Alert! : River Pollution in India

India is a blessed country when we consider its rich natural sources of water in the form of numerous rivers and lakes. The country has rightly been referred to as the “Land of Rivers” and the people worship the rivers as gods and goddesses. But what is ironical is that in spite of our profound respect and reverence for our rivers, we have not been able to maintain their purity, cleanliness and the physical well-being. Be it Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra or Kaveri or any other river flowing in the soil of our motherland, not a single river is free from pollution. River pollution has been causing serious water-borne diseases and health problems affecting human population as well as animals, fish, and birds in the environment.

Causes of river pollution

River pollution is increasing day by day. In spite of various governmental projects going on in many rivers, there is no sign of water pollution being prevented or stopped. Whom do we blame? Lots of factors lead to water pollution and reducing overall quality of river water. Some of the most serious contributing factors are:

  • Industrial wastes, mixtures of chemicals, heavy metals are all discharged in water and these are difficult to clean up.
  • Agricultural wastes, chemicals, feritilisers, pesticides used in agriculture have made the river water bodies contaminated.
  • Nature’s rain also brings with it pollutants as it falls through polluted air. We call this acid rain, which when reached the soil, releases harmful substances.
  • Domestic wastes from households and the sewage that we throw into rivers increases the pollution levels.
  • Regular disposal of plastic bags and plastic objects, solid wastes, flowers, garlands is another cause of pollution.
  • People responding to nature’s call in open spaces near the water bodies also contribute to river pollution.
  • Animals washing, car washing, clothes washing are other causes.
  • Another cause of river pollution is the dumping of human remains, partially burned bodies, dead bodies, which pose serious health threats.

Some hard facts about river pollution

Surveys undertaken by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have come up with some hard facts on river pollution, in terms of statistical figures, which makes it a matter of really serious concern:

  • Out of the 445 rivers surveyed, not even a quarter of them are fit for bathing.
  • Indian cities generate 10 billion gallons or 38 billion litres of municipal waste water every day, out of which only 29% of it is treated.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board also stated that there were only 160 sewerage systems and sewage treatment plants in nearly 8,000 towns surveyed in 2011.
  •  Only 20% out of nearly 40,000 million litres of sewage produced daily in Indian cities are treated.

Extreme cases of pollution in river Ganga and Yamuna

  • Yamuna has become a garbage dump area with more than 57 % of Delhi’s waste thrown into it.
  • Only 55% of Delhi’s residents are connected to a proper sewerage system.
  • According to the CSE, around 80% of Yamuna’s pollution is due to raw sewage.
  • Ganga is considered to be the most polluted river in India.
  • Approximately 1 billion litres of raw, untreated sewage is dumped in Ganga regularly.
  • Ganga contains 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml, which is a threat to human health.

Effects of river pollution

River pollution is a big menace to the economy, the environment and, of course, human health and the other living organisms. It is a big contributor to a number of health problems and disorders in humans. River pollution also affects aquatic life, leading to growth of unhealthy fish unsuitable for human consumption and also mass fish death. Polluted river waters have affected the lives of animals and birds as well, sometimes threatening their very existence. In the long term, continuous river pollution can lead to loss of biodiversity and even extinction of some species and can disrupt the ecosystem as a whole.


Courtesy and Credits : This article was written by  originally here and she discusses about possible solutions as well. Shared here on our blog for educational purposes only.

Eco-Preservation : Water Pollution in China : Gallery

pollution china

Growing cities, overuse of fertilizers and factory wastewater have degraded China’s water supplies to the extent that half the nation’s rivers and lakes are severely polluted. China aims to spend $850 billion to improve filthy water supplies over the next decade, but even such huge outlays may do little to reverse damage caused by decades of pollution and overuse in Beijing’s push for rapid economic growth.


Courtesy & Source : User Submitted on Our Forum [you can also share any educational info there in our forum , but please provide the courtesy to the appropriate sources ]


Eco Preservation : Palmyra Palm Trees

Borassus_flabelliferBorassus (Palmyra Palm) is a genus of six species of fan palms, native to tropical regions of AfricaAsia and New Guinea. They are tall palms, capable of growing up to 30 m high (98 ft). The leaves are long, fan-shaped, 2 to 3 m in length. The flowers are small, in densely clustered spikes, followed by large, brown, roundish fruits.

