The Need for Action 2.1 What are the environmental problems? Four criteria have been used for defining environmental problems: the magnitude of health impacts associated with an environmental feature (health criterion); the relative impact of the feature on the poor and vulnerable groups (distributional criterion); the size of productivity losses (efficiency criterion); and stakeholder priorities (social acceptability criterion). Crucially, what is and is not a problem often depends on an individual‟s socio- economic position. 2.2 A Wide Range of Environmental Risks and Impacts There are wide disparities in disease and death rates between areas and groups, related to differences in standard of living, social and basic environmental conditions. Some of the wide range of environmental risks in the CMA are outlined in Table 2.1. The impacts of the risks vary considerably, with water / waste related risks likely to have a disproportionate short term impact on the health of the urban poor and young - they are most exposed to the problems related to the water / sanitation / hygiene complex (Figures 2.1 and 2.2). Figure 2.1: Threats to Life Vary with Age 18 16 14 % of Deaths in Each 12 Age Group 10 8 6 4 2 0 <5 5-14 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Age Group Source : Howrah Municipal Corporation 1990-93 Diarrhoeal Disease (ICD) Asthma, Bronchitis Emphyema (ICD 490 - 493) Table 2.1: Environmental Risks in the CMA PROBLEM RISKS / IMPACTS KEY INDICATORS / CLUSTER DESCRIPTION Water / Risks of GE Water Supply Wastes diseases through Exposure to bacterially faecal contaminated surface waters. contamination: Chemical contamination of especially critical water sources for poor and Bacterial contamination of vulnerable groups water at point of consumption and those less than 14 years old Over abstraction of groundwater leading to loss of Threats to source and subsidence water supply sources - switching Deterioration of water quality in costs are likely to large recreational lakes: be high Sewerage and Sanitation Long term Inadequate provision of health risks from sanitation and sewerage facilities in toxic contaminants the CMA - 24% of the CMA population outside the CMC and HMC areas do not have access to any sanitation facilities. Limited treatment of waste water Storm Water Drainage Flooding in the monsoon season - Very few municipal towns in the CMA have adequate storm water drainage facilities Encroachment and siltation of PROBLEM RISKS / IMPACTS KEY INDICATORS / CLUSTER DESCRIPTION the deltaic canal system in Calcutta which has further exacerbated stormwater disposal and flooding problems. Waste Management Widespread uncontrolled dumping of domestic and industrial wastes and uncleared vats and heaps in urban areas Disposal of large volumes of MSW by crude dumping on land resulting in pollution of both underground and surface water by leachate. Uncontrolled disposal of hazardous wastes. Air / Noise Risks of Indicators immediate health Annual - mean SPM effects (e.g. acute concentrations are very high. respiratory Oxides of nitrogen (NO x), ailments), delayed concentrations have displayed an effects (e.g., increasing trend since 1990. chronic bronchitis) Street level measurements and mortality risks. also show high levels of lead, High levels of volatile organic pollutants and lead pose long SPMs terms health risks Sources *Poor indoor Power Plants are the largest air quality is a emitters of air pollutants within the potential health CMA , accounting for 34% and 61% hazard especially to of total NOx and SO2 emissions. Fly the urban poor who ash disposal is also a problem. live in bastis and Industry and Commerce: it is squatter roughly estimated that industries settlements. contribute about 43% and 30% of the total SPM and SO2 emissions. Operation of diesel fuelled generators is the primary source of air pollution within the commercial sector. Households: Fuel used for cooking is the main source of indoor pollution. Excessive smoke and soot caused by burning of coal in Chulhas Transport: Growth in the number of vehicles coupled with congested traffic all contribute to adverse air quality especially in areas adjacent to the main traffic arteries. Traffic contributes significantly to the total NO x and CO emissions within the CMA. High levels of lead and volatile organic contaminants are also of deep concern. Land / Shelter Overcrowding Degradation of Natural Land PROBLEM RISKS / IMPACTS KEY INDICATORS / CLUSTER DESCRIPTION / Built contributes to Resources: Infilling of waterbodies Environment communicable and wetlands, loss of agricultural disease land and open space. Urban transmission, expansion on to ecologically diarrhoea and sensitive areas (e.g. East Calcutta respiratory Wetland) infections including Degradation of the Living TB, measles, Environment: Deterioration or loss whopping cough, of trees, parks, gardens, open worms etc., space. Lack of maintenance, Mosquitoes are deterioration in the built a health hazard of environment including cultural the domestic heritage features. Poor quality environment, as building construction resulting in vectors of filariasis risks of fire and collapse. and dengue. Land Contamination: Poor industrial waste management resulting in high levels of pollutants (e.g. lead and cadmium) in former industrial locations. Spatial Distribution of Land Uses: “Bad neighbour” , (e.g. industrial / workshop) development create local air, water and noise pollution problems. Concentration of intensive land uses in the urban core causes congestion and unbalanced (commuting) transport patterns. Poor Housing and Urban Services On the urban fringe housing is unplanned , often to inadequate building standards and poorly serviced, In urban core more than 50 percent population live in bastis characterised by overcrowding, poor services and sites subject to environmental hazards. Unrecognised settlements (beside canals, roads, rail tracks) / street dwellers live in shelters constructed of temporary materials, with few / no services. Food Malnutrition Reuse of untreated or partially increases treated wastewater as irrigation vulnerability to water in vegetable and fish environmental risks production Long term Malnutrition health risks related to accumulation of trace metals and other pollutants Economic Health risks Uncontrolled and untreated Activity related to toxic emissions and effluent discharges discharges and across the CMA PROBLEM RISKS / IMPACTS KEY INDICATORS / CLUSTER DESCRIPTION improper waste Uncontrolled resource use (e.g. disposal water) Major Small scale / cottage industries occupational health cumulatively have a major impact risks on air and water quality - especially where toxic discharges are present. These industries are often located in clusters in densely populated areas and often within a residential dwellings. Key features of environmental health profile of the CMA are: Deaths from gastro-enteric (GE) diseases are few, but the number of episodes of illness remain high, and appears to be increasing (Figure 2.2); Air pollution, indoor and outdoor, is likely to contribute to high rates of morbidity from chronic and acute respiratory diseases. Mortality from chronic respiratory disorders affects mostly older age groups; Contamination of groundwater and the food chain (e.g. arsenic) has increased concern about industrial waste and possible adverse long term health impacts; Vaccine-preventable environmental diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, TB, poliomyelitis and measles) still occur. TB, a traditional urban disease of poverty and environmental deprivation, remains a major problem; Vector-borne diseases cause few deaths, but considerable illness. There were 17,000 positive cases of malaria in CMC in 1992; In certain areas, high rates of infant-, and cause-specific-, mortality continue, suggesting the persistence of traditional environmental impacts for disadvantaged groups in Calcutta; Many workers in the CMA are exposed to health risk within the workplace; Synergies: Given the proportion of people living in bastis in Calcutta, and given the relative severity of the health impacts experienced by this population (also as workers in risky occupations), a focus on interventions to address the environmental problems of the bastis, would be justified on the basis of scale of population affected and severity of impact (Box 2.1). Box 2.1: Living on the Margins Naseem Banu ( not her real name) is a 22 year old widow who lives beside the Beliaghata Canal in the Sealdah area of Calcutta. She works as a prawn cleaner and as a waste picker, earning Rs 20- 25 per day. Prawn cleaning is relatively poorly paid, so she must walk all the way to Howrah for this - public transport is too expensive; sometimes a truck comes to the area to pick up the prawn cleaners. Waking up at 5 am she leaves for her first round of waste picking in the area and returns home around 7 am. She then attends to her household tasks which include fetching water, cooking, washing and attending to her two sons aged 6 and 3. After a meal consisting of rice and potatoes, and sometimes a few pieces of meat, she leaves for her next round of waste picking. She is back by 6 p.m. The materials she collects - paper, cloth, plastics, glass, etc., are stored in her hut and she sells a week‟s accumulation to the dealer who also lives in the settlement is without water or sanitation. She lives constantly under the threat of eviction. The settlement is without water or sanitation. She spends about 2 hours every day fetching water from Rajabazar, where she has to face the verbal insults of local dwellers. A makeshift platform over the canal, enclosed by tattered gunny cloth serves as a toilet. Figure 2.2: A Rising Trend in Gastro Enteric Diseases? 