Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper live on Zee Kalinga TV at 1 pm today!

Please watch Zee Kalinga TV (Odia) at 1 pm noon time today, I shall be live discussing on the land acquisition ordinance.  Thanks. 

Ranjan Panda

Good Morning Thought - 30th December 2014!

Love is a splendid thing. It emanates from the eternal self of the beings and doesn't stop at any man-made border, be it a country or a religion...


Good Morning!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 29th December 2014!

The story of our dying rivers & vanishing forests would tell you how men contradict and challenge their creator day in and day out...


Good Morning!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 28th December 2014!

In arguing a point, it is always wise to stick to truth than aiming at a win.  As such also no argument is ever complete, and no win is permanent...

Good Morning!
Have a Happy Sunday!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

My Latest Article: Small farms, big values...


Dear Friends,

Happy to share with you my latest article, co-authored by Ajit Panda, titled "Small farms, big values," published in the LEISA India magazine latest issue.  

A brief intro to the article:  Small scale farmers, many of whom are themselves among world’s hungry people, feed the world’s majority. In fact, family farmers not only produce the major share of the food consumed but also help preserve the environment. They continue to farm inspite of facing a number of challenges – like high production costs, lower yields, unsupportive policies, climate change impacts etc.

Farmers in Odisha have to continuously fight against the natural calamities to sustain in agriculture. While it is drought that affects farmers in districts like Nuapada, it is the recurring floods in coastal districts like Kendrapada which makes farmers vulnerable. Farmers are trying to cope with such climate aberrations with new initiatives like vegetable gardening and integrated farming. This article talks about how these initiatives are helping in sowing the seeds of hope among the small farmers in two different geographical regions.

Please find the link to the article below:

http://leisaindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/LESIA-India-Dec-2014-Page-No-6-Small-farms-big-values.pdf

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

Email: ranjanpanda@gmail.com

Good Morning Thought - 27th December 2014!

The more you seek to know about others, the more you discover yourself.  Each one of us is related to the other in some or the other way...

Good Morning!
Have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 26th December 2014!

All that we supposedly discover are within purview of possibilities already offered by the schemes of the universe.  We just explore as per our needs...

Good Morning!

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper's Latest Update on Jaundice in Sambalpur: 1.30 PM 25th Dec 2014!

Our continuous advocacy efforts have started to pay.  Odisha's Chief Minister at last visited Sambalpur, six months after the menace was first reported, and announced a slew of measures to fight jaundice.  

The package involves a INR 100 crore package for an underground piped water supply project for the town.  The Chief Minister said said all the major nullahs that drain into river Mahanadi will be renovated.  He also informed that the government will bear the cost of the examination and treatment of those infected by jaundice. The CM further said that adequate number of toilets will be constructed in different parts of the town to stop people from defecating in the open.  He also announced some more packages the total cost of which is said to be INR 160 crore.

In fact Ranjan Panda, the Mahanadi River Waterkeeper and Convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha, had already warned - three years ago - that the pathetic water supply and sanitation situation in Sambalpur could invite such epidemics.  Last year, in the run to launching of the 'Healthy Rivers, Happy Cities' campaign, led by Ranjan, a citizen's survey was conducted to assess the pollution of River at Sambalpur.  This voluntary citizen's survey revealed the disastrous condition of Sambalpur's sanitation situation and Mahanadi's pollution due to the same.  The government authorities kept ignoring the warning.  Now, the jaundice has officially claimed 17 lives and near to two thousand people are affected currently.  Further negligence could make things worse.

In the meanwhile, Odisha's health minister has been criticized for his statement terming this 160 crore package as a Gift to the people of Western Odisha.  This is sheer politicization of such a sensitive issue.  Ranjan Panda has asked the Ministers to refrain from such statements.  In fact, the government's apathy is one of the major reasons for the cause of this epidemic in Sambalpur and the government officials must concentrate all their energies to fight this with help of local people, civil societies and others rather than engaging in petty political games.

A latest news coverage of the issue can be found at the following link, which also quotes Ranjan:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/patnaik-announces-measures-as-odisha-jaundice-cases-rise-114122400603_1.html

Merry Christmas Wishes!

