30 districts in Delhi-NCR had contaminated groundwater in 2019: Water Minister
As per the data presented by the Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in the Rajya Sabha, at least 30 districts in the National Capital Region, which includes parts of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh apart from Delhi, had some form of pollutants in their groundwater according to 2019 figures. The data shows that nine districts in Delhi had groundwater contamination in 2019. In the capital, most districts had salinity issues, while arsenic was above the safe level in the groundwater of East and Northeast Delhi. Lead was found along the Najafgarh drain in the North, West and South-West districts and Cadmium was found in South-West districts.
Uttarakhand's performance in treating its waste is dismal
In response to a query raised in Parliament, the Union Government has revealed that the hill state is able to treat only 153 million litres of sewage out of the 495 million litres of sewage generated each day. Along with this, it has been informed that Uttarakhand has a treatment capacity of only 165 million litres of sewage under the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
While the reply, which cites data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), does not mention about the fate of the untreated waste, the environmentalists fear that most of it ultimately ends into rivers like Ganga, Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and Rispana.
Seven states show significant decreasing trend in rainfall in last 30 years: Report
As per the report Observed Rainfall Variability and Changes, seven states-- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland-- have shown significant decreasing trends in annual rainfall in the last 30 years and many parts of the country witnessed increase in number of dry days during the monsoon season which adversely affected groundwater recharges in these regions. The changing rainfall pattern is attributed to climate change and global warming. In its recommendations, the committee with whom the report was shared suggested a need to explore 'monetisation of data and information' through a well-thought out policy.
Soon, Uttarkahnd will be measuring its Gross Environment Product (GEP)
Uttarakhand will become the first state in the country to measure Gross Environment Product (GEP) for quantifying ecological growth measurement. A five-member committee in this regard has already been constituted which is headed by the principal secretary of forests, Uttarakhand. The committee will be looking into how to devise a method so that GEP, in the same way as GDP, can be measured to calculate material value of wealth from forests. This will further help in framing policies with a focus on wildlife and environment.
IIT-Ropar to set up hub for technologies and applications in agriculture and water
With an aim to address water-agriculture related issues and to support this vision, IIT- Ropar is setting up Sectoral Application Hub to bring solutions for stubble management, water quality improvement, mapping of hazardous substances in water/soil and their treatment, deployment of IoT based Cyber-Physical System (CPS) technologies in farming fields. The objective of the hub will be to carry out translational research and work with Line Departments to develop prototypes, products, and implementations and create a platform for technologies and applications in agriculture and water sectors. The institution is already developing a computer model of groundwater system of Sutlej – Beas Doab.
This is a roundup of important news published between March 4 - 11, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.