Friday, August 30, 2013

China's growth model kills Rivers, time India learns the lesson.

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Blind exploitation of natural resources in the name of economic growth will not only kill people but also spell doom for entire human civilization.  

Many of the so called modern planners in India who keep on advising to toe Chinese line of growth must read this piece of news.  

It gives a clear account of how China is killing its Rivers and water resources, all in the name of growth.  As you can see from the following link, a report by none else than China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) reveals that over 30 percent of the country’s rivers and over 50 percent of groundwater are below national water quality standards. The continuing deterioration of water quality affecting people’s lives and health has become one of the most urgent existential crises for China. 

Time Indian planners realized economic growth cannot be sustained without respecting and conserving ecology.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good Morning Thought - 30th August 2013!

Truth doesn't have to be marketted. Truthfulness is not a commodity but a character...

Good Morning!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good Morning Thought - 29th August 2013!

It is 'trust' around which humans build even their commodity markets. Unfortunately 'trust' is the most breached phenomenon in these markets...

Good Morning!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mercury pollution from Indian and Chinese power plants affect fish in Hawaii!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

For the Today's Pick section of my blog, I pick the following news report that says "Mercury pollution from power plants in China and India is making its way into fish in waters near Hawaii, according to new research". 

This is really disturbing.

Thanks and regards,


Good Morning Thought - 28th August 2013!

An eerie silence sometimes could haunt you as much as you hunt for silence itself…

Good Morning!

Why we should not learn from Detroit's sewage system's collapse?

For us, its always like this.  None of our cities have sewage system!!  So, our city planners can relax and chill, and we really have no need to learn from Detroit actually!!!  Because, to learn a lesson you need to have a system, no?

Speaking at the 'Voices from the Waters: International Film Festival

For Friends in Bangalore:

Please do attend the "Voices from the Waters: International Film Festival," to be held between August 30 - September 1, 2013 at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore.

I would be attending and speaking on two different occasions during the festival, as follows:

29th August - A short guest lecture at about 6.30 PM during the Pre Inaugural Session.

31st August - An hour long session between 5.00 – 6.00 PM: A Critique on National Water Policy, composing a speech and then interaction with participants.

If you are around and have time, please do come.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Good Morning Thought - 27th August 2013!

To understand how smart is your city, try to see how it manages it's garbage & sewerage; and not how beautiful are it's buildings...

Good Morning!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

NEEPCO emerging as the Major Power Producer in the North East: Ministry of Power Press Release.

Press Release

NEEPCO Emerging as the Major Power Producer in the North East : Ministry of Power, Govt. of India
State-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) provided 56.6% of the total energy in the year 2012-13 to the entire North eastern Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia while chairing the Consultative Committee of Members of parliament for the Ministry of Power in New Delhi. The minister added that NEEPCO is in the process of adding 922 MW during the 12th Plan Period, which shall enhance the installed capacity from 1130 to 2052 MW. For the speedy execution of projects, NEEPCO is using Modern Project Management software “Primavara” for monitoring. 

Due to inability of CPSUs to pay upfront premium to the states, projects are not allotted to CPSUs. However, recent permission by the Government of India to pay upfront premium to states made it easier for procuring projects by NEEPCO. 

NEEPCO, which got the 'Miniratna' status in April this year, has an installed capacity of 1,130 MW, which is 47 percent of the total installed capacity of the north eastern region. Nineteen power projects, including twelve 3,918 MW capacity hydel power projects and four thermal power projects with installed capacity of 5,595 MW, are now in various stages of commissioning and planning in the north eastern region by different organisations, including NEEPCO. 

The power plants would be set up in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura. Three power projects totalling 1,344 MW would also be commissioned by private organisations in Arunachal Pradesh. The hydro-power potential of the north eastern region is estimated at about 58,971 MW, but only less than two percent (1,200 MW) has so far been harnessed till early this year. NEEPCO is also planning to generate at least 1,500 MW power from non-conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind in the next five years. 

The meeting deliberated on the steps taken to improve the power scenario in the north east. With the restructuring of the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) post Electricity Act 2003, and strengthening of distribution network by the respective State Governments in the north east region, it is expected that the per capita consumption of electricity in the region would increase. Recently NEEPCO has procured Siang Upper HEP, Stage-II (3750 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh and two more projects viz, Siang Upper HEP Stage-I (6000 MW) and Kurung HEP (330 MW) are in the pipeline. 

The Members of the Consultative Committee applauded the role played by the ministry and NEEPCO towards power generation in the north east. Laying emphasis on afforestation, the members highlighted the issues related to relief and rehabilitation which should be addressed by the ministry while setting up a new power plant in the region. 

