Rivers in the Media

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48 industrial units polluting Ganga asked to close down

PUBLISHED: 15 JULY 2014   SOURCE: The Times of India

Directions have been issued to about 48 industrial units polluting River Ganga to close down, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. 

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has identified 764 grossly polluting industries discharging 501 million litres per day of waste water into Ganga and its major tributaries, Minister of State for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in his written reply. 

"704 industries have been inspected under National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme by NGRBA Cell, CPCB till May, 2014. Directions have been issued to 165 industries, of which 48 are closure directions under Section-5 of E(P) Act, 1986," he said. 

The State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are required to implement effluent discharge standards by the industries. 


Gangwar said action has to be taken against defaulting industries by SPCBs under powers delegated to them by the Central Government under relevant provisions of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 

To another question on jurisdiction of NGRBA, he said, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has informed that on the recommendations of NGRBA, three power projects - Loharinag Pala, Pala Maneri and Bhaironghati hydro power projects were halted in 2010. 

"Further, stage 1B project was also halted in 2010, after National Environment Appellate Authority quashed environmental clearance for the project. In the last three years, no hydro power project has been halted by the Government," Gangwar said. 

Replying to a related question, the Minister said,"A comprehensive River Basin Management Plan for Ganga is being prepared by a consortium of seven IITs (Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Kharagpur, Guwahati and Roorkee). 

"The objective of the plan is to suggest comprehensive measures for restoration of wholesomeness of Ganga system and improvement of its ecological health, with due regard to the issue of competing water uses in the river basin." 

"The plan would take into consideration requirements of water and energy in the Ganga Basin, while ensuring that fundamental aspects of the river system are protected. The IIT consortium is proposing to submit its report by the end of August," he said. 

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Grant boosts Thames wetland project

PUBLISHED: 14 JULY 2014   SOURCE: Oxford Mail

Work to create a £1m wetland habitat on the banks of the Thames near Wallingford has taken a step forward, thanks to an environmental grant.


Environmental charity Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment has donated £10,000 to create the habitat.

It is part of the River of Life project, taking shape on 50 hectares of farmland – the size of 62 football pitches – owned by the Earth Trust. There they are creatung semi-natural habitats to attract wildlife including brown hares, otters, lapwings and skylarks.


Phase one , digging out wetland features along a 2.5km stretch of the river, was completed in December, thanks to support from the Environment Agency.


Earlier this year the second phase started to plant reedbeds, restore wet woodland, and create wildflower meadows.


Chris Parker, head of land management at the Earth Trust, based at Little Wittenham, said: “The new habitats we’re creating and restoring will be beneficial to all sorts of species.”


About 5,000 reed plants have been brought in and over the next two years wildflower meadows and wet woodland areas will be created.


The project last month won a national award from the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), for Best Practice in Practical Nature Conservation.


Earth Trust director Jayne Manley added: “We’re really pleased our achievements have been recognised.”


Graham Scholey, conservation technical specialist for the Environment Agency, said: “We were so pleased to be able to collaborate closely with the Earth Trust in this major landscape-scale habitat creation project.”


The new habitat will link directly to Little Wittenham Wood, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.


During phase three of the project a new pathway will be created through the area so that visitors can see the new habitats.


Pictured: Earth Trust estate manager Chris Parker, left, with Environment Agency biodiversity officer Jon Woodcock at a reed bed.

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Dam ruling 'positive' for farmers

PUBLISHED: 27 JUNE 2014   SOURCE: Radio New Zealand News

The final Board of Inquiry decision on the Ruataniwha dam has made the scheme more viable for farmers, Irrigation New Zealand's chief executive believes.


The board on Thursday ruled the dam and the Tukituki catchment plan can proceed, but nutrient run off from farming must be kept at levels that ensure the area's rivers can sustain life.


Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said irrigators are pleased the board has changed the rule that would have required individual farmers to meet nitrate leaching limits.


Mr Curtis said the decision made the scheme more viable for farmers by raising the upper threshold for leaching nitrogen, though it would still be challenging for a number who already exceed the nitrogen limits.


Overall, he said, the ruling would allow sustainable development in the area irrigated by the proposed dam.


RuataniwhaDam.jpg Photo:RNZ

National water quality questions


Scientists and environmentalists say the ruling has implications for the national freshwater management plan.


Hawke's Bay Regional Council had proposed nitrogen in the catchment should only have to remain below toxic levels - a condition similar to the policy in the Government's draft freshwater management plan.


Fish and Game environmental manager Corina Jordan told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme the decision showed regional councils could not keep allowing big increases in nitrate levels.


She said new research indicated farmers are able to reduce leaching by 20 percent and increase profit by 2 percent, and it was important to let farmers know limits on leaching will not put them out of business.


"What it may do though it may constrain further land use intensification and that's what we have to look at in the Ruataniwha catchment."

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Okavango Delta Ramsar Site is now 1000th World Heritage Site

PUBLISHED: 26 JUNE 2014   SOURCE: Ramzar

On 22 June 2014 the Okavango Delta was inscribed as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site, bringing the number of Ramsar Sites that also carry the World Heritage designation to 62.


The Okavango is a vast inland water flow that forms each year when the summer rains in the Angola highlands drain onto the plains of Botswana, flooding a wide flat area slightly larger than Belgium. The waters peak between June and August during the region’s parched winter, attracting one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.


African elephants, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, and giraffes can be found among the more than 200,000 large mammals that call the Okavango home during this season. The delta is also a refuge for more than 400 species of birds and 71 species of fish including the 1.4 metre African shark tooth cat fish.  A variety of ethnic groups draw on the rich waters of the Okavango for fishing, hunting, and wild plant foods.


Stewardship of this unique ecosystem is structured by the 2008 Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP), a wide-ranging framework developed by Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. The plan covers the institutional set-up for managing the site while ensuring biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods. Its development process borrowed heavily from the Ramsar Planning Guidelines, which encourage ownership through the active participation of all stakeholders.


"The Okavango  Delta has been a Ramsar Site since 1996," notes Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, "and we're very pleased that our World Heritage colleagues have placed their 1000th designation on a site that so effectively illustrates how to integrate conservation and preservation with wise and sustainable use."


Photo by Taylor D.

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