Palmyra palms are economically useful, and widely cultivated in tropical regions. The palmyra palm has long been one of the most important trees of Cambodia and India, where it has over 800 uses. The leaves are used for thatchingmatsbaskets,fanshatsumbrellas, and as writing material. In Cambodia, the tree is a national flora symbol/emblem that is seen growing around Angkor Wat. The sugar palm can live over 100 years. 

In ancient Indonesia and ancient India, the leaves were used as paper to write on, as a kind of papyrus. In India, leaves of suitable size, shape and texture, and sufficient maturity are chosen. They are then preserved by boiling in salt water with turmeric powder. The leaves are then dried; when they are dry enough, the faces of the leaves are polished with pumice stone. Then they are cut in the proper size. A hole is cut out in one corner. Each leaf will have four pages. The writing is done with a stylus. The writing is of a very cursive and interconnected style. The leaves are then tied up as sheaves.

palm_treeRiver will go dry if you destroy Palmyra palm trees:

“According to Tamil culture, Palmyra palm trees played an important role in water management in the ancient times. The ancestors had a planned vision for the future water needs of the generations that followed, but most importantly a well balanced ecosystem was maintained.

Unlike other trees, Palmyra palm’s roots go vertically into the ground, which in turn brought the ground water to various levels along the path. It irrigated the land, played a significant role in the circulation of water in the aquifers, river beds and rivers. Since the process is natural and balance of consumption was well maintained. Rivers remained perennial those times and these trees had its own significance. That is why these trees are considered as “celestial trees”  You could find all the traditional ponds or lakes they had dug with Palmyra palms around like a fence.”

The stalks are used to make fences and to make a strong, wiry fiber suitable for cordage and brushes. The black timber is hard, heavy, and durable and is highly valued for construction, such as for wharf pilings. The tree also yields many types of food. The young plants are cooked as a vegetable or roasted and pounded to make meal. The fruits are eaten roasted or raw, and the young, jellylike seeds are also eaten. A sugary sap, called toddy, can be obtained from the young inflorescence, either male or female ones. toddy is (called “kallu” in Telugu. The toddy is fermented to make a beverage called arrack, or it is concentrated to a crude sugar called jaggery/palm sugar. It is called Gula Jawa (Javanese sugar) in Indonesia and is widely used in the Javanese cuisine. The roots can be dried to form Odiyal, a hard chewable snack. In addition, the tree sap is taken as a laxative, and medicinal values have been ascribed to other parts of the plant.

In Tamil culture

The Palmyra tree is the official tree of Tamil Nadu. In Tamil culture, it is called karpaha,”Nungu” “celestial tree”, and is highly respected because all its parts can be used. The recently germinated seeds have formed fleshy sprouts below the surface which can be boiled and eaten as a fibrous, nutritious food. The germinated seed’s hard shell is also cut open to take out the crunchy kernel which tastes like a water chestnut but is sweeter. The ripe fibrous outer layer of the fruits is edible after boiling or roasting. When the fruit is tender, the kernel inside the hard shell is an edible jelly that is refreshing and rich in minerals. When the crown of the tree from which the leaves sprout is cut we get an edible cake. In ancient times, dried palm leaves were used to write manuscripts.

Palakkad,Kerala

Palakkad District of Kerala State is popularly known as land of Palmyra trees.Palmyra trees are known as the Icon of this district and has got vast cultural, heritage & literary association. Many novels, stories and poems revolve around these trees. The path-breaking Malayalam novel written by the Indian writer O. V. Vijayan, ‘Khasakkinte Itihasam’ mentions Palmyra trees in various angles. Many people, especially in eastern Palakkad live on earnings by tapping Pamyra Toddy, which are sold in outlets controlled by Co-op Societies.The district authorities are taking the very action to preserve these trees & maintain Palakkad’s Identity.

A Traditional Irrigation System Using Palmyra Palm (Borassus flabellifer) in Kerala, India

traditional irrigation system palm

The multipurpose palmyra palm, is still very important in village culture in India. This paper describes a hitherto undocumented traditional water engineering system prevalent in the Palakkad District of Kerala, India, involving the palmyra palm. (Read more…)

_________

Courtesy : Wikipediadavesgarden.comRamachandran :Palmyra Irrigation Systemwww.eegarai.net