Friday, March 30, 2007

a press release from river research center, kerala which is leading the people struggle against the ill fated proposed athirapally hydel dam.

our fake development juggernaut wont stop until it eats up all of india's natural resources and even then it wont stop because when development becomes mindless, there is no stopping the destruction.

Press Release 29rd March, 2007

National Level Conservation Organisations Call for
Fresh Consideration of
Athirappilly Hydroelectric Project

A meeting convened jointly by WWF-India and River Research Centre, Kerala, at New Delhi on the issues raised over the proposed Athirappilly Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Chalakudy River Basin, Kerala, called for immediate stay on the present Environmental Clearance (EC) under consideration by the Expert Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India.

The 163 MW proposed Athirappilly HEP planned in the Vazhachal Forest Division is the seventh Hydro Electric Project in the Chalakudy River Basin. Given the consistent violations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 1994 by the Kerala State Electricity Board with regard to the proposed project and in light of the significant gaps in the assessment of the costs, benefits, impacts and options of the project, organizations felt that the project should be considered afresh. The EIA report had not considered the impact on the sensitive ecology and unique biodiversity of the area. The report grossly underestimates the avian and fish biodiversity of the region which has been declared an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International and recommended for a Fish Sanctuary by National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources. Two High Court judgments have also rejected the Environmental Clearance, whereas in the court-ordered public hearings, the people have unanimously rejected the project and project authorities have yet to fully implement the High Court order.

Repeated requests have been made by affected local communities for a hearing before the River Valley Expert Committee has gone in vain. There has been no response to these requests. Concern over the unwillingness of the MoEF to give an opportunity for project affected communities was also raised in the meeting. It was felt that the MoEF should be more open and transparent and must invite the concerned groups to make their representations before the expert committee . The participants welcomed the site visit of the experts of River Valley Committee and insist that the Committee Members must provide sufficiently advance notice for ample opportunity for local communities to raise their concerns during the visit scheduled on 12 th and 13th of April 2007.

It is strongly recommended that the Environmental Clearance should not be provided on the basis of the current EIA and also without giving adequate opportunity to hear the project affected communities . Presently,Kerala has sufficient power to meet all its requirements and has even been selling power to other states. Hence there should be no urgency to clear the project . The meeting concluded that this is an opportune moment for the KSEB to urgently take steps to "repair, restore to full capacity, all existing hydro-electric projects in Kerala, minimize Transmission and Distribution losses, prevent theft" as per the directions of the Kerala High Court Order 2001 on Athirappilly HEP case, and the River Valley Expert Committee and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to pause and reconsider the need for the project.

Issued by


River Research Centre (Kerala)

Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group ( Delhi)

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE, Bangalore)

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP, Delhi )

Intercultural Resources ( Delhi)

Dr.A.Latha River Research Centre 0487-6524110/09847283120

Thursday, March 29, 2007

here we go. how does india become a more 'developed' nation. meaning how can india's rich become more richer.

very simple. follow what Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) is suggesting.

they want all environmental monitoring to stop. (fyi: in india the environmental monitoring is among the weakest in the world. crucial ministries like moef, pollution control boards are virtually sleeping and/or severely compromised by the industries) and ficci suggests that they do self monitoring on environmental issues.

In the self-certification system, industrial unit would not be subject to regular inspections under various rules and regulations but would self-certify the compliance of its operations with these rules.

what a great idea. already where ever industries are located, especially the red tag industries in verticals such as pharma, chemicals, asbestos, leather, etc the entire areas are death beds of pollution.

now throw in self monitoring, you will have india that is literally shining with pollution and of course bulging the valets of industry wallahs and their supplicants in crucial government departments.

development, as they say, need no policing. only dont-see-dont-monitor-we-will-'take care' attitude.

