Three men were detained on 5 April 2010 for dumping garbage in a river that caused massive tap water pollution in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, the Environment Protection Agency quoted police. The men admitted to have dumped four tonnes of solid wastes in Baimu River, source of drinking water for Chengdu city.
Tap water supply to parts of Chengdu was turned off for hours Friday noon after the pollution incident took place. Water supply resumed at 11 p.m. the same day. The garbage was fished up by Saturday morning. Tests in the past several days indicated the water in Baimu river is safe, a spokesman with Chengdu water resources department said.
Source: Sichuan Environment Protection Agency media news, 6 Apr. 2010
Iyer, R.R. (ed.) (2009). Water and the laws in India. New Delhi, India, Sage India. 676 p.
Price: INR 995 / US$ 25
Laws relating to water in India have diverse origins, including ancient local customs and the British Common Law. The in-depth chapters in this compendium pertain to issues on water – water-resource policy, management, conservation, conflict-resolution etc. – and proceed to a discussion of the legal questions that arise. The book also briefly raises and explores the case for a constitutional declaration on water and an overarching national water law.
While most of the chapters focus on water resources legislation, some also deal with issues related to the drinking water sector:
- The Human Right to Water: Policies and Rights by Upendra Baxi
- Community Engagement in Water Governance by M. S. Vani
- Water Use: Legal and Institutional Framework by K. J. Joy and Suhas Paranjape
- Drinking Water Supply: Right and Obligation by K.C. Sivaramakrishnan
- Water, Women and Rights by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
- Water Pollution and Contamination by Paritosh C. Tyagi
The overall city sanitation picture in Asia is not bright. Sanitation has not been given sufficient priority and certainly lags behind provision of drinking water. This is one of the findings of a survey of 27 cities published by the Asian Development Bank in the “Asian sanitation data book 2008“.
The first data book on sanitation for the Asia and Pacific region, this book features raw data and analyses on the sanitation situation in 27 cities. The cities are members of CITYNET and participants in the Water for Asian Cities Program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
Of the 27 cities, 1 is in Bangladesh, 3 are in the People’s Republic of China, 4 are in India, 1 in Indonesia, 3 in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), 5 in Nepal, 3 are in the Philippines, 2 in Sri Lanka, and 5 in Viet Nam
Although the information collected was not complete for all cities, the book draws a number of conclusions from the data.
Based on the survey, the key findings are the following:
- Lack of sanitation and household wastewater treatment facilities is polluting ground and surface waters.
- Sustaining public health is an expected outcome of having adequate sanitation, but over half of the cities were unable to report key health statistics. Those that did reveal increasing diarrheal cases when the share of household wastewater increases.
- Far too many cities still have incidences of open defecation (ranging from 10%–40%) and sanitation coverage depends on private householders investing in toilets and septic tank systems.
- Although almost all cities are aware of their sanitation problems, only 40% of responding cities have sanitation plans, and few were able to provide information on capital expenditure and operations and maintenance costs.
- Most cities that provide sanitation services rely on government funding to pay for capital and operating costs, with only 10% indicating that sanitation fees and charges can cover their costs.
- Multiple agencies have responsibilities for some aspects of sanitation. However, local government seems to be the primary organization. These organizations were operating under at least several national laws and one local law. These institutional arrangements may frustrate action and reduce accountability.
The findings, despite qualifications about data quality, point to several priority actions that government and other stakeholders need to undertake:
- Initiate city sanitation plans, including setting targets for sanitation outcomes and coverage.
- Simplify institutional arrangements to strengthen accountability and avoid multiple-agency involvement that can cause delays in taking action; set in place a coordinating mechanism.
- Review operation and maintenance expenditures and cost recovery policies to ensure sanitation providers can sustain operations and extend services.
- Improve sanitation benchmark indicators and set in place a sanitation information management system that will be regularly updated to help planners and decision makers make investment and operations decisions.
- As significant investment is needed, consider sourcing funds from beyond government sources—such as the private sector and user fees, and other revenue-generating mechanisms.
