Waste Water and Water Waste

Waste Water… and Water Waste

This is blog is inspired by www.BlogAdda.com

But I have not written it over weekend, simply because I was researching and I needed to get my information right.

So lets start at the very beginning.. No we are not going to a place where water was common resource but to this event called the world water day. It’s on 22nd of march, which means this article is almost a week late and most of us are probably already looking at 1st April for the all fools day. this year the UN focuses on waste waters and the ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the waste water from our homes, cities industries and agriculture flows back into nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

The UN also has a goal 6 which is ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The target of this is is to halve the proportion of untreated waste water and increase water recycling and safe re-use of water.

Some facts from the UN

  • Globally over 50% of the water waste generated by the society flows back into ecosystem without being treated or reused.
  • 8 billion People use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.(data courtesy WHO/UNICEF)

After all this not really relevant data, let’s look at waste water,  how many of you saw sewage, kitchen flow etc. etc. the imagery of cattle bathing in the river, or clothes being washed in the river. Well cattle bathing in the river is their right I do not what gives us the right to deprive them, but that is another war, not the agenda here. clothes being washed at the river side is an issue because the detergents that are marketed so heavily subtly ridiculing the traditional washing aids, contaminate water.  I doubt if the policy makers also thought of the real pollutants from urban sewage, trucks being washed at the water bodies, industrial waste etc. etc. Contamination also occurs right up to the groundwater through septic tanks.

The theme this year is about reusing waste water

The Water Resource Department,(WRD) has come up with a sequential water reactor, the first level of treatment allows the water to be used to flush the toilets and to be used in gardens, while the second level allows the water to become drinkable.  Government provides assistance to bring this into action; somehow housing societies are rather reluctant to pick this one.

The area that WRD is supposed to work on, is creating awareness on rainwater harvesting and assisting people to do so. the government gives a subsidy of 50.000 – 2 lakhs, to individuals or societies to achieve this. Every panchayat has an officer appointed by the government to do this, yet the citizens are totally unaware of this.

Ground water act calls for all wells to be registered, so do the water tankers. – Details are found on the web of WRD, printed copy of this act is not available, and translation to quite a few vernacular language is also required. The job and funds for doing so is available to the information department. The PWD takes on the cleaning of the existing wells,

The government has allotted funds for de-silting, and cleaning existing wells. The wells need to be registered to avail this. The directorate of health, which is in charge of checking the water quality, has required equipment, and a designated officer but is absolutely clueless on how to use the equipment as no one has demanded that it be done, the resources undergo disuse atrophy.

Know the department involved in water saga,

  • Sewage and Infrastructural Development Corporation. Every state has one.       In charge of the waste water treatment.
  • Water resource department — water supply, rainwater harvest education, registration of wells, and water transport trucks.
  • Directorate of Health Services water quality maintenance, and watch dog for waterborne diseases.
  • PWD water cleaning and de-silting and maintenance of ground water

The information I have handed is also incomplete, since time is a constrain. But amazes me is when we buy a television we check out the service etc. etc. we do not take the trouble of seeing where our tax money is going. Nor do we take the responsibility for any of this when we buy our flat.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Until next March 8th

Can Women have some dignity…?

We have so many popular slogans and campaigns running, every Rotary club and any other club worth its salt is talking Women’s Day let’s not forget the feminist seminars and public debates, RJ’s screaming at the highest pitch that their voice about the greatness of women, lets look at ground reality through the eyes of  the PM’s banega swach bharat,

There are settlements where people can be forced to build toilets.

The group I am talking about is the labour force the woman working out in the fields, building your roads and houses, they work about 8hrs a day, having to leave their homes earlier than that, during the day they need to ease themselves, can we allow them the dignity of doing so?  people have offered to give them mobile toilets but labour contractors don’t want to take it on, people living on the flats and houses where these construction work is going on, look at these mobile toilets as contamination of their turf.

Then the women who work with garbage sorting, the non-biodegradable used sanitary towels are handled by them, rendering them open to infection, can we provide them safety?

Go to any women’s toilet most of them are dirty, with sanitary towels strewn and menstrual discharge around… it looks like the toilet came alive and regurgitated all over the floor and walls, the putrid water still trickling from the bowl.

We can talk about women’s rights, and dignity but where is it? unless we recognize that each individual is unique and valuable by the virtue of simply being conceived human, we cannot really talk human rights, this includes the right to be born, as  many of us have, and many have not just because they were female, the accidental attributes we acquire, maybe our colour, intelligence, our physical and mental abilities, these should not be a barrier to our dignity.

So thanks for the women’s day’s saccharine messages but no thank you.


Community Radio

Travelling by the KSRTC Rajhansa I heard a language I had not heard in years, familiar, yet unfamiliar one got the drift of the language it was Byaari the language of the local Muslims. Which my friends Shameem and Naseem spoke. And it was being aired on the community radio.

