Manual scavenging still prevails in India thanks to weak laws, says study
According to a recent study titled, 'Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers An Initial Assessment', manual scavenging, despite being banned through a legislation in 2013, continues in India due to weak legal protection and lack of enforcement of the rules. The study which was conducted jointly by the World Bank, the WHO, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and WaterAid, also revealed that the financial situation of sanitary workers in India is precarious and it is a job linked to a caste-based structure. The study further informed that the efforts to prohibit manual scavenging has not been able to reduce the practice but rather has forced it underground. (NDTV)
Also check out our World Toilet Day special issue - a photo essay by Sharada Prasad and Isha Ray on the labour of India's sewer workers - those who do the unclean work that India relies on.
Mumbai's tap water safest, while Delhi's water is worst, finds BIS study
A report based on sample tests done by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 21 Indian cities finds that tap water in Delhi is worst while Mumbai's tap water is the safest for drinking. The first-of-its-kind study tested the water samples on 28 parameters as prescribed for drinking water standards of BIS notified in 2012 and exposed the failure of India's urban water supply utilities to provide safe drinking water to residents. The report revealed the concerning fact that all the samples of tap water taken from 15 out of 21 cities failed to meet one or more safety parameters during tests. (The Times of India)
Pollution in Sambhar Lake causes thousands of bird deaths in Rajasthan
Last week thousands of migratory birds of about ten species were found dead around Sambhar Lake, India's largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur, sending shock waves among locals and authorities. This was the second such incident in Rajasthan in the span of a week. Since then, the death toll has risen to 15,665 in Jaipur and Nagaur districts. As per the lab at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Bikaner, the most probable diagnosis for the deaths of the birds is avian botulism, a condition caused by a bacterium called clostridium botulinum, which produces dangerous toxins in low-oxygen conditions. Just a few days before the deaths, the Rajasthan environment department’s health card for the lake found high levels of salinity and biological oxygen demand in the lake's water. (India Today, Hindustan Times)
Demanding relief, Narmada Bachao Andolan launches indefinite protest
For the second time in over two months, the Narmada Bachao Andolan has launched an indefinite protest after the Madhya Pradesh government failed to put on record any assurances to help Sardar Sarovar Dam oustees by putting pressure on the Gujarat government. As per NBA leader Medha Patkar, the oustees are living a miserable life and the government has not been able to keep its promise of resettling the project-affected people. Moreover, a London School of Economics (LSE)-funded study has asserted that three decades on, 73 percent of the resettled oustees do not have access to public health while 81 percent of the resetted oustees do not live in pucca houses made of brick and cement. (Times Now, Counterview)
Chhattisgarh locals take on the responsibility to preserve the 400 year old Dalpat Sagar lake
As the authorities turn a blind eye to the contamination of Dalpat Sagar lake in Jagdalpur of Bastar, the locals in the region have launched a drive to clean the 400 year old lake. As part of the campaign, the locals clean the lake from six in the morning till eight in the night. Nearly, 3 to 4 tons of water hyacinths and waste are being taken out from the lake every day. The volunteers have claimed that even after launching the campaign, the government authorities have not yet extended their support for the lake clean-up. (India Today)
This is a roundup of important news published between November 13 - 18, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.