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Latest Message:

October 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

Previous Messages:

September 27, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

August 3, 2006 CSE Newsletter

June 1, 2006 CSE Newsletter

May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

November 24, 2005 CSE Newsletter

September 22, 2005 Newsletter

March 15, 2003 Newsletter

You can find CSE archives of past newsletters on their website.



October 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

An e-bulletin from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, to our network of friends and professionals interested in environmental issues.


- Green Schools Award: India's most environment friendly schools
- Environment and poverty: Sign up for our new monthly newsletter
- Editorial: Urban growth model needs reality check
- Cover story: Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur driving a wedge?
- News: Andhra uranium mining project gives locals short shrift
- News: Creation of Greater Bangalore will strain the city's resources
- News: Corporate pressure puts India's obesity prevention plans on hold
- Features: Seeds Bill doesn't matter to these farmers
- Science: To measure rain, get mobile
- Short course: Managing information resources in the digital age


Green Schools Award: India's most environment friendly schools


For over a year, students have been monitoring the environmental performance of their schools under the Gobar Times Green School Programme. Now it is time to announce the winners of the Green Schools Award for India's top performing schools. You are invited to attend the awards event to congratulate the participants. All schools performed a rigourous self-audit following a set of guidelines outlined in the Green Schools Manual.

Date: Friday, November 10, 2006
Time: 3 pm
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi

Awards will be given in the following categories:
- Top green schools of India
- Green teachers' team award
- Best students' audit team award

For more information visit:

To sign up to become a green school>>


Environment and poverty: Sign up for our new monthly newsletter


E-pov is a new monthly news bulletin from CSE's Natural Resource Management and Livelihood unit. This provocative bulletin brings to you the latest developments in environment, poverty and governance in India and south Asia. It also features community initiatives on livelihood security. The newsletter updates on the development effectiveness of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and intends to be a platform for serious dialogue.

In the latest issue of E-pov, read an assessment of the rural employment guarantee act six months after its implementation, the government's announcement of a Rs 5,000 crore plan for backward regions and much more.


To read more about CSE's work on natural resource management and livelihoods visit >>


Editorial: Urban growth model needs reality check


By Sunita Narain

Urban India is beginning to explode. The question is if our cities will be able to manage this growth or will they just burst at the seams? The reason I ask this is because we still don't have a clue about what urban growth will mean for us. We cannot see beyond the glitz of the malls, the swank of the private housing apartments or guarded green areas. We cannot and do not know how we will supply water to all, build houses for all, treat sewage, provide the required parking for an ever expanding fleet of vehicles or even, more basically, where we will bury the growing mountains of garbage our cities throw up. We seem to live in a make-believe world where infrastructure is the buzzword and hope funds for urban renewal will make problems go away.

But the reality is a little different and difficult. The fact is that cities represent a face of development that is resource- and capital-intensive. The resource intensity of the model of urban growth means that it uses huge amounts of energy and materials and leads to huge amounts of waste. This then requires investment - huge and continuous - to mitigate adverse environmental impacts. On the other hand, the capital intensity of urban growth means that it divides the rich and the poor. The high cost of urban services - for water supply, sanitation, garbage removal, transport - requires big investment in social services and provision of basic goods for poorer sections of society.

This so-called sustainable urban growth model has worked (partially) in the industrialised world because of its past wealth accumulation. Developed countries could afford to temper the adverse impacts of growth through public investments and subsidies. But even they remain steps behind the environmental and social problems and therefore, need to keep investing more to mitigate them.

The question for India is if this model of urban development will work. The technical answer seems obvious: to invest in big and small infrastructure projects like flyovers, roads and drinking water supply programmes. The managerial solution seems equally simple: for the state to become efficient in delivery of services or to outsource delivery and create infrastructure for the supposedly more efficient private sector. The buzzword for this is public-private partnerships, which have resulted in the reform of public agencies. But this, most cities find, is not the full solution.

This is because we must understand that our urban services are stretched not because these are subsidised for the poor. The capital and resource intensity of this model means that these services are too expensive for even the relatively rich in the developing world. In this scenario, cities cannot under any circumstances extend these services to all. The problem is that cities in the South remain inhabited by relatively poor people. In most cities - rich and modern - as much as 30-50 per cent of people live in poverty, in slums, "unauthorised" colonies or illegal settlements. They remain outside the purview of development.

Similarly, even in supposedly modern and car-dependent cities, as many as 20-30 per cent of people walk or bicycle to work. They cannot even afford public transport. In surveys done in relatively affluent and fast modernising cities like Delhi, it has been found that even now 60 per cent of the people commute by buses, which occupy less than 7 per cent of the road space, while cars which crowd over 75 per cent of the roads, transport only 20 per cent of the people. In other words, in these cities, the car has not replaced the bus or the bicycle it has only marginalised them; crowded them out.