The young twenty something kid told me, “aunty I listen to only this bandwidth” more curious about it asked him, he says they have small programs that talks of their community, the events happening there, it was like you are part of the community even you are not physically present.

“It’s better than YouTube, because I can hear when I drive, or when I work.” Actually it is true, I remember the radio from my growing days, since licenses were required to own them, and few people owned them. The Ajjarkaad, tower had a public broadcast which my father says was on since radio entered the human world. People would be seated on the rocks of Ajjarkaad, with their children playing in the sand dunes and maybe some even ambling in the park, the news and songs from vivid bharati or AIR would heard.

Dinner time began with the 8 O’clock news.  At the end of “swargiya kundanlal sehgal’s” song one began getting ready to go to school. Then of course there was fight to listen to the oral teasers of movies, sometimes ghazal programs, various debates and talk shows. I remember being part of the couple youth programs and being paid a princely sum of 105/-Rs. for it.

Somewhere the louder and more demanding sibling of the radio has taken over, the TV, it is intrusive and offensive unlike the radio which is rather more personal.

Goa had such a powerful airway that its bandwidth was available even in places like Angora, in 1961 when the Indians landed, the shut the station down for 25days and when it opened again, the station has become impotent. There are places in Goa where bandwidths are not available.

Content is another issue, with the centre controlling the airway, and programs the issues relating to the community, the language of various communities is getting lost. Like the Byaari and Nawayati communities of Konkan-Karavali, community radio’s maybe a good way of rebuilding the community.  we might actually escape the tyranny of the shrill screeching monotonous RJ’s of Radio Mirchi and 92.7 FM,

When Mr.Sajan Venniyoor made his presentation at ICG at the community radio awareness program, he shared with us the community radio’s in various states, and showed us the status of community radio in goad… it was blank.

Like I mentioned before 1961 Indians bombed Goa shut it down for 25 days, and has stayed stifled before it went right up to angora. Community radio would be a great platform to address the Goan community, revive the Goan culture, and since 2007 the government has opened airways to public. Though individuals cannot have bandwidths, NGO’s universities, colleges can all have them.

Community radio covers up to 10-15kms; it can be tweaked up to 20kms, if the towers are placed on the hilly terrain the radio waves travel much more.

Canada has a community radio called Mango Radio which addresses the Mangalore and Goan community. Kutch has mahila Vikas sangathan  radio which is for the women of Kutch, the issue that the central government came up with  was that it was close to Pakistan border, but how does it matter. After Pakistan has FM station along its border that broadcasts and the waves are received in India.

A community radio is a very personal experience, it is as if, the device is speaking to you, it can follow you where ever and give you company even as you work. It is like sitting in your living room and debating on issues that are relevant to your small community.

If I were to tweak the slogan of democracy a bit… community radio is of the community, for the community by the community. The management of this can be done either by a group of people, or an individual or it can be done to colleges and universities,

Community radio’s being smaller and locally organized it allows, inclusion and participation. It also creates a sense of ownership and belonging. It allows use of technology economically appropriate to the community rendering external controls out of the play.

When someone’s buffalo went missing people asked the local radio man “raga” to help it is so within the community it empowers the community to do its own problem solving. The community radio basically runs on content, access, community participation, self management are all part of it.

The initial layout cost is  a bit steep, for a good one, however the government does support a bit initially, the biggest disadvantage is the minute the bandwidth is allotted to an outfit its billing begins, and there is no exit policy,

community radio
recorder for radio transmission

Some interesting community radio heroes, the Deccan Development society in pastapur, is a women run station as is the Kutch Mahila vikas sangatan project at Bhuj. Bundelkhand has its station run in the local language as Bundelkand is split between two states and it does not belong to either state. The gurgoan community radio is sliced away the elite migrant dwellers, to address and connect to the original Haryanvi populations.

The story of Radio Raghav from bihar is quite interesting. Like the bootooth radio of madhyapradesh where the songs are shared through Bluetooth and broadcasted over speakers.

It might be an interesting option in community building and connecting.

Of Slump and Trump

I am not a very political aware person, neither do I have intelligence to understand anything beyond housekeeping nor do I have the interest in doing so.  Yet when I hear MrD and my daughters argue about and express eloquently the scenario it strikes to me, that we are forgetting a huge issue.

Jimmy Kimmel went about taking his audience through the 5 stages of grief, yet, what I do not understand here why it is so difficult that to accept more people want Mr. Trump or BJP than those who do not want.

Mr. Trump talks of returning to  a society where women, Asians, Hispanics are kept out from work arena, leaving more jobs for the white American male…  a generation that has not really recovered from the Great recession…Obama Care and taxation has spelt a death to their small enterprises. With dwindling younger generation this generation now in its late fifties to eighties who were normally apathetic are out exercising their franchise, and they are on this trip of going back to the good old days.

