No improvement in the water quality of the Ganga during lockdown: CPCB

Ganga river at Kachla, Uttar Pradesh. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)
Ganga river at Kachla, Uttar Pradesh. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Water quality of Ganga river remained grim during lockdown: CPCB

According to the latest report of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Ganga river water quality did not improve and rather deteriorated at many stretches during the 68-day lockdown imposed from March 25, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The reason behind the water quality deterioration could be the discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage coupled with negligible seasonal flow, which increased the concentration of pollution with no freshwater discharges from the upstream. The report, however, recorded an improvement in water quality of seven out of 19 major rivers in April as compared to the period prior to the lockdown. (Hindustan Times)

Mumbai tops in environmental offences for the second consecutive year

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) latest report, Mumbai recorded the highest number of offences under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986, in 2019 among 19 major Indian cities. Mumbai is followed by Hyderabad, Nagpur and Chennai. In the backdrop of the report, Mumbai city collector has booked two cases, the first involving wanton mangrove destruction by alleged dumping of illegal debris by Indian Army to reclaim land along the periphery of Sagarmatha club in Navy Nagar Colaba and the second is regarding dumping of debris and encroachments across an 80-acre wetland in Wadala. (Hindustan Times)

School toilets built by PSUs in a sorry state: CAG

As per the survey conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), 75 percent of the toilets constructed by central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) in government schools were not maintained hygienically while 72 percent had no running water and 30 percent were not in use due to damages and other reasons. In 2014, the project was launched for the construction of school toilets, in which about 53 CPSEs participated and 1,30,703 toilets were built at the cost of Rs 2,162 crore. The survey which picked up 2,695 toilets for a sample study found that out of 2,695 toilets, proper maintenance or sanitation was not available in 1,812 toilets. (The Times of India)

Contrary to FSI’s findings, NSO observes forest decline in the country

According to a report on environmental accounts released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the built-up area in the country had increased by 2.39 percent while the forest area declined by 1.09 percent. During the same period, the area under inland wetlands had dropped by 6.9 percent and a 14.32 percent decline in barren or wasteland has been recorded. The NSO’s analysis is in contradiction to the Forest Survey of India’s (FSI) report of last year which had shown an improvement in the country’s forest cover. As per officials, the reason for this difference could be the way in which FSI and the NRSC define forests. (Hindustan Times)

Over 70 hot springs in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh identified for electricity generation

Scientists of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) Dehradun, have identified over 70 hot springs in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh with a potential to generate electricity. Of the 40 hot springs that have been identified in Uttarakhand, 50 percent have electricity generation capabilities while further studies are being conducted on the rest of the hot springs. The status of power generation potential of hot springs identified in Himachal is also similar. The exercise to explore the power generating capacity of hot springs at such a scale in the region is the first of its kind. (Hindustan Times)

This is a roundup of important news published between September 22 – October 5, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.