Bye bye El Nino; more rains this year!

News this week
Downpour in Bihar (Source: IWP Flickr Photos) Downpour in Bihar (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Above normal rainfall for India as El Nino comes to an end

According to private weather forecasting agency Skymet, the country is going to have an above normal rainfall this year, which might be India's highest southwest monsoon since 1994. Even the Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted more rainfall to 106 percent of long-period average. The prediction is attributed to El Nino, the weather event in the Pacific Ocean, being replaced by La Nina, which is likely to be formed between June and August. The 2015-16 El Nino was one of the strongest on record and have played a key role in the rainfall deficit of 14 percent in India. 

Farmer suicides up by 22 percent in Marathwada

So far, Marathwada has seen 454 cases of farmer suicides this year till the end of May. The figure is 22 percent higher compared to the last year. This is the fourth drought in the region in five years, which has led to acute water shortages. Only one percent water is left in the region's dams; out of the 11 dams in the region, nine are below the dead storage level. As per the claims of the Marathwada's Divisional Commissioner, however, the government has made efforts to provide water and jobs in the region under the rural employment scheme, MGNREGA. 

Environment Ministry to dilute wetland protection rules

The Environment Ministry has proposed the draft, Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016, which will replace the existing Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010. Unlike the earlier rules, this one proposes to dissolve Central Wetland Regulatory Authority (CWRA) and constitute wetland authorities in each state which will be headed by the chief ministers. This gives all the powers to the states while the centre will have a say only in exceptional cases. Among the other changes, the draft rules recommend that there is no need to conduct an environment impact assessment, which was earlier compulsory before taking up any activity on a wetland area.

No more potassium bromate in packaged water: FSSAI

FSSAI has decided to not allow the usage of potassium bromate as an additive in packaged drinking water. Its permissible limit as a contaminant, however, has been fixed because its traces are found in the groundwater or when the water undergoes treatment. In January this year, the authority had proposed to permit bromates, a probable cancer-causing chemical, to an extent in bottled drinking water. Potassium bromate is the same chemical that the Centre for Science and Environment claims to have found in some bread products after the lab tests.

Punjab's Seechewal model, an inspiration for cleaning Yamuna

The Delhi Government is all set to implement Punjab's Seechewal Model of river cleaning--that involves eco-friendly and natural processes to treat wastewater and sewage--to clean Yamuna. A team of officials from Delhi Jal Board (DJB) visited Punjab to take a look at the revival of the Kali Bein rivulet. The DJB team has studied the decentralised natural treatment system, oxidation pond, settling tanks and processes used to remove floating materials along with the system of treatment that ensures self-purification of the Kali Bein rivulet.

This is a roundup of important news updates from May 24-30, 2016. Also read last week's policy matters update.

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