Experts call India’s single use plastic ban weak, argue that it targets the most vulnerable
Despite India's ban on certain single-use plastic items three months ago, the ban has failed to curb plastic pollution, according to a recent report by IndiaSpend. Several banned items are found in rampant circulation in Delhi and Mumbai. Moreover, the vendors have reported that besides having no alternative to these plastic products, no punitive actions have been taken, and no advisory to stop using these products has been issued, and these products are still available wholesale.
Experts assert that the ban is skewed against the smallest segment of the plastic industry, who needs the most handholding to transition away from single-use plastics. Further, they say that India needs to hold the big players accountable for their plastic pollution.
Government launched Jaldoot app to monitor groundwater data
With an aim to centralise groundwater levels across the country, the Rural Development ministry has launched the Jaldoot App and its e-brochure. The government has identified officers, named as Jaldoots, who will manually measure water levels in two to three open wells in every village twice a year (pre and post monsoon) and upload geo-tagged images on the app.
The data entered by Jaldoots will be integrated with the Nation Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) database for analysis and benefit of various stakeholders.
Along with this, the resulting data from the app can be utillised for the programmes like Gram Panchayat Development Plan and MGNREGA. (Hindustan Times)
74 percent of rural household receive water all seven days: Study
The Jal Shakti Ministry has recently released its national study which reveals that about 74 percent of the rural households in the country receive water all seven days while only 8 percent of them receive it once a week.
The study claims that the average duration per day supply has been found to be three hours and 80 percent of the households have reported that their daily requirements are being met.
On the day of the survey, 91 per cent of the households were found to have a working tap connection under the ‘Har Ghar Jal' villages while among the aspirational districts covered, 78 per cent of the households were found to have a working tap connection. The report also informed that more than half of the sampled households reported purifying water before drinking. (The Economic Times)
Nation’s first Dugong conservation reserve notified in Palk Bay
In a bid to protect the endangered Dugong species and its marine habitats in the region, the Tamil Nadu government has notified India’s first ‘Dugong Conservation Reserve’ in the Palk Bay. The reserve covers 448 square kilometres of the coastal waters of Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts. Dugongs are the largest herbivorous marine mammals in the world which thrive on seagrass beds primarily. Conserving dugongs will help to protect and improve seagrass beds as they aid in sequestering atmospheric carbon.
The conservation of the dugong habitat will also benefit the fishing community as the seagrass beds are also the breeding and feeding grounds for many commercially valuable fishes and marine fauna.
Telangana’s groundwater level rises by 4.26 metres during the last seven years
According to the latest status of groundwater by the state irrigation department, the average groundwater level has increased by over 4.26 metres since 2014 in Telangana.
While highlighting that the groundwater extraction in the state has come down by 8 percent in 2022 compared to 2020, the reports informs that the total extractable groundwater availability stands at 680 tmc ft, which is more than twice the amount of yearly water allocation to Telangana in the Krishna basin.
The rise in groundwater levels is attributed to multi-pronged efforts made by the State Government which includes restoration of over 27,475 minor irrigation tanks under Mission Kakatiya programme, lifting of water through Kaleshwaram Project to fill MI tanks, linking of other projects with MI tanks and construction of artificial recharge structures. (The Hindu)
This is a roundup of important news published from September 15 - October 6, 2022. Also, read policy matters this fortnight.