to place on record that the same DTC had in 2010 claimed in few months time to have raised the same bus depot from scratch at the offending site. So if it could once work with a sense of purpose then, why can it no show the same sense of urgency now?

Sir, may we request that the matter be kindly got examined at your end and necessary time bound directions be given to the DTC for the needful.

We hope that your honour finds merit in our submission as made.

Warm regards,

Manoj Misra

Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi
Chairman-cum-managing Director, DTC 
Chairman, Delhi Urban Art Commission Delhi
Yamuna Standing Committee Delhi 
Secretary Environment, Delhi
Commissioner Transport Department Delhi

The metamorphosis of a garbage dump into an ecological hub (The Hindu 22 December 2014)


EDMC plans to make Shahdara Lake a recreational site

Imagine sitting by the blue waters of a lake in East Delhi, surrounded by manicured gardens, listening to live music and sampling a range of cuisines. With its redevelopment of Shahdara Lake, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation is hoping to create just that — an ecological and recreational hub at a spot that resembles a garbage dump today.
Over the weekend, the EDMC officially started its long-overdue project to revive the 14-acre lake and its surroundings. Once complete, the area will have playgrounds for children, lawns to host parties, an amphitheatre for live shows, a food court and a meditation garden. It will even have a walkway for those coming from the nearby Welcome metro station.
The area is currently being used by locals to throw garbage and includes many encroachments. Central to the plan is a water body with its own ecosystem and a natural waste-water treatment plant based on Phytorid technology, which uses plants for absorption.
According to area councillor Harsh Deep Malhotra, the first phase of the project will take nine months and cost Rs.22 lakh. He added that the development of the gardens and recreational areas will only start after the water treatment is completed in the first phase.
A senior EDMC official said the project was first proposed in 2012. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute was roped in to draw up the plans.
The Delhi Government through its Trans-Yamuna Development Board had cleared a budget of Rs.22 crore for the project.
“This project is ultimately on the move after facing a lot of hindrances. It is dream come true for us,” said EDMC Mayor Meenakshi.

While the water treatment work has been started by NEERI, it remains to be seen when the cash-strapped EDMC gets the remaining funds for its ambitious project.