Merry Christmas to All My Dear Friends!

Have a Great Time!!

God Bless You All...!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 24th December 2014!

Using the weapons of the enemy, no matter how good one’s intentions are, makes one the enemy…


Good Morning!

World’s Largest Tidal Energy Project in Scotland to light 175000 homes!

269 Sunken Turbines To Make Scotland Home To World’s Largest Tidal Farm

By ARI PHILLIPS

One of scotlands stunning North Atlantic beaches located in the northwest scottish Highlands.
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

The world’s largest tidal energy project, capable of powering nearly 175,000 homes in the U.K. with 400 megawatts of power, will break ground next month in northeast Scotland. Atlantis, majority owner of the MeyGen project, announced that its flagship project had met all the conditions required to start drawing down finance through the U.K.’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

The completed project will have 269 sunken turbines, according to Atlantis, which expects to have about 60 of these installed and delivering power by 2020.

In the announcement to investors, Atlantis said: “The major construction and supply contractors to this iconic project have commenced design, engineering and procurement works in readiness for commencement of onshore construction at the project site in Caithness in January 2015.”

Tim Cornelius, Chief Executive Officer of Atlantis, said that Lockheed Martin’s project-specific 1.5 megawatt turbines were scheduled to be delivered on time for construction purposes. In November, the MeyGen project was awarded the first-ever Navigator Award at the International Conference on Ocean Energy, in recognition of the “project’s significant contribution to global marine renewable industry.”

Scotland is trying hard to harness all forms of renewable energy as part of its goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity demand from renewables by 2020. The wind-rich country is home to around a quarter of Europe’s total offshore wind capacity. In October, the Scottish Government approved four huge new offshore wind farms that could produce more than 2.2 gigawatts of power, enough to power 1.4 million homes.

Atlantis is also working on tidal energy projects off the coast of Canada. The firm was recently awarded a Feed-in Tariff for up to 4.5 megawatts of tidal generation to be deployed at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia, Canada.

“We are delighted that the Nova Scotia Government has chosen to make this substantial award to Atlantis,” said Cornelius. “Having also reached financial close on the first phase of our MeyGen project in Scotland, we are building momentum on our projects around the world, realizing our goal of bringing cost-effective clean energy to market at commercial scale — on both sides of the Atlantic.”

However there are still many challenges ahead for the company and the tidal and wave power industries. Atlantis’ share price dipped on Friday, with the company saying it “knows of no trading or operational reason to warrant this change.”

The Scottish government is also struggling to support large wave energy companies, and has been accused of “pulling the rug” out from under at least two of these major companies as commercial success had yet to materialize.

In the wake of these recent wave power failings, Brian Wilson, U.K. energy minister between 2001 and 2003, wrote that “we should not give up on marine renewables” even if they are oversold to the public and overhyped for their benefits, making them almost guaranteed to disappoint.

“The same problems and challenges exist around the world. But for heaven’s sake, spare us the political hype and downright deceptions. If these technologies are ever going to deliver anything, it will be on the basis of technology — not the spin of politicians.”


Source: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/22/3606131/269-sunken-turbines-tidal-power-scotland/

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mahanadi Pollution Tweets: 10.30 am, 23rd Dec -


Why should the gupchup (golgappa) thelas be punished for the fault of administration? It is duty of the govt to provide clean water to these petty roadside vendors as well. If their food is unhygienic then what the food inspectors have been doing so far? Instead of asking the poor vendors to stop selling, govt must find out a way to make them sell hygienic food.

I am reminded of the incidence when farmers and common people demanded Hindalco's plant be stopped for sometime as it was unable to control pollution from it's smelter pots and fly ash dumps which had already taken a heavy toll. Then the administration made out all efforts to convince the people that no production should be stopped because it involves livelihood of the people. Ministers of the state government argued in TV debates, I was part of, for the company.


In case of the poor road side vendors, the livelihood issue does not count for the administration?

Good Morning Thought - 23rd December 2014!

There is music all around you.  What you have to do is listen...

