I have been corresponding with a Local Government Advisor Dr Mayraj Fahim for some time on issues facing people in South Asia and especially on issues in India where she works with civic groups in the city of Bangalore. It was coincidental, then, that I received a very interesting (albeit sad) set of links from her about poor water quality in India just as the Times of India carried a sensational scoop on the fecal content in Indian "mineral water." The Times link is at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Ahmedabad/Shit-in-water-AMC-BIS-gear-up-for-cleaning-act/articleshow/4248188.cms
The link that Dr Fahim sent me is even more embarassing: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&refer=exclusive&sid=aErNiP_V4RLc To quote some of the unfortunate statistics: open defacation and animal waste has soiled 75% of India's water sources. And 100,000 tons of human excrement are left each day in fields on vegetables that Indians later come to consume. Quite literally, Indians are eating sh1t. A separate link that she has sent me shows how dire the situation is for India's children who are malnourished in the extreme: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India-tops-world-hunger-chart/articleshow/4197047.cms
I find it difficult to believe that in a country that has not used more than In Rs 78,000 crores of foreign aid as I have posted earlier, the money was not used to make use of this excrement - IT IS A RESOURCE. This human and animal waste can be used to generate Methane which would work as a fuel and substitute India's oil imports to a significant extent. The remaining slurry could be processed into fertilizer. The processing of this resource could generate jobs. This would reduce unemployment and increase prosperity. Need I go on? Before I am accused of emulating a scratched record, let me confess that the best thing that could happen would be for me to close this blog down because matters improve so much that there is no need for it. Sadly, knowing how things work in the country of my birth, it is going to be a long time before anything changes for the better - if it ever does. As my good friend Mohanakrishnan has pointed out in his response to the post preceding this one, little ever changes for the better. Even attempts at doing something positive in a small way come to nought because one government starts something and its successors decide that whatever was done earlier makes no sense. Tragic, yes, and that is India.