(sipcot industrial unit in cuddalore is a classic case of industrialisation gone bad due to wilful massive pollution. now throw in self-monitoring, the area like these will be living and roting hell)

(kaluveli wetlands in tamilnadu. already under massive threat due to various factors including indiscriminate sand mining, india's enviornment is taking a huge beating in name of fake development that benefits only a section of the urban society)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

india's development mongers, increasingly and probably blind sidely tell that india's growth and shine can be seen in the way the middle class (should be actually read as rich class) buys and uses cars thereby 'emulating' their western counterparts.

this car mania, the oil addiction, the monster SUVs, use and throw cars once in couple of years, cars-cars and more cars, plummeting efficiency by detriot top 3, etc - all are reasons why america, a great country, is having a cruel time in iraq. the iraq civil war started by the stupid iraq decision by the present administration had an ulterior goal of control iraq's oil assets so that america's oil addiction can be met for future years.

the same car mania, lax emission standards, improper environment monitoring, congestion in roads by cars mainly used by only the person who is driving it, the poor road conditions, increasing accident rate, unhealthy air standards in urban areas, etc - all are result of india's neo rich development.

sunita narain correctly points that in her editorial and cnn ibn coverage also ponders on this question.

let there be no doubt that the current development of india, like the car example shows, means that rich are subsidised more and more and it comes at the same time the really needy sections are marginalised more and more.

it is very high time at least for car owners to pay appropriate cost in maintaining the roads, the traffic controls, the police officers, pollution level controls, congestion control kind of taxes so that those who enjoy the current boom also can pay correct price.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

i could not help but copy and paste, the latest editorial of CSE director sunita narain.

in this fake development of india, where environment is being abused and people who depend on it are being cast aside for the benefit of the urban neo rich, i cannot help but ask the question she is asking herself "I had just seen a million Nandigram mutinies in the making. Where are we headed, I wonder?"

We were standing between a massive mine and a stunning water reservoir. Local activists were explaining to me how this iron ore mine was located in the catchment of the Salaulim water reservoir, the only water source for south Goa. Suddenly, as I clicked with my camera, we were surrounded by a jeepload of men. They said they were from the mine management and wanted us off the property. We explained that we had come on a public path and that there were no signs to indicate that we were trespassing. But they were not in a mood to listen. They snatched the keys of our jeep, picked up stones to hit us and got abusive. Before things got totally out of hand, we decided to leave.
I was completely baffled at these developments. After all, this was Goa, known for its peace and calm. This was also the place where industrialists—the Dempos, the Salgoacars, the Timblos with mineral interests—play key roles in education, in culture and in promoting the ethics of good corporate governance. Why would they allow mining to take place next to what is clearly the most important water source for the state? Why were there no signboards with names of owners, near or around the mine? Why would state regulators allow this to happen? What was happening in this paradise to unleash this violence and simmering tension? I got my answers soon.
In the next village, Colomba, I was surrounded once again: Not by goons of a mining company, but by women of the village. We were standing on top of the hill, overlooking the village nestled between coconut and cashewnut trees. But where we were, the bulldozers, mechanised shovels and trucks were hard at work. They were breaking the hill, shovelling its mud, dumping the rejects and then taking away the ore. The mine had just started operations, said the agitated women, but their streams were already drying up.
Understandably the villagers had just one demand: Close down the mines. I asked how permission had been given without their consent. Who were these companies and whose land were they mining? It was assumed that conditional environmental clearance had been taken to operate the mine located mostly on comunidade land—originally under local community control and only to be leased out for agriculture. But as the concessions had been granted by the Portuguese government and later converted into leases by the Indian government, these restrictions did not seem to apply. Or, at least, did not matter.
In the next village, Quinamol, the scene was more or less the same. The miners were rowdy; the villagers angry. The only difference was that the mine was older—first mined for manganese and now being excavated for iron ore. The people told me that they had complained but nobody was listening. I learnt later—the day after my visit—that villagers had stopped a truck loading the material and beaten the driver. A case has now been registered against them. But is it only their fault?
This was the scene in all the villages we passed. What made the situation poignant, and ironical, was the fact that these villages are prosperous areas, where agricultural productivity is the basis of economic wealth. It is this well-being that is being destroyed, bit by bit. I understood then what the demand of ore from China, which had raised prices of the mineral to a new high, was doing to patterns of local economies.
It was in Vichundrem village, however, that I saw the future. Here our vehicle could not proceed up to the hill. It was blocked by a massive boulder. This was the simple but effective blockade by the village. It was their way to keep the miners out of the government forest land that surrounded their fields and provided it spring water for irrigation. The fields were gleaming green in the sun.
I had just seen a million Nandigram mutinies in the making. Where are we headed, I wonder?


