Latest issue on environment, international conferences held, agenda, points discussed and action plan ahead
COPENHAGEN Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban area with a population of 1,167,569 (2009). Location Copenhagen has repeatedly been of recognized as one of the cities with the Copenhag best quality of life and in 2008 it was en in singled out as the Most Liveable City in Denmark the World by international lifestyle magazine Monocle on their Top 25 Most Liveable Cities 2008 list. It is also considered one of the worlds most environmentally friendly cities with the water in the inner harbour being so clean that it can be used for swimming and 36 % of all citizens commuting to work by bicycle, every day bicycling a total 1.1 million km.
What is the Copenhagen Earth Summit?What is the Copenhagen Earth Summit? From December 7 2009 environment ministers and officials will meet in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate conference to thrash out a successor to the Kyoto protocol. The conference, held at the modern Bella Centre, will run for two weeks. The talks are the latest in an annual series of UN meetings that trace their origins to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which aimed at coordinating international action against climate change.
Kyoto Protocol Adopted for use in 2005, The Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that established legally binding guidelines for the reduction of four greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and the gas groups of hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. Industrialized countries that ratified, or “agreed to”, the protocol committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% over 1990’s emission rate. As of January 2009, there were 183 participating countries working to reduce their emissions.
MAJOR PLAYERS Representatives of 192 countries meet in one of the most widely anticipated international conferences in Copenhagen. Main Players from the developing countries were India, China and the developed countries were the European and American Countries.
The Summit Agenda Implementing low carbon solution Low carbon competitiveness Business strategies on climate change
Key elements of CopenhagenAccord An inspirational goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius; A process for countries to enter their specific mitigation pledges by January 31, 2010; broad terms for the reporting and verification of countries’ actions; A collective commitment by developed countries for $30 billion in “new and additional” resources in 2010-2012 to help developing countries reduce emissions, preserve forests, and adapt to climate change; The accord also calls for the establishment of a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, a High Level Panel to examine ways of meeting the 2020 finance goal, a new Technology Mechanism, and a mechanism to channel incentives for reduced deforestation.
Reactions Governmental US - "Weve come a long way but we have much further to go.“ UK - "We have made a start but that the agreement needed to become legally binding quickly. And accused a small number of nations of holding the Copenhagen talks to ransom. China- "The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy.“ India- "We can be satisfied that we were able to get our way"
Reactions Non-Governmental "good but not adequate.“ "an abject failure". "effectively signed a death warrant for many of the worlds poorest children.” "The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight. There are too few politicians in this world capable of looking beyond the horizon of their own narrow self-interest".
AnalysisDespite widely held expectations that theCopenhagen summit would produce a legally bindingtreaty, the conference was plagued by negotiatingdeadlock and the resulting "Copenhagen Accord" isnot legally enforceable.Failures were blamed on Developed as well asDeveloping Countries
Purity and Impurity Pure things: Ganga, saints, gold, Brahmans, ritual implements impure things: bodily substances, dead bodies, menstrual blood, birth, death, leather, hair
Gandagi pan spit, excrement dirty wastewater drains and solid waste soap from bathing and washing bad business Moral degeneracy in the Kali Yuga
Can religious groups and institutionshelp? Create public awareness Mobilize sentiment toward specific goals Put pressure on agencies controlling water and wastewater management Maintain a public appreciation for and worship of rivers Connect the study of ecology, hydrology and water resources to fundamental values, beliefs and worldviews
RIVER ACTION PLAN• CPCB identified polluted water bodies, which leads to formulation of action plan for restoration of the water body.• Based on CPCB’s Recommendations, Ganga Action Plan was launched in 1986 to restore the WQ of the Ganga by interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater from 27 cities/towns located along the river.• Based on the experience gained during implementation of the Ganga Action Plan, Govt of India extends river cleaning programme to other rivers and lakes.
Objective of Ganga Action Plan Phase IAt the time of launching the main objective of GAP was toimprove the water quality of Ganga to acceptable standardsby preventing the pollution load reaching the river. However, asdecided in a meeting of the Monitoring Committee inJune, 1987, under the Chairmanship of Prof. M.G.K.Menon, then Member, Planning Commission, the objective ofGAP was recast as restoring the river water quality to theBathing Class standard which is as follows: Bio-Chemical Oxygen 3 mg/l maximum Demand Dissolved Oxygen 5 mg/l minimum Total Coliform 10,000 per 100 ml Faecal Coliform 25,00 per 100 ml
Objective of Water Quality Monitoring# For rational planning of pollution control strategies and their prioritisation;# To assess nature and extent of pollution control needed in different water bodies or their part;# To evaluate effectiveness of pollution control measures already in existence;# To evaluate water quality trend over a period of time;# To assess assimilative capacity of a water body thereby reducing cost on pollution control;# To understand the environmental fate of different pollutants.# To assess the fitness of water for different uses.
The Sankat Mochan Foundation, Varanasi, India (SMF) Founded in 1982 and working as a catalyst agent to arouse interest in cleaning Ganga, SMF drew the attention of the Government Of India. In response, the Government created the Central Ganga Authority (CGA) and the Ganga Project Directorate (GPA) in 1985. In 1986, the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was launched to clean the Ganga River in Varanasi and other important cities. A total of about 4oo crores Rs. (out of which 50 crores were spent in Varanasi) had been spent to intercept and divert the sewage coming into the river, to treat the sewage, and to create a distribution system to allow the treated sewage to be used by farmers for agricultural purposes
Salient features of the SMF proposal for the GAP phase II include: A pond system (AIWPS); a total interception and diversion of the sewage currently flowing into the Ganges using a watertight interceptor running parallel to the river. This interceptor would use no electricity-dependent pumps and would depend on gravity for sewage removal to completely bypass the religious bathing areas. The proposed sewage treatment system described by the SMF is technically appropriate and is already working effectively. SMF needs to be able to support the needed technical work to fully formulate the construction plans for the sewage collection and treatment systems. There is much to be done, but success is definitely in sight.
