KSPCB action against 331 establishments
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The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has slapped notices and cases against 331 industries, establishments, apartments and utilities for flouting sewage and effluent treatment norms. These establishments will be monitored for their compliance with green norms. A penalty formula under the ‘polluter pays’ principle will also be prepared against them.
The establishments had been inspected by the KSPCB based on an August 2018 order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which in turn was following up on a Supreme Court order. KSPCB has inspected 5656 plants in the state over the past six months, and has submitted a report to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The report recorded that just 5.6 percent of all treatment plants were not complying with norms. This low percentage is apparently due to continuous monitoring of STPs. Last year, KSPCB had served notices to about 99 apartments in Bengaluru that were dumping sewage into lakes, and had also sent notices on non-functioning STPs.
Water tariff might be hiked by May end
After almost five years, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is expected to revise water tariffs. The BWSSB board is expected pass a proposal on this at its next meeting. BWSSB has already proposed a 15 percent hike in tariff. The Board may also propose to the government that tariff revision be done once every three years.
Tushar Girinath, Chairman of BWSSB, confirmed that the final meeting on the draft revised tariff would be held on May 30th. The revisions are expected to offset the losses that the Board incurs in pumping water, due to higher electricity and utility charges. However, the calculations are still being examined and the fare hike has not been fixed. Only after it is finalised, the report will be presented at the next board meeting and then forwarded to the state government, Girinath said.
In 2014 end, BWSSB had hiked tariff by 20 percent. Since then, the cost of power as well as of maintaining new sewage treatment plants has gone up.
Schools enforce rules on lighter schoobags
Many schools have begun to set guidelines to abide by the rules on weight of schoolbags, set by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education. School managements are either asking parents to buy lightweight bags or are selling such bags to parents along with the textbooks.
Earlier this month, the department had ordered that bags of class 1 and 2 students should not weigh more than 2 kgs. The bag can weigh 2-3 kgs for students from class 3 to 5. The prescribed weight increases progressively, with students in class 9 and 10 allowed to carry bags weighing 4-5 kg. Other rules mandate that class 1 and 2 students should not be given homework, and that every third Saturday be observed as ‘no bag day’.
A schoolbag should not weigh more than 10 percent of the student’s body weight, according to the department’s directives. The rules are based on recommendations by an expert committee that had submitted its report to the department in 2016-17.
Network of small parks can support biodiversity, finds survey
A number of parks located close to each other would have a great impact in encouraging the presence of birds and butterflies, according to a study by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) that was published in the journal Plos One.
The researchers had first conducted a ‘biodiversity fondness survey’ among residents and walkers, on the kind of creatures they liked to see in parks. Birds and butterflies ranked highest in this survey. Then they conducted a biodiversity survey in 37 neighbourhood parks in four zones of the city. The city’s large green spaces such as Cubbon Park, Lalbagh, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra (GKVK) also were selected and mapped.
The survey found that even compact spaces harboured much biodiversity, and that park size did not directly affect species abundance. Instead, the presence of other parks in the neighbourhood, and a spread out green cover, attracted a large variety of birds and butterflies to parks.