one of the sad facts of the development crazy india is negligence of basic services.

basic service as essential as hygienic toilet is a huge dream for many million people.

with government itself acting as middlemen and broker for malls, industries, etc it has totally forgotten on the social services that it has to provide to millions of people.

there are some exceptions though. the eco san toilet by District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in tamilnadu is an example of how real development needs to blend with the needs of local people who will be impacted.

paul calvert of eco solutions has been pioneering this concept for many years and albeit slowly it is catching upon.

for industries and government that build Utopian pipe lines for sewage and then simultaneously thrash the rivers with the same sewage (and their factory pollutants) the development is the increasing balance sheet money whereas for poor communities that are in need of real solutions, eco san type of solutions is the real positive development. a development that cannot be measured by money but by good quality of life.

(a demo of the eco san toilet systems that can totally eliminate sewage from polluting the local rivers, waterbodies, etc. these kind of toilet has to be made mandatory for the urban rich so that precious water can be saved apart from saving urban water bodies. will the fake development crazy india listen though?)

Monday, March 26, 2007

thousands of crores has been spent on ganga action plan (GAP) and the ganga is as polluted as ever.

cnn ibn news documentary vividly exposes this. a shirnking river slammed by pollution from industries -that want to develop themselves more rather than the community-, a clueless government machinery, the uncaring civilian all contributing to the demise of the river.

ganga is now world's top 5 polluted river. ganga, fyi, is the most holiest river of india and also a most vital river for many million people.

the 3 part video can be seen at cnn ibn website. below is the first part.

GAP has had huge problems even from the start and the government plainly refused to see logic. the result, a sewage and toxic drain flowing in the place where the might river once flowed.

well, when it comes to development of india, dont we all agree there is a huge GAP.

Friday, March 23, 2007

nowadays our honorable prime minister is totally confused it seems.

one day he says nandigram incident is a tragedy but SEZ will proceed.

next day he says t&d losses while delivering electricity is not tolerable and there is utterly no follow up idea/plan/strategy.

now he says,
"If all the developing countries of the world were to aim for a standard of living which is currently seen in the more developed countries, we need to reflect what the environmental consequences would be. Is our planet capable of sustaining a high consumption lifestyle for all its inhabitants? This is certainly a new challenge for which there are no ready-made answers," he said.

if india were to follow the development model of west, as it is happening now due to active encouragement and policies of the indian government, then there would be no india left to live.

our cities will be of huge trash due to massive consumption.
due to zero recycling habit/policies/monitoring/rules our suburban villages will be dangerously polluted by toxic trash.
our rivers which are already dying due to easy pollution will long be gone.
our urban air will be dangerously polluted as auto industries successfully lobby against stricter emission control in name of protecting jobs in obsolete production units.
india will be leading in creating carbon emissions along with china and america, thereby overtaking everybody in creating climate crisis on our own.

when india wants to follow development model of the west, as the PM is pointing out, the PM better put stricter policies/environmental rules/monitoring agencies/sustainable policies/green ideas/etc like the west so that at least we can live cleaner with a model to follow.

to tell that he has no ready made answers smacks of ignorance, a dangerous one at that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

kerala, unveiled its forest policy yesterday.

kerala is a state that is dependent hugely on its enviornment whether it is for life savings tourism, for its culture, for its tradition, for its drinking water - kerala's forests, rivers, backwaters, etc are the pillars.

kerala's forest policy has several interesting elements namely participatory forest conservation, protection of forest corridors, more legal action against forest mafia's, etc

but kerala should also have a wholesome approach to its development. dams such as athirapally and pathrakkadavu threaten directly crucial forests that are millions of years old. kerala should massively embark on solar systems, LED based light systems, cutting t&d losses, massive conservation of electricity. sugathakumari the legendary poet says correctly,
Sugathakumari, poet, said the Government should ensure that the remaining forests in the State were not destroyed. Pointing out that the Pathrakkadavu area actually formed part of the environmentally fragile Silent Valley, she appealed to the Chief Minister to restrain the Electricity Minister from reviving the proposal for a hydel project there.