The members also pointed out that there is abundance of coal and gas in the region which should be harnessed by NEEPCO to generate more power. Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia assured one of the members that power projects will be taken up in the state of Sikkim also by NEEPCO. 

Please note: I am sharing this press release because this is an issue we are working on.  Its not our release and for further information you are requested to contact the following link:

Odisha has highest malaria cases!

I am sure the real statistics would put the cases at a much higher number. Nevertheless, this is alarming...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sunday Thought - 25th August 2013!

Food that you eat is mostly water. When you waste it, you actually waste water...

Good Morning!

Have a Great Sunday!!

Good Morning Thought - 24th August 2013!

Food is not just what you eat. It's an identity. The more of local food producers we loose, the greater is the loss to ecological and human diversity. We then surrender to an alien and narrow identity...

Good Morning!

@ Colombo, discussing water and food security links!

Good Morning Thought - 23rd August 2013!

People belong to land; land does not belong to people. So, people-wise there is no foreign land...

Good morning from Colombo!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Good Morning Thought - 21st August 2013!

Being too much assumptive may create a lot of illusion in your mind. In fact you may start believing that you are able to predict someone’s behaviour or a situation quite perfectly.  Beware, you are in a state of illusion only…

Good Morning!

Floods in Philippines and Russia

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Please find below links to two news reports that describe the horrific floods that have ravaged parts of Philippines and Russia.  

8 dead as heavy rains pummel flooded Philippines
By Jason Gutierrez (AFP) 
MANILA — More than 200,000 flood-battered residents of the Philippine capital fled their homes on Tuesday as relentless monsoon rains, which have killed eight people, submerged more than half of Manila.
Streets turned into rivers with water rising above two-metres (seven feet) in some parts of the megacity of 12 million people, while vast areas of neighbouring farming regions on the main island of Luzon were also inundated.

Russia evacuates 19,000 from flooded Far East
By Maria Antonova (AFP) 
MOSCOW — Russian authorities have evacuated more than 19,000 people from unprecedented floods that have devastated crops in the country's Far East, officials said Monday, as rescue workers warned of worse to come.
The Amur river rose to record levels in Khabarovsk, a city of 600,000 people, and rain continued to batter the region as authorities sent out bottled water and ran shelters for displaced residents.
More than half the crops in the Amur region have already been damaged by the floods, according to the agriculture ministry.
We pray for the people and wish proper relief and rehabilitation will reach them.  

We are also in solidarity with friends and groups who are working for the affected.

Thanks and regards,


Please join WIO's Mahanadi Initiative. Its on, its happening...

Environmental concerns remain over coal-ash ponds: Tracy Moss, News Gazette.

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

We have been fighting coal fired pollution issues and are so much concerned about the grave water and environmental concerns these plants pose. 

For the Today's Pick section of my blog, today I choose a news report that shows how even abandoned coal ash ponds can pose dangers to our water and environment.  Please have a look.

Thanks and regards,


Environmental concerns remain over coal-ash ponds

An aerial view of Dynegy's Vermilion Power Station.
Photo by: Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette

DANVILLE — It's been more than two years since Dynegy shut down its coal-fired Vermilion Power Station, but environmental concerns still remain at the idled facility's coal-ash waste ponds that were built next to the Middle Fork River, just upstream of Kickapoo State Park and other protected lands.

According to Andrew Mason, spokesman with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, agency officials believe that one or two of the facility's ash ponds are leaching contaminants into groundwater in the area of the former power plant north of Oakwood in Vermilion County. That groundwater could eventually seep into surface water like the Middle Fork River, according to Mason.

But according to Dynegy's own reports, that is already happening.

In the company's quarterly report to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission earlier this summer, the Houston-based energy company explained that it has been doing "hydrogeologic" investigations at the Vermilion facility, and results have shown that the coal-ash impoundments are affecting groundwater in the area. The report goes on to state that two of the facility's impoundments "impact groundwater quality onsite and that such groundwater migrates off-site to the north of the property and to the adjacent Middle Fork of the Vermilion River."

The practice through the years at the more than 50-year-old power plant was to deposit coal-combustion residuals, commonly called coal ash, into impoundments, or man-made ponds that were built with dams that butt up against the Middle Fork River. Overflow from the impoundments rolls into the Middle Fork River.

In July 2012, the Illinois EPA issued violation notices to Dynegy concerning the impacts on groundwater at the site. The notices alleged violations of groundwater standards at the Vermilion facility, and in December 2012, the agency notified Dynegy that it might pursue legal action by referring the matter to the Illinois attorney general's office.

More pond problems?