50000 45000 Ga stroenteric Admissions 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 1991 1992 1993 1994 Admissions Deaths Source: Calcutta Infectious Diseases Hospital 2.3 Community Choices: The Importance of Water / Sanitation Area Focus Studies in Titagarh, Sealdah Canal Side and Howrah indicated that in the case of low income and vulnerable groups the water supply / sanitation nexus was generally viewed as a priority environmental problem for the community (Table 2.2; Figure 2.3). But improved income and employment are also the immediate priorities for low income groups. Table 2.2: AFS Priority Environmental Problems VULNERABLE LOW INCOME MIDDLE INCOME GROUP GROUP GROUP Unemployment and poverty are identified as the major problem Lack of health care facilities Housing 1 4 - Open space 4 6 5 Water supply 2 2 4 Sanitation 2 1 - Drainage / Flooding 2 3 3 Solid waste disposal 3 3 2 Air pollution - 5 1 Noise pollution - 5 1 Note: 1= most important - 6 = least important Figure 2.3: Queuing for Water 2.4 Why do environmental problems occur? 2.4.1 Environmental Pressures: Urban Development and Economic Stagnation Environmental pressures relate to processes and activities which place demands on resources and the environment. In broad terms the major environmental pressures on the CMA emerge from a combination of population growth, poverty and decades of stagnation. (i) (i) Population Growth: Population growth places increased demands on resources and services. While growth rates have slowed, the population of the CMA still increases by an estimated 1.9 per cent per year which suggests that an additional 240,000 people will be added to the population in 1996. (ii) (ii) Poor Housing: Organised basti areas on public and private land have mushroomed throughout the city to meet pressing family needs (Figure 2.4). (iii) (iii) Stagnation and Poverty: The industrial base of Calcutta has declined dramatically over the past decades - West Bengal‟s share of national output declined by almost 50 per cent over the 1981-91 period. Poverty is increasing: a) a) there are now about 5 million poor people in the CMA; and b) b) the share of the population living below the poverty line is estimated to have increased from 29% in 1987 to 35% in 1990. Figure 2.4: Poor Housing 2.4.2 Underlying Causes: Policy, Planning and Market Failures Urban environmental management in the CMA has been seriously deficient in meeting the challenges of urbanisation and population growth (Figure 2.5). The key point is that environmental problems emerge not simply because of environmental pressures but crucially, how these are managed by the responsible institutions (Box 2.2). Box 2.2: The Public’s Street Level Experience of the Environment Public perception of the environment is dominated by everyday, “street-level” experiences and problems. However, there are significant disparities in the concerns of people of different socio economic classes (see Table below). When an initiative such as CEMSAP is taken up, it is in terms of the impact on such street-level problems that the strategy will be judged. Such issues have been considered in the different problem clusters (i.e. air and noise, water and wastes, land, food and industry) and the underlying causes reviewed. Each street level problem should normally be managed by the agency with primary responsibility. The EMS seeks to address these underlying problems, so that the concerned authorities are in a position to perform their role, however, there is also constant need for citizen action to promote greater public awareness and pressurise authorities to act. Stakeholder Mismanagement: Street level problems Street-Level Experience of Problems Agencies Responsible for Taking Action Garbage (including industrial, hospital, toxic and Local bodies, Health hazardous wastes) (EWS, LIG, MIG, HIG) Dept Emissions from buses, taxis and private vehicles (MIG, Transport Dept, Police HIG) Noise pollution from vehicle horns (MIG, HIG) Transport Dept, Police Roadside debris, building materials and commercial Local bodies goods (MIG, HIG) Potholes, dug-up roads, broken footpaths, open Local bodies manholes and gully-pits (MIG, HIG) Unlit streets (EWS, LIG, MIG) Local bodies Stray dogs, cattle on streets; khatals in neighbourhoods Local bodies, Police, AH (MIG, HIG) Dept Unhygienic food in snack bars, cut fruits, adulterated