ADB (2009). Asian sanitation data book 2008 : achieving sanitation for all. Manila, Philippines, Asian Development Bank. x, 134 p. : 2 fig., 27 tab. ISBN 978-971-561-808-3
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Posted in Bangladesh, China, Financing, Governance, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, On-site sanitation, Philippines, Publications, Sewerage, Sri Lanka, Urban WASH, Viet Nam, Wastewater treatment, Water supply
Tagged finance, local support, sanitation coverage, urban sanitation, water pollution, water security
Protests drawing up to 10,000 people flared in eastern China over a powerful stench from a sewage treatment plant with 10 people hurt in clashes, residents and a human rights monitor said [on 1 September 2009].
The demonstration occurred Monday [31 August 2009] when angry villagers from Fujian province’s Fengwei town [Quanzhou city] confronted 2,000 riot police over a wastewater treatment plant that had fouled local air and water, Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
At least 10 people were injured [...] the center said, [adding that] two police cars were smashed and protesters took several government officials and factory workers hostage.
A statement by the local Communist Party’s propaganda department acknowledged the protests, saying when workers prepared to enter the factory they were obstructed by villagers.
[A] report by the state-run Straits Metropolitan News [...] also described the hostage-taking and clashes, but said only about 200 protesters were involved. “A small number of people took advantage of the situation to cause trouble, damaging and smashing equipment,” it said, citing information from the city government.
The wastewater treatment plant had a problem that sent a major stench through the area on Aug. 19 , the statement said. Villagers protested over several days, but the biggest demonstration came [on 31 Aug. 2009]. One resident [...] said the stench was unbearable. “People would puke or faint when they smell it.”
Mass protests over pollution and other environmental problems occur regularly throughout China.
Source: AP / Google News, 01 Sep 2009 ; AFP / Google News, 01 Sep 2009
Conference of the Research Committee 24 on Environment and Society of the International Sociological Association (ISA-RC24), organised by S.R.K. (P.G.) College, Agra University.
- Pollution of water bodies and sanitation
- Ecological, economic, and social dimensions
- Environment and energy
- Water for rural development
- Water and social health
- Private sector participation in water services
- Water politics, law, and public apathy
- Economics of water resources projects
- Climate change and water
- Disasters and water
- Ground water level and water management
- Water pollution and rivers
Abstract deadline: 31 May 2009
Contact: Dr U.S.Pandey, Deptt.of Sociology, S.R.K. (P.G.) College Firozabad (U.P.) India-283203, Mob: 919412562191, Fax: 91 5612 233040, E-Mail: us_pandey123 [at] yahoo.com, website : http://www.environment-societyisa.org
Click Here for an invitation for the Conference.
Click Here for a registration form for the Conference.
Villagers in Tak’s Mae Sot district whose lives have been devastated by cadmium contamination are taking court action to demand total compensation of 3.7 billion baht [US$ 107 million].
In civil suits filed [on 19 Jan 2009] against two mining firms, the 1,037 plaintiffs from tambons Mae Tao, Mae Ku and Prathat Pha Daeng accused Padaeng Industry Plc and Tak Mining Co of contaminating soil and water supplies with cadmium while mining zinc in the area.
The villagers said they had developed severe health problems, including renal failure and other kidney diseases, because of the dangerously high levels of cadmium in their blood.
[...] The Mae Tao saga began in 2004 when a study by the International Water Management Institute found that soil and water supplies in the Huay Mae Tao and Huay Mae Ku areas in Mae Sot district were heavily polluted with cadmium.
The contaminated area covered 13,200 rai, including paddy fields, plantations, waterways and residential areas. The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Pollution Control Department later confirmed the cadmium contamination, but none of the agencies could confirm the source of the pollution.
[...] Padaeng Industry has repeatedly denied that its zinc mining had caused the contamination and has come up with development projects to help the affected villagers.
[In Feb 2009] the villagers will file an administrative charge against the Land Development and Primary Industries and Mining departments accusing them of negligence in dealing with the problem.