In India Mr.Amit Shah went about awakening the sleeping giant of middle class particularly in the cow belt who see a more open and inclusive society as threat to the way they live. This message is persistently reinforced by the movies and television serials. So much so I am beginning to wonder if the entire conspiracy theory is true and the chief conspirator is Murdoch.

Possible that Mr. Murdoch is a racist, misogynist and ensures that his channels subtly propagate these ideas, I do not.

Think of it here is Mr. Trump a commoner who over threw the elite Clintons, and Mr.Modi who over threw the Elite congress WOGS is a chaiwallah. The media beating made both Mr. Trump and Mr.Modi mascots of the underdog. There is something that tells us there is hope the situation can be handled by the common man that is one major reason why most of us are willing to stand by the inconvenience we face over the past few days.

There are alternate voices, they do not want to sing the tune of the mainstream but want to contribute their music to the symphony that voice we try to erase all in the name of progress makes its stand very clear.

On the other hand, media has lost credibility too… if you have been observing the take on currency scenario then from Saturday evening to Sunday evening Times Now ran the same clipping of the voice on the street.

Okay now we are on the acceptance stage of everything, Trump…Currency Slump and all other media dump we need to get more involved and take responsibility as a community. Do we even acknowledge the identity of the community that we are in, particularly the educated migrant community… what is the pace, flavour and rhythm of this community that I have infiltrated into, how I can contribute… these are questions we never ask.

Most of us are not really leaders; the least we can do is to support those who lead.

Bye-Bye Binary

“Clad not exactly as a boy but, rather confusingly, as the boy I would have been, had I been more of a girl”
― Sarah WatersTipping the Velvet

November is the month of transgender awareness and education and well as celebrating the gender identity it is different from the assigned sex, this is independent of sexual orientation.

Many experience gender dysphoria some seek therapy.  Some go through life hiding behind what is socially accepted. A current trend in Hindi movies is to have an exaggerated transgender.

Being a transgender is not funny,  and parents sorry to disappoint you, when your kids turn out bi- or transgender or even gay, it is not about you… if you happen to reject them or cleanse them with holy water it is not going to change them all that will happen is you will lose them.

Being a transgender could be either psychological or physical and the journey to self acceptance and acceptance in the society is usually quite traumatic. The individual gets quite discriminated on some simple examples

  • In the work place they are given lesser opportunities even if they did find opportunities they are accepted into the fold of the community. The last census in the united states revealed that 14% of the transgender are unemployed as compared to the 7% of the general population.
  • Since people are hesitant to rent out apartments to transgender or even sell it to them the reason cited is that the marketability of the rest of the apartments goes down majority of the transgender are homeless or live in make shift shelters.
  • Health insurance is unavailable to the transgender as the health insurance works on binary sexual scenario.
  • A cultural bias that being transgender is a psychological disorder or behavioural issue, that they are liars and frauds had lead to the individuals being socially ostracized.
  • Of routine dehumanization occurs through transgender related jokes.

The most dehumanizing of it all is the use of gender binary spaces like the toilets, and other public utility spaces. The transgender finally out of sheer self preservation either step out the community and relocate to exclusive or secluded communities or they then tend “pass” into the nearest gender in the gender-binary system.

The societies general reaction to transgender is that they are upsetting, because  they are perceived as choosing to inhabit a third space instead of “picking a side”, to some they are upsetting because they do not hide their birth histories, to others they are upsetting when to refuse to undergo a gender defining surgery or therapy. The label attached is the they are simply not trying hard enough to overcome their particular deficiency and become part of the mainstream… that is a particular gender though why they should is beyond me.

I just realized that we make assumptions everyday about other people’s genders without ever seeing their birth certificates, their chromosomes, their genitals, their reproductive systems, their childhood socialization or their legal sex. There is really no such a thing as real gender… gender is as we experience ourselves and the gender we perceive other to be.

Here is the link to a group that is working at giving the transgender their dignity. http://www.oasisinternational.in/

Maya-Matanga The Vanishing Elephants

world elephant dayI have just come across a book in our library called the Mathangalila. Mathangalila, is Sanskrit text written by author Nilakantha which deals with the science of Elephant. The book talks about Asiatic Elephants, diagnosis and cure of illness that afflict elephants, use of elephant parts in medicine. Folklore round elephants.

Elephants are very part of our cultural ethos, be it Indra’s Airavata, or the panel of Gajalakshmi fanned by elephants. Or the story of King Udayana who could capture a elephant with his powers of playing the Veena. Most of us are familiar with the line up of dressed up elephants that happens on Thiru-Onam.

