Monday, April 30, 2012

Of "Pink Pond" And "Lavender Lake": Environmental Delegation From India Visits Gowanus Canal

Christos Tsiamis and Natalie Loney of EPA Region Two with members of the Indian Delegation

Proving once again that the Gowanus Canal , the first US Environental Protection Agency's Superfund site in New York City, is of global interest, a delegation from India toured the waterway this past Friday morning to learn not only about its industrial history, the level of pollution and of clean-up options, but to also gain further understanding of the Superfund program.

Some of the Indian visitors represented the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) , others represented various State Pollution Control Boards.

Much like the US EPA, India's MoES has implemented various policies and programs relating to conservation of the country's natural resources, its biodiversity and "ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution."

The World Bank has recently announced that it will fund four environmental remediation projects in India, amongst them Noor Mohammad Kunla in Andhra Pradesh. "Also known as "Pink Pond," the small surface water body has been polluted by the textile industry, particularly from dyes used in production, which give the water its bright pink tint.

As part of this trip, the delegation had visited Washington, DC, Chicago and Seattle, accompanied by Ruma Tavorath, Senior Environmental Specialist for the World Bank.

On Friday morning, they were joined on the shores of the Gowanus by US EPA Region 2's Christos Tsiamis, project manager of the Gowanus Superfund, as well as by Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement Coordinator.  Tsiamis gave an extensive presentation on the history of the polluted waterway, his work on the canal, the EPA's findings and clean-up options..
On hand were also several residents who spoke to the delegates about the need for community involvement.

Just like the visit by a Russian delegation in 2010, this visit underlines the need for global outreach within the scientific community. Through such exchanges of informations and findings, we may hopefully be able to clean up more hazardous sites, be it in our own back yard, Russia, India or other places in the world.

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