Sewage not just spoils but kills | HT Tech

Sewage not just spoils but kills

Ask the average person why rivers in India are polluted and they will blame sewers. Yet, inside the sewers lies a much more terrifying story of environmental disasters.

By: EARTH WATCH | BHARATI CHATURVEDI
| Updated on: Aug 02 2004, 03:19 IST

Ask the average person why rivers in India are polluted and they will blame sewers. Yet, inside the sewers lies a much more terrifying story of environmental disasters.

Newspapers have been reporting how sewage workers are killed while cleaning up the most stinky, sludgy and crappy waste possible. Most often they die from exposure to the toxic gases. In any case, it is also difficult to protect oneself from these gases using fancy gear and many simply fall and drown in sewage. In the last 4 months, five workers have reportedly died on the job. Estimates say almost a hundred workers in Delhi alone are killed annually this way. In other words, every third day a life is lost, while numerous others suffer from various diseases.

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Many in Delhi believe the Yamuna is polluted because of the Yamuna Pushta slums. They are wrong. The slums' contribution to the problem is merely 0.08 per cent. The major culprits are the urban areas.

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It's time to recognise sewage for the multiple environmental disaster it is.

Philippino lessons

It's possible, as the Philippines just showed the world, to have a mass immunization programme without burning or incinerating needles or syringes and thus, without polluting the air. In all, 18 million children were vaccinated against measles and about 19.5 auto-disposable syringes were generated. They were then autoclaved and microwaved.

There is a lesson in this for India, but do we have the bureaucratic will?

(If you feel for Planet Earth then write to Earthwatch1@rediffmail.com)

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First Published Date: 20 Jul, 16:40 IST
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