Local bodies, Police drinks (LIG, MIG) Vagrants, pavement dwellers (MIG, HIG) Local bodies, Police Leaking pipelines, open drains, accumulated sludge Local bodies water (EWS, LIG) Waterlogging and flooding during rains (EWS, LIG) Local bodies, Factories, motor garages and workshops in residential Local bodies, Police, neighbourhoods (MIG, HIG) Planning Authority Pavement hawkers (MIG, HIG) Local bodies, Police Diesel generators run by hawkers, shop-owners and Local bodies, Police establishments (MIG, HIG) Absence of public toilets and consequent open urination Local bodies, Police and defecation (MIG, HIG) Neighbourhood pollution from coal-fired chulhas (MIG) - Filling up of ponds and water bodies for building Local bodies, Fisheries construction (LIG, MIG) Dept Misuse and abuse of parks and open spaces (MIG, HIG) CIT, HIT, Local bodies, PWD Arsenic in groundwater (Scientists, Media) PHE Dept Graffiti, posters, bill boards, hoardings, dung cakes on Local bodies, Police walls (MIG, HIG) Source: Opinion Survey, Area Focus Studies, Traffic Survey, CEMSAP 1995 EWS = Economically Weaker Sections; LIG = Low Income Group; MIG = Middle Income Group; HIG = High Income Group Figure 2.5: The Spatial Distribution of Environmental Risks and Problems Note: Polluting industries identified in this map are based on Supreme Court Orders The processes contributing to these deficiencies are clear. Getting Prices Wrong: To date there has been a great reluctance to charge for the provision of environmental services. Users of resources rarely pay the economic or financial costs of supplying them. Getting resource prices “wrong” has resulted in over-exploitation of the environment and service deficiencies. Lack of Effort to Mobilise Resources Creates Services Deficiencies: The lack of willingness to mobilise resources through property tax and user charges has resulted in a gross neglect of operation and maintenance of urban infrastructure (Table 2.3). While those getting access to highly subsidised services have benefited, the majority, and especially vulnerable groups, have been denied access to them because of the major system deficiencies. Table 2.3: Environmental Service Deficiencies in the CMA Sector Description Assessment Water * daily water * majority of population Supply production of receive intermittent 1,563 mld supply - on average 4 (equivalent to hours daily 170 lpcd) * delivery varies between * leakage officially 20 and 220 lpcd 30% * majority of population * water rely on street stand distribution posts (45,000 in CMA) system covers * large proportion of 78% of population have to rely population on shallow hand pumps (34,000 in CMA) * shallow ground water aquifer is often contaminated Sewerage & * 28% of CMA * in areas with sewers Sanitation have sewers less than 20% of * 61% of households are population use connected on-site * new sewage treatment sanitation plants operating below * 11% of CMA 50% of flow capacity population have * majority of public no sanitation sanitation facilities not facilities operational Drainage * majority of * most drains discharge drains unlined into the River Hooghly * surface drains * drains used for disposal used for foul of refuse drainage * drains rarely cleaned or maintained leading to extensive flooding during the monsoon Solid Waste * in the CMC an * local collection varies Management estimated 3,100 between daily and once tonnes is a fortnight generated daily * sides of roads and * 60% of solid railways used for refuse waste is disposal collected by the * proper sanitary formal sector the landfilling is not remainder is re- practised leading to Sector Description Assessment cycled ground water contamination Hazardous * scale and nature no proper Waste of the problem is common treatment Management not well and disposal facilities documented - wastes are often combined with municipal wastes hazardous wastes are frequently discharged untreated to surface waters hospital / clinical wastes are not managed properly Lack of Willingness and Ability to Enforce Regulations: The legal and regulatory framework governing polluting activities is in place but rules are not enforced and compliance is low. Planning Weaknesses: Despite efforts to prepare a comprehensive strategic development plan for metropolitan Calcutta (initiating from 1960‟s Basic Development Plan) no document attained the legal status or political support required to control development until early 1996. In the absence of plans, regulation is difficult. Infrastructure investment decisions and building sanctioning procedures become mostly ad hoc, particularly in the peri-urban areas where local administration is weakest and pressures for urban expansion are most pronounced. Instruments