Carolyn Burke, chief administrative officer for Dynegy, said the Houston-based company submitted a corrective action plan "awhile back," but the state EPA has asked Dynegy to reconsider aspects of the plan, so Dynegy is doing more geological study now and will resubmit its plan in November.

Illinois EPA's Mason confirmed that Dynegy is currently developing its corrective action plan, which will result in the closure of two of the three ash ponds on the site: the old east impoundment and the north impoundment. Both are older impoundments than the third pond, which is called the "new east ash pond." Unlike the older impoundments, the new east ash pond was built with a clay liner that creates a barrier between the waste and the ground below it.

According to the Dynegy report, the new east impoundment is not known to affect groundwater.

But Traci Barkley, water resources scientist with the Prairie Rivers Network, said there is concern with the newer impoundment, because it was recently discovered that it was built over underground mining areas.
The state EPA expects to receive a revised action plan from the company sometime this fall, Mason said, following more technical surveys that are necessary because of the complicated nature of the site. The agency could approve the plan or seek modifications based on what the company submits, he said.

According to the Dynegy report, the corrective action plan includes groundwater monitoring and closing both impoundments by installing a "geosynthetic cover" over them. The report also states that Dynegy submitted an application to the Illinois EPA to establish "a groundwater management zone while impacts from the facility are mitigated," and estimated the cost of closing both impoundments is about $11 million. And if Dynegy were to go ahead and close the third impoundment, the report states, the cost would increase another $2 million.

New impoundment?

Officials with the Prairie Rivers Network have been monitoring the situation and providing input on what action they believe Dynegy should take. Barkley said Prairie Rivers will be requesting a public hearing on Dynegy's plan, giving the public the opportunity for input on how the property is addressed.

Barkley said the ash ponds were built adjacent to the Middle Fork River and are in the river's flood plain. Barkley said when the river reaches flood stage, the water table backs up into the impoundments and picks up dissolved pollutants that then travel back to the river.

In September 2012, Prairie Rivers proposed to state EPA officials an alternative to Dynegy's proposal to put a cap on the impoundments. In its letter, Prairie Rivers agreed that caps will stop rain water from infiltrating the ponds and contributing to more pollution of underlying groundwater and runoff toward the river and other surface water; however, caps will not solve the flood-plain problem or the issue with the newer impoundment sitting above mined areas, the group said.

Barkley said that's why the contents of all three impoundments should be removed entirely and placed in a newly constructed, lined impoundment that's out of the flood plain but still on Dynegy property. Barkley said that would increase the cost of Dynegy's action plan, but it's more than worth the additional cost to ensure more problems won't occur in the future.

Barkley said it's reasonable that the Dynegy property, which totals almost 980 acres, could end up in the hands of the state as an addition to Kickapoo State Park.

Burke said she couldn't comment on specific negotiations with potential buyers, but the company is considering all options for the property. Burke said there have been some active discussions along those lines, but she would not comment on whether the state was a party in any of those discussions.

Officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not comment on whether the Dynegy property could become state land.

Barkley said from Prairie Rivers perspective there are two issues — Dynegy's final closure plan for the property, and its federal permit that allows water to be released from the property into the river. A public hearing was held earlier this month on a renewal of that federal permit; Prairie Rivers representatives and private citizens attended and voiced their concerns about the Dynegy property.

Sandy Bales of Champaign-Urbana, who is a longtime advocate of protecting the Middle Fork River, attended the public hearing.

Bales said the protected scenic river supports wildlife, flora and fauna as well as family recreation with thousands of people floating the river annually. The pollutants leaching into underground water resources and into the river, she said, affect the water quality. She said the river is also moving and eroding away at the land between the impoundments and the river.

"What if the whole thing breaches and comes into the river?" she said. "If Dynegy would do the right thing and remove that from that fragile position where it could breach and ruin Illinois' only scenic river; if they would do the right thing and clean that up properly, that would set a precedent for what other power plants might do. So they could do the right thing, and it would make a huge difference for a lot of rivers and people and wildlife."

Bales said protecting the river is leaving a legacy for future generations like her grandchildren. She and her husband canoed the Middle Fork for many years.

"We love that river so much. ... We had so much fun with friends and family," she said. "All that stuff is precious, and even if you're not one of the people using it, everything is connected, and it's all precious. Clean water is important."

In addition to the idle power plant, coal-ash impoundments and other infrastructure like parking lots, the site includes a lake and a former campground that was also closed by Dynegy.

About coal-combustion residuals

Coal-combustion residuals, commonly called coal ash, is the material that remains after burning coal for electricity and includes fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and flue gas desulfurized gypsum.