Good Morning!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 21st December 2014!

Only the strongest and courageous have the power to accept the fact that death is inevitable...

Good Morning!
Have a Great Sunday!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

My little daughter's tribute to the children who died of terrorist attack in Peshawar, Pakistan!


When you wake me up for school,
when you help me hold the school bag,
when you let me get into the school van,
I remember the men holding the guns…

How I wish you wanted us to see Doremon and Pokemon, but not the Guns…

School, I thought, was a punishment,
each morning when you helped me ride the van,
the bag, the books, the classes; all a burden,
that’s until I meet my chirpy friends…

Schools too are meant for fun…

But Papa, why do we make guns?

(I have tried to draw a poem out of what my 11 year little angel Khushi talked with me last night, about the Peshawar incidence)

Good Morning Thought - 20th December 2014!

Tigers or crocodiles or similar predators kill the smaller species for their survival.  Man can kill almost everyone for greed.  But the books, written by man, describe the other predators as 'monsters'.  Man-ful volume of hypocrisy this!

Good Morning!
Have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 2014!

An acute crisis puts both you and your friends to a rigorous test.  That's the time when unreal friends leave you for reasons which make the real ones stay...

Good Morning!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 18th December 2014!

Everybody has the right to die, no one has the right to kill...

Good Morning!

Jaundice Update: Watch me live at Kanak TV tonite at 9 pm, 17th Dec 2014!

@ 9 pm tonite, I shall be in Kanak TV (Odia) for a live discussion on the jaundice epidemic in Sambalpur...

Time permitting, please watch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 17th December 2014!

Guns, hatred and violence are prerogatives of a weak and demonic mind; hence anti-peace...

Good Morning!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 16th December 2014!

The dog's chance is a small chance.  In a society that gets determined by the market and its competitions, the unfaithful prowls the fabrics of it...

Good Morning!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 15th December 2014!

Impetuous display of spending by a small section of people is creating an illusion of a healthy economy.  In reality creating a market culture for such creatures is alienating the majority from their basic rights and resources...

Good Morning!
Have a Great Start to a New Week!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday Thought for 14th December 2014, and earlier thoughts!

Each Smile you come across is a messenger of hope.  Each leaf, flower or fruit the tree gives is the same.  Smile back and spread hope on earth...

Good Morning!
Have a Great Sunday!

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If you are habituated in deriving happiness from possessing materials, the market is the best place to keep you dissatisfied by offering periodic doses of satisfaction.  It comes back to you with an updated product of what you have bought, even before you have explored the first one completely...

13th December, 2014

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My education is challenged each time I talk to the farmers, forest dwellers, fisherfolk and many such people whom our society calls illiterate and unaware.  In fact their knowledge and level of awareness surprises me more often than not...

12th December, 2014

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The mind hardly gets a holiday. The periods of joy, synonymous with the feeling of holidays, often fall prey to life's practicalities...

10th December, 2014

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Mankind has only one religion, that's humanity.  Rest what we see are formations of respective interest groups...

9th December, 2014

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Imagine the day when we have lost all our rivers and forests, what would be left for our security forces to defend?

8th December, 2014

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Earth's fate hangs between two types of people.  One, who are happy with what they have.  And another, who keep eyeing at what others have.  It survives as long as the first category dominates...

1st December, 2014

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A disaster is an accelerated entropy.  It often brings more prosperity to the rich in the name of rebuilding the poor's fate...

30th November, 2014

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What we are in is time's creation.  We are under a perfect illusion that we decide, while in reality we just executive time's designs...

29th November, 2014

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Your mind is the most agile, versatile and influential weighing machine...

28th November, 2014

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If you hard sell a piece of advise, you defeat the very purpose of it...

27th November, 2014

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Reconcile with nature as fast as you can, time is running out of our hands...

26th November, 2014

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Whenever you are hurt by someone's behaviour, evoking the child in you helps to recover fast, forgive and move on...

25th November, 2014

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Generosity is when a roadside tea seller happily pours a little extra into your cup without being asked for it...

24th November, 2014

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Our real bank is Mother Earth.  Conserve natural resources to prosper, destroy them to perish.  Choice is yours...

