"Scrap usage in primary steel production to grow from 15% to 50% by 2047" – Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia

4th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Steel Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Central Government stands firm on its commitment to the material recycling industry. The recycling industry contributes almost Rs. 10,000 crores to India’s GST. The Minister said that in the years to come GST contribution from the sector is expected to go up by Rs. 35,000 crores. It needs to be encouraged and pushed forward in today’s world.

Speaking at the plenary session of the 10th edition of the International Indian Material Recycling Conference organized by the Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) in Kochi. "We are responsible as stakeholders for the generation that is yet to come, thus the material recycling sector is important,” the Union Minister said.

He pointed out that 22% of our steel is produced through recycling, but we need to include the informal sector for the development of the sector as well and said, “For our commitment to Net Zero by 2070, we can look at short term goals by using energy efficiency tools by 20% by 2030.”

Stressing that the steel industry is the sub-segment of the recycling sector, it must be at the forefront of adaptation and mitigation by joining hands with the principle of 6 Rs which include Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Recover, Redesign and Remanufacturing. The Minister envisioned that these principles of the six R's must become the embodiment of every good corporate governance structure. 

Noting that the steel sector produces many forms of waste and the use of the waste across the world must be shown in multiple industries, Scindia said “We are working fervently on that goal”.

Emphasizing the growth registered in the sector, Jyotiraditya Scindia said in the last 8 years India has produced 25 million tonnes of scraps and bought 5 million tonnes. The production of steel was increased by almost 50 % from 80 million per annum to 120 million tonnes per annum. “22 % of our steel is produced through recycling. We must ensure that we should bring the informal sector to the formal sector as an amalgamation of that will give a new thrust to the recycling and circular economy sector, “he added.

'Scrap' is a virtuous word that denotes a green economy to sustain Mother Earth in the years to come. It is our commitment that by 2030 we should reduce CO2 emissions by 50% and being able to do that scrap is an extremely important source. The use of scrap not only saves energy and emissions but also saves the consumption of tonnes of iron ore, cooking coal, and limestone. With the Vision of 2047, today's 15% of scrap usage will increase to almost 25% in the next 5 years, which means the percentage of scrap for the production of steel should go up to 50%, with only 50% being dependent on iron ore, he added.

Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) hosted the 10th edition of the International Indian Material Recycling Conference from 2nd - 4th February 2023 in Kochi. Th meet of global recyclers saw more than 1800 Delegates, including 450 Foreign Delegates from 38 countries. The conclave created focused on highlighting a deeper insight into maximizing the rate of recycling, protecting natural resources, minimizing environmental pollution, creating more employment opportunities, and helping achieve the sustainable development goal of India's commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. 

Union Environment Minister launches Save Wetlands Campaign from Goa

4th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

World Wetlands Day is observed on 2nd February every year worldwide to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1971. India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and has so far declared 75 wetlands as Ramsar sites covering 23 states and Union Territories.

The 2023 theme for World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetland Restoration’ which highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration. It is a call on an entire generation to take proactive action for wetlands, by investing financial, human and political capital to save the wetlands from disappearing and to revive and restore those that have been degraded.

Today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav launched the ‘Save Wetlands Campaign’ in Goa. This campaign is structured on a “whole of society” approach for wetlands conservation, enabling affirmative actions for wetlands conservation at all levels of the society and involving all strata of the society. This campaign over next one year will include sensitizing people of the value of wetlands, increasing the coverage of wetland mitras and building citizen partnerships for wetlands conservation. 

Two publications were also released during the occasion, ‘India’s 75 Amrit Dharohar- India’s Ramsar Sites Factbook’ and ‘Managing Climate Risks in Wetlands - A Practitioner’s Guide. The factbook is a one-stop resource of information on our 75 Ramsar Sites, including their values, threats they face and management arrangements. The practitioner’s Guide on Climate Risk Assessment provides stepwise guidance on assessing the site-level climate risks and integration of adaptation and mitigation responses into the wetland management plan. 

In his address, the Union Minister highlighted the critical role played by the wetland ecosystem in securing the ecological, economic and climate security. He also mentioned about various green initiatives taken by the Government in the budget 2023 including Amrit Dharohar, MISHTI, PM PRANAM, Green credit and Green Growth aligned with Mission LiFE. The Minister also  emphasised on the importance of strengthening communication, education, awareness and participation for the conservation of the wetlands.  

WTO Young Professionals Programme 2023 Participants optimistic of broadening knowledge to benefit trade and environment

1st February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed the seventh cohort of participants in the WTO Young Professionals Programme on 30 January 2023. The 17 Young Professionals are from developing and least-developed country (LDC) members. They will spend the rest of the year in the WTO Secretariat to learn about the organization’s work and contribute to its activities. 

The participants in the Young Professionals Programme were selected from more than 3,500 candidates after a competitive and merit-based selection process. The seventh cohort come from Barbados, Chinese Taipei, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Togo, Ukraine, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

Cherise Trotman from Barbados has said she expects the programme would be helpful to deepen knowledge in trade and environment topics and the multilateral trading system.

Citing reference to the preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement, Kimonique Powell from Jamaica said trade is about people. She further explained how trade means improving people's lives and livelihoods is at the centre of the work being conducted by the WTO. She is optimistic about the course to help her contributing to all areas of work at the WTO and, in particular, those issues that are of critical importance to the 'global commons' such as trade and development, food security, trade and the environment. 