The ash can contain a broad range of substances that can be toxic in high-enough concentrations, including arsenic, selenium and cadmium, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. CCRs — as the agency refers to coal-combustion residuals — are one of the largest waste streams in the nation and are not considered hazardous waste by EPA standards.

But CCR impoundments have been under much more scrutiny from the EPA since 2008 after the massive coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston facility, which flooded more than 300 acres, damaging homes and property and the Emory and Clinch rivers, which experienced fish kills.

The public health and environmental hazards from unsafe coal-ash dumping have been known for many years, according to the Prairie Rivers Network, the local nonprofit organization that advocates for local waterways. Prairie Rivers maintains that coal ash poses an increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma and other sicknesses, and also threatens aquatic life in waterways. Coal-ash runoff contains small amounts of harmful metals like selenium that can slowly build up in aquatic food chains, according to Prairie Rivers.

The EPA has proposed regulating coal ash by 2014 to address risks from disposal of the waste generated by electric utilities and independent power producers. The EPA has proposed listing CCRs as special wastes subject to regulation when destined for disposal in landfills or surface impoundments or regulating coal ash as a nonhazardous waste, according to the agency's website. But that has generated controversy in Washington as some lawmakers have expressed concern with the EPA's possible regulation of coal ash negatively affecting industries that have found safe uses for the byproduct, such as in the manufacture of concrete, shingles and wallboard.

- Mon, 08/19/2013 - 7:00am | Tracy Moss

Monday, August 19, 2013

China and India 'water grab' dams put ecology of Himalayas in danger: John Vidal, The Observer

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

While browsing through the net chanced upon this well written interesting piece on the Himalayan dam disasters published in The Guardian on 10th of this month.  Thought you would find it interesting too.  So, uploading another piece in my Today’s Pick Section.

Thanks and regards,

China and India 'water grab' dams put ecology of Himalayas in danger

More than 400 hydroelectric schemes are planned in the mountain region, which could be a disaster for the environment

The Ranganadi hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Photograph: Alamy

The future of the world's most famous mountain range could be endangered by a vast dam-building project, as a risky regional race for water resources takes place in Asia.

New academic research shows that India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan are engaged in a huge "water grab" in the Himalayas, as they seek new sources of electricity to power their economies. Taken together, the countries have plans for more than 400 hydro dams which, if built, could together provide more than 160,000MW of electricity – three times more than the UK uses.

In addition, China has plans for around 100 dams to generate a similar amount of power from major rivers rising in Tibet. A further 60 or more dams are being planned for the Mekong river which also rises in Tibet and flows south through south-east Asia.

Most of the Himalayan rivers have been relatively untouched by dams near their sources. Now the two great Asian powers, India and China, are rushing to harness them as they cut through some of the world's deepest valleys. Many of the proposed dams would be among the tallest in the world, able to generate more than 4,000MW, as much as the Hoover dam on the Colorado river in the US.

The result, over the next 20 years, "could be that the Himalayas become the most dammed region in the world", said Ed Grumbine, visiting international scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming. "India aims to construct 292 dams … doubling current hydropower capacity and contributing 6% to projected national energy needs. If all dams are constructed as proposed, in 28 of 32 major river valleys, the Indian Himalayas would have one of the highest average dam densities in the world, with one dam for every 32km of river channel. Every neighbour of India with undeveloped hydropower sites is building or planning to build multiple dams, totalling at minimum 129 projects," said Grumbine, author of a paper in Science.

                                                                                                      Graphic: Observer

China, which is building multiple dams on all the major rivers running off the Tibetan plateau, is likely to emerge as the ultimate controller of water for nearly 40% of the world's population. "The plateau is the source of the single largest collection of international rivers in the world, including the Mekong, the Brahmaputra, the Yangtse and the Yellow rivers. It is the headwater of rivers on which nearly half the world depends. The net effect of the dam building could be disastrous. We just don't know the consequences," said Tashi Tsering, a water resource researcher at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

"China is engaged in the greatest water grab in history. Not only is it damming the rivers on the plateau, it is financing and building mega-dams in Pakistan, Laos, Burma and elsewhere and making agreements to take the power," said Indian geopolitical analyst Brahma Chellaney. "China-India disputes have shifted from land to water. Water is the new divide and is going centre stage in politics. Only China has the capacity to build these mega-dams and the power to crush resistance. This is effectively war without a shot being fired."

According to Chellaney, India is in the weakest position because half its water comes directly from China; however, Bangladesh is fearful of India's plans for water diversions and hydropower. Bangladeshi government scientists say that even a 10% reduction in the water flow by India could dry out great areas of farmland for much of the year. More than 80% of Bangladesh's 50 million small farmers depend on water that flows through India.