23rd November, 2014

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The time you spend with a kid can bring you moments of joy that truth alone gives.  It's godly...

22nd November, 2014

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Education that is not joyful for the child is no education at all.  Once in a while make your children bunk their classes to see for yourself how cheerful they become...

21st November, 2014

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Distress sale of paddy is Hirakud dam's failure each year!


The Hirakud dam was imposed on people of Sambalpur district in the 50s.  People were driven out of their homes at gun point and were never rehabilitated properly.  The planners, obsessed with big dams, kept justifying this as development by 'modern temples of India'.  Flood control, irrigation and electricity production were marketed as best bets for this development.  Flood control has miserably failed; electricity generation has also succumbed to pressure from industrial houses and the modern farmers - a bi-product of the canals - are forced into a continuous struggle to market their produces.  The people who were displaced could never get benefit of the modern canals and the ones who benefited could never benefit from the escalated farm produce.  Hirakud was, has been and will remain a failure for the people of this region...

At the moment thousands of farmers are facing numerous challenges to sell their paddy in the market yards.  The government machinery, despite promises made each year as part of the preparations, fails in helping the farmers.  As a result, the private mill owners' benefit and farmers face distress SALE...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Norway pledge takes Green Climate Fund nearer to 10 billion USD


At Peru on 5th Dec, the Norway government announced to provide NOK 1.6 billion (approximately US$ 258 million equivalent) to the Green Climate Fund over the next four years, bringing total pledges of contributions to the Fund to approximately US$ 9.95 billion equivalent. This amount, just shy of US$ 10 billion, includes all pledges and contributions made to the Fund since its establishment.

 A total of 22 countries have pledged to the Green Climate Fund, with Canada, Spain and Norway announcing increased pledges after the Fund’s first pledging conference that was held in Berlin on 20 November 2014.


The objective of the Green Climate Fund is to be one of the main channels for funding both mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries. This is crucial for ensuring sustainable growth and development in poor countries, which will often be most severely affected by climate change.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

WIO Update: Jaundice takes epidemic proportion in Sambalpur!

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) Update on Jaundice Epidemic in Sambalpur – 23rd November 2014

Jaundice is taking epidemic proportion in Sambalpur!


About 30 people are said to have died of jaundice in the city during the last six months; hundreds admitted in different hospitals at the moment…

Saving Mahanadi from pollution, correcting drinking water supply systems, initiating proper garbage and sewerage management, regulating unhygienic food and augmenting health facilities are urgently needed…

Sambalpur Municipality, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OPCB), Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) and Health Department have to share equal responsibility for this…

Jaundice, in the form of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E, is spreading in epidemic proportion in the Sambalpur city and peripheral areas.  While the health department officials are blaming contaminated water for this, the PHED is not taking the responsibility.  Reports from field sources point that hundreds of jaundice affected people are admitted in various hospitals and nursing homes at the moment.  Media reports are coming in claiming that at least 30 people have died due to jaundice in six months. 

Contaminated food and water are the main reasons for such forms of jaundice.  Industrial pollution may be another cause. 

Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted by the faecal-oral route that is when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. It can be food borne or waterborne.  Outbreaks of this disease, that directly affects the liver, is usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.  The Hepatitis E too is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water. It is usually a self-limiting infection and resolves within 4–6 weeks. Occasionally, a fulminant form of hepatitis develops (acute liver failure), which can lead to death. 

Drinking contaminated water and bathing in such water can lead to jaundice caused by these viruses.  Sambalpur has very old pipelines and many vulnerable points where the drain water – containing faecal sludge – can enter into the pipelines, making it the perfect grooming place for jaundice epidemic.

