Published: Tuesday 15 July 1997

Head in the sand

Your report, 'csF challenges the misinformation campaign' in the Campaigns Supplement (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 23), makes for valid reading. How can anyone expect the honourable folk from the Delhi Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Undertaking (DWSMU) to come out with press statements that are anything but true? Of course, Som Dutt, director of treatment and quality control at DWSSDU is correct when he says that there is nothing wrong with Delhi's water, especially when he and his bosses are sipping bottled mineral water while saying so. Of course there are no pesticides in Delhi's water and the river Yamuna, while meandering through Delhi, is absolutely pristine.

It would be very interesting to find out how much the Delhi Assembly and various government organisations in Delhi spend per annum on bottled mineral water. Or maybe the Delhi government drinks only mineral water to take samples from it. As a matter of fact, even the Centre for Science and Environment was serving mineral water at the dais during the release of its book, Homicide by Pesticide, at the Worldwide Fund for Nature-India's auditorium in New Delhi.

Anybody who claims there are no pesticides or pollution in Yamuna water should take a look at the river first. I am sure they will not want to wash their hands in the water, let alone drink it. Even the hardy buffaloes refuse to enter the river....

Black deeds

Down To Earth's Campaigns Supplements that highlight vehicular and other types of pqRution problems in cities are very intere sting. 'Kali nadi' (black river) flows on the outskirts of my native town, Muzaffarnagar. This stinking river takes up all the filth of the city. Its water is quite unsuitable for consumptio_u or for washing, yet a number of fisherfolk and people washing clothes can be seen along the river. Motijheel, a lake by the river, is choked with water hya cinth.

Furthermore, over the last few years, a number of water pumps have come up in the town that never faced a water problem earlier. Of late, a number of impurities have been noticed in the water drawn by these pumps....

CSE/DTE information clearing house

Your Special Report 'Nature's minor gifts' (Do No 2 1), was ver) ever, Anil Gupta soil microbial di be erratic. From present century, Russian microbiologists have tried to correlate microbial species and soil. Population and ratio of individual groups of microorganisms in various types of soils in the erstwhile Soviet Union are well established.

Could you send me the addresses of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh? Is it possible to get a short-term (2-3 months) training in bacterial fertiliser products anywhere in India?...

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