Source: Bangkok Post / IWMI, 20 Jan 2009
UK company Global Coal Management Resources’ (GCM) plans to build an open-cast coal mine in Phulbari, north-west Bangladesh appeared in jeopardy after a UK government minister withdrew official support for the project. If built the mine would take away the land of more than 40,000 people, and compromise the water supply of a further 100,000, says the World Development Movement (WDM) which has been campaigning against the open mine.
Since the start of 2008, the Asian Development Bank, Barclays and RBS have all withdrawn from investing in the project. However in April 2008 a parliamentary answer revealed UK government support for the project.
[...] On the 18th of November 2008, WDM finally received a response from Gareth Thomas, revealing a different approach to the mine:
“UKTI is not currently actively supporting GCM’s proposed project in Bangladesh”
He goes on to mention that “The British Government is committed to encouraging businesses to operate responsibly”
WDM [says it] welcomes the change in position, but will continue to monitor the situation to make sure there is no future UK government lobbying on behalf of GCM.
Read more: WDM, 19 Dec 2008
Kochi: The Kerala government will form an expert panel to study demands for compensation by residents of Plachimada village in Palakkad district for the damage done by pollution allegedly caused by a Coca-Cola Co. plant, the state’s minister for water resources N.K. Premachandran said.
The Kerala Ground Water Authority (KGWA) [...] said it found sufficient grounds in the claim of the residents that the plant was depleting groundwater, polluting water bodies, and mishandling toxic waste. KGWA recommended the formation of an expert committee as the issues went beyond groundwater extraction.
The Kerala State Pollution Control Board had in March 2004 ordered the company to shut down its bottling unit at Plachimada following protests by locals.
Read more: Ajayan, Livemint.com, 16 Oct 2008
The Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Limited has in a statement said that the allegations of excessive usage of groundwater by the company is baseless. This has been substantiated by studies conducted by all expert bodies, it added.
Most of the studies by the expert bodies are in public domain and have also been considered by the Kerala High Court in arriving at its conclusion that there is ‘’no evidence to attribute water scarcity in the area to the operations of the Coca-Cola plant”.
The company stated that it had cooperated with all scientific studies in the past and are open for further studies by experts.
Read more: Expressbuzz.com, 16 Oct 2008
A Tambe, P.V. … [et al.] (2008). Community-based bacteriological study of quality of drinking-water and its feedback to a rural community in Western Maharashtra, India. Journal of health, population and nutrition ; vol. 26, no. 2 ; p. 139 – 150. Download here
A longitudinal study of the bacteriological quality of rural water supplies was undertaken for a movement towards self-help against diseases, such as diarrhoea, and improved water management through increased community participation. Three hundred and thirteen water samples from different sources, such as well, tank, community standpost, handpumps, percolation lakes, and streams, and from households were collected from six villages in Maharashtra, India, over a one-year period. Overall, 49.8% of the 313 samples were polluted, whereas 45.9% of the samples from piped water supply were polluted. The quality of groundwater was generally good compared to open wells. Irregular and/or inadequate treatment of water, lack of drainage systems, and domestic washing near the wells led to deterioration in the quality of water. No major diarrhoeal epidemics were recorded during the study, although a few sporadic cases were noted during the rainy season. As a result of a continuous feedback of bacteriological findings to the community, perceptions of the people changed with time. An increased awareness was observed through active participation of the people cutting across age-groups and different socioeconomic strata of the society in village activities.
Contact: Dr. Nerges F. Mistry, Foundation for Medical Research, Mumbai 400 018, India, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Fax: (+91 22) 2493 2876
On August 22, 2008, the New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) initiated a programme in the Bandi river basin in Pali-a textile town in Rajasthan to empower local communities to monitor water pollution. Under this programme local communities will monitor and test the water from the effluent treatment plant outlets, river and groundwater. The scientific data generated during the programme will be used for advocacy to bring about change in the pollution management strategies in the river basin. At present, the local communities are neither involved in monitoring nor have access to data on pollution.