Laksmeesha and Subhadra were the two elephant calves rescued from nagaraholle and housed in Udupi. Visiting them was  a thrill for my daughter, but she was always concerned that the elephant was away from its mom, and that they was no one who could give its favourite food.

The story of the elephant and tailor, the story of the Gajendra moksha they are all there but with the destruction of habitat and extensive poaching Elephants are slowly turning to pictures in a picture book instead of live majestic creatures that roam the world.

Elephants are African and Asian. Fossil evidence shows that elephants of Sri Lanka were 5 tusks, and now they have shrunk to single tusk. The cost of ivory exceeds the cost of gold, so the greed has lead to poaching of elephants. Elephant meat and elephant skin leather are causes leading to poaching.

With the loss of forest cover the elephants are coming closer to human habitat causing destruction to agriculture and crops,

The world elephant day is celebrated annually on August 12th since its conception in 2011.  This day is dedicated to the preservation and protection of elephants.  To share the knowledge of elephants and to ensure better care and management of captive elephants.  The African elephants are currently listed as vulnerable, as their population is about 400,000 while its Asian cousins  at 40,000 are endangered. Studies show that they are only 12yrs from being extinct.

The world elephant day is an international event conceived by filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest pictures and Sivaporn Dardarnanda the Secretary General Of Elephant Reintroduction Foundation Of Thailand.






biodieselInternational day for bio diesel

August 10th is the international Biodiesel day. it is celebrated worldwide in honour of the  prime model of an engine that ran on peanut oil, in 1893. This event triggered the development of biodiesel as an alternate to petrol or gasoline

1977 witnessed a Brazilian scientist Expedito Parente inventing and submitting for a patent of an industrial process to produce biodiesel.  Tecbio worldwide is working on standardizing this fuel in collaboration with NASA and Boeing. This is referred to as bio-kerosene.

South Africa initiated the use of transesterified sunflower oil as fuel for cars in 1979. This technology was obtained by Austria from South Africa so that a biodiesel plant to be erected, through 1990 many European countries erected plants to produce biodiesel, as of now quite a few service stations across Europe provide 100% biodiesel.

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is renewable biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease. It is a cleaner burning option for petroleum diesel fuel, and meets both the biomass based diesel and overall advanced bio fuel requirement of renewable fuel standard.

The bio feed or source oils could come from a variety of oils, some of those being

  • Soyabean which is most commonly used. Mustard, jojoba, Palm oil, coconut, hemp are also used.
  • Waste vegetable oil
  • Animal fats like tallow, lard, yellow grease and the by products from the production of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Algae that are grown using waste materials like sewage and without displacing land currently used for food production.
  • Oil from halophytes such as salicornia bigelovii that can be grown using saltwater in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown. The yields from this equals the yield of soybeans and other oilseeds grown using freshwater irrigation.
  • Sewage slugde this is an option that is attracting interests from companies like waste management and start-ups like infoSpi.

Biodiesel is beneficial both economically and environmentally, there is a huge reduction in green house gas emissions, deforestations, pollutions and the rate of biodegradation.

What Biodiesel means

  • Energy independence to economically challenged countries. For biodiesel can be used in any existing diesel engines.
  • Smaller trade deficit – instead of importing natural resources we can convert our own living resource power, we can to the tropics for bio-fuels this saves foreign exchange ,strengthens the national economic allows the country to serve its neediest citizens.
  • Economic growth is boosted as new markets are created for agricultural products and stimulate rural economy. This becomes very potent because two thirds the population of developing countries derive their incomes from agriculture. Many small farmers are too small to compete with the global market, this will allow them supplement their income. At the national level it would mean, developing a new industry and creating new jobs.
  • Biofuel also means less pollution as it burns more cleanly than gasoline or diesel.
  • Biofuel means less global warming, for the carbon in the fuel is from the atmosphere of where the plant grew. While fossil fuel adds huge amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere while Bio-fuel brings it down considerably, all most 75% cleaner there are cases where it has reached zero carbon dioxide emission
  • Biofuel exhaust is not offensive and does not irritate the eye or skin. If cooking oil is used there chances that you will get a whiff of your favourite food. J

To sum it up

  • Biodiesel is clean burning fuel
  • It does not have any toxic emission like the mineral diesel
  • It can be made from any vegetable oil such as Soya, Rice Bran, Canola, Palm, Coconut, mustard or animal fat like lard or tallow.
  • Biodiesel can be a complete substitute for mineral based diesel.
  • Biodiesel is methyl ester converted from fats of natural origin into a chemical process and it is not vegetable oil.
  • It is intended to be used as replacement for petroleum diesel or can be blended into the petroleum diesel in various proportions.
  • Biofuel can be used in a diesel engine without having to modify it.
  • The exhaust emission and the pollution in it reduces almost by 75%.
  • Biofuel is biodegradable.

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