(The spectacular waterfall between the Neelikkal and Pathrakkadavu hills bordering the Silent Valley will disappear if the proposed Pathrakkadavu hydro-electric project is implemented.)

our honorable PM made the usual aggressive statement on the power theft. from the report,
High transmission and distribution losses and theft of electricity are unacceptable. These need to be tackled on a war footing,'' the Prime Minister said here after giving away national awards to the power utilities.

but how come the t&d losses in india are HUGE. how come we are pursuing dangerous nuclear reactors whereas just playing coy on fighting t&d losses.

when it comes to development, we seem to barge ahead on pursuing utopian dreams rather than sustainable and effective ones.

Friday, March 16, 2007

when it comes to development, even articles that tout the development miss the core picture.

let's take hindu's article on tuticorin. the purpose of the article is to tell that tuticorin is a viable place for industry and the government should make more efforts for the same.

the example they quote is about sterlite copper smelter factory and the article says as
Over 30 per cent of Tuticorin's port facility is devoted to handling Sterlite's materials, 5 per cent of Tuticorin's population is `engaged with Sterlite,' according to company officials.

this factory belongs to vedanta group which has repeatedly violated human and environmental laws. their work in orissa was beyond any laws of the land. vedanta also has huge allegation of improper mining without permisison, pollution all over the place.

as per some reports, sterlite entire factory construction may be illegal.
The TNPCB remains highly inconsistent and arbitrary in the manner in which it applies the law. Tuticorin-based Sterlite Industries is operating an entire illegally constructed factory complex consisting of a 300,000 tonnes/year copper smelter, a 1,25,000 tonnes/year refiner, a power plant, an oxygen plant, and a Continuous Cast Rod unit.

But Sterlite is too well-connected to suffer Tagros' fate. Despite repeated emphasis by the SCMC that Sterlite has both illegally expanded and endangered the environment, the TNPCB and MoEF have regularised the violation.

and worst of all it seems to have a hugely disturbing safety record
Sterlite's Tuticorin smelter complex has a disturbing track record of safety. Between 1996 and 2004, at least 139 people have reportedly been injured and 13 have lost their lives in 15 incidents.

the government policies are so blind, when it comes to development, they have no clue on what industries to promote, where to promote and how to promote.

so only we have weird and dangerous examples of showcasing hazardous industries as the model of development in india.

river cauvery, as we all is lifelink for several million people. the same river cauvery is also under huge stress due to pollution, encroachment, sand mining, etc. hindu's newsarticle vividly captures the river cauvery statue in trichy traffic island.

the status is in very bad shape, unattended, unclean and uncared. just like river cauvery.

when it comes to sustainable development, river cauvery is crucial. sadly india's policymakers and politicians are pursuing massive fake developedment, the statue and the river both does not matter.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

in a shameful act of ultimate callousness, the left front west bengal government with its irresponsible and punitive action against unarmed villagers has made sure precious lives has been lost in nandigram.

i am not prone to cliches or stereotypes. but to recall in one line, the neo capitalists of the left front whose leader is west bengal CM buddhadeb, feels that brutal land acquisition and setting up of mega industries will lead to glory of west bengal.

and in nandigram, the land is being acquired for a huge chemical industries setup. examples in cuddalore, eloor, patancheru, etc shows that nandigram is all set for ruin. left front leader bardan has put this correctly amidst the chaos in the left front.
He said that, in a way, the chemical industry was being exported from developed countries like Japan and Germany to third world nations. "Why should they pollute our state?" he asked.

and our another friend in left front, who calls himself an intellectual and who has been in forefront opposing narmada and other fake development projects is now saying everybody to keep off so that west bengal can imprint its own 'model' of brutalising people in name of development.

each and every indian and human being should be ashamed of this brutalisation in name of development.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

here we go. we will be electricity surplus in next 4-5 years. i think there is an unwanted dash and couple of zero's missing. actually it should be 45000 years.

