The water supply data in rural areas
Almost 75 per cent sewage treatment plants in Maharashtra run without valid consents, reveals Maharashtra's State of Environment Report, 2007. The report, a public document released by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (mpcb), outlines present conditions and some future projections on environment. Prepared by the Mumbai-based Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, the report is based on data studied against parameters such as water, air, noise and forests etc. However, there are concerns that some of the data are outdated--data on wastewater generation, for instance, is 10-year old. It also lacks trend analysis and fails to make proper projections.
The water supply data in rural areas is for the year 2000, showing only 55 per cent villages and 64 per cent hamlets have a per capita water supply of more than 40 lpcd (litres per capita per day).
Wide disparities, however, exist between supply in urban and rural areas. Mumbai has a maximum average water supply of 200 lpcd but even within the city, the slum areas barely receive 90 lpcd and the well-off areas get 300-350 lpcd (see table: How even?).
Clearly, private vehicles take up more and more road space at the cost of public transport.
Hazardous waste generation is pegged at 1.4 million tonnes annually (50 per cent of the total hazardous waste generated in the country) with Thane, Ratnagiri and Raigad generating the maximum amounts. The report also claims that Maharashtra produces almost 60 per cent (31.5 tonnes per day) of the total biomedical waste produced in the country.
Down To Earth had earlier analysed fsi's data and found gaping holes in the forest cover figures (see 236,800 hectares more, Down To Earth, May 15, 2003). Moreover, the report has made recommendations, which are way too general--check urbanisation, coordination between agencies, forge public private partnerships, for instance.
Overall, however, the state of environment report makes for a good beginning with much scope for improvement though. It is also to be seen if this report with be updated annually. Only then will it be a fruitful exercise.
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