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When wetlands refuse to wilt away
Once home to over 400 water bodies, Chennai’s development story is similar to most metropolises across India. Urbanising at a hurried pace, the concrete city spilled over its waterways and wetlands, leaving behind a sorry tale of ecological destruction.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 1 week 1 day ago
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A sip of sea water
Population growth estimates suggest that India will be supporting over 1.5 billion inhabitants by 2050 if the present growth rate of 1.9 percent per year continues.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 2 weeks 2 days ago
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In harm’s way: Pulicat lagoon
Along the east coast of India, five massive wetlands--starting from Point Calimere (Kodiakarai) and Pulicat in Tamil Nadu, the Krishna-Godavari basin in Andhra, Chilika in Odisha and Sundarbans in West Bengal--provide the necessary moisture for monsoon winds to precipitate.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 3 weeks 12 hours ago
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Solar water pumps for efficient irrigation
Irrigation system in India is often about big dams and hundreds of kilometres of canals that incur huge capital expenditure. Hence, policies at the central and the state level are mostly tilted in favour of big projects and often neglect micro-level solutions.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 1 month 1 week ago
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Beyond drought: Tamil Nadu's chain of misfortunes
That Tamil Nadu qualifies to be dubbed as a land of climate paradoxes is beyond debate. The massive flood of 2015 was quickly followed by a punishing drought in 2016. Though the state benefited marginally from the south-west monsoon, as is usually the case, the biggest let down was the manner in which the more dominant north-east monsoon had panned out.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 1 month 2 weeks ago
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Chennai coast chokes on oil
Disaster struck two nautical miles off Ennore’s Kamarajar port just before dawn on January 28 when two cargo ships--LPG tanker BW Maple bearing the flag of the UK’s Isle of Man and MT Dawn Kanchipuram loaded to the brim with petroleum oil and lubricants--collided due to poor inter-vessel communication
seetha@indiawat...  posted 1 month 2 weeks ago
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No man's land
From its rather benign origins connoting a type of land classification, the term poromboke has transformed into something grotesque over the years. This term had been in use since the Cholas denoting stretches of land reserved for shared communal use which cannot be bought or sold.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 2 months 1 week ago
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Chennai takes the wooded road
 
seetha@indiawat...  posted 2 months 1 week ago
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Changing coast affects livelihood
Going by the statistics from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Tamil Nadu’s coastline is densely populated with 573 fishing villages along 13 coastal districts. The story is slightly different around the urban and peri-urban coastline, thanks to the ongoing gentrification of the coastline in most parts of urban India.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 2 months 2 weeks ago
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Storm after a lull
Chennai’s disastrous December run continues for the second year in a row. While the devastating flood of December 2015 remains etched in the city’s collective memory, cyclone Vardah was no less scary and did not lag behind in its severity.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 3 months 1 week ago
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For a flood-free Chennai
Chennai’s drainage system--both natural and man-made--is unparalleled. Three rivers flow through the city--the Kosasthalaiyar to the north, the Cooum cutting right through the centre and the Adyar to the south; around 16 major drains criss-cross the metro in addition to the mammoth Buckingham canal along the coast.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 3 months 2 weeks ago
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Remembering Amma’s generosity
One of Tamil Nadu’s most populist leaders and a big inspiration to women across the state and beyond, J. Jayalalithaa has left an indelible mark on the people as well as the politics of the state. Though detractors objected to the ‘Amma’ prefix in most of her schemes, the people of Tamil Nadu did not seem to mind, given that many of their basic needs stood satisfied to a great extent.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 3 months 2 weeks ago
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World Toilet Day: Beyond BCC
The Swachh Bharat (Gramin) website reports an increase in the total percentage of household toilet constructed from 42.02 percent in 2014 to 56.85 percent as on November 15, 2016. The number of open defecation free villages have also increased from 50,168 in 2015-16 to 1,17,242 villages.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 4 months 1 week ago
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A city pond of its Aayi
Muthirapalayam has figured prominently in Pondicherry’s water supply map for a couple of centuries, dominating especially during the French regime. Though the burgeoning population has necessitated the commissioning of alternate supply routes and source wells, the story of Muthirapalayam is like no other.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 4 months 2 weeks ago
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Reviving pond naturally
For hundreds of years, tanks, both big and small, served people and cattle alike in Tamil Nadu. Chennai’s neighbouring district of Kancheepuram was the the wealthiest when it came to water through these means.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 4 months 3 weeks ago
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Keeping beach body in shape
Life without sandy beaches is hard to imagine for artisanal fishermen. Beaches serve as boat-landing sites, net-repair yards, as spots to sort and dry fish, all at once. Increased erosion and the resultant loss of beaches essentially means loss of traditional livelihoods, all across the country’s densely-populated coast.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 5 months 1 week ago
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Who cares for a canal?
Long-time Kottur resident Narayanan’s earliest memories of the Buckingham canal are those of the famed salt and timber-laden wooden catamarans of the 1950s and the 60s. A namesake of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, the erstwhile governor of Madras, the canal was initially constructed as a brackish water-navigation channel in the early 1800s, connecting the north of Madras with Ennore.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 5 months 2 weeks ago
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Champions of cleanliness
“Like 'Satyagraha' freed the country from colonialism, 'Swachhagraha' would free the country from dirt” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi
seetha@indiawat...  posted 5 months 3 weeks ago
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Farmers think tanks, fight to save water
The union territory (UT) Of Puducherry is, for the most part, enveloped on three sides by the state of Tamil Nadu with the Bay of Bengal framing its eastern face. A total of 84 irrigation tanks--part of the Gingee and Pennaiyar river systems--dot the territory’s landscape. 
seetha@indiawat...  posted 5 months 4 weeks ago
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Who gives a sh*t?
“My mother used to head out with a basket full of ash every day. She would visit dry latrines in the area one by one, sprinkle the ash on the night soil, scoop it up and carry the excreta-filled basket on her head to dump the contents into a small tanker. This was almost 40 years back in our 'Singara (beautiful) Chennai',” recounts Ravanaiah.
seetha@indiawat...  posted 6 months 1 week ago

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