Telangana government, tribals oppose uranium mining in Nallamala forests

News this week
A view of the Nallamala Forests (Source: Wikimedia Commons) A view of the Nallamala Forests (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Telangana government, tribals stand against proposed uranium mining in Nallamala forests

A few months ago, the environment ministry gave in-principle approval to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to begin exploration for uranium in the Nallamala forest, which stretches across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Government of Telangana, which initially agreed to the project has changed its stance after facing opposition from environmentalists, concerned citizens, and the Chenchu indigenous people. The Telangana Legislative Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution urging the Centre not to allow uranium mining operations in the Nallamala forest. While UCIL has been granted approval for uranium mining in Nallamala forest, it has come under sharp criticism for ignoring environmental clearance conditions for mining in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. (The Indian Express, News 18, The Times of India)

Despite objections by Finance ministry and Niti Aayog, Shipping ministry declares 106 national waterways

In 2015, the Shipping Ministry headed by Nitin Gadkari passed the National Waterways Bill in order to declare 106 waterways of the country as National Waterways (NWs). As per a report by The Wire, the decision was met with strong opposition from the Finance Ministry because the project would accrue heavy financial cost on the Centre. Only very large waterways should be declared NWs, while medium and small waterways should be declared 'State Waterways'. Niti Aayog and Jal Shakti Ministry also raised objections to the decision, saying that the basis on which inland waterways were identified as NWs had not been discussed, and that there was a need to estimate the quantum of water to maintain a minimum depth. However, both the demands were rejected by the Shipping Ministry. (The Wire)

Rajasthan's groundwater hit by natural and human-made toxins

In a recent study conducted as part of the Duke University India Initiative, researchers tested 243 groundwater wells in Rajasthan and found that the groundwater quality in the state was hit by the simultaneous presence of both human-made pollutants and naturally occurring toxic minerals. As per the study, over three-quarters of the sampled wells that provide drinking water contain contaminants such as fluoride, nitrate, and uranium at levels that exceed both Indian and World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water norms. The study called for evaluation and monitoring of emergent pollutants called disinfection byproducts (DBP) in treated water in Rajasthan. DBPs form when the chemicals used to treat water react with naturally-occurring materials in the water to form compounds that may pose health risks. (Mongabay India)

Rural sanitation strategy being prepared to sustain sanitation coverage

With the sanitation coverage reaching 99.99 percent, the centre is preparing a 10 year strategy to keep the country free of open defecation. The strategy will be worked out by KPMG and UNICEF, and will cover access to sanitation through incentives for households and community sanitation complexes, standardisation of pit emptying processes, availability of water supply to toilets (including cleaning of water bodies) and giving appropriate sanitation information. Along with this, the government will also be promoting composting of organic waste, management of greywater and upgradation of single pits to twin pits. (Down to Earth)

Cloud-based irrigation system at Hyderabad International Airport

In a bid to conserve water and achieve environment sustainability, GMR-led Hyderabad International Airport becomes India's first airport to induct a cloud-based central irrigation control system using an IMMS (Irrigation Management and Monitoring Software) online mechanism. This is a first-of-its-kind technology that will enable the airport to save up to 35 percent water, on top of the conventional mode of irrigation system. Besides being precise and timely, the new system will effectively control water usage and can be used effortlessly as it is controlled through any internet enabled data device. (The Hans India)

This is a roundup of important news published between  September 10 - 16, 2019. Also read policy matters this week.

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