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Read the passage given below and solve the questions based on the passage
Environmental protection and management is deservedly attracting a lot of attention these days. This is a desirable development in the face of the alarming rate of natural resources degradation, which greatly hampers their optimal utilisation. When waste waters emanating from municipal sewage, industrial effluent, agriculture and land runoffs find their way either to ground water reservoirs or to other surface water sources, the quality of water is not controlled. This is because the cleansing forces of nature cannot do their job in proportion to the production of filthy matter.
According to the National Environment Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI), a staggering 70 percent of water available in the country is polluted. According to the Planning Commission: “From the Dal Lake in the North to the Chaliyar River in the South, from Damodar and Hooghly in the East to the Thane creek in the West, the picture of water pollution is uniformly gloomy. Even our large perennial rivers, like the Ganga, are today heavily polluted.”
According to one study, all the 14 major rivers of India are highly polluted. Beside the Ganga, these rivers include the Yamuna, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. These rivers carry 85 percent of the surface runoff and their drainage basins cover 73 percent of the country. The pollution of the much-revered Ganga is due in particular to municipal sewage that accounts for 3/4th of its pollution load. Despite India having legislation on water pollution [The Water (Prevention and control of Pollution) Act 1974] and various water pollution control boards, rivers today have become synonymous with drains and sewers.
Untreated community wastes discharged into water courses from human settlements account for four times as much water as industrial effluent. Out of India’s 3,119 towns and cities, only 217 have partial (209) or full (8) sewerage treatment facilities and cover less than a third of the urban population. Statistics reveal that 1,700 of 2,700 water using industries in India are polluting the water around their factories. Only 160 have water waste treatment plants. One estimate suggests that the volume of waste water of industrial origin will be comparable to that of domestic sewerage in India by 2000 AD. Discharges from agricultural fields which carry fertilising ingredients of nitrogen, phosphorous and pesticides are expected to be three times as much as domestic sewage. By the date, thermal pollution generated by discharges from thermal power plants will be the largest in volume.
Toxic effluents deplete the levels of oxygen in the rivers, endanger all aquatic life and render water absolutely unfit for human consumption, apart from affecting industrial production. Sometimes these effects have been disastrous. A recent study reveals that the water of Ganga, Yamuna, Kali and Hindan rivers have considerable concentrations of heavy metals due to inflow of industrial wastes, which pose a serious health hazard to the millions living on their banks. Similarly, the Cauvery and Kapila rivers in Karnataka have been found to contain metal pollutants, which threaten the health of people in riverine towns. The Periyar, the largest river of Kerala, receives extremely toxic effluents that result in high incidence of skin problems and fish kills. The Godavari of Andhra Pradesh and the Damodar and Hooghly in West Bengal receive untreated industrial toxic wastes. A high level of pollution has been found in the Yamuna, while the Chambal of Rajasthan is considered the most polluted river in Rajasthan. Even in industrially backward Orissa, the Rushikula River is extremely polluted. The fate of the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, the Tungabhadra in Karnataka, the Chaliyar in Kerala, the Gomti in U.P, the Narmada in M.P. and the Sone and the Subarnarekha rivers in Bihar is no different.
According to the W.H.O. eighty percent of diseases prevalent in India are water-borne; many of them assume epidemic proportions. The prevalence of these diseases heightens under conditions of drought. It is also estimated that India loses as many as 73 million man-days every year due to water prone diseases, costing Rs. 600 crore by way of treatment expenditure and production losses. Management of water resources with respect to their quality also assumes greater importance especially when the country can no more afford to waste water.
The recent Clean-the-Ganga Project with an action plan estimated to cost the exchequer Rs. 250 crore (which has been accorded top priority) is a trendsetter in achieving this goal. The action plan evoked such great interest that offers of assistance have been received from France, UK, US and the Netherlands and also the World Bank. This is indeed laudable. Poland too has now joined this list. The very fact that these countries have volunteered themselves to contribute their might is a healthy reflection of global concern over growing environmental degradation and the readiness of the international community to participate in what is a truly formidable task. It may be recalled that the task of cleansing the Ganga along the Rishikesh-Hardwar stretch under the first phase of the Ganga Action Plan has been completed and the results are reported to be encouraging.
