Ghaggar

Policy matters this week

NGT asks CPCB to monitor industrial waste discharge of states

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Despite repeated protests by villagers living around the Ghaggar, the river remains polluted, thanks to the apathy of the authorities.

Till four decades ago, Ghaggar river in Haryana and Punjab was the lifeline of the villages along its course. Incessant dumping of sewage and industrial effluents, however, has choked the life out of it and has reduced it to a drain or nullah, as locals call it, now.

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A new study pins climate change as one of the reasons for the decline of Indus Valley Civilisation

Summers get hotter, rains decline and crops fail. The conflict between people increase and migration in search of better lands and skies begin. Sounds familiar? We are not talking about Marathwada here. This is how the lives of our ancestors played out thousands of years ago.

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Farm ponds, rediscovered by a few farmers in Patiala, could be the answer to the state's growing groundwater crisis as they can harvest rainwater and cushion against flooding.

The northern region of India is facing drought for the second consecutive year.

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The state's high toilet coverage has compounded the problem of water pollution and diseases. It now needs an efficient and affordable sewage treatment system.

Whenever Nachatar Singh’s wife and children fall sick, he blames it on the groundwater they pull out everyday using a hand pump in his courtyard at Veere Wala Kalan village of Faridkot district. Singh swears that the problem started only recently. “The same tap used to fetch such good quality water thanks to seepage from the Gang canal which runs around 1 km from our place. It’s the toilet that was set up under a government scheme which is affecting our drinking water”, he claims.

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This paper published in the journal Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology & Life Sciences describes the findings of a study that was carried out to check the effects of industrial and agricultural activities on the groundwater properties in terms of heavy metal concentration. Polluted groundwater is defined as groundwater that has higher concentrations of dissolved or suspended elements than the maximum permissible concentrations fixed by national or international standards for drinking, industrial or agricultural purposes. Sometimes natural groundwater pollution may also occur because of the presence of the respective substances above the prescribed limits.

The main sources of groundwater contamination are industrial, municipal and agricultural wastes (both solid and liquid), rocks, sludge and slimes, refuse, pesticides, herbicides, effluents from livestock and poultry farms. Many pollutants are even able to penetrate into groundwater aquifers. In the lower Siwalik area, where this study was carried out, various types of industries like fruit processing, small scale electroplating, pharmaceuticals, distilleries, paper and electronics are located and discharging wastewaters.

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