wait. not even that. with the huge wastage of power by urban elite, huge waste of electricity due to transmission and distribution losses (upto 40% of electricity generated is lost due to t&d losses even before it reaches the customer), zero green building concepts, it will take centuries before india can achieve power stability.

when india copies west in terms of 'development', one thing it has forgotten is that in west there is critical evaluation and correction along with environmental safeguards and people participation - all of which are absent from india's growth story.

well, when it comes to development, the story can be filmi rather than true as for politicians and press people of india, filmi style is what they are used to.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

india's potential for tourism is immense. with its rich cultural heritage, arts form, dance tradition, stunning coastal areas, mesmerising rivers, beautiful locales, etc, india is indeed a stunning chaos of colors.

but therein lies the tragedy. the tragedy that the tourism is hardly looked as a genuine tool in which local people can benefit. but tourism has been looked as a tool which can be given to huge corporation and increase the gdp without real benefits of local people.

kerala, with its eco tourism models is showing the way on how tourism should be done. but there are flaws in kerala model too. but other states have no clue on the eco tourism model vis-a-vis development.

hindu's story on Poolampatti in banks of river cauvery is a classic example. in tamilnadu, there are many such places like Poolampatti which can give a run of money to any other places.

but either those places or ignored or opened up for unsustainable corporate level tourism work - both of which adds no value to real development of india.
(neglected Poolampatti in banks of river cauvery in erode is a classic example of how development is not working for local people)

Monday, March 12, 2007

hindu ran (who else will do critical and valuable stories other than hindu), an illuminating 2 day article on the proposed 1200mw in jaigad creek in maharastra.

this project will mean death blow to the farmers and fishermen of the region.

coal power plants are polluting anywhere in the world and given india's lax monitoring of pollution cases, these coal power plants will give a death kiss to the farmers and fishermen of the region.

but when mumbai consumes and wastes huge amount of power, the politicians are under increasing pressure to feed the mumbai's (and other urban area's craze for electricity) and it means setting up dangerous polluting coal power plants in fragile coastlands of india.

development of india means one thing - death kiss to farmers and fishermen who depend on vital environmental pillars such as sea, rivers, mangroves, forests, etc for their livelihood.

a death kiss started by urban elite, taken further by politicians and used in a shrewed cunning manner by industrialists.

when it comes to environment callousness, the sector that ranks right next to politicians and industrialists are the religious people.

so only you have the mighty ganges gets slammed by pollution during every religious festival, when our forests are being pressurised to be opened more and more for religious worship without caring for the crucial forest ecology of that region, etc.

the recent case of religious convention held in pathanamthitta is a classic case. it seems after the religious convention was held the pampa riverbed looked like a municipal waste-dumping yard.

guess the religious people gave the river god a good bye while worshipping for the heavenly gods.

when it comes to religious worship, it looks blindsided just like development in india is. and crucial rivers like pampa are getting killed day in and day out making it unfit for human consumption and use.
(pampa river a day after Mar Thoma Syrian Christian Evangelistic convention was held. as per hindu report, it looked like a municipal dumping yard and not like a river. picture courtesy hindu)

Friday, March 09, 2007

forbes list of billionaries is out and the interesting fact is that india now leads the asian billionaires overtaking japan.

and the more interesting fact is that the billionaires, most of them are from real estate sector of india.

this real estate sector run by billionaires does not care about environment, has no clue on green building concepts, frequently flout EIA norms, lobby to relax EIA norms so that they can bulldoze projects, has no open and transparent evaluation of how they get their sand, cement and steel - all of which come at huge cost to environment.

hey, when india's environment is abused to make billionaires that is 'development' right. yeah... development of billionaires and smashing for people who depend on the environment that get abused by real estate sector.

one section that consistently highlights the havoc on enviornment and people are the ngo's. ngo's are dime a dozen in india.

but some of them genuinely stand out. during the nba agitation in delhi, tribune magazine featured couple of genuine ngo's who are well qualifed engineers, doctors, etc stand against state brutality and fake policies in name of pursuing development.