Engineers and environmentalists say that little work has been done on the human or ecological impact of the dams, which they fear could increase floods and be vulnerable to earthquakes. "We do not have credible environmental and social impact assessments, we have no environmental compliance system, no cumulative impact assessment and no carrying capacity studies. The Indian ministry of environment and forests, developers and consultants are responsible for this mess," said Himanshu Thakkar, co-ordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

China and India have both displaced tens of millions of people with giant dams such as the Narmada and Three Gorges over the last 30 years, but governments have not published estimates of how many people would have to be relocated or how much land would be drowned by the new dams. "This is being totally ignored. No one knows, either, about the impact of climate change on the rivers. The dams are all being built in rivers that are fed by glaciers and snowfields which are melting at a fast rate," said Tsering.

Climate models suggest that major rivers running off the Himalayas, after increasing flows as glaciers melt, could lose 10-20% of their flow by 2050. This would not only reduce the rivers' capacity to produce electricity, but would exacerbate regional political tensions.

The dams have already led to protest movements in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and other northern states of India and in Tibet. Protests in Uttarakhand, which was devastated by floods last month, were led by Indian professor GD Agarwal, who was taken to hospital after a 50-day fast but who was released this week.

"There is no other way but to continue because the state government is not keen to review the dam policy," said Mallika Bhanot, a member of Ganga Avahan, a group opposing proposals for a series of dams on the Ganges.

Governments have tried to calm people by saying that many of the dams will not require large reservoirs, but will be "run of the river" constructions which channel water through tunnels to massive turbines. But critics say the damage done can be just as great. "[These] will complete shift the path of the river flow," said Shripad Dharmadhikary, a leading opponent of the Narmada dams and author of a report into Himalayan dams. "Everyone will be affected because the rivers will dry up between points. The whole hydrology of the rivers will be changed. It is likely to aggravate floods.

"A dam may only need 500 people to move because of submergence, but because the dams stop the river flow it could impact on 20,000 people. They also disrupt the groundwater flows so many people will end up with water running dry. There will be devastation of livelihoods along all the rivers.

 -               John Vidal, The Observer, Saturday 10 August 2013

Mumbai, Kolkata to suffer huge damage from sea flooding by 2050: Study - ET

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

My today’s pick for the blog is the news published in the Economic Times about a study that projects huge damage to cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata from sea flooding due to climate change.

Hope this interests you.

Thanks and regards,


Mumbai, Kolkata to suffer huge damage from sea flooding by 2050: Study 

NEW DELHI: Mumbai and Kolkata are at risk of suffering several billions of dollars of damages by 2050 due to flooding even if they upgrade their protection, a study has warned. Mumbai would lose $6.4 billion and Kolkata $3.4 billion annually, the study published in Nature Climate Change estimated.

In the worst case scenario, the world's 136 largest coastal cities could risk combined annual losses of $1 trillion (750 billion euros) from floods by 2050 unless they drastically raise their defenses, the study said.

Flood exposure is increasing in coastal cities owing to growing populations and assets, the changing climate, and subsidence, the study found.

World Bank economist Stephane Hallegatte and colleagues composed a loss risk scenario based on city population growth as well as different levels of sea level rise, protection upgrades and subsidence—the sinking of surface areas often linked to the extraction of oil or other ground resources.

Average global flood losses in 2005 are estimated to be approximately US$6?billion per year. Assuming cities improve their protection to contain the flood risk to current levels, and based purely on the projected growth of city populations and the assets accumulated there, the team warned of a nine-fold increase in losses to $52 billion per year by 2050, AFP reported.

However, this figure changes dramatically once climate change induced sea level rise and subsidence is factored in. It increases to between $60 and $63 billion per year.

"With no adaptation (of flood protection), the projected increase in average losses by 2050 is huge, with aggregate losses increasing to more than $1 trillion per year," said the study—a worst-case-scenario.

But even the best protection in the world won't eliminate the risk, said the study. While higher dykes can reduce flooding, the magnitude of losses when they do occur will continue to rise.

"We have more and more people depending on these protections. That means that if we have a dyke rupture, as there are more people behind the dykes, we will have ever bigger catastrophes," Hallegatte told AFP.

With protection upgrades, the cities with the highest projected annual losses by 2050 were Guangzhou ($13.2 billion), Mumbai ($6.4 billion) and Kolkota ($3.4 billion) in India, Guayaquil ($3.2 billion) in Ecuador and Shenzhen ($3.1 billion) in China. For Guangzhou, this represented an 11 percent rise on 2005 losses and for Kolkota 24 percent, said the authors.

