Himalayan states demand green bonus and separate ministry from Centre
At the recent Conclave of Himalayan States, a separate ministry was demanded to deal with problems endemic to the mountain states, as well as a green bonus in recognition of their contribution to environmental conservation. The twin demands have been handed over to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The states have asked for a green bonus as they play a significant role in conservation of water and green cover. Moreover, they are also not able to carry out development activities as large swathes of their land are categorized as eco-sensitive zones. Also, during the conclave, the Mussoorie resolution was passed - a collective pledge taken by Himalayan states to conserve and protect their rich cultural heritage and biodiversity. (The Times of India)
Below normal water storage in 72 of 100 major reservoirs in the country: CWC data
According to Central Water Commission data, with the four-month rainy season nearly halfway through, 72 of the 100 major water reservoirs in the country have reported water storage below normal.
The scenario is particularly worrying in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra as the basin storage in Tapi, Sabarmati and rivers of the Kutch and Godavari are 'highly deficient'. The data has revealed that out of the 36 meteorological subdivisions of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), 18 have recorded deficient rainfall while 15 have seen normal rainfall. (The Hindu)
Study finds heavy metal toxicity in vegetables grown in Yamuna floodplains
As per a study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), dangerous levels of metals have been found in vegetables grown in fields along the Yamuna River, which could cause life-threatening diseases like cancer. For the study, samples from three East Delhi locations were collected, to check for lead, nickel, cadmium and mercury in seven vegetables. The study found that although cadmium, mercury and nickel were below the FSSAI standards, lead levels exceeded the FSSAI limits in most of the vegetable samples. The study calls for the need to further investigate the sources of lead accumulation in these vegetables. (The Asian Age)
West Bengal launches project to improve energy efficiency of water pumps
The urban development ministry of West Bengal has launched a municipal energy efficiency programme - that plans to replace 1,060 pumps used in drinking water treatment and supply. The project is being undertaken by Energy Efficiency Services Limited in collaboration with state municipalities, and aims to increase electric consumption efficiency of municipalities across the state to the tune of 15 to 40 percent by overhauling the pumps used in water supply. Apart from this, the project is expected to give monetary benefit to 39 municipalities from power saving. Once implemented, West Bengal will be the first state in the country to initiate such an ambitious programme. (The Telegraph)
India's fertilizer industry slips in water use and water pollution
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) conducted the first-of-its-kind environmental rating of the Indian fertilizer industry under its Green Rating Project (GRP). In an extensive 18-month long process, the fertiliser sector was rated on more than 50 parameters, and covered all the 28 operational plants in the country.
With a 61 percent score, Grasim Industries' Indo Gulf Fertilisers unit at Jagdishpur, Uttar Pradesh topped the rating.
Along with this, the rating reveals that India’s fertilizer industry has performed well in curtailing its energy use and GHG emissions, however, the sector has slipped on its water consumption and water pollution parameters. (Centre for Science and Environment)
This is a roundup of important news published between July 25 - 30, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.