Friday February 21, 2020

Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants be Set Up Only in Villages that Have Water Quality Problems

The study covered 21 gram panchayats (GPs), or village level local bodies, in seven states where the highest number of RO plants had been set up

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RO, Plants, Water Quality
The institute undertook a study on the RO plants, which were set up as technology solutions to address quality related problems in drinking water. Pixabay

 National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) has recommended that Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants be set up only in the villages that have water quality problems so as to avoid high costs and maintenance burden.

The institute undertook a study on the RO plants, which were set up as technology solutions to address quality related problems in drinking water.

The study covered 21 gram panchayats (GPs), or village level local bodies, in seven states where the highest number of RO plants had been set up, as per the data provided by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The study looked at three GPs with RO plants in four southern states, two from west India and one from north India.

RO, Plants, Water Quality
National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) has recommended that Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants be set up only in the villages that have water quality problems. Pixabay

“Our hunch was that possibly, a GP President feels elated to say that he provides RO treated water to his voters, (when in reality the quality of the water is potable). Empirical verification revealed that we were right in every third case,” said Professor P. Sivaram, Head, Centre for Rural Infrastructure, NIRDPR.

Out of the 21 cases studied, eight units have come up at places where they were not required as no quality-related problem in water is observed there. This has several cost implications not only to the state but also to the GPs in terms of maintenance, he added.

In 16 of the 21 GPs, the RO plants are operated by the GP whereas in the other cases, they were found to be operated by private players for profit or by NGOs as part of their rural development programmes.

The study revealed that people were paying Rs 50 to Rs 150 per month depending on the usage. There have been certain unique modes of payment introduced such as swiping the ATM card, coin-operated systems, water coupons, among others, which are easing the burden on the GPs. Yet, challenges continue to persist in their uptake since several families feel the taste of RO-treated water is bland or that it is not affordable and they prefer piped water supply instead.

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In several of the under study states, it was found that the levels of calcium and magnesium fell drastically after the RO treatment, which could potentially cause calcium deficiency in the body.

In rural areas, however, which continue to struggle with contaminated water, the RO reject water can be utilised for other uses such as in school/anganwadi (child care centre) toilets which is being done in some villages in Rajasthan, the report said. (IANS)

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One in Three Species of Fauna and Flora Could get Extinct by 2070 Because of Climate Change: Study

For the findings, the researchers analysed data from 538 species and 581 sites around the world and focused on plant and animal species that were surveyed at the same sites over time, at least 10 years apart

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If humans cause larger temperature increases, we could lose more than a third or even half of all animal and plant species. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that one in three species of plants and animals could face extinction by 2070 because of climate change.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimated broad-scale extinction patterns from climate change by incorporating data from recent climate-related extinctions and from rates of species movements.

“By analysing the change in 19 climatic variables at each site, we could determine which variables drive local extinctions and how much change a population can tolerate without going extinct,” said study researcher Cristian Roman-Palacios from University of Arizona.

“We also estimated how quickly populations can move to try and escape rising temperatures. When we put all of these pieces of information together for each species, we can come up with detailed estimates of global extinction rates for hundreds of plant and animal species,” Roman-Palacios added.

For the findings, the researchers analysed data from 538 species and 581 sites around the world and focused on plant and animal species that were surveyed at the same sites over time, at least 10 years apart.

They generated climate data from the time of the earliest survey of each site and the more recent survey. They found that 44 per cent of the 538 species had already gone extinct at one or more sites. The study identified maximum annual temperatures — the hottest daily highs in summer — as the key variable that best explains whether a population will go extinct.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that average yearly temperatures showed smaller changes at sites with local extinction, even though average temperatures are widely used as a proxy for overall climate change. “This means that using changes in mean annual temperatures to predict extinction from climate change might be positively misleading,” said study researcher John J. Wiens. Previous studies have focused on dispersal — or migration to cooler habitats — as a means for species to “escape” from warming climates.

Roe Deer, Capreolus Capreolus, Doe, Animal, Nature
Researchers have revealed that one in three species of plants and animals could face extinction by 2070 because of climate change. Pixabay

However, the authors of the current study found that most species will not be able to disperse quickly enough to avoid extinction, based on their past rates of movement. Instead, they found that many species were able to tolerate some increases in maximum temperatures, but only up to a point.

They found that about 50 per cent of the species had local extinctions if maximum temperatures increased by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius, and 95 per cent if temperatures increase by more than 2.9 degrees Celsius. “If we stick to the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, we may lose fewer than two out of every 10 plant and animal species on Earth by 2070,” Wiens said.

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“But if humans cause larger temperature increases, we could lose more than a third or even half of all animal and plant species, based on our results,” Wiens added. (IANS)