Maharashtra wetlands face threat

News this week
Sewri mudflts in Mumbai (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Sewri mudflts in Mumbai (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Illegal slums on Maharashtra mudflats cause loss to state

According to a new study--Effect of water pollution and encroachment on tourism potential of eco sensitive area: Case of Mahul Creek--the state is losing more than Rs 200 crore annually in tourism because of 60,000 slums that have illegally encroached upon 173 hectares of the 500-hectare Mahul-Sewri mudflats and wetlands. Another report reveals that between 2012 and 2017, 523 cases of wetland destruction were reported in Maharashtra. 

Fourth Jal Manthan held in New Delhi last week

Last week, the fourth Jal Manthan, a national seminar on water-related issues, was held in New Delhi. During the event, water resources minister Uma Bharti said that there should not be any politics on water and that "the states should rise above their state outlook and should work for a national outlook on water management in the country". She also requested the officials of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to resolve the pending issues related to Ken-Betwa river link so that the Centre can go ahead with Phase I of the project at the earliest. 

Fraud map used to clear port plan in Ennore creek, alleges activists

According to activists, the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) has used a fraudulent CRZ map to allow industrial activity in Ennore creek and has diverted around 1,000 acres in the creek to facilitate a proposal by Kamarajar Port Ltd. As per the authorities, however, the map that was used was revised and approved by the Government of India in 1997. Out of the 6,500-acre creek, 1,090 acres have been encroached upon while an additional 300 acres have been degraded by fly ash discharged from North Chennai Thermal Power Station. 

214 habitations across Punjab have excess arsenic in groundwater

As per a report by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, nearly 214 habitations across Punjab have an excess presence of arsenic in groundwater. Amritsar tops the list with 132 habitations with high arsenic content in water followed by Gurdaspur which has 42 habitations affected with arsenic. Along with this, the report has also revealed that as many as 286 rural habitations in Punjab have excess fluoride content in water and these habitation are yet to be provided safe drinking water by the state government. 

Jaipur officials not serious about rainwater harvesting structures

The rainwater harvesting structure at the premises of the Jaipur municipal corporation headquarters is in a dilapidated state which shows the lack of seriousness of the officials towards the depleting groundwater levels in the city. Not only the municipal headquarters, a majority of the government buildings in the city either do not have rainwater harvesting systems or their systems are in crumbling conditions. Also, due to lack of proper maintenance, the harvesting structures, that were built in government buildings five years back at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh each, have turned into garbage pits. 

This is a roundup of important news from July 25 - 31, 2017. Also, read the policy matters this week.