Contributing to the Solution

June 5, 2011
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri

73% of India’s current population of 1.21 billion does not have access to clean drinking water.

An estimated 3 billion liters of sewage, industrial waste and chemical waste from farming is dumped into India’s rivers every day, making the river waters unfit to drink.

Dumping Waste

Global warming is leading to increased flooding and drought.

Add it all up … by 2025, half of the world’s population may not have access to clean drinking water.

Responding to the growing problem of water scarcity, several papers were selected for presentation at the International Conference on Sustainable Development, ICSTSD – 2011. The papers presented a different perspective each on the water crisis.

Topics addressed included water management for indigenous societies, waste water recovery, water and human development.

Water Management

Seeking insights from one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Dr. Prasanthi Hagare and Peter McArdle, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney, Australia authored Investigating Indigenous Practices of Water and Wastewater Management in Remote Australia.

Inspired to learn traditional water management approaches from a people who have occupied the land for over 40,000 years, Hagare and McArdle studied how their proven practices could contribute to future water sustainability.

Post colonial influence on Australia’s water infrastructure and management was also researched.

Sugar Industry

In their paper, Bioremediation of Hexavalent Chromium by Sugar Industry Residue: Bagasse, Dr. Dhara Shukla and Padma S. Vankar, IIT Kanpur, tackled the problem of water contamination.

Conducting experiments with the industrial by-product of sugar, bagasse, they found that it has a surprising side-effect that’s actually good; it removes Hexavalent Chromium Cr (VI) that is a major industrial pollutant for water bodies.

Reusing biomaterial at low operating cost to remove heavy metals from contaminated water, Shukla and Vankar moved one step closer to solving the problem of and generating awareness about the serious consequences of industrial pollution.

Coastal Area

Also helping generate awareness, Meenu V. and Dr. T. S. Lancelest from Department of Geography, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady authored a case study on Population Density and Its Effects on Water Availability and Water Quality in Coastal Wards of Vizhinjam Panchayat.

“Water is the matrix of culture, the basis of life,” they noted. “Water has been central to the material and cultural well being of societies all over the world. Unfortunately, in all of coastal Kerala, there is a severe water crisis today.”

Their paper examined current water availability, water quality and the effects of population density.

Even as the water scarcity crisis continues to grow, there is hope in the form of these research scholars who are doing their part to solve the problem. Lets hope that more people are inspired to follow their example.

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