In June last year, our campaign’s citizen survey had revealed the disastrous state of our water bodies, Mahanadi and the sewerage management system.  It is time to remind what we had found out last year, as published in our factsheet:

A factsheet that was prepared based on the citizen’s survey of Mahanadi pollution revealed that Mahanadi is a heavily polluted stretch from Hirakud to Sambalpur.  Untreated polluted water gets drained into Mahanadi through at least 14 points between these two cities, that’s about a 15 kilometer stretch.  These drains bring in about 40 Million Litre of Sewage into the river besides about 100 Metric Tonne of solid waste that find way to Mahanadi in different ways.  While about 40 per cent of the Sambalpur city defecates in open, at least 10 thousand people defecate on the bank of the river itself.  This is a daily health disaster as about 30 thousand people take bath in the 50 odd ghats from Hirakud to Sambalpur. 

Despite of our regular warning the Sambalpur Municipality has miserably failed in managing the wastes and in creating sufficient public facilities to stop open defecation.  Similarly, the Pollution Control Board has also failed in in its job of controlling such contamination and pollution.  This can be termed criminal negligence.

There are also forms of jaundice that take place due to heavy industrial pollution from aluminium smelters and coal fired power plants which discharge their wastes directly into Mahanadi and other water bodies. There is an urgent need of taking up a detailed study of all the jaundice cases and find out the real reasons so that the menace can be controlled.  We have been urging upon the state government in this regard but it believes in the OPCB which is known for its lenience towards industrial houses of the state.  The pollution control board’s claims that industries are not discharging wasters into Mahanadi is completely false and ridden with vested interest.  What we need is independent investigations.

At this moment, all the above mentioned departments should step up their actions to control the jaundice from taking an epidemic proportion.  Strict regulations for street food vendors, cleaning of all contaminated water sources, arresting leakages in water supply pipelines and initiation of replacement of the old ones, proper treatment of the water being supplied, augmentation of the medical facilities in the city, increase in the public toilet facilities, monitoring of existing toilets including individual toilets, etc. are some of the steps the administration must initiate without further delay.

For further information, please contact:

Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)

Mobile: +91-9437050103
Email: ranjanpanda@gmail.com, waterinodisha@gmail.com
==============



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coal is too dangerous for pregnant women: an EHN story from India!