Number six on the list was Miami, with projected annual losses of $2.5 billion, followed by Tianjin in China with $2.3 billion, New York with $2 billion, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam with $1.9 billion and New Orleans with $1.9 billion, AFP reported.

Rich cities, many of them in areas more at risk from flooding, can generally afford better defences than poor cities which are over-represented among those that risk the biggest losses, said the study.

Amsterdam, for example, has about $83 billion of assets exposed to extreme flooding—yet its average annual loss was $3 million due to having the world's best flood defences.

New Orleans, on the other hand, has annual losses estimated at $600 million, though improvements have been made since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

According to Hallegatte, the team has calculated that about $50 billion per year would be required to boost flood protection for the 136 cities in the report—"far below" the estimated losses.

-          By Subodh Varma, TNN | 19 Aug, 2013


Let’s be the change, not just a shooter

Let’s be the change, not just a shooter

Between the observation and the shot, a photographer’s mind must have travelled many miles.  The picture you see is not merely a creative art but reflection of a character of the photographer thyself.  The purpose of the picture matters in this and a picture has the ability to reflect the relationship one’s heart and mind share between each other.  Photos are thus powerful instruments, camera is just the tool that charges it up.

My words talk about that side of the photography which gives the unheard a voice – be it human, other species or the ecology at large.  I have practiced this kind of a photography all through my life, ever since I caught hold of a camera.  I can hear the voice of the rivers, the water and the mother earth.  My photographs are supposed to reflect this character of mine and manifest in them the many faces of this relationship we share with the ecology that supports our lives.

We all have visited a river.  We have used it as a resource; enjoyed its beauty.  While most may realize the might of a river, a very few can really see the plight of it.  Or else tourists thronging to river sides would not be throwing garbage into it and then expect to enjoy its beauty the next time they come back. 

My message to young photographers is to understand these delicate linkages of life with rivers, with ecology.  If you are a real photographer you have to love and respect your subject.  You have to be a sensitive guy, not just a shooter who takes out the benefit and then flies away.  You have the potential to change this growing challenge that humanity at large faces now.  We are killing the very rivers which gave us civilizations.  Let’s point our cameras at the plight of the rivers and use those to reconnect the society with the mothers of our civilizations.  Let’s be the change, not just a shooter.

(This article was recently written for the inaugural issue of a newsletter published by a young group of photographers who had asked me to contribute as a guest expert.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thought on World Photography Day - 19th August 2013!

The picture you see is not merely a creative art but reflection of a character of the photographer thyself...

Happy World Photography Day!

National Offshore Wind Energy Authority (NOWA) to be constituted shortly

FYI, a press release from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India with regard to constitution of National Offshore Wind Energy Authority.  The release is self explanatory.

Thanks and regards,



National Offshore Wind Energy Authority (NOWA) to be constituted shortly

A National Offshore Wind Energy Authority (NOWA) under the aegis of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will be constituted that will act as the nodal agency for Offshore Wind Projects in the country. NOWA will carry out resource assessment and surveys in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the country and simultaneously enter into contract with project developers for development of offshore wind energy project in the territorial water (12 nm). NOWA will be the single window agency and will coordinate with concerned Ministries/Departments for necessary clearances. However, NOWA will only act as a facilitator for getting clearance and application for clearance will be dealt in entirety by the concerned Ministry/Department. This was stated by Secretary, MNRE, Shri Ratan P. Watal, while speaking at the “National Consultation of Stakeholders regarding Development of Offshore Wind Energy in India” here today.

Shri Watal further said the Government of India is committed to provide a conducive environment for harnessing offshore wind energy in the country. Laying down figures he stated that India’s onshore wind energy deployment has crossed 19600 MW attracting USD 16.5 billion of investment in 2012 and it is estimated that by 2030 installed capacity could reach 191 GW. In order to facilitate the flow of renewable energy into the national grid, the Government plans to roll out a Rs 43,000-crore ‘green energy corridor’ project. The project will be implemented with the assistance of Germany which has promised to provide developmental and technical assistance of one billion euro as soft credit, he added.

A study by Scottish Development International done in January 2012 has indicated potential to establish around one GW capacity wind farm each along the coastline of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. India is estimated to have 350 GW of offshore wind energy capacity. This was stated by Shri Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MNRE. Shri Srivastava added that Europe (4995 MW) is the global leader in terms of offshore wind energy installation followed by China (390 MW) and Japan (25 MW).

Addressing the stakeholders consultation, Shri B.K. Chaturvedi, Member, Planning Commission said since cost of power generated from offshore wind energy is more than that generated from onshore, policy frame work to be formulated should address this differential in account. He further said the Planning Commission will ensure highest priority to the renewable energy sector in the country so that it moves forward to achieve energy security in the country.