one such name stands apart. her name is rachana dhingra aged 28. she kicked off a lucrative career in america and is working with the bhopal people who was affected in world's worst industrial disaster.

truly inspiring. may her tribe grow. for we need a balance in development without which there can be no development.
(rachana dhingra, formerly consulted for dow chemicals and now campaigns against dow carelessness regarding world's worst industrial disaster)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

tata is in the news again. why not? when a mega company has thousands of crores of cash in its pocket and yet treats tribals, forests and the ecology disdainfully, why not will it not be in the news.

the latest is in bastar district of chattisgarh where force is being used liberally to quell tribal protests.

chattisgarh is a land that is upto 40% forested and around 30 to 40% of tribal population. the state government is merrily inviting all mining companies and pretty busy displacing tribals.

when it comes to development, chattisgarh is a classic example of how, india is working overtime to benefit a few at the cost of marginalised sections including tribals. the juggernaut has to run sustainably or else it will be a fake juggeranaut benefiting a few and screwing up a majority of disempowered people.

(below images shows the tribals of chattisgarh. chattisgarh is a hugely forested and has a very big tribal population. development should benefit tribals first and then outsiders. throwing out tribals and mining is not the way chattisgarh can develop and india can develop)

the finance minister mr.p.chidambaram (PC) is probably the most environment agnostic (to put it mildly) and environment careless (to put it little more strongly) and most environment dismissive (to put it correctly), india has ever seen.

let's take a few cases.

1. he repeatedly slashes the excise duty on cars for several budgets before stopping in 2007.
2. he waives the duty of coking coal (that too with high ash content) imports and makes it duty free thereby creating a maniac push for coal power plants that will screw up our coastal areas.
3. he does not seem to understand the importance of public transport and has not taken even a single step to address this vital segment.
4. he has not pushed small but crucial iniatives like solar power heating systems for home and business.

PC has a huge background in corporate sector and no wonder he acts mostly to pamper corporate sector interests rather than having a people oriented interest. this is not to say we should go socialist but with massive humanity focussing on agriculture, fishing, rural based industries like handicrafts, bamboo making, etc - a strong state eye is needed or else the western style capitalism will benefit only a few, like it is happening now.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

nowadays, i dont understand mr.tata of tata corporation at all.

first, he puts himself bang in the middle of forced land acquistion in singur and then goes ballistic complaining that 'rivals' are behind the agitation in singur.

next he offers, to clean up the union carbide site in bhopal in total violation of environmental of human laws and acting as a crude middleman for dow chemicals corporation.

now he touts his 1 lakh car as the car from heaven to take care of the ills of the transportation in india!!! and he wants government subsidy for it.
Speaking to select media here at the Geneva Motor Show 2007, Mr Tata said that the car will have no import content and will meet international safety (in terms of crash safety) and emission standards. He said that the car's price is still dependent on many factors, including the possibility of some incentives from the Government. But, in addition, it also depends on the fluctuations of components prices based on global commodity price swings.

as cseindia pointed out correctly, this car will kill urban india making it a choatic unwalkable, unlivable place with huge congestion and pollution (since indian car manufacturers have always blocked and lobbyed against strict emission controls, this 1 lakh car is no exception).

and why on earth, will government have to provide subsidy for 1 lakh car. when there are huge pressing issues for government (both urban and rural issues) why is a subsidy needed for a multi national corporation like tata to sell their cars.

funny is the talk of development in india.

india's urban elite of upper middle class, rich class and richest class are really very poor people and india's development which benefits this section mainly has been geared in a fashion that best suited to pamper for this segment.

take this case. india's car tax has been repeatedly cut to pamper to this new rich segment. forget about farming, education, health - all neglected sectors - but the car sector which is in need for tax cuts so that cars can clog our city roads and pollute it to death.

in 2007 budget, our rich finance minister did a wonderful thing. he put a full stop to the tax cut for cars and instead put a 1% education cess on all cars sold. (hopefully he will maintian this trend and add 1% environment/roadspace/urban revival tax also).