regulating urban land, such as the Urban Land Ceiling Act, and other land administration and management tools restrict the supply of land for development creating a shortage of housing for low income groups and other uses. Polluters do not Pay: Harmful uncontrolled emissions and discharges are a common feature in the CMA. Polluters rarely pay the costs of polluting (Figure 2.6); indeed it often pays to pollute! Figure 2.6: Polluters do not Pay!: Water Cess Collection Rates in West Bengal (% collection) 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 2.4.3 Institutional Failures: Processes Against Change Lack of Openness Promotes Unaccountability: Information about many of the key organisations responsible for policy, regulation and implementation of environmental management measures is often not in the public domain. Poor Performance Betrays Trust: Institutions have a duty to their constituency, the corollary being that people have expectations from institutions that exist to serve their needs. Large amounts of national and international funds have been spent on developing urban infrastructure over the past 20 years, yet the provision of environmental services over this period has both failed to keep pace with urban growth and nor have those existing services been adequately marked (Figure 2.7). As a result there has been no improvement in living conditions for many of the poor. Public trust in the ability of environmental management service providers to deliver improvements has yet to be fully redeemed. 2.5 Doing Nothing Threatens Future Prosperity and the Environment The consequences of further degradation are likely to be far-reaching, through loss of the opportunities offered by the new industrial policy and the political and institutional changes of recent years. Figure 2.7: Solid Waste Mis-Management Population Growth will put increasing pressure on service requirements and the environment - over 1.2 million more people will require services over the next 5 years. If nothing is done to satisfy not only the existing deficiencies but also the future demands, Calcutta‟s already degraded environment and difficult economic prospects will worsen. Threatened Water Supply: continued mismanagement and degradation of the distribution system threatens future water sources and supplies. Switching supply sources (e.g. from ground to surface water) with the resultant additional treatment requirements is very costly, and could amount to incremental costs of hundreds of crores of rupees over the next 10-20 years. On the other hand, the lack of sufficient water or supply of poorer quality waters, combined with greater insanitary conditions, will inevitably lead to greater health risks and increased disease incidence, possibly including more epidemics. Air Pollution: The vehicular population in the CMA is likely to increase by about 50% over the next 10 years. In the absence of any management strategy for pollution abatement, the concentrations of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide are likely to increase at an even greater rate. Industrial sources of air polluter can also be expected to increase with economic recovery if no step is taken. (Figure 2.8). Gridlock: Gridlock conditions will prevail for transport throughout the Central Business District (CBD) and the areas adjacent to it (Figure 2.9). Petrol and diesel fuel consumption will increase substantially - it is estimated that a 10% increase in average travel speeds will reduce fuel consumption by 7%. Figure 2.9: Transport Figure 2.8: Air Pollution from Gridlock Foundry A Deterrent to Investment in Key Thrust Sectors: Among the industries expected to drive future growth are high value-added „sunrise‟ industries such as software, electronics, tourism, and financial and producer services. A key constraint blocking development of these sectors is Calcutta‟s „urban decay‟. It can be debated that the Economic decline of Calcutta is in part recated to environmental degradation, and that environmental improvement will be an indiscrement to economic recovery. High value-added growth sector investors are likely to be attracted to a clean environment. Growing Inequalities: The „do nothing‟ scenario suggests that the already poor state of the environment in the CMA can further deteriorate dramatically. The costs of further deterioration are likely to be high and continue to be disproportionately borne by (growing numbers of) poor and vulnerable groups. A Downward Spiral: Continued environmental degradation and urban environmental services deficiencies undermine long term growth potential, which in turn undermines the resource mobilisation necessary for sustained environmental improvement.