Odisha's ecological hotspots severely affected by cyclone
Cyclone Fani that battered the state on May 3 has left two of Odisha's ecological hotspots-- Lake Chilka and Balukhand-Konark wildlife sanctuary--in a crisis. The Chilika lake, which had two mouths earlier, has two more now due to wave energy with a high tidal prism and saline ingress to the lake. The new mouths have stirred fear of increased salinity in the lake which will adversely affect marine life. Over 4.5 million trees were uprooted by the cyclone in Balukhand wildlife sanctuary. As per the officials, it will take at least four months to clear the fallen trees. Moreover, restoration of the sanctuary's ecology is also a major task lying ahead for the forest officials.
India and China top the list of countries with most illegal sand mining: UN
As per the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) report, Sand and Sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources, India and China have topped the list of countries where illegal sand mining has become a major environmental problem. With the growing demand for sand, unchecked mining is leading to pollution, flooding, erosion of coastlines and flourishing sand mafia, said the report. The report, however, has highlighted that both countries are becoming leaders in tackling sand mining and sustainability challenges. The report also recommends that a traceability process followed up with strong accountability through governance can drastically reduce illegal and irresponsible sand mining.
Power generation from Sardar Sarovar project decreases in last five years
The hydropower generation from Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river has been decreasing in the last five years. With just 594.79 million units of power generation, the year 2018-19 has been registered the lowest since 2004-05. However, a report from the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) says that 2016-17 was the only exception to the trend of falling power generation in this period. As per the officials, the reason for low power generation is scanty rainfall in the last five years and a lesser number of overflowing days, a necessary requirement for hydropower generation. An increase in the dam height in 2017 has further prevented the water from overflowing.
Mumbai adopts global standards for drinking water
As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the residents of Mumbai can now drink water straight from the tap. It, however, comes with the caveat that it is possible only if the housing societies ensure no leakage in pipes and clean underground and overhead tanks every three months. The transformation in the city's water quality started in 2012-13 after a severe outbreak of waterborne diseases in certain parts of the city. At that time, 17 percent samples of BMC-supplied water tested positive for coliform bacteria but among the latest samples taken in 2018-19, only 0.7 percent of samples are bacteria positive. The BMC has been able to achieve this by installing underground water tunnels, replacing the old trunk mains and other pipelines and revamping the water testing labs.
Vehicle dumped on Tapi riverbed creates mosquito menace for Surat's residents
Vehicles rotting on the Tapi riverbed after being dumped there by the city police is causing inconvenience to the residents staying alongside the Tapi river. The high tide immerses majority of the vehicles dumped on the riverbed and the residual water left inside the vehicles has become an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Despite the increasing mosquito menace in the area and several complaints being made by residents, no action has been taken by the city police and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in this regard.
This is a roundup of important news published between May 7 - 14, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.