Packaged drinking water or natural mineral water is everywhere. It is now available in pouches, cups, bottles and bulky transparent jars. It is sipped in clubs, malls and fitness centres; glugged after a walk, jog or trek; sold on railway platforms and bus terminals, or pressed through car windows during traffic jams. Stashed in paan-shops, vendor stalls, department stores and supermarkets, bottled water has made its way into offices, restaurants, hotels and cinemas. Turns out that bottled water, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry, actually contains deadly pesticide residues. Here's the whole toxic truth
The rising trend of murky days in recent years has failed to spur the Indian Meterological Department into action. Quite clearly, the need of the hour is to embark on a major programme to demystify the fog
Key environmental clause deleted from rules governing diesel generator sets barely six months after implementation
Tug-of-war between basic service providers (MTNL, Reliance, Tata) and cellular operators has intensified after wireless in local loop (WLL) launch
CII study recommends greater private role in India's healthcare sector, but the document centres around the lucrative tertiary care market only
EU decides to withdraw about 320 substances used in plant protection products - including pesticides, fungicides and herbicides - from markets by July, 2003
Company to reveal source code, but there is a catch
Excerpts from Troubled Islands! by Pankaj Sekhsaria
Even as citypeople all over India were finalising their Christmas party-hopping plans, a celebration of a very different kind galvanised Junagadh district, Gujarat. From December 23 to 26, 2002, thousands of villagers from villages in Keshod, Maliya, Memdarda and Mangrol talukas went on a padayatra (footmarch). Their mission? Sensitising and motivating people to pitch in and revive the river Meghal, lifeline of the area
Ajit Jogi, Chhattisgarh chief minister, has announced an enquiry into the legality of India's first private project to supply water to industry from the Sheonath river. Speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting on January 21 in Ambikapur, Sarguja district, he said the agreement signed by the Madhya Pradesh government before the creation of the new state will not be allowed to compromise the interests of Chhattisgarh if the enquiry gives it an adverse report card. But NGOs opposing the project are sceptical
Spice, fruit juice and now weight watchers' manna
Both India and China are ancient civilisations possessing characteristic indigenous knowledge of conservation of natural ecosystems. The Chinese have recognised the potential of traditional knowledge and regard religious forests as an asset and an important tool for rehabilitation of degraded soil. Unfortunately in India, a similar revival is yet to happen
Recurrent droughts and floods coupled with mass poverty, chronic unemployment and pervasive malnutrition are the major challenges before India. The Union government usually responds by complaining about truant rains and doles out funds in an arbitrary manner. An alternative could be a nationwide watershed development programme through the statutory employment guarantee. The active involvement of state governments, panchayats (village boards) and people in this plan could eradicate the scourges of man-made famine, floods, hunger and poverty permanently
The Gujarat 2001 earthquake drove home the point that cities built on river alluvium and sand are likely to suffer maximum damage from an earthquake due to high water table and the construction of dams in the upper reaches
'Corporate Responsibility' has died a fancy death at the altar of public relations. A recent chemical analysis of branded packaged drinking water (commonly called bottled water) conducted by the Pollution Monitoring laboratory of the Centre for Science and Environment has brought out a horror story. All the major brands contain high doses of pesticide residue. Lindane, Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, DDT, you name it: bottled water is a kind of pre-mixed chemical cocktail. Bad news.
Optimism is a great friend but a bad guide. The Asian Social Forum meeting in Hyderabad, India, deliberately avoided this truism while proclaiming grandly: "Another world is possible". Another world is definitely possible. In fact it exists. The numerous communities that gathered there, with their own stories of survival and governance, are living proof. They, out of the audible limit of the protests against globalisation and sale of the planet to a few corporate houses, have evolved and developed an alternative world. Neither a government's world, nor a private world, but a people's world. That is how the optimism of another world has taken real shape.