To round out the first day’s experience we headed over to the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) a research and advocacy group that started in 1981. One of the organizations main operations is rainwater harvesting, and I was able to learn about the methodology and means of collection. One of the activist workers who took us on a tour of the facilities stressed the organization’s central belief that “all development is around water.” Localized rainwater harvesting is essential in each region of India (glacier melts being harvested in mountain regions), and this is something I plan to look for along the way as I try to learn more about India’s development.
Fresh & Onlys – Waterfall
During the main presentation in CSE’s educational center, a story was recounted about the Coca-Cola company. The speaker told us that CSE’s research team had discovered an alarming percentage of pesticides contaminating the drinking water. When the same tests were conducted on Coca-Cola products an equal amount of toxins were found. Interestingly, as a fellow Fulbrighter pointed out at a later meeting, it’s that kind of bad press that often spurs a major corporation like Coke to actually embark on some humanitarian efforts in the regions their factories occupy. Since the discovery, Coke has sunk a lot of money into ensuring that its products in India use clean water.
Update: After spending a week in Delhi, I have noticed CSE’s signs all over the city. During an early morning jog in the neighborhood of my hotel I discovered a big yellow CSE sign exhorting the public to dispose properly of “kitchen waste.” It made me happy to think that environmental awareness is spreading.