Committee for action against water contamination

Policy matters this week
People fight for their rights to clean and safe drinking water. (Source: IWP Flickr photos) People fight for their rights to clean and safe drinking water. (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Devise time-bound plan to address water contamination: Parliamentary committee

Taking note of arsenic and fluoride contamination in groundwater of over 25,000 habitations across the country, the parliamentary committee has asked the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) to come up with a time-bound plan for supplying clean drinking water to the contaminated areas. This is not the first time that the ministry has been asked to address the issue of water contamination. In its action-taken reply to the committe, the ministry has informed that the states have been advised to provide piped water supply to the water quality-affected habitations. 

Few months after Lakhwar project revival, NGT puts a stay on it

The National Green Tribunal has stayed the 300 MW Lakhwar hydroelectric project proposed at the upper Yamuna basin in Uttarakhand and has directed the Expert Appraisal Committee to appraise the project afresh by April 2015 in terms of EIA notification 2006. Also, the committee has been ordered to impose additional general and specific conditions as may be considered necessary to the project. The NGT's decision to stay the project is based on the plea which highlighted that the environment ministry has granted green nod to the composite Lakhwar-Vyasi project in 1987 and the project got bifurcated subsequently. Further, the plea alleged that no impact assessment of the Lakhwar project was done. 

No more pumping of treated water in Kolar's irrigation tanks: SC

Taking note of claims of water contamination, the Supreme Court has restricted the Karnataka government from pumping secondary treated water into the irrigation tanks in Kolar district. In September 2018, the high court has allowed the state government and its agencies to pump secondary treated water from the sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Bengaluru to the minor irrigation tanks situated in Kolar district for recharging the groundwater table. The plea filed against the order has alleged that the high court has overlooked the report which observed that the treated water was contaminated with heavy metals and nutrients. 

Committee formed to root out invasive plant species from the Western Ghats

The Madras high court has constituted an expert committee which is to be headed by Cherukuri Raghavendra Babu, chairman, Expert Committee on Invasive Species, National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai. The committee has been directed to come up with solutions to weed out invasive plant species from the Western Ghats within two months. The court has noted that the invasive species pose a greater threat to native biodiversity than pollution, harvest and disease. The court has also observed that the invasive plants like Lantana drastically reduce the water table of the region pointing to the distinct possibility of being the cause of drought in the region. 

NGT concerned for disposal of antimony-coated solar panels

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to frame policies for proper disposal of antimony-coated solar panels. Antimony (Sb) is a heavy metal element present in the glass that is used to manufacture solar panels. Its ingestion in even trace amounts can cause irritation of gastrointestinal tract with symptoms like vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and cardiac toxicity. With an ambitious target of generating 100 GW of electricity through solar power plants and rooftop solar units by 2022, India is in a dire need of devising a proper system to dispose or recycle the solar panel waste. 

This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 7 - 13, 2019. Also, read news this week.

Lead image source: Nvvchar via Wikipedia

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