below 2 pictures shows the contradiction. the first one shows that students from AP taking 10th standard exam sitting in mud floor as the school does not have benches. the second image shows sexy cars straddling india courtsey to the massive cuts in car excise tax in several budgets and other genorisities from the govt to fuel the one sided developedment.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

when it comes to waste generation, let there be no doubt, that western countries, especially USA is a leader.

with huge consumerism and a culture of use and throw, landfills in america are huge in size.

but one thing is that as they generate waste, they also aggressively manage waste. so only you have san franscisco pushing all grocery shops to ban plastic carry bags, you have the same city cranking upto 80% of recycling among consumer discards, corporations like starbucks looks keenly on green cups, cupholders, etc.

and the local bodies in america also take an aggressive view on wastage and promote several schemes to reduce it. pollution related agencies like environmental protection agency(epa) putting and enforcing stringent norms of managing waste.

but in india the situation is totally different. the neo rich, city urban elite goes jolly trashing away and the suburbs of the city, especially crucial wetlands, getting slammed by pollution.

and an alarming article in timesofindia, points out as below
In what could trigger a major health concern, municipal corporations of Delhi and Mumbai have signed MoUs to use incinerator-based waste disposal technologies now being phased out in Europe and the US for producing cancer-causing pollutants and heavy metals like lead and mercury.

it is interesting to read from von hernandez, the anti-incinerator activist from the Philippines is one of the recipients the prestigious Goldman prize about incinerator.
Since incinerators were being touted as the solution, Von and his colleagues informed local communities that waste incinerators are the largest source of hormone-disrupting dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals known to science.

when it comes to 'developement', india's urban elite, politicians and officials make sure that they have no clue on how to manage/monitor/regulate the ill effects of this one sided development.

Monday, March 05, 2007

all over india, one thing is certain in the new development that is going on.

the certainity is massive thrasing by the neo rich city elite. this section who is the most benefiting from IT boom, tax cuts, car excise tax cut, etc think that they can consume and trash and enjoy.

this educated segment unfortunately does not know that their counterparts in cities such as los angles, san francisco, etc do not trash but recycle as much as they can. although recycling in west is still catching on, in india, it is almost zero.

no wonder even tourist spots such as darjeeling wallows under human generated trash. a small girl susmita sakri got stuck in an avalanche of trash in the 'valley of garbage' in darjeeling and was dead on the spot.

like hindu editorial tells it is high time to act. act fast. or else our country will be fully trashed by the neo rich elite who has benefited the most from the one sided development.
"The key strategies to manage waste are well known and incorporated in the Rules: segregation at source, composting of organics, recycling, and for what remains, disposal in scientific landfills. The Susmita tragedy reminds us that there can be absolutely no excuse for local bodies, governments, and pollution control boards to continue to treat the Rules and the statute as a dead letter, with nobody held accountable for a horrific lack of compliance."

(unscientific, ill planned, zero regulated and contained landfill sites like the above all across india are common. poorly maintained they are the sympton of the neo rich development taking place. with almost zero focus on recycling, composting and reducing of waste, india's villages and city suburbs are taking the brunt of the trash culture of india)

as 'developed' india races to build polluting ultra mega power plants in fragile coastal areas in karantaka(tadadi, udupi), tamilnadu(cuddalore), maharastra(sindhudurg, others) - the price will be invariably paid by the people who live in these coastal areas - the farmers, fishermen and villagers.

cnn-ibn video on the nashik pollution issue due to coal power plant captures the nashik story in brief wherein the fly ash from nashik is slamming the local farmers and villagers.

apart from the overarching concern of global warming, the local unchecked pollution from these coal power plants is a huge cause of concern.

with nearly 40 to 50% of power generated being consumed by 'developed' urban elite india, this segment has to take a hard look at how they consume and live, if there can be any chance of our coastal areas and forests and dependent people on these ecosystems being able to live at all.

we cannot be telling, gdp, growth, massive consumption and trashing and live gung-ho, when our living throws off the majority of our ecosystem and people who depend on that.

on another plane, it is the moral responsibility of the news media to consistently highlight cases like this so that the 'developed' india that grows on stock market, real estate, bollywood and cricket, can also grow on crucial livelihood related issues, because without tackling livelihood related issues, all that the news media will ensure is that only one section of india becomes 'developed' whereas a majority of rest of india gasps for basic air, water and food.