The Ministries/Departments which will be involved in the process of granting clearances for Offshore Wind Farm Projects are Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Coast Guard etc.

The Stakeholders’ Consultation witnessed participation of various stakeholders discussing different aspects for development of offshore wind energy in the country.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mahanadi Delta and Climate Change: Kusabhadra in trouble

Kusabhadra in trouble

During my latest visit to Puri to study sanitation situation of the city and to participate in a discussion on water logging, I managed some time to visit the Kushabhadra river mouth in Mahanadi delta.  As the beautiful river merges into the majestic Bay of Bengal, one gets to see the perfect beauty of the Odisha coasts.  What haunts however is the fact that seashore at Puri is eroding and one of the greatest impacts is being faced by Kushabhadra whose shoreline is shifting drastically.  Global climate change and local unmindful destructive development are taking a heavy toll on Kushabhadra and its ecology...

Is There Danger Lurking in Your Lipstick? by Deborah Blum, nytimes

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Please find this important article about the dangers lipsticks cause to your health, written by Deborah Blum in nytimes blog.  I have chosen this for my 'Today's Pick' section and hope it will raise serious concerns in your mind too, as it did in mine.  

Thanks and regards,


Is There Danger Lurking in Your Lipstick?



A soft pink, a glowing red, even a cyanotic purple — millions of women and girls apply lipstick every day. And not just once: some style-conscious users touch up their color more than 20 times a day, according to a recent study. But are they also exposing themselves to toxic metals?

Most lipsticks contain at least a trace of lead, researchers have shown. But a new study finds a wide range of brands contain as many as eight other metals, from cadmium to aluminum. Now experts are raising questions about what happens if these metals are swallowed or otherwise absorbed on a daily basis.

 “It matters because this is a chronic long-term issue, not a short-term exposure,” said Katharine Hammond, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California at Berkeley and the lead author of the new analysis. “We’re not saying that anyone needs to panic. We’re saying let’s not be complacent, that these are metals known to affect health.”

The issue first came to public attention in 2007 with a report on lead contamination in lipsticks, “A Poison Kiss,” by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration published an extensive follow-up in 2011, finding traces of lead in 400 lipsticks.

Both the F.D.A. and the cosmetics industry insist that the average lead level found, just above 1 parts per million, or p.p.m., poses no real or unusual health risk. “Metals are ubiquitous,” said Linda Loretz, chief toxicologist for the Personal Care Products Council, an industry association. “And this is a very small amount, too small to be a safety issue.”

But lead tends to accumulate in the body, noted Dr. Sean Palfrey, medical director of the lead poisoning prevention program at Boston University Medical Center. The F.D.A. itself sets a 0.1 p.p.m. safety standard for lead in candy intended for young children. “Not to mention that the C.D.C. acknowledged last year that no level of lead is really safe,” Dr. Palfrey said.

And lead may not be the only concern. Dr. Hammond’s new study, published in May in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found traces of cadmium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel in 24 lip glosses and eight lipstick brands. The researchers picked the products because they were favored by teenagers at a community health center in Oakland, Calif. The girls reported reapplying lipsticks or glosses as often as 24 times a day.

Aluminum, chromium and manganese registered the highest concentrations over all, Dr. Hammond and her colleagues found. The average concentration of aluminum in the lip products, for instance, topped 5,000 p.p.m.; concentrations of lead averaged 0.359 p.p.m.

Aluminum is added to lipsticks as a stabilizer, said Ms. Loretz: “It keeps colors from bleeding.” Titanium oxide is used as a whitening agent, softening reds into pinks. Both uses are approved by the F.D.A. But all of the other metals noted by Dr. Hammond are probably unwanted contaminants, Ms. Loretz said.

For example, manufacturers often use glittery, microscopic flakes of mica, a naturally occurring mineral formation, to add shine to lip gloss. Mica routinely contains such metals as lead, manganese, chromium and aluminum. And there is some indication that more intense lipstick colors may carry a bigger metallic load because of contamination in pigments.

In the F.D.A.’s 2011 analysis, the highest lead reading was found in a deep floral pink lipstick and the lowest in a neutral lip balm. A European study found that brown lipstick tended to be highest in lead, while researchers in Saudi Arabia reported that dark colors averaged 8.9 p.p.m. of lead, compared with 0.37 p.p.m. in light-colored lipsticks.

Still, there remains a wide range of metal concentrations across colors and brands. To Dr. Palfrey, this suggests that cosmetic companies are able to control metal content when they choose. “It shouldn’t be a huge step for manufacturers to take out trace amounts of metals in a situation where they don’t know and we don’t know what’s safe for people who use them,” he said.

