Myanmar on the cusp of change

IMG_1506After decades of isolation, Myanmar is welcoming investments and technical expertise from international organisations. Its water and wastewater sector needs to be built up from scratch. Will Myanmar be able to avoid the mistakes made by countries in the region? Continue reading

Why are Hindu texts being blamed for India’s sanitation problems?

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The New York Times has just published an article which reports that malnutrition in India is not so much caused by the lack of nutrition as due to the lack of sanitation. This is indeed a damning discovery.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/poor-sanitation-in-india-may-afflict-well-fed-children-with-malnutrition.html Continue reading

Living with floods in a warming world

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As cities expand to swallow entire floodplains and coastal areas, often extending even beyond the boundaries of land to reclaim thousands of acres of waters from nature, they are becoming more vulnerable to climate change. Continue reading

Keep the baby, throw the bathwater

baby out with bath water

A 16th century idiom “throwing the baby out with the bath water” leaps up in front of me ever so visually during my interactions with people these days. Whether it is nuclear power generation or capital punishment or religion, I wonder why entire concepts are considered flawed because they did not work sometimes. A number of media-hyped failures or mistakes lead to wholesale rejection of an idea or solution. People do not bother to see the whole as composed of parts and to see which part has failed. Puerile, uninformed discussions are held at meetings in the real and virtual space without considering all the facts. Continue reading

Direct Potable Reuse: Crossing the Barrier

Pandering to public perceptions can often lead to expensive and somewhat absurd decisions. Take the case of indirect potable reuse of water. Is it not a waste to purify wastewater to such advanced levels, blend it with water of lower purity and then let it get treated all over again at drinking water treatment plants to supposedly make it fit for drinking? Or to take tertiary treated effluent and make it recharge groundwater through layers of soil pulling in contaminants all over again? Continue reading