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Government Notifies New Eco-Sensitive Zone in Jammu and Kashmir

21st May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

The Government of India has notified a new Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) encompassing the Dachigam National Park, Thajwas (Baltal) Wildlife Sanctuary, and Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary in Jammu and Kashmir. Dachigam National Park, known for its endangered Hangul deer, along with the Thajwas and Overa-Aru sanctuaries, are crucial habitats for various species including the Kashmir musk deer and Himalayan brown bear. The notification imposes strict land-use regulations, promoting reforestation and the conservation of water bodies and heritage sites. It also regulates tourism and industrial activities to ensure sustainable development while preserving the region’s ecological integrity.

TERI Presents Framework to Guide India's Path to Net Zero Emissions by 2070

21st May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

In a significant move towards India's ambitious target of achieving net zero emissions by 2070, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has presented a comprehensive discussion study titled ‘India’s Journey to Net Zero: A Conceptual Framework for Analysis’.

The study, unveiled during a recent session, introduces a conceptual framework that qualitatively identifies India's primary carbon-emitting sectors, including electricity, transport, industry, agriculture, and residential cooking. It operates on the assumption that India will soon attain developed nation status, with per capita carbon emissions aligning with those of advanced economies. The framework outlines how emissions will peak before embarking on a declining trajectory, emphasizing the importance of decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions. Given India's vision of Viksit Bharat by 2047, this study is pivotal in assessing the pathways and studies necessary for a low-carbon future.

Nitin Desai, Chairman of TERI, highlighted the significance of decoupling both supply and demand side growth from carbon emissions. He pointed out that increasing emissions, particularly in urban areas, necessitate more cooling requirements, and suggested that redesigning buildings to minimize cooling needs and reducing transportation demands could significantly cut emissions.

Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Director General of TERI, underscored the necessity for further in-depth research following the initial findings. "This study provides a simplified macro view of the transition to net zero," she stated, calling for more detailed sectoral analysis, including modeling, scenario generation, and cost projections. Dr. Dhawan invited stakeholders to contribute their insights and suggestions to further refine the framework.

The session also featured contributions from Mr. Ajay Shankar, Distinguished Fellow at TERI, who discussed the initial exercises charting a pathway for emissions to peak and then decline. He emphasized that peaking emissions from the electricity sector is feasible at no additional cost, while reducing emissions from electricity generation would incur costs that could be minimized by early action