Some metals are undoubtedly absorbed through mucosal tissues in the mouth, Dr. Palfrey added. And people do swallow lipstick, one reason that it’s so often reapplied. Given the continued debate about how much is absorbed, everyone — including the cosmetics industry — is pushing the F.D.A. to study the issue further.

In the meantime, Dr. Hammond recommends that consumers take a common-sense approach to cosmetics. For starters, don’t let young children play with lipstick.

“Treat it like something dangerous, because if they eat it we are taking about a comparatively large level of metals going into a small body,” she said.

And be cautious about how often you reapply that shimmering color, Dr. Hammond added. Given the uncertainties, two or three times a day is all that beauty can reasonably demand.

-          POISON PEN AUGUST 16, 2013, 10:50 AM

*Deborah Blum writes about chemicals and the environment.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Indians dumping endosulfan in Nepal! Let's stop this!!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO)!

Forwarding for your interest this disturbing news (pasted below) which says Indian manufacturers are channeling out the banned endosulfan to Nepal.  Also, other harmful pesticides.

There should be joint action between Indian and Nepalese groups to stop this killer business.

Thanks and regards,


Please join WIO's Mahanadi Initiative. Its on, its happening...


Banned insectides easy to buy in Kavre


BANEPA, Aug 13: Even though the Nepal government has imposed a ban on the import and production of endosulfan and other pesticides, local agricultural input stores in the markets of Kavrepalanchowk district are openly selling these products to locals.

Indian fertilizer companies have been making these insecticides easily available in the Nepal market despite their being restricted in India also. On May 13, 2011, the Indian supreme court had placed a ban on the production and sale of endosulfan.

The Nepal government has claimed that 15 products including endosulfan are markedly harmful.

“As per a previous pact, endosulfan products still available in the market after their prohibition should have been used up within two years´ time, but no one has complied with that,” said a former registar at the Pesticide Registration and Management Division in Kavre.

Most of the endosulfan products available at Janakpur Nepal Agro Centre are labeled as products of Excel Crop Air Ltd, an Indian company, it is learnt.

“The regulation in effect has had no effect on the business, which is flourishing even more these days. In addition, lack of proper monitoring has also led to an increase in the sale of these pesticides in the district,” added the registar.

Talking to Republica, Chairperson of the Division Rajiv Das Bhandari clearly admitted the ongoing irregularities and the lack of attempts to discourage them.

“We lack enough manpower for a complete monitoring of the situation. Had locals complied with the law and understood the danger in using the substance, this day would never have come,” said Bhandari.

Similar is the case of another harmful pesticide, amulium phosphate. This product is still entering Nepal despite a government prohibition on its manufacture and sale. The Central Insecticide Board in India has also banned the production of Amulium phosphate products.

According to Kavre police, the number of suicide cases involving the consuming of pesticides has increased rapidly in the last two years.

Dhulikhel Hospital has encountered around 150 patients admitted there for treatment after consuming poisonous pesticide products.

“Such cases have definitely increased in recent years,” said emergency in-charge at Dhulikhel Hospital, Dr Sanu Shrestha.

Ranjan K Panda

Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!


Mobile:             +919437050103      

You can also mail me at:

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader


 Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at

Please join our new campaign

 Water talks to me, I speak for Water...

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in India for more than two decades now.

Good Morning Thought - 17th August 2013!

A civilization's character is reflected in the quality of water of the River which gave birth to it...

Good Morning!
Have a Great Weekend!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Survey of Manual Scavengers: WIO calls for your help!!

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings from Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) !

The survey of manual scavengers is being carried out this August in statutory cities by the government.  For a list of the cities, please see the following link.

For the date of survey in your city/town, please contact the Executive Officer of the Urban Local Body.

It is aimed that after the survey and identification, the manual scavengers - including their dependents - will be rehabilitated.  You can see further details at the following website:

We request you to please see to it that the information about it is spread across the length and breadth of all the cities/towns to be surveyed.  

Also, please stay alert and help all manual scavengers identified and covered under the rehabilitation programmes.

Together, we need to end this practice and help the scavengers live a dignified life.

Thanks and regards,


Please join WIO's Mahanadi Initiative. Its on, its happening...

Ranjan K Panda


Water Initiatives Odisha: Fighting water woes, combating climate change... more than two decades now!

Mobile:             +919437050103      

You can also mail me at:

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader


 Please join our group 'Save Rivers Save Civilizations' at
Please join our new campaign

 Water talks to me, I speak for Water...

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in India for more than two decades now.