"Trade is a force multiplier for action towards sustainable development. As a Young Professional in the Trade and Environment Division, I look forward to immersing myself in discussions at the intersection of trade, climate change and the environment, and to contributing to global cooperation on all fronts in tackling the most pressing issues of our time.", mentioned Joan Lim of Singapore. The programme was launched in 2016. 

WHO calls for action to eliminate killer toxic chemical trans fat

24th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Industrially produced trans fat – commonly found in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads – is responsible for up to 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year, said WHO.

Since WHO first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans fat in 2018 – with an elimination target set for 2023 – population coverage of best-practice policies has increased almost six-fold. Forty-three countries have now implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food, with 2.8 billion people protected globally.

Despite substantial progress, however, this still leaves 5 billion worldwide at risk from trans fat’s devastating health impacts with the global goal for its total elimination in 2023 remaining unattainable at this time.

Currently, 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans fat intake do not have a best-practice policy. They are Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nepal, Pakistan and Republic of Korea.

Best-practices in trans fat elimination policies follow specific criteria established by WHO and limit industrially produced trans fat in all settings. There are two best-practice policy alternatives: 1) mandatory national limit of 2 grams of industrially produced trans fat per 100 grams of total fat in all foods; and 2) mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils (a major source of trans fat) as an ingredient in all foods.

While most trans fat elimination policies to date have been implemented in higher-income countries (largely in the Americas and in Europe), an increasing number of middle-income countries are implementing or adopting these policies, including Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Paraguay, Philippines and Ukraine. Best-practice policies are also being considered in Mexico, Nigeria and Sri Lanka in 2023. If passed, Nigeria would be the second and most populous country in Africa to put a best-practice trans fat elimination policy in place. No low-income countries have yet adopted a best-practice policy to eliminate trans fat. 

The WHO in partnership with Resolve to Save Lives, a not-for-profit organization, has been supporting the development and implementation of the REPLACE action package. The programme was launched in 2018 that provides a strategic approach to eliminating industrially produced trans fat from national food supplies. Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported Resolve to Save Lives’ global efforts to save lives from cardiovascular health disease. 

In 2023, WHO recommends that countries focus on these four areas: adopting best-practice policy, monitoring and surveillance, healthy oil replacements and advocacy. WHO guidance has been developed to help countries make rapid advances in these areas.

WHO also encourages food manufacturers to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from their products, aligning to the commitment made by the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA). Major suppliers of oils and fats are asked to remove industrially produced trans fat from the products sold to food manufacturers globally.

The report, called Countdown to 2023 WHO Report on global trans fat elimination 2022, is an annual status report published by WHO in collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives, to track progress towards the goal of trans fat elimination in 2023.

Sarsawa airport project gets EAC Infra-II nod 

21st January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Sarsawa airstrip project gets recommended by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Infra-II projects. The EAC chaired by Dr.Promode Kant in its 101st meeting on 20the January 2023 forwarded the recommendation. This was the only project taken up in the meeting. Earlier, in the 98th meeting of the EAC the project was deferred owing to inadequate EMP budget. The EAC had sought revised EMP from Airports Authority of India, the Project Proponent and EQMS India, the EIA Consultant. Now, the revised capital and recurring cost on EMP during construction phase will be Rs. 6.28 Lakhs and Rs. 25.83 Lakhs/year. respectively. During operation phase capital and recurring cost will be Rs. 124.15 Lakhs and Rs. 15.01 Lakhs/year, respectively. 

Sarsawa Airstrip at Village Sherpur Naqeebpur, Tehsil Nakur, District Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh belongs to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and it currently handles civilian flights only for VIPs travelling to Saharanpur and neighbouring towns. The current proposal of Airports Authority of India is for establishment of terminal building and allied facilities for civilian use and integrate them with the existing IAF station. 

The Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-II) appraises projects related to airports 7(a); common hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities 7(d); common bio-medical waste treatment facilities 7(da); common effluent treatment plants 7(h); common municipal solid waste management facility 7(i); building and construction 8(a) and townships and area development projects 8(b). Dr. Ashish Kumar, Additional Director is the Member Secretary of the EAC. 

G20's First Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group Meeting to be held in February 2023 at Bengaluru

21st January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

India is holding the Presidency of G20 for one year. It will continue to do so till 30th November 2023. The forum will bring together the G20 member countries, guest countries and international organisations invited by India. Through the Sherpa Track, 13 Working Groups and 2 Initiatives will meet under India’s Presidency to discuss priorities and provide recommendations. Environment, Climate & Sustainability is one of working groups under the Sherpa Track.

Four Meetings of the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) are scheduled, to be hosted by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The discussions at ECSWG will focus on the agenda ‘Promotion of Blue Economy along with Coastal Sustainability’, ‘Restoration of Degraded Lands and Ecosystems’ and ‘Enhancement of Biodiversity’ and ‘Strengthening of Circular Economy’.

