By now, we all know that cities account for more than half the world’s population. Come 2050, it is expected that another 2.5 billion people will move from villages to cities. In China alone, more people that the whole population of the USA today will move into cities by 2050. These are mind-boggling numbers and present a scary picture of the future liveability of cities or rather the lack of it, especially in South and Southeast Asia.
Already, we see how a day of intense rain causes havoc with flooding. The inexorable march of climate change is bringing more intense rain at odd times or no rain at all. The ‘heat island’ effect of cities with bumper-to-bumper traffic jostling for space with humans gets accentuated during times of no rain. Continue reading
After 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
Pollution of America’s drinking water is in the news again. 15 years ago, when I saw the Oscar-winning Erin Brokovich, it opened my eyes to the horror of industrial water pollution in the developed world. Continue reading
If there is one person who says it without flinching, it is Dipak Gyawali. He explains how international water agencies try to impose unnatural systems of water management with no regard for existing traditional systems, which results in complete failure. He also talks about the power of Nepal’s communities, which are able to come together and rebuild after a calamity, without waiting for the government. Technology must be used to improve traditional systems, not supplant them, he says.
A recent visit to Denmark made me realise that the global challenge of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in wastewater was even more onerous than I thought. Despite being one of the most sustainable countries in the world, and equipped with advanced water technologies, Denmark has managed to build its first full-scale dedicated WWTP for treating hospital wastewater only recently. Most hospitals are discharging their wastewater to municipal treatment plants, which as insiders know too well, are woefully inadequate to deal with PPCPs. Continue reading
It has come to light that Shanghai resident of Indian origin Vaishali Midha, wife of the Dell chief for the Asia Pacific region, Amit Midha is launching a mineral water brand, sourced from the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. According to Rahul Kanwal, Managing Editor, TV Today Network (http://www.dailyo.in/politics/rahul-kanwal-modi-china-jinping-jaishankar-weibo-keqiang-chinese-airlines-make-in-india-mansarovar/story/1/3794.html), the bottles of water from one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world will be priced at INR 80 per bottle starting October 2015. The special packing of the bottles is purported to be designed by TV actor Mohit Raina and comes with rudraksh beads on the cap, and Hindu god Shiva’s teachings printed on a parchment inside the pack. Continue reading