Govt to take IITs’ help in effort to clean up Ganga : India has turned to seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to help it prepare a plan to clean the Ganga. The move comes after the government has failed to do so after spending around Rs 900 crore over 25 years through the Ganga Action Plan. The joint committee comprising representatives from the IITs at Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee will submit their first plan to the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) . Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister, said the situation would have been worse without GAP and added that the “involvement of the IITs is a good step for the Ganga and all other river conservation (efforts) in the future.” IIT-Kanpur will co-ordinate the effort, monitor progress of the plan and help set up a project management board and project implementation and coordination committee, according to the agreement between the ministry and the IITs (both in Uttarakhand) has been shelved
Unfortunately, the GAP was monopolized by thebureaucracy and there was no room for citizens or the SMFto participate effectively in implementation of the GAP.With support received from SBI and SNF, the SMF set up afirst class water quality testing lab at Tulsi Ghat on thebanks of the Ganga in Varanasi and started monitoring theriver’s water quality, the quality of treated effluent comingout of the sewage treatment plant, and the overallperformance of the GAP.
International Conference on Rivers, KumbhaMela 2001
New initiative seeks to protect river : In November 2010, the government declared the Ganges a national river and established the Ganga River Basin Authority to protect the river. This new initiative comes a quarter of a century after the first "Clean Ganga Campaign" began. The government says its plan replaces older piecemeal efforts with an integrated approach that looks at both the quantity and the quality of the water flow. Now the government of India has considered Ganga Mya as a national river. We are giving thanks to them after 50 years Ganga is a matter of pride for all the Ganga putras.”
National River Conservation Directorate The Central Ganga Authority, established in 1985 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, lays down the policies for works to be taken up under the Ganga Action Plan. With the approval of the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) in July 1995, the Central Ganga Authority has been redesignated as the NATIONAL RIVER CONSERVATION DIRECTORATE (NRCD). The NRCD coordinates the implementation of the schemes under the Ganga and other Action Plans.
Impact of Schemes on Health The efficacy of the schemes taken up under the Ganga Action Plan in the towns of Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Nabadweep (West Bengal) was evaluated for the effects on the health of the people particularly those who were directly affected by Ganga water. All India Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, Calcutta along with NEERI, Nagpur carried out studies in these towns. The studies revealed that as the projects under GAP were being completed there was a decreasing trend in the incidence of water borne diseases. However, in case of sewage farm workers handling untreated sewage, there was prevalence of diarrhea, helminthic infection, skin diseases and respiratory tract infection.
Limitations of Monitoring Programme Problems in data validation due to fluctuation in water quality. Flow in many rivers dwindles due to short period of monsoon. Environmental flows are not maintained, hence only urban wastewater flows in the rivers after major abstraction points. Removal of outliers during validation of data may devoid valuable information related to flushing of Industrial effluents responsible for episodal pollution and fish kill. Need of software for processing, validation/trend analyses and format data storage. Priorities for water quality management varies widely from developed countries to developing countries.
Constraints in Maintaining the Network Sustainability of infrastructure and maintenance of instruments and equipments. Financial as well as Manpower resources are inadequate and reducing due to policy shift. Travel to long distances for monitoring and preservation of samples in warm weather conditions adversely affect the results. Analysis results needs in-depth validation and repeated interaction with laboratories. Improper reporting of units, variation in analysis methods and quality control of chemicals are cause of concern. Lack of training for laboratory and field staff. Lack of software to analyse the data for trend analyses and data validation.
Problem areas (Iyer) forecasts of water scarcity, food insecurity; drought-prone areas, arid zones, and other water-short areas flood-related damages and loss bitter and divisive inter-State river-water disputes and ineffectiveness of the constitutional conflict-resolution mechanism unresolved issues relating to rivers with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh acute water conflicts between users (agriculture / industry/ drinking water) and between areas (rural / urban) difficulties meeting UN Millenium Development Goals for safe drinking water and sanitation facilities depletion of groundwater aquifers shrinking of wetlands pollution and contamination of water sources overall waste of water uncertainties arising from predictions of climate change
Exploitation The principal sources of pollution of the Ganga River can be characterised as follows: Domestic and industrial wastes. It has been estimated that about 1.4 × 106 m3 d-1 of domestic wastewater and 0.26 × 106 m3 d-1 of industrial sewage are going into the river. Solid garbage thrown directly into the river. Non-point sources of pollution from agricultural run-off containing residues of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Animal carcasses and half-burned and unburned human corpses thrown into the river. Defecation on the banks by the low-income people. Mass bathing and ritualistic practices.
The Action PlanIt was realised that comprehensive co-ordinated researchwould have to be conducted on the following aspects of Ganga:• The sources and nature of the pollution.• A more rational plan for the use of the resources of the Ganga for agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, forests, etc.• The demographic, cultural and human settlements on the banks of the river.• The possible revival of the inland water transport facilities of the Ganga, together with the tributaries and distributaries.
Strategies Industrial waste Integrated improvements of urban environments Public Participation Technology option Operation and maintenance Implementation problems River Water Quality Management
Conclusion The GAP is a successful example of timely action due to environmental awareness at the governmental level. Lessons learned poor resource recovery due to poor resource generation, the need for control of pathogenic contamination in treated effluent