Coal's black wind: Pregnant women in parts of India advised to stay away


Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Much of India's coal comes from Jharia, in eastern India, where fires from opencast coal mines constantly smolder.
  Staff Writer
  Environmental Health News
Nov. 20, 2014
In some regions of India, a married woman will return to her mother’s house for the last trimester of pregnancy and the birth of her child. But in Mettur, pregnant women are advised by their doctors to stay away.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Children walk among smoldering coal fires in Jharia, India.
“Black wind” from a coal yard wafts constantly across poor neighborhoods, settling on rooftops, walking paths and even indoor furniture. People complain of asthma, wheezing and frequent colds.
In its bid to industrialize, India relies heavily on energy from coal. Accounting for 71 percent of India’s electricity, coal will remain a key player over the next decade, with 455 new plants proposed, according to energy experts.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Coal plants produce 71 percent of India's electricity.
The poor pay the highest cost of India’s dependence on coal, said Jennifer Wang of the nonprofit group Health Care Without Harm. Already burdened by chronic disease, poor nutrition and inadequate health care, they also are highly exposed to air and water pollution, she said.
Mettur and other industrial cities throughout India are now mobilizing to document coal's health impacts on their own residents in an effort to wring environmental protections from local politicians and world leaders.
Coal poses health risks in India at all stages – mining, transportation, storage and use:
♦ In Jharia, famous for its rich coal resources, 700,000 people are exposed to toxic smoke that seeps from the ground as fires from opencast coalmines burn around the clock. Residents suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis and skin problems.
♦ In Gujarat, on the west coast, fish catches plummeted after the construction of a massive 4,800-megawatt coal plant destroyed mangrove and creek ecosystems by discharging polluted water in the sensitive ecosystem.
♦ Mercury-laced ash from five mega power plants in the Singrauli district in central India is stored in piles five feet thick, polluting air, water and soil.
♦ In Mettur, in southern India, a coal yard where fuel is shipped in by rail and stored for a power plant and factories stands just 100 feet from some homes. Coal dust blows from the yard into neighboring communities. Air pollution levels are high.
Women in Mettur, a city of about 50,000 with a variety of heavy industries, are hit particularly hard. Doctors often recommend that pregnant women leave.
Gonur West Agriculturist Development Union
In Mettur, coal trains unload next to a low-income neighborhood.
About 1,500 mostly low-income households are within reach of the coal yard dust, said Shweta Narayan of Community Environmental Monitoring, an environmental justice group in India.
“Women are told not to have their babies here. The pollution affects not only their daily lives, but their culture,” Narayan said.
“Women are told not to have their babies here. The pollution affects not only their daily lives, but their culture.” Shweta Narayan, Community Environmental Monitoring, India  A 2010 analysis by Narayan's group found that airborne particles in Mettur were three to four times higher than the World Health Organization’s pollution guidelines. Worldwide, these tiny particles have been linked to increased deaths from lung and cardiovascular disease. Air quality measurements also suggest that Mettur’s air contains metal particles, such as manganese and nickel, which could harm child brain development.
Parents complain that their children are always sick. Kids often miss school due to wheezing. But complaints about sickness are largely anecdotal. Scientific analysis of the health impacts of coal pollution is lacking in Mettur and other communities.
“The health aspect has been largely ignored in India’s energy policy framing,” Narayan said.
Much of the evidence of health effects from coal pollution comes from the United States or Western Europe, which are much cleaner.
Amritraj Stephen/Community Environmental Monitoring
Coal plants have contaminated water and fish in some parts of India.
“There’s a lack of research regarding long-term exposure to air pollution in some of the world’s most polluted places, including India,” said Aaron Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Health Effects Institute in Boston.
“There’s a lack of research regarding long-term exposure to air pollution in some of the world’s most polluted places, including India.” Aaron Cohen, Health Effects Institute, Boston   An estimated 627,000 Indians die prematurely each year from outdoor air pollution, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease project. A 2012 Greenpeace India report estimated that about 20 percent of premature deaths and more than 20 million asthma cases each year could be attributed to coal pollution.
Next year, the nonprofit Community Environmental Monitoring will begin to screen people near the coal yard for asthma and other lung problems. They’ll also look for other effects in the women because “pollution manifests itself in different forms, including stress and anxiety,” Narayan said.
“Do we need more research to act? No. We know the immediate health effects from generating energy this way and the long-term effects from climate change,” said Dr. Peter Orris, director of the Global Toxics Policy Program at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. “But how do you convince local policy makers to take action? People need to feel a connection.”
Many of India's coal plants and mines are government-run.
In some ways, energy regulations to curtail fossil fuel burning may be an easier sell in developing countries than in the United States, said Rachel Cleetus, senior economist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Carbon reduction efforts, such the landmark deal struck this week between the United States and China, are viewed largely as climate-change policies.
Growing concern over polluted air and water in China and India is more immediate. “Air and water pollution may be of concern to us, but to them it’s becoming a public health crisis,” Cleetus said.
The health costs associated with coal-fired power stations cost the European Union about 53 billion U.S. dollars each year, according to a report by the Health and Environment Alliance. No such economic analysis exists for India.
“Coal tends to look cheap when health and environmental costs aren’t taken into account. There is a huge need for monetizing the public health costs, especially in developing countries,” Cleetus said.
Looking to China, Cohen said, “it’s hard to argue that economic development there, in which coal has certainly played a role, hasn’t had significant beneficial effects on poverty reduction and population health. But it’s becoming evident that high levels of air pollution from coal burning and other sources is having an adverse effect on population health and life expectancy and is now an obstacle to continued development.”
Nevertheless, the energy landscape is beginning to change. China and India are the fastest growing markets in the world for wind and solar, Cleetus said.
“It’s not that old static picture anymore that coal is king,” she said. “We see that being challenged both in the U.S. and abroad.”
Source: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2014/nov/coal-and-health-in-india

Coal Ministry seeks Public Comments on Draft of rules under Coal Mines Special Provision Ordinance 2014!

FYI:

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan

Coal Ministry Places in Public Domain Draft Rules for Auction or Allocation of 204 Coal Blocks Cancelled by Hon’ble Supreme Court

Comments & Suggestions can be Sent by Email Till 24th November

           In order to implement provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 promulgated on 21.10.2014 , the Ministry of Coal has today placed in public domain the draft Rules namely Coal Mines (Special Provisions)Rules, 2014 . 