The first G20 environment meeting under G20 India Presidency is scheduled to be held during 09th -11th February in Bengaluru, at The Taj West End. Leading to the 1st Meeting in Bengaluru, Mysuru Zoo in coordination with Central Zoo Authority organised a Two-Day National Conference for Zoo Directors of India on 18th and 19th of January 2023. The Mysuru zoo, one of the best managed zoos in India, was chosen as a venue to focus on best practices in zoo management. It is one of two self-sustaining zoos in India with the unique concept of adoption of Zoo animals, which started in this zoo.  The conference mainly focused on “Master Planning and Building the National Capacity for species Management & Conservation Breeding.” In this conference 59 Participants from 25 states and an union territory participated. It was inaugurated by Mayor of Mysuru City corporation and succeeded in drawing attention to conservation practices.

For the preparedness and better coordination, a meeting between Ms. Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Ms. Vandita Sharma, Chief Secretary to Government Karnataka was  held on 21st January 2023 at Bengaluru. Aspects pertaining to branding, security, venue management, cultural events showcasing Karnataka’s traditions etc., and other logistic arrangements etc., were deliberated. Ms Nandan requested the state government to provide branding spaces at prominent locations for highlighting the meeting. While appreciating the ambience of Bengaluru and its green environs, the Union Secretary also requested the Chief Secretary to facilitate an excursion tour of the G20 delegates to Bannerghatta Biological Park. The Chief Secretary assured full support for making the first G 20 meeting on environment scheduled to be held at Bengaluru, a big success.

The Union Secretary, during her discussions with the Chief Secretary, highlighted and appreciated the innovative Information Technology solutions devised by the Karnataka State Forest Department to ensure faster delivery of public services & real time monitoring of natural resources. One key initiative is e-Parihara, an online application that helps in processing and sanction of ex-gratia claims in cases of man-animal conflicts; thus, bringing in transparency and efficiency in the processing of claims. Similarly, e-Gastu an Android based platform captures forest patrolling/field activities undertaken by frontline staff of the forest department, which can be visualized by supervisory officers over satellite imageries, on regular basis. Likewise, e-timber facility provides a near real time wood stock available in government timber depots and enables e-auction facilities for timber/ other forest produce in government timber depots. The Geo-Spatial Forest Information System developed by the Karnataka Forest Department is a unique platform which uses Remote Sensing and GIS technology and provides spatial database of all notified forest lands in the State, providing access to the forest land notifications, village maps, forest maps and digitised notified forest at cadastral level. The Forest Fire Management System is a comprehensive solution for planning, mitigation and analysis of forest fire which provides forest fire risk zonation mapping, fire start vulnerability mapping, burnt area assessment along with a robust system for dissemination of active forest fire alerts to ensure that all fire incidences are addressed and mitigated in a time bound manner.

The G20 delegates are scheduled to visit the Kalkere Arboretum and Bannerghatta Biological Park at Bengaluru. At Kalkere, the delegates will have an opportunity to visualize and experience four predominant forest ecosystems of Karnataka state. The State Forest Department will also showcase the forest restoration models adopted in these ecosystems and the successful revival of faunal biodiversity in these areas. The Bannerghatta Biological Park will showcase the state-of-art butterfly park and animal safaris to the delegates. The Karnataka Forest Department will also highlight the flagship ecotourism model, the Jungle Lodges Resort,  which is extremely popular for nature lovers, globally.

The Commissioner Tourism stated that the rich legacy of Karnataka handicrafts and textiles will be showcased through the pavilions at the venue. The Secretary, Culture stated that the artistic depiction of Karnataka by nadeswaram, performance by the Ayana Dance Company and the flute recital by Sumukha Rao are planned. These events will  showcase the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Karnataka, ensuring that  the delegates carry a flavour of Karnataka with them. The Secretary MoEF&CC lauded these initiatives and stated that they would be shared with all G 20 countries for adoption and replication.

IPCC WG III Report highlights significance of lifestyle in climate discourse

20th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Dr. Jim Skea, Professor at the Centre for Environment Policy, Imperial College London and currently the Co-chair of Working Group III (WG III) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered a lecture today at Indira Pariyavaran Bhawan, New Delhi. The lecture focused on the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) with a special emphasis on lifestyle issues. A short film on sustainable lifestyles was screened by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 

Dr. Jim Skea spoke about the structure of IPCC and described how IPCC has produced three special reports and three Working Group reports during the sixth assessment cycle. The three Working Groups emphasizing the following findings from WG III states that global emissions could be reduced by 40% - 70% by 2050 while satisfying people’s basic needs for nutrition, mobility and shelter while maintaining wellbeing. This could be achieved by demand-side management and lifestyles supported by infrastructure and technology.

it also emerged that IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report, which is on anvil, should incorporate findings from three Working Group Reports in a balanced manner reflecting developing country concerns including historical cumulative emissions, declining carbon budget, adequacy of means of implementation and minimizing the adaptation gap. 

LG Delhi chairs first meeting of NGT constituted High Level Committee for Yamuna clean-up 

20th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

As per the Order issued by National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the 9th of January 2023, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi chaired the 1st Meeting of the High-Level Committee (HLC). In the said Order, the NGT constituted HLC for cleaning and rejuvenation of the river Yamuna. The meeting was attended by Senior Officers of the stakeholder departments and agencies of Govt of India and Govt of National Capital Territory of Delhi. As per a communication from the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, the meeting deliberated upon a concrete future plan of action. 

The communication also stated that time bound action plan on 8 parameters such as Augmenting Sewage Treatment through STPs, Trapping and Cleaning of Drains, Sewage Network in UA Colonies/JJ Clusters, Septage and Restoration of Flood plains, a six-month Action plan till June 2023, with monthly targets, was decided upon. 