In this situation, Delhi and other cities of our rich-poor country must combine the convenience of mobility and economic growth with public health imperatives. In this hybrid-growth paradigm - which combines the best of the new and old - cities should run on public transport, using the most advanced of technologies. In other words, even as the whole world looks for solutions to pollution and congestion, we must find our own answers.

The situation is similar with water and waste provisions. With large numbers of people in modern cities without access to clean drinking water or unconnected to sewerage systems, the answers for both water and pollution will be in planners' ability to find innovative solutions that can distribute water at affordable prices, without distribution losses and innovate with cheaper and more manageable sewage treatment options so that cities do not drown in waste.

The answer will lie in making services cost-effective. This can only be done if water utilities are improved, services are paid for and, most importantly, we realise that distribution losses can at best be plugged by reducing the length of the pipeline itself. A city will be more efficient if it collects water locally, supplies it locally and disposes waste locally.

Our cities must draw up a model of sustainable urban growth. This requires finding ways of 'leapfrogging' so that they can have progress without pollution and inequity. But this will demand knowledge: new and inventive thinking so that planners do not imitate the cities of the developed world, but create models based on their present and future challenges. In other words, the concept of modern cities must be re-imagined so that it does not follow New York or Shanghai, but instead is based on the reality of building a liveable, safe and healthy Raipur, Guwahati or Mumbai.

Otherwise, we will continue to build gated communities - elite enclaves of clean India, which will find it difficult to survive the growing stench of poverty and pollution. The question is: do we have the guts to dream different dreams and make them come true?

To comment, write to >>

Read the editorial online >>


Cover story: Tipaimukh Dam in Manipur driving a wedge?


In a rare show of unity, Manipur's academics, politicians, students and civil society organisations have demanded that work on the proposed Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydel Project be stopped. They fear that the project would deepen the cracks in the state's already fissured society - as it would benefit some groups at the cost of others.


More in Down To Earth magazine


News: Andhra uranium mining project gives locals short shrift

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is a worried man these days. People from his own constituency and supporters of his party are fighting to stop his pet project: a 26.79-million tonne uranium mining venture in Tummalapalle village. They are particularly furious at strong-arm tactics to force the project down their throats.


News: Creation of Greater Bangalore will strain the city's resources

Karnataka says formation of the Greater Bangalore entity -- by merging city municipal councils, town municipal councils and over 100 villages -- will encourage balanced development. However, many fear that this will lead to an urban explosion, which will strain the city's already burdened resources. Councillor elections have been delayed indefinitely until Greater Bangalore is officially created. Come November, the city will be governed not by elected officials but by an 'administrator' claim media reports. The state government has refused to comment.

Read online >>


News: Corporate pressure puts India's obesity prevention plans on hold

India faces a major problem of obesity linked with chronic diseases. Despite this -- two years after the WHO passed a global strategy on diet, activity and health, with India as one of the testing grounds -- the government has failed to implement a strategy to curb the trend. The way out: creating awareness about the dangers of obesity at the individual and community levels.

Read online >>


Features: Seeds Bill doesn't matter to these farmers

Farmers in Kadiyam, Andhra Pradesh, have worked towards making the area India's horticulture capital. Sopan Joshi talks to people gearing up for a future with biotechnology, but oblivious to the Seed Bill.


Science: To measure rain, get mobile

The strength of a mobile phone's signal is a good indicator of rainfall, according to a new study published in Science. Mobile phone towers measure signal strength to boost it during bad whether. Researchers have found that these detectors can be as good at measuring rainfall as traditional radars and rain guages. This opens up a new way of monitoring weather.


Short course: Managing information resources in the digital age
(New Delhi, November 21-25, 2006)


This popular, hands-on training programme includes:

- Sourcing information (information acquisition and research)
- Classification and indexing (including digitised resources)
- Developing and managing audio-visual resources (films, photos, CDs)
- Library automation tools
- Product planning, services and marketing
- Digital library fundamentals (IT for information management)
- Web-based tools for information outreach
- Basic Webmaster skills
- Developing an information resource centre: Planning

Last date for registration: November 4, 2006

For more information contact:
Kiran Pandey < kiran@cseindia.org >
or Shams Kazi < shams@cseindia.org >


CSE is an independent, public interest organisation that was established in 1982 by Anil Agarwal, a pioneer of India's environmental movement. CSE's mandate is to research, communicate and promote sustainable development with equity, participation and democracy.
E-mail: < cse@cseindia.org>
Address: 41 Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110062

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© Centre for Science and Environment


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.