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A study finds increased risk of sexual violence among women who defecate in the open due to lack of proper sanitation facilities.

While nearly half of the world’s population (42 percent) lacks access to improved sanitation conditions, India is the worst performer in sanitation coverage, even below those countries with half of the households (53 percent) not having access to toilets. At 49.8 percent, India has the highest number of people practising open defecation in the world.

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Potential threats of environmental deterioration continue to be ignored in Kollam partly due to the difficulty in regulating an industry that produces resources of high strategic importance.

Mining and processing of heavy and rare earth minerals can produce a tremendously negative impact on the land and environment in the area, the magnitude and intensity of which depends on the kind of chemicals and processes used, the efforts taken in the management of waste as well as on environmental fragility of the location. It can also endanger the health of local residents as well as their livelihoods through water pollution and destruction of farmland thereby violating the rights of local communities.

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Reviving traditional water bodies, and not environmentally-unsustainable mega projects which are expensive, is the most viable solution to deal with water scarcity in parched lands like Bundelkhand.

Although droughts are not new in India, we are seeing more of it of late. The paper Seeking viable solutions to water security in Bundelkhand published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated November 5, 2016 informs that people in South Asia have managed the vagaries of seasons for centuries through water-harvesting structures and by managing the available water efficiently through traditional water management practices that utilised water without wastage.

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The implementation of the CRZ rules and prioritising the needs of fishing communities by involving them in the process is the right and holistic approach to end coastal deterioration.

The coastal regions of India are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate changes, developmental activities and urbanisation. Sustaining the livelihoods of fishing communities and preserving the health of coastal ecosystem and biodiversity are important challenges that India faces.

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It is important to look at rivers from an ecological point of view to solve transboundary water issues amicably.

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin is the third largest river flow system in the world with an annual runoff about 1,150 billion cubic meters (BCM) and the peak outflow of 1,41,000 cumecs. The basin has a total area of just over 1.7 million square kilometres, distributed between India (64 percent), China (18 percent), Nepal (9 percent), Bangladesh (7 percent) and Bhutan (3 percent).

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As conflict over sharing of river Brahmaputra threatens to raise its ugly head again, cooperation, not competition between China, India and Bangladesh alone can solve the issue

With recent reports of China blocking a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Tibet to construct its most expensive hydro project, the Assam government has been worried. Experts in the field believe that it is time India initiated hydro diplomacy with its neighbour. 

Claiming their stakes

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While the health of the rivers needs to be comprehensively assessed to bring the contamination down, public participation remains crucial in keeping the rivers alive.

A severe crisis is plaguing the rivers in India. A study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2013 has found that the number of contaminated rivers in the country has more than doubled over the past five years.

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Heavily polluted and poisoned at its confluence with the Lunar river, the Lukha turns mysteriously blue as it flows downstream. The studies are on to know the cause.

Meghalaya in the northeast of India is richly endowed with natural resources such as streams and rivers as well as mineral resources such as coal, limestone, clay, sillimanite, uranium, and more. The estimated coal reserve in Meghalaya is around 576.48 million tonnes while limestone reserves are around 15,100 million tonnes. Exploitation of coal and limestone has been taking place on a large scale in the state.

 

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A decade after its implementation, MGNREGA is in shambles. Taking Jharkhand as an example, a paper analyses what went wrong and how to rectify the mistakes.

The article, The MGNREGA crisis: Insights from Jharkhand, published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated May 28, 2016, provides an overview of the status of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA in India. The article says, the Act, launched on February 2, 2006 to provide livelihood security to rural households whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work, is in shambles now.

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Communication, based on sound scientific information, involving farmers as well as other stakeholders, is the only way to solve the Cauvery dispute. Political mandate, too, is important.

River Cauvery has been in the epicentre of agitation and violence in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu--both fighting over their share of the Cauvery water. Thanks to the deficit monsoon this year, the Cauvery basin reservoirs in both these neighbouring states are only filled half as much as they should be![1].

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