CAQM struggling to stop use of coal, unapproved fuel in Delhi and NCR

19th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has advised Coal India Limited (CIL) and State Governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), to ensure that coal is not supplied/ allotted by various coal companies of CIL to various suppliers/ stockists/ agents of ClL operating in the National Capital Region (NCR). Moreover, the Commission has also advised the entities/ units/ industries including stockists, traders and dealers of coal to ensure compliance and discontinue coal supply in NCR for any kind of usage/ stocking/ selling/ trading in entire NCR except for Thermal Power Plants (TPPs). Statutory directions of the Commission require complete elimination of use of coal and other unapproved fuels for various operations/ applications across all sectors (including industrial, commercial and miscellaneous applications), w.e.f. 01st January, 2023 in the entire NCR.

Statutory directions were issued by the Commission regarding permissible fuels for industrial/ domestic/ miscellaneous applications in the NCR in terms of Direction Nos. 64 dated 02.06.2022 and 65 dated 23.06.2022. Presently, use of coal now stands completely banned (except in TPPs) and it is not considered a permissible fuel within NCR as per the common fuel list under the Directions issued by the Commission.

In compliance of the Commission’s directions, 84 industrial units across NCR areas of Haryana, U.P. & Rajasthan which were hitherto not using approved fuels, closed down their operations temporarily/ permanently on their own. Since last 3 months w.e.f. 01.10.2022, only 21 industrial units were found using highly polluting unapproved fuels like coal, furnace oil, etc. and those units have been closed pursuant to CAQM closure directions. Beyond 01.01.2023, the compliance has further improved and only 02 units were found using such heavily polluting fuels during inspection, thus indicating satisfactory compliance of Statutory Directions of the Commission.

The Flying Squad of the Commission will continue conducting incognito inspections to ensure strict compliance on use of only approved fuels in the entire NCR.

Applicant challenges Joint Committee report on illegal constructions in Pench Tiger Reserve Area  

19th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Capt. Brajesh Bharadwaj from Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh has made a legal intervention and objected the Joint Committee Report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 26th July 2022 in OA No. 452/2022.

Capt. Bharadwaj has sought NGT's direction for restoration measures of the pond by removing stone pitching and remove all high mud mounds around it; removal of all fencing above 4 feet around the pond and on the entire properties in the ESZ of the Pench Tiger Reserve Seoni for ease of passage of wild animals to drink water and for the unhindered tiger dispersal, removal of rooms and demolition of the soak pits/septic tank within 100 meters of the pond. 

In a 23 page reply he has also submitted before the NGT to direct respondents to fill the entire trench (garland drain) along the jungle side and also to obtain one season Rapid EIA report from State Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur. 

The Tribunal constituted a Joint Committee comprising of the Regional Office of MoEF&CC, Bhopal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (HoFF), Director, Pench Tiger Reserve Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, State PCB and District Collector, Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. 

Disclosures by Fund Management Entities for Environmental, Social or Governance (ESG) Schemes

18th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

To tap into the increasing investor awareness regarding the social and ecological impact of their investments, asset managers globally, have been focusing on offering investment products relating to various aspects concerning sustainability. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, by 2025, over a third of assets under management globally, shall pertain to ESG.

In order to promote consistency, comparability and reliability in disclosures concerning ESG schemes and ensure ESG schemes in International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) are true to their label, International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has issued a circular today requiring ESG schemes to make certain initial and periodic disclosures. Further, norms have been prescribed for ongoing monitoring and performance evaluation. The framework prescribed by IFSCA is principle-based, and largely aligned with international best practices. Further, in order to set regulatory expectations, IFSCA has also provided detailed guidance notes and illustrations.

With this framework, IFSCA lays down standards and practices (including guidance) for FMEs launching and managing ESG schemes. Given the ongoing evolution of ESG investing landscape, IFSCA will continue to monitor the developments in this area and based on experience gained may supplement/update this Circular from time to time. 

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been established on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019. It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

IFSCA with the aim to establish GIFT-IFSC as a hub for various sustainable finance related activities, has already issued/notified the following regulatory frameworks/requirements such as (1) Disclosure and listing of Green Bonds, Social Bonds, Sustainability Bonds and Sustainability Linked Bonds (2) Sustainability reporting by listed companies having market capitalization above $50 million (3) IBUs and Finance Companies to have board approved framework on sustainable financing and to have at least 5% of their loan assets towards sustainable sectors and (4) Sustainability related Disclosures by Fund Management Entities managing corpus / AUM above $3 Billion.

Third Meeting of Ken-Betwa Link Project Steering Committee

18th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Third Meeting of Steering Committee of Ken-Betwa Link Project (SC-KBLP) was held on Tuesday at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Secretary, DoWR, RD & GR, Ministry of Jal Shakti. The meeting was attended by representatives of both the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and officials of various Central Ministries and NitiAayog.

Secretary, DoWR, RD & GR, MoJS in his opening remarks stressed that Ken-Betwa link project is critical for the water security and socio-economic development of Bundelkhand region. It is a flagship project of the Centre and State. We have the responsibility of implementing this project in a time bound manner using state of art technologies and know-how duly taking care of R&R of project affected people and conservation of the region, particularly the landscape dependent species of Panna Tiger Reserve.