The crisis of drinking water is deepening because water resources are drying up and the lowering of ground water through overpumping; this is compounded by the pollution of water sources. All these factors increase the magnitude of the problem. An assessment of the progress achieved by the end of March 1985, on completion of the first phase of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade (1981-91) reveals that drinking water has been available to 73 percent of the urban population and 56% of the rural population only. This means that nearly half the country’s rural population has to get drinking water facilities. This needs to be urgently geared up especially when considered against the Government’s professed objective of providing safe drinking water and sanitation to all by the end of the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade i.e; March 1991. The foremost action in this would be to clean up our water resources.
As per surveys conducted by the NEERI, per capita drinking water losses in different cities in the country range between 11,000 and 31,000 litres annually. This indicates a waste level of 20 to 35 percent of the total flow of water in the distribution system primarily due to leaks in main and household service pipes. Preventive maintenance programme would substantially reduce losses and wastages, and would certainly go a long way in solving the problem.
According to the Union Minister of Works and Housing, out of 2.31 lakh problem villages have been provided with at least one source of drinking water as of March, 1986. The balance (38,748) villages are expected to be covered during the seventh plan. A time bound national policy on drinking water is being formulated by the government wherein the task is proposed to be completed by the end of the seventh plan. An outlay of Rs. 6,522.47 crores has been allotted for the water supply and sanitation sector in seventh plan period against an outlay of Rs. 3,922.02 crores in the sixth plan. Of this, outlay for rural water supply sector is Rs. 3,454.47 crore. It is expected that this outlay would help to cover about 86.4 percent of the urban and 82.2 percent of the rural population with safe drinking water facilities by March 1991. Hygienic sanitation facilities would be provided to 44.7 percent and 1.8 percent of the urban and rural population respectively within the same period.
RC (Level-2): Passage-2
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poor economic utilisation of resources
contamination of water from municipal sewage
water unfit for human consumption
none of the above
the extent of water pollution in the Dal Lake is extremely alarming and irreversible
70 percent of the total water available in the country is polluted
Only 217 out of 3119 towns and cities have sewage treatment facilities
all the 14 major rivers of India are highly polluted.
Option B is the right choice.
Option A is rejected as it is only partially correct. NEERI did not say that the situation is irreversible.
Options C and D are ruled out as these statements cannot be ascribed to NEERI. Remember, even though these facts are there in the passage, these do not answer the question asked in the passage.
the lowest percentage of water pollution.
75 percent of the Ganga’s water pollution load
twice the volume of the waste water of industrial origin
three times as much as the discharge from agricultural fields.
Option B is the answer.
The river Periyar is in South India.
The river Periyar is the largest river of Kerala
The river Gomti is extremely polluted
All of the above are correct
The Indian Exchequer
France, UK, US and the Netherlands
The world Bank, Poland, UK
The US, UK, Netherlands, Poland, France the World Bank and India
Water-borne diseases account for 80 percent of all diseases prevalent in India.
Water-borne diseases in India create a loss of Rs. 600 crores every year
Both 1 and 2 are correct
None of these
Option D is the right choice.
WHO has made both the observations. Refer to the lines: According to the W.H.O. eighty percent of diseases prevalent in India are water-borne; many of them assume epidemic proportions. The prevalence of these diseases heightens under conditions of drought. It is also estimated that India loses as many as 73 million man-days every year due to water prone diseases, costing Rs. 600 crore by way of treatment expenditure and production losses. Option C is the right choice.
Chambal of Rajasthan
Rushikula in Orissa
Damodar, Hooghly, Krishna and Gomti
Ganga, Yamuna, Kali, Hindon, Cauvery and Kapila.
the greenhouse effect
water pollution caused by industrial development
drying up of water sources and over pumping
Option (B) is a tempting option in this case but you need to be careful here. The author has introduced a subtle change in this answer option and added industrial development to the option. The passage only mentions pollution and does not mention the source. Even though common sense implies that some of this pollution is caused by industrial development, this cannot be the only source of pollution leading to a crises of drinking water. Therefore, we have rule out this answer option. Option C is the right choice.