Public can send in their comments to the following email by 9 AM on 24th November 2014.


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Please links to relevant documents.  



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Morning Thought - 20th November 2014!

Sharing others' pain increases your own strength against life's challenges...


Good Morning!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thought on World Toilet Day 2014!


Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

Greetings on World Toilet Day 2015!

India’s real toilet story neither starts with a toilet, nor ends with it.  Millions are mere statistical owners of toilets and don’t actually use it, while millions who use don’t know they are adding to more filth.  Faecal sludge discharged from most of our toilets end up polluting our Rivers and Water Bodies and thus add up to the already poor sanitation condition of India.

India has rightly geared up for a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) but it should move beyond sweeping streets and creating photo-ops for people.  The opportunity should now be created for the ‘real sanitation’ to take place. 

This World Toilet Day, I would once again like to share with you an article (pasted below) that was written last year on this day.  The message is still relevant.

Look forward to your support in saving our Rivers and Water Bodies and make India truly a ‘Swachh Bharat’…

Thanks and regards,

Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Waterkeeper Alliance)
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, India

Cell: +91-9470-50103

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader
Tweet @ranjanpanda


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BLOG : Sanitation Is Not About Toilets Alone

By RANJAN PANDA *
article-2280168-17A4F09B000005DC-834_634x423
World Toilet Day is approaching and we already see a lot of action, starting from the local to the global level, asking people to build and use toilets. It is commonly believed that the more the number of persons with toilets, the more the sanitised a habitation is.
This is not only a very narrow approach to sanitation but also leaves a lot of scope for the organisations responsible to ensure sanitation to shirk their other important duties that include management of various forms of wastes, including septage and garbage. Urban areas, which supposedly have more toilets than the rural areas, need to seriously ponder around ‘integrated sanitation’ rather than just toilets.
India should be ashamed of the sanitation situation prevailing in the country. The Census 2011 figures pointed out that half the households in the country do not have toilets as yet. Other independent estimates put the figure at as high as two thirds. Urban slums, in particular, have very limited or no access to sanitation services.
One in six urban Indians is a slum dweller and most of them do not have any sanitation facilities. What is important to note is that urban India is simply not capable of managing the wastes it generates. Conservative estimates suggest that over eighty per cent of municipal solid waste across five thousand plus towns (approximately 42 million tonnes per annum) is currently disposed of in a haphazard manner without following the rules of the land.
Urban Odisha, floating on wastes
Odisha is no different. Though the share of urban dwellers in the state’s population is still only about 16.68 per cent, the wastes these habitations generate are becoming a huge problem for rivers, water bodies, farm fields and the ecology at large. It’s not merely because we don’t have toilets, but also because we have failed miserably in managing sanitation. While the poor don’t have toilets, others are in need of proper drainage, garbage and sewerage management systems
A little more than 35% of urban households in the state do not have toilets, Census 2011 reveals. This is the second highest in the nation. It is estimated that at least one third of the urban people in the state defecates in the open. This, however, does not mean that the rest are sanitised households. Toilets connected to sewer lines would not constitute even 10 per cent of the total number of toilets in urban Odisha. Forty five per cent of households apparently have septic tanks.
Ranjan Panda
Ranjan Panda
However, field visits to cities suggest that not even half of these are proper septic tanks. None of the municipalities and NACs in the state is sufficiently equipped to clean septic tanks. As such, the sludge cleaned is disposed of at just about any place that the vehicles find convenient. It could be the side of a road, surface water bodies, rivers, farm fields and so on. Urban waste has also started encroaching into the nearby rural areas.
Our policy planners and the educated urban population believe that ‘open defecation’ is a shame and mars the aesthetics of the city. However, they never question where the sludge from their toilets goes. Each city of the state still has manual scavengers. Surprisingly, that is still not considered a shame.
Sanitation also means clean rivers and water bodies
Besides open defecation on river banks and surface water bodies, drain and sewer water also pollutes our rivers and water bodies. In turn, they create unhygienic conditions for city dwellers and the local environment. This is a silent killer.
Consider the capital city, which does not have an adequate drainage system. Closed drains cover a 103 sq. km area running through a little over 37 km. The majority of the system consists of open and natural drains. All natural streams and waterways have been converted into drains. The city has no proper sewerage treatment plant. The collected sewage is treated in three oxidation ponds and three aerated lagoons at different locations. However, these systems are in a shambles and are mostly non-functional. They merely function as flow through systems. Even if they were functional, they could treat less than half the total sewage generated in the city.
Bhubaneswar at present generates more than 200 MLD of sewage per day and almost all of it finds its way into the Gangua Nullah, Daya River and Mahanadi.
Cuttack, the other major city, is infamous as the city of drains. The city generates about 172 MLD of sewage, most of which goes to pollute Mahanadi and Kathajodi rivers.
We conducted a citizen’s survey in Sambalpur city and found that untreated polluted water gets drained into Mahanadi through at least 14 points between Hirakud and Sambalpur which is about a 15 kilometre stretch. These drains bring in about 40 Million litres of sewage into the river, besides about 100 tonnes of solid waste that find their way to Mahanadi in different ways.
While about 40 per cent of the Sambalpur city population defecates in the open, at least 10 thousand people defecate on the bank of the river itself. This is a daily health disaster as about 30 thousand people take bath in the 50 odd ghats from Hirakud to Sambalpur. The situation is the same in almost all the cities of the state.
The time has come to look into sanitation beyond just toilets. Toilets are necessary; but more than that, we need responsible and accountable municipalities and governments that plan integrated sanitation systems.
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* The author, popularly known as Water Man of Odisha, is a leading water expert of the nation. He convenes a network called ‘Water Initiatives Odisha’ and can be contacted at ranjanpanda@gmail.com