During the meeting, deliberations were held  on various agenda items covering follow up actions  on decisions taken during the 2nd meeting, work plan for year 2023-24, engagement of Project Management Consultancy, land acquisition and R&R of affected villages, establishment of offices of Ken-Betwa Link Project Authority, implementation of integrated landscape management plan prepared by Wildlife Institute of India for Greater Panna, financial powers of KBLPA, reimbursement to state on expenditure made etc.

It was intimated to the committee that orders for transfer about 5480 ha non forest govt. land of Panna and Chhattarpur district of M.P. have been issued by state govt. for transfer to PTR for compensatory afforestation.

In addition to this, two wildlife sanctuaries namely Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary and Rani Durgawati Wildlife Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh and Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary of U.P. have been approved by state govt. for bringing them under the project Tiger. This is a significant step in increasing the carrying capacity of PTR. Proposal for Constituting an R&R Committee to monitor the implementation of R&R plan in transparent and time bound manner was finalized during the meeting. A Greater Panna Landscape council is also being constituted for implementation of Landscape Management Plan (LMP) and Environment Management Plan (EMP) of the project.

SEIAA Punjab EC Amendments claim lesser pollution load, better energy efficiency without any supporting data

18th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

In the 229th meeting of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Punjab out of several applications, two proposals sought amendment in Environmental Clearance (EC). The SEIAA Punjab okayed EC amendment proposals of Ajar Amar Steel Concast and Aarti Steel Limited.

Ajar Amar Steel Concast has now proposed to install one Induction Furnace of capacity 30TPH instead of two furnaces of capacities 10TPH and 20TPH, as per the earlier EC granted. It is stated that there will be no change in the production capacity of the industry. The SEIAA Punjab has also stated that Ajar Amar Steel Concast has claimed that by installation of single energy efficient furnace instead of two furnaces will cause substantial decrease in energy consumption, manpower and space requirement resulting in reduction of the environmental load of the project. However, SEIAA Punjab has not declared any data in this regard.

Aarti Steel Limited also sought amendment in EC for manufacturing of steel Billets/Ingots and rolled /Flats at Village Harian, in Ludhiana District of Punjab. The SEIAA has stated that earlier the EC was granted to the industry for production of steel billets/ingots and rolls/flats to tune of 2,90,500 TPA with the installation of 3 No. of induction furnaces of capacity 8 TPH, 2X25 TPH, 1 CCM and 1 LRF of capacity 30 TPH. Now, the industry has proposed to install 2 Induction Furnaces of capacity 8 TPH and 15 TPH and an Electric Arc Furnace of capacity 35 TPH. The SEIAA states that it was apprised about a decrease in pollution load due to the change in the type and capacity of the furnaces. Further, the industry has proposed to switch over to PNG instead of furnace oil in near future which will further reduce the pollution load. Nevertheless, SEIAA Punjab has not given any scientific data to support this claim. But they have given an additional condition that "The industry shall provide fourth hole in the lid of the Arc furnace fume extraction system which will be attached with spark arrester followed by bag filter house as APCD. Further, the fume extraction system and bag filter house including spark arrester shall be adequately designed to contain the Air Pollutants within the permissible limits."

Non-coal Mining Ops may commence in non-forest land before Stage-II FC 

17th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its 27th December 2022 decided that in mining leases having forest as well as non-forest land, working on non-forest land without ensuring the separate mining plan or lease for the non-forest land may create fait accompli situations, which is not desirable in terms of directions contained in the Supreme Court orders. Therefore, the Committee decided that after obtaining the Stage-I approval, deposition of compensatory levies and environment clearance, the State/UT Government or authorities concerned should prepare a separate Mining Plan or execute a separate mining lease for full or part of non-forest land involved in the mining lease before allowing mining operations in the non-forest land of such mining leases. 

Davos 2023: Big Oil companies facing climate activist protests

16th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Reuters has reported that big oil firms came under pressure at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from activists who accused them of hijacking the climate debate, while a Greta Thunberg-sponsored "cease and desist" campaign gained support on social media. On Monday, a social media campaign added to the pressure on oil and gas companies, by promoting a "cease and desist" notice sponsored by climate activists Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Luisa Neubauer, through the non-profit website Avaaz. It demands energy company CEOs "immediately stop opening any new oil, gas, or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition we all so urgently need", and threatens legal action and more protests if they fail to comply.

According to Reuters Major energy firms including BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco are among the 1,500 business leaders gathering for the annual meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos, where global threats including climate change are on the agenda.

The campaign, which had been signed by more than 660,000 people, had almost 200,000 shares on Monday morning reports Reuters.

The Reuters report also quotes Sumant Sinha, who heads one of India's largest renewable energy firms, said it would be good to include big oil companies in the transition debate as they have a vital role to play.

"If oil people are part of these conversations to the extent that they are also committing to change then by all means. It is better to get them inside the tent than to have them outside the tent," Sinha, chairman and CEO of ReNew Power, told Reuters, saying that inclusion should not lead to "sabotage".

Rising interest rates have made it harder for renewable energy developments to attract financing, giving traditional players with deep pockets a competitive advantage.

As delegates began to arrive in Davos, Debt for Climate activists protested at a private airport in eastern Switzerland, which they said would be used by some WEF attendees, and issued a statement calling for foreign debts of poorer countries to be cancelled in order to accelerate the global energy transition.

