UP rivers have poor quality water, reveals audit

News this week
Polythene bags and solid waste left behind the Ganga river in Allahabad. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos) Polythene bags and solid waste left behind the Ganga river in Allahabad. (Source: IWP Flickr Photos)

Audit reveals poor quality of water in UP rivers

The CAG audit report for the year 2015-16 has revealed that the quality of water in major rivers and water bodies in Uttar Pradesh is not as per the government norms. The primary reason for the poor water quality is inadequate sewage and industrial effluent treatment facilities in the state. Moreover, the state pollution control board has also failed to take appropriate actions against the defaulters. Along with this, in response to an RTI query, the Central Pollution Control Board has reported that the water of the Ganga river in Haridwar is not even fit for bathing

Environment minister passes away, Harsh Vardhan takes charge

Minister of Environment Anil Madhav Dave passed away at the age 60 from cardiac arrest last week. In his will, the minister has mentioned his wish to plant trees and conserve river systems instead of erecting a memorial in his name. After his passing, Minister of Science Harsh Vardhan has taken additional charge of the environment ministry. 

Panel recommends ways to desilt Ganga

In July 2016, the water ministry constituted a committee headed by Madhav Chitale, expert member of National Ganga River Basin Authority, to prepare guidelines for desiltation of the Ganga river from Uttarakhand to Farakka in West Bengal. The committee has recommended a slew of measures which include the study of reach-wise sediment transport processes along with establishing annual sediment budgets to guide desilting activities and preparation of annual reports. However, the committee has also pointed out that indiscriminate desilting or sand mining would cause adverse impacts on the river's flow. 

Karnataka bans planting of water-intensive trees to save groundwater

The Karnataka government has put a ban on the large-scale planting of eucalyptus and acacia trees. The water-intensive trees were being planted in the state under the social forestry scheme to meet the firewood and timber demand. The World Bank project that was initiated in 1980, however, has resulted in Bengaluru rural, Kolar and Chikballapur districts turn into barren lands. In 2011, the state forest department was ordered not to go for eucalyptus plantation. Since the order was not taken seriously then, an official ban has been imposed now. 

India is enveloped in a thick blanket of toxic ammonia: Study

As per a recent study which has used data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) satellite instrument, it has been found that a thick blanket of toxic ammonia lies over the world’s major agricultural areas with India being the worst affected. The reason behind the emission, which could become the next carbon for the world, is ammonia-based fertilisers as well as poorly managed animal waste. The gaseous ammonia is dangerous for human health as it damages the human lungs and the respiratory tract. In water, it causes water contamination, too. 

This is a roundup of important news from May 15 - 22, 2017. Also, read the policy matters this week. 

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