Good Morning Thought - 19th November 2014!

We are a landscape of what we have gone through...


Good Morning!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

India's 10 famous bird habitats in serious threat: Do only humans have the right to survive!


India's 10 famous bird habitats in serious danger, says study
Sunday, 16 November 2014 - 4:46pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI








    Unsustainable developmental policies and rising insensitivity towards nature have put "in serious danger" at least 10 of the country's famous bird habitats including Gujarat's Flamingo City, a new study says.
    Conservation society Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said that its recent findings clearly show that at least 10 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) - as they are now called globally – are in serious danger of being lost forever.
    BNHS studies and monitoring across the country have shown that the IBAs including Kutch's famous Flamingo City, Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Solapur-Ahmednagar of Maharashtra and Sewri-Mahul Creek in Mumbai are among the most threatened habitats in the country. Flamingo City is possibly the only breeding ground of the migratory bird in a great magnitude in Asia.
    The scattered grassland plots of the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary are home to the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. Their population at the sanctuary has plummeted from 27 birds in 2006 to 12 in 2012 and a mere three birds in 2013.
    The other bird habitats which are in grave danger of losing tree cover include Sailana Kharmor Sanctuary in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh; Tillangchong in Andaman-Nicobar; Dihaila Jheel and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh; Basai in Gurgaon, Haryana; Sardarpur Florican Sanctuary in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh and Ranebennur in Haveri, Karnataka. "Many other IBAs, although not on this list, are also threatened by various types of unsustainable human interference," says the new research titled "IBAs in Danger" by BNHS and its global partner BirdLife International.
    According to it, destruction or disturbance due to infrastructure development, wrong anti-people conservation policies, indiscriminate livestock grazing, industrial and sewage pollution, indiscriminate agricultural expansion including use of pesticides, rapid urbanisation and poaching are some of the major reasons behind the loss of biodiversity and habitat in these and other areas.
    "Unfortunately in India, nearly 50 per cent of the IBAs are not getting any sort of official recognition from the government agencies," said Raju Kasambe, Project Manager of BNHS' IBA Programme.
    "Our future generations will never pardon us for destroying the important habitats of birds in such a callous manner," he said. 
    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-india-s10-famous-bird-habitats-in-serious-danger-says-study-2035592