Friday, March 02, 2007

here is the joke.

pollution control board of tamilnadu (tnpcb) is celebrating its silver jubliee.

the joke is the above line should read as below line,

pollution non-control board of tamilnadu is celebrating its silver jubliee.

virtually toothless, technologically starved, compromised severly by industries and pollution, tnpcb has miserably failed to do its job in being the leader of controling pollution, drafting environmental regulations, ensuring compliance of the laws, ruthlessly pursuing culprits who wilfully pollute the environment.

with such a sorry body governing tamilnadu's environment, no wonder most of tamilnadu rivers (that gave birth to tamil civilisation itself) is on verge of death, tamilnadu's coastal areas getting sucked into industrial pollution, massive illegal shrimp farms, sewage dumping, the air quality in all major places turning toxic... the list is endless.

as tnpcb celebrates its silver jubliee, tamilnadu's crucial enviornment mourns in the disaster that is happening.

what a momentus day it is. laurie baker, the pioneer of low-cost, natural lifestyle housing turned 90 today.

most of india/indians/nri's might not have any clue of this pioneer.

but with his path breaking techniques in low-cost, enviromentally senstive housing nobody can match his legend.

we need more laurie baker's just to make all our constructions are sustainable in long term and low energy focussed on long term.

happy birthday laurie. may you live long enough to inspire future generation of genuine builders.

( The Computer centre at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. Here Baker evolved an innovative system of curved double walls to save on cost and to conserve the energy that goes into air-conditioning a building of this scale and purpose.)
(stunning loyala chappel in trivandrum using natural light to magnify the beauty of the chappel)
( 'The Hamlet', Laurie Baker's home in Thiruvananthapuram, built on a steeply sloping and rocky hillside that hardly had any vegetation when Baker started constructing it , is now a visual delight.)
(laurie baker with his wife elizabeth on his birthday)

all pictures above are copyright/courtsey of hindu newspaper.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

news media like ndtv, cnn-ibn, etc chase news that relates to stocks, politics, money, etc. rarely do they talk about life, quality of life, development issues, environment, forests, tribals, etc.

but as a pleasant surprise there is a telling article in ndtv about how mumbai is gleefully and blissfully wasting electricity when rest of maharastra is facing huge power cuts.

from the article,
here's a shortage of around 5700 MW with blackouts of up to 14 hours a day, but Mumbai which is virtually protected from power cuts, doesn't seem to care.

Mumbai consumes over a good 18 per cent of the state's power supply everyday, of which, it ends up wasting nearly 20 per cent.

Take the example of a middle-class home there where people are out during the day. It uses an average of 560 units of power per month.

will the great people of the great city of mumbai wake up and save electricity and make sure that power is not wasted and coastal maharastra is not slammed with highly pollution coal power plants.

a taste of kerala can be seen with respect to eloor.

here the state planning board constituted a working group to recommend ecological restoration has recommended that periyar river basin restoration be taken up.

the beauty is it has recommended that the ngo pmvs be one of the leaders of such restoration work.

immense pressure to clean up is being done for several years by pmvs. hopefully in coming years eloor and the majestic river periyar will be much cleaner and safer and kerala can show the world what environment means as it shows the world what real human development means in terms of health care, social equity, education, political awareness, gender equality among other things.

The restoration plan must be implemented under the leadership of local environmental organisation such as the Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samiti(pmvs) and local technical support teams such as the Cochin University of Science and Technology.

from the above link,
The restoration plan must be implemented under the leadership of local environmental organisation such as the Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samiti(pmvs) and local technical support teams such as the Cochin University of Science and Technology.
will the kerala government act on the wishes of people of eloor and beyond to make the majestic and crucial periyar river clean, safe and worshipable.

(kalladi in kerala on the banks of river periyar. kalladi is where hindusim was propagated by the holy adi sanakara. the same periyar in which adi sankara preached, practised and lived is dying due to massive pollution in name of fake development)