EAC Infra-II suggests review of mandatory minimum distance between Bio-medical waste disposal facilities 

15th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-II) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recommended three projects in its 100th Meeting held on 11th January 2023. The EAC recommended the proposal of Tata Steel Limited seeking Environmental Clearance (EC) for Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Facility at Village Begunadih, Tehsil Potka, in East Singhbhum District of Jharkhand; proposal of Re Sustainability Limited for Common Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage & Disposal Facility in Baloda Bazar District, Chhattisgarh and project proposed by Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Limited for development of secured Landfill Facility for Hazardous Waste (30 Lakh MT) (TSDF site) at Village Jitali, Ankleshwar, District Bharuch, Gujarat.

The EAC also looked into the complaint against the grant of EC to M/s National Biomedical Waste Solutions Private Limited on the ground that a similar facility already existed within 75 km radius. The proposal was recommended in its 92nd meeting held on 4th July 2022 by the then EAC on the basis of the facts of the case presented before them. On reconsideration of the matter, the present Chairman and Members of EAC observed that due to prevailing COVID pandemic situation, it is most important that the Bio-medical waste disposal facilities are located as close to pollution generation sources as possible so that the chances of spreading contamination through waste are greatly minimized. The EAC further recommended that the extant regulations limiting the number of biomedical waste disposal facilities such as mandatory minimum distance between facilities may be reviewed by the CPCB/Ministry most urgently in the interest of public health. 

Applicability of EIA Notification on Organic Products Manufacturing from Plants

15th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has a clarification dated 9th January 2023 regarding applicability of EIA Notification 2006 on manufacturing of organic products from plants.

The Ministry has clarified that extraction of organic compounds from plants without any chemical synthesis but involve mixing, blending, percolation with water and extracting with solvent are not covered under item 5(f) of the Schedule.  Hence, such projects do not require EC. However, these are covered under Consent Management.

Further, manufacturing of synthetic organic chemical to be used for the above extraction shall require prior EC as per EIA Notification 2006. 

IIT Madras predicts 232 million tonnes of CO2 emission from Chennai's Construction Sector by 2040 

12th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) researchers predict that Chennai could cumulatively emit 231.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2040 from the construction and operations of buildings alone owing to rapid urbanisation. 

The researchers suggest that switching to renewable sources of energy for the operational requirements of buildings would be a key driver in reducing emissions from Chennai. 

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Centre for Technologies for Low Carbon and Lean Construction, IIT Madras, and the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) IIT Madras, comprising Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, and Mr Pokhraj Nayak, former student, IIT Madras. 

Rapid urbanization is likely to lead to an increase in built stock across the country. In India, the building industry is estimated to account for around a quarter of total CO2 emissions. This is mainly due to the emissions that arise out of the production of raw materials (such as cement & steel), their transportation to construction sites, energy used during construction and most importantly, the energy used during the operation of buildings. 

IIT Madras researchers have conducted a quantitative study to address the issue of increasing CO2 emissions due to the construction of buildings.

The researchers have suggested three measures to reduce carbon emissions: 

1. Replace traditional cement with low-carbon cement

2. Reuse of demolition waste for future construction

3. Switching to renewable resources to meet the energy requirements of operating buildings.

PMO holds high level meeting on Joshimath 

8th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr P K Mishra held a high-level review of building damage and land subsidence in Joshimath today 8th January 2023. Cabinet Secretary; Home Secretary; senior officials of Government of India; and members of National Disaster Management Authority, Chief Secretary and DGP of Uttarakhand, DM and Officials of Joshimath; Senior officers of Uttarakhand; and experts from IIT Roorkee, National Institute of Disaster Management, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology also attended the review through VC.

According to a government press release, the Chief Secretary Uttarakhand informed that a strip of land with a width of around 350 meters is affected. One team of NDRF and four teams of SDRF have reached Joshimath. The district administration is working with the affected families to evacuate and relocate them to safer places with adequate arrangements for food, shelter and security. SP and Commandment of SDRF are stationed at the site. Residents of Joshimath are being informed of the developments and their cooperation is being sought. Advice of experts is being sought to formulate the short-medium-long term plans.

Further, Secretary, Border Management and all four members of NDMA will visit Uttarakhand on 9th January. They will undertake a detailed assessment on the findings of the technical teams (NDMA, NIDM, NDRF, GSI, NIH, Wadia Institute, IIT Roorkee) that have just returned from Joshimath and advice State Govt. on immediate, short-medium-long-term actions to address the situation.

The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister stressed that the immediate priorities for the state should be the Safety of the people living in the affected area. State Government should establish a clear and continuous communication channel with the affected people. Immediate efforts should be to arrest the deterioration in the situation through practical measures that may be feasible. An inter-disciplinary investigation of the affected area should be undertaken. Experts from a range of central institutions— National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) should work closely with the state of Uttarakhand in the spirit of “Whole of Government” approach. A clear time-bound reconstruction plan must be prepared. Continuous seismic monitoring must be done. Using this opportunity, a risk sensitive urban development plan for Joshimath should also be developed.

It may be noted that the land of the Joshimath has been sinking because of weak foundation and enhanced toe erosion, coupled with the incessant rainfall and floods in the recent past. It is estimated that human activity remains the biggest contributor. 

Joshimath is considered the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and international skiing destination Auli. Experts believe that other tourist areas like Uttarkashi and Nainital are also at risk of land sinking, putting the lives of hundreds and thousands of people at risk. 

Gujarat SEIAA on Undari Limestone Mine

3rd January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) Gujarat has posted Agenda/ Minutes of Meeting pertaining to Undari Limestone Mine. The SEIAA has sought Compliance Report from Regional Office, MoEF&CC. It is applicable for projects already having EC. 

Bhagalpur worst polluted city, 4 Bihar cities in Severe Category 

2nd January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: Delhi’ overall Air Quality Index (AQI) clocked 357 today as per the 4PM as per the daily AQI Bulletin provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met today to review the air quality scenario of Delhi-NCR.

Delhi’s overall AQI was showing an increasing trend due to low wind speeds and unfavourable weather/ meteorological conditions. Moreover, the AQI today is in the upper end of ‘Very Poor’ category.

Bhagalpur with AQI 420 took the place of worst polluted city, followed by Rajgir, Darbhanga, and Katihar. In all these cities PM2.5 played the havoc.  

Considering this, the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the GRAP, after comprehensively reviewing the air quality scenario and relevant aspects has decided that the ongoing actions implemented under Stage III of GRAP shall continue for the present. The Sub-Committee is reportedly keeping a close watch on the situation and will review the air quality scenario accordingly on a regular basis.

Pesticide reduction targets unnecessary, let countries decide - Yadav at Biodiversity COP15

19th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav addressed the Stock taking Plenary at UN Biodiversity  Conference, COP15  at Montreal, Canada. Addressing the Plenary Mr. Yadav underlined paramount importance of agricultural sector, especially for developing countries. He stated that prescribing numerical targets in pesticide reductions is unnecessary and must be left to countries to decide, based on national circumstances, priorities and capabilities. 

The Union Minister sai, "Biodiversity conservation requires ecosystems to be conserved and restored holistically and in an integrated manner. It is in this context that Ecosystem Approaches for conservation of biodiversity need to be adopted rather than nature based solutions."

There is a need to create a new and dedicated mechanism for the provision of financial resources to developing-country Parties to attain successful implementation of the framework opined Mr. Yadav.

7th India Water Impact Summit Concludes

19th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: The 7th India Water Impact Summit concluded on 17th December 2022 after 3 days of fruitful deliberations on important aspects of water conservation and river rejuvenation, with special emphasis on revival of small rivers for the protection of large basins. On the third and final day of the 7th India Water Impact Summit, experts from water, environment and administrative sectors unanimously consented to an urgent need of forming a National River Framework in the country, which would determine the parameters for monitoring river health, process and responsibility. All experts were unanimous that the direction of river health cannot be ascertained based on only biochemical parameters. Condition of aquatic life present in river can be an indicator of river health. In this process, the indigenous species of aquatic life must be included rather than the exotic species which have been developed in the river for commercial purposes.

The valedictory session was presided over by G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). Prof. Vinod Tare, cGanga moderated the session. DG, NMCG re-emphasized to shift the focus to implementation and hoped that by next positive changes would be seen on ground. “The deliberations have enabled us to identify the areas we have to work upon. Now, it is time to implement and see results on ground.” He said that water in India has come of age and in the past 6-7 years, there has been better awareness on water related issues in the country. “Water is crucial for the existence of mankind and is finally getting the respect and value it deserves,” he said, adding, “We all can see that, now, a lot of focus is on water-related issues even at the district administration level which was not the case about a decade ago.”

The DG, NMCG said that Namami Gange has taken the lead in water management, circular economy, resource recovery, ensuring rivers are not polluted, and take initiatives such as river-city alliance that are central to include protection of rivers at the urban planning level. He also noted that with NMCG’s initiative, water is now being looked at as a resource for increasing GDPs of local districts through tourism, healthcare, etc. 

MoEF&CC clarifies EC validity

13th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a further clarification on the amendment to EIA Notification 2006 earlier issued on 12th April 2022 bearing S.O. No. 1807(E) with regard to validity of Environment Clearance (EC). 

The period of EC validity may be extended by a maximum period of two years in the case of River Valley projects, five years in the case of Nuclear power projects, Twenty years to Mining projects and One year in the case of projects other tha River Valley, Nuclear and Mining, if an application is made in the specified proforma to the regulatory authority by the applicant within the validity period of the existing EC. 

Biodiversity COP15 starts today

7th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The UN Biodiversity COP15 starts today in Montreal, Canada. The COP will continue till  19th December 2022. Governments from around the world will come together to agree on a new set of goals to guide global action through 2030 to halt and reverse nature loss. 

Nature is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Adoption of a bold global biodiversity framework that addresses the key drivers of nature loss is needed to secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet. 

The conference is being billed as a major biodiversity COP, because it is expected to lead to the adoption of a new Global Biodiversity Framework, guiding actions worldwide through 2030, to preserve and protect our natural resources.

Earlier, at the COP10, in 2010, governments agreed to strive for ambitious targets by 2020, including halving natural habitat loss, and implementing plans for sustainable consumption and production.

However, a UN report released that year, showed that not a single target had been fully met. Meanwhile, the planet is experiencing its largest loss of life since the dinosaur era ended: one million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction.

Noting that “without nature, we are nothing”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared that humanity has, for hundred of years “conducted a cacophony of chaos, played with instruments of destruction”.

The UN chief catalogued examples of this destruction, from deforestation and desertification; to the poisoning of the environment by chemicals and pesticides, which is degrading land, making it harder to feed the growing global population.

He pointed also to the degradation of the Ocean, which is accelerating the destruction of life-sustaining coral reefs and other marine ecosystems - directly affecting those communities that depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.

The Secretary-General boiled down the action that needs to be taken in order to save nature, into three main areas.

The first involves the implementation of national plans that would divert subsidies and tax breaks away from activities that contribute to the destruction of nature, towards green solutions such as renewable energy, plastic reduction, nature-friendly food production and sustainable resource extraction.

These plans would also recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as stewards of nature.

The second concerns the private sector which, argued Mr. Guterres, must recognize that profit and protection go hand-in-hand, meaning a shift by the food and agricultural industry towards sustainable production and natural means of pollination, pest control and fertilization; the timber, chemicals, building and construction industries taking their impacts on nature into account in their business plans; and the biotech, pharmaceutical, and other industries that exploit biodiversity sharing the benefits fairly and equitably.

“Greenwashing”, he said – referring to unsubstantiated environmental claims made by companies – must end, and the private sector needs to be held accountable for actions across every link of business supply chains.

REC Jammu approves 3 projects affecting 6649 trees, 5624 poles

6th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Regional Empowered Committee (REC), Jammu approved all four projects it considered in its 10th Meeting. In this meeting held at Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jammu; the Committee dealt with projects involving 75.7091 Hac of forest lands. affecting 6649 trees and 5624 poles.

The proposal for construction of LILO of 22A KV Udhampur- Gladni Transmission line at Nagrota

36.2511 Ha Forest land, out of which 11.2525 ha., is Reserved Forest was considered along with two other road projects. LILO (Line In Line Out) Substation is the part of an electrical supply system which transmits the high voltage from the generating substations to the local distribution networks. In this substation, a long distribution line is brought in and brought out from newly created substation. This scheme is bit expensive because of the need of an extra layout. But it is more secure. 

All the 3 projects got approved.

Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions are a trailblazer at WTO: DG Okonjo-Iweala

4th December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

"These Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions are a trailblazer at the WTO," DG Okonjo-Iweala said at a high-level event to take stock of progress. "You are searching for practical solutions and concrete actions to catalyse the trade and environment agenda. You are breaking down silos and cooperating across traditional structures and fields of expertise to find solutions to global problems." 

Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) on 2nd December held a high-level event to take stock of progress made this year and to signal their priorities for further work ahead of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13). Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, opening the event, lauded the members for exploring new trade solutions to environmental issues and urged them to intensify efforts towards concrete actions. 

According to a statement circulated, the Working Group on Trade-related Climate Measures will review different forms of carbon measurement standards and measures. The Working Group on Environmental Goods and Services will pursue an objective-based approach, with the first environmental objective being climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the first sectoral focus being on renewable energy.

The Working Group on Circular Economy – Circularity will undertake a mapping exercise to build a broader understanding of the aspects of trade and trade policy which are relevant to each part of the life cycle, and will also pursue sector-specific discussions starting with renewable energy and electronics. The Working Group on Subsidies, in its continuation of work on the environmental effects of subsidies, will begin discussions focusing on agricultural subsidies and subsidies related to the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Among other things, ISO's presentation was also highlighted. International carbon accounting standards, principles, requirements and guidelines for the quantification and reporting of the carbon footprint of a product Standards specify principles and requirements for GHG inventories for organizations, for projects aimed at GHG emission reductions, and the quantification of carbon footprint (CFP) of a product considering its entire lifecycle. Different product category rules reflect the need for product-specific approaches to quantify CFP, while a common approach is followed regarding verification and accreditation where a standard is verified by an accredited verification body. 

Closing the stocktaking event, Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam lauded members' progress in putting sustainability and climate change as a core issue on the global trade agenda and noted some suggestions for further work and concrete actions. 

FICCI - IWA organizing Internationl Conference on Water Reclamation, Reuse from 15th Jan

2nd December 2022 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

New Delhi: Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has scheduled to host the 13th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse to be held from 15th – 19th January 2023. The central theme of the conference is “Water Reuse: Overcoming the Challenges of Growth and Climate Change”. The event intends to help progress towards the creation of sustainable water reuse solutions through multidisciplinary cooperation and learning from the extensive experience already gathered in countries around the world. The framework surrounding the central theme of the conference will deal with the full range of topics relating to water reclamation and reuse. There will be a focus on innovations and solutions that address water stress in integrated fashion from the three different angles of water reuse adoption, water reuse implementation and the removal of water reuse bottlenecks. Registrations can be done through https://iwareuse2023.com/registration.html 

Standalone Re-rolling units, Cold rolling units need EC 

22nd July 2022 

On 20th July 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has directed all the standalone re-rolling units or cold rolling units, which are in existence and in operation as on the date of the notification dated 20th July 2022, with valid Consent to Establish (CTE) and Consent to Operate (CTO) from the concerned State Pollution Control Board or the Union territory Pollution Control Committee, as the case may be, shall apply online for grant of Terms of Reference (ToR) followed by Environment Clearance. #EIA #MoEF To get such updates Subscribe to Enviro Annotations.