Posts Tagged ‘water’

World Water Day

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

 

By tomorrow night, according to Human Rights Watch, more than 1,800 children will have died from preventable, treatable diarrhea, largely linked to lack of clean water and sanitary conditions.

I’ve written several times about Delhi’s water wars and the struggle for its people to find any water, let alone clean water – (see here and here for a start). Here’s an image from the Kusumpur Pahari slum where that struggle for water is a daily one.

 

India - Delhi - A woman carries water delivered by tanker back to her home in the slum of Kusumpur Pahari. The slum, built more than thirty years ago has no running water or sewage facilities. The only water supply come from the Municipal  JAL Board water trucks that visit several times a day. The deliveries are supposed to be free but in reality, residents must pay bribes to have the water delivered.

India – Delhi – A woman carries water delivered by tanker back to her home in the slum of Kusumpur Pahari. The slum, built more than thirty years ago has no running water or sewage facilities. The only water supply come from the Municipal JAL Board water trucks that visit several times a day. The deliveries are supposed to be free but in reality, residents must pay bribes to have the water delivered.

National Geographic – Miracle on the Hudson

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

 

As an increasingly nervous flyer, imagine my delight when I was commissioned last year to work as the still photographer for National Geographic TV’s film about the miraculous emergency landing on the Hudson river by US Airways Flight 1549…

I used to work a great deal for Channel 4 as a stills photographer in the ‘Nineties and early 2000s and there is a specific skill set that you need. You have to be quiet, you have to be quick and on this occasion, you had to be fine with paddling around inside (and outside) a plane submerged in a 3.5 million litre water tank in the middle of a field in the English countryside.

The truth is, on a set like this, you are suddenly the least important figure but you have to make sure that you shout loud enough to get the time and space for what your client needs. In that regard, Simon George the director was utterly charming and was generous with both time and crew. It also isn’t really about pictures that one personally likes because you are trying to make engaging images that will inform the viewer but here are a couple that I liked…

 

UK - Hampshire - Production stills from the making of "Miracle on the Hudson"

UK – Hampshire – Production stills from the making of “Miracle on the Hudson”

Special thanks to picture editor Nicole Cappello for being so lovely on the assignment organisation.

There are more images here but I leave you with an image far scarier than any plane crash…

 

photobbc

 

 

 

 

 

Delhi’s water mafia

Friday, June 15th, 2012

As Delhi labours under relentless 45 degree heat, the availability of water is as ever, a battleground. According to India Today (quoting an investigation by The Mail) reporters have uncovered a nexus of corrupt Delhi Jal Board (the local authority that looks after water in the city) employees and private tanker operators offering water for sale at inflated prices. Delhi, like many Developing World cities has a particularly rickety infrastructure when in comes to water supply. Illegal drilling of underground aquifers and horrendous pollution mean that at the best of times water supply is erratic. Add in seemingly endless low-level corruption and you have a perfect storm. I made a film about Delhi’s water wars a couple of years ago for Channel 4. You can see it here. As I said at the time, for the middle classes, access to water is an expensive and miserable inconvenience but to the poor and the slum dwellers, it is literally a daily fight. As my images show…

 

India – New Delhi – Slum dwellers scramble for water in Jai Hind Camp. The camp is home to perhaps 3000-4000 migrant workers from all over India. It has no water supplies at all so once a day, the Municipal JAL Board truck delivers some water. There is never enough for the expanding population to go around and some are left with nothing.

 

India – New Delhi – Women at the Kusumpur Pahari slum fight for water after a tanker delivery. Built more than thirty years ago the slum has no running water or sewage facilities. The only water supply come from the Municipal JAL Board water trucks that visit several times a day. The deliveries are supposed to be free but in reality, residents must pay bribes to have the water delivered.

 

India – New Delhi – A woman pushes her bike home after filling many cans from a water tanker in Kusumpur Pahari.

 

India – New Delhi – Middle class housewives in the Vasant Kunj area wait for water to be pumped into their water tanks from a JAL Board tanker. Vasant Kunj is one of many places in New Delhi that has frequent loss of mains water and relies on such infrequent tanker deliveries

 

Giving Pollution the finger…

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

A couple of days ago, I read an article in Open Magazine about Indian performance artist, Inder Salim cutting off his finger.

“One hot April morning, I chopped off the little finger of my left hand and threw it into the dead river called Yamuna. They call me crazy. But I call it art.”

Well quite.

It seemed quite a brave thing to do to make a point and I’m not going to give him a hard time for being so literal about highlighting the state of Delhi’s famous river.

The Yamuna is one of India’s greatest rivers. Holy to Hindus, The Imperial Gazetteer of India in 1909 mentions the waters of Yamuna distinguishable as “clear blue” as compared to silt-ridden yellow of the Ganges. Unfortunately, the Yamuna that runs through present day Delhi is an open sewer and clinically dead.

I was so intrigued by Delhi’s water situation a couple of years ago and made some work around it that became a film for More4 news. You can see the piece here.

The point was that Delhi’s water wasn’t in this hellish state as the result of appalling poverty – all those pesky poor people washing and cremating themselves in it – rather a complete lack of infrustructure around water management and wholescale pollution by industry. That hasn’t stopped the Delhi authorities evicting thousands of poor Delhi-wallahs that lived on its banks over the last few years.

There are perfectly sensible answers to the state of the Yamuna – Indian answers too. Brilliantly articulated by Sunita Narain, Director for the Centre for Science and Environment, she says: ‘A city will be more efficient if it collects water locally, supplies it locally and disposes waste locally’. There’s an excellent piece by her here.

Anyway, as Delhi looks forward to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, I’m hoping that someone will finally listen to Narain and the other Indian environmentalists, too numerous to mention, whose message about water, the city and sustainability has yet to seep into the murky waters of government. But I’m sure they will be able to¬† smell it…

India - Delhi - A scavenger looks for discarded waste to sell on a home made raft of rags in the Yamuna River by the Kudsia Ghat in Delhi. The river is so polluted it can no longer support life yet a community live and work on it's banks. This boy uses a powerful magnet to dredge for coins and other metals which he can sell.

India - Delhi - A scavenger looks for discarded waste to sell on a home made raft of rags in the Yamuna River by the Kudsia Ghat in Delhi. The river is so polluted it can no longer support life yet a community live and work on it's banks. This boy uses a powerful magnet to dredge for coins and other metals which he can sell.

India - Delhi - A man made homeless by slum clearance in a shack on the middle bank of the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat. An entire settlement was destroyed by the Municipal authorities in December 2006 to clear the bank of people that made a living from scavaging on the river which is so polluted it can no longer support life

India - Delhi - A man made homeless by slum clearance in a shack on the middle bank of the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat. An entire settlement was destroyed by the Municipal authorities in December 2006 to clear the bank of people that made a living from scavaging on the river which is so polluted it can no longer support life

India - Delhi - A religious icon half submerged on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat.

India - Delhi - A religious icon half submerged on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat.

India - Delhi - Rubbish on the banks of the Yamuna River by the Kudsia Ghat in Delhi

India - Delhi - Rubbish on the banks of the Yamuna River by the Kudsia Ghat in Delhi

India - Delhi - A sewer pipe flowing straight into the Yamuna by the Kudsia Ghat, New Delhi, India

India - Delhi - A sewer pipe flowing straight into the Yamuna by the Kudsia Ghat, New Delhi, India

India - Delhi - An old man sits by a temple at the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the River Yamuna in New Delhi India

India - Delhi - An old man sits by a temple at the Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the River Yamuna in New Delhi India

India - Delhi - A man cultivates land by the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat.

India - Delhi - A man cultivates land by the Yamuna River in Delhi by the Kudsia Ghat.

India - Delhi - Methane bubbles through the water of the filthy Yamuna River, New Delhi. The river is so polluted that it can no longer support life, however a community still live and work on it's banks.

India - Delhi - Methane bubbles through the water of the filthy Yamuna River, New Delhi. The river is so polluted that it can no longer support life, however a community still live and work on it's banks.

India - Delhi - A group of men come to perform a ritual of casting ashes into the Yamuna River, after a cremation of a family member. Nigambodh Ghat, New Delhi, India

India - Delhi - A group of men come to perform a ritual of casting ashes into the Yamuna River, after a cremation of a family member. Nigambodh Ghat, New Delhi, India

India - Delhi - A man ritually bathes in the Yamuna River at dawn

India - Delhi - A man ritually bathes in the Yamuna River at dawn