Only a third of sewage generated per day in India treated, reports CPCB

A sewage treatment plant in Karnataka (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
A sewage treatment plant in Karnataka (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
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Only a third of sewage generated daily is treated in India, according to CPCB

According to the latest report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the country's sewage treatment plants (STPs) are able to treat a little more than a third of the sewage generated each day. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan alone constitute 86 percent of the total installed capacity while Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have not installed sewage treatment plants.

Among the Indian cities, Chandigarh tops in the list and treats 125 percent of its total sewage waste, followed by Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

Most of the states in the country do not consider reusing treated sewage. Haryana reuses treated sewage the most, followed by Puducherry, Delhi, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. (Down to Earth)

2020 was the worst year for environmental defenders, with over 200 killed or missing

A report by Global Witness, an international NGO, finds that 227 lethal attacks occurred in 2020, making it the 'most dangerous year ever' for people defending their homes, livelihoods, and ecosystems crucial to biodiversity and climate change. With 65 land and environmental defenders murdered, Colombia saw the highest number of killings in 2020 followed by Mexico and the Philippines.

The report found that 70 percent of these attacks were against people defending forests from deforestation and industrialisation, with the Amazon region emerging as a major site for conflict. The report also highlighted that the disproportionate number of attacks against Indigenous peoples continued in 2020, with over a third of all fatal attacks targeting Indigenous people. (India Today)

Chattisgarh’s barren land and abandoned mines to turn into forests soon

While pursuing its action plan to develop the nation's largest man-made forest, Chattisgarh will undertake a project to convert an abandoned and non-functional mining belt at Nandini in Durg district into a natural habitat. The project aims to convert 3777 acres of unproductive and mined-out land into a forest. 1120 acres have already been converted. The concept is based on a Japanese technique, Miyawaki, that helps in creating dense self-sustaining native forest. When completed, Nandini forest will be the largest man-made forest in the country.

These forests will also serve as massive water reservoirs because of the mines that have been excavated on them, and they will serve as an ideal habitat for birds thanks to the wetland present in the region. (The New Indian Express)

In Bihar, arsenic finds its way into the food chain

According to a recent study, arsenic is present in the food chain in Bihar, with higher concentrations of arsenic found in three common foods, rice, wheat, and potato. The study was part of the project 'Nature and nurture in arsenic induced toxicity of Bihar' jointly funded by the British Council in the United Kingdom and the Department of Science and Technology in India.

Due to its presence in groundwater used in large-scale irrigation, arsenic made its way into the food chain. Even more surprising is that in several samples, the arsenic concentration in food items was higher than in drinking water and higher in cooked rice than in raw rice. (Down to Earth)

Indigenous people oppose Odisha’s decision to auction fresh mines

In July 2021, the Odisha government issued a notice inviting tenders for the auction of 11 mines which include seven fresh blocks and four lease renewals. One of the fresh blocks is Karlapat, a bauxite virgin mineral block. Karlapat forest is part of the Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, which includes the Khandualmali hill, believed to be the abode of the Kondh (an indigenous community) goddess Khandual.

The decision by the state government to open untouched forest areas for mining has raised environmental concerns since these forests are not only a source of livelihood for indigenous communities, but are also crucial to their cultural identity. Furthermore, local activists claim that the affected communities have neither been consulted nor have any Gram Sabhas been held. (Mongabay India)

This is a roundup of important news published from September 5 - 21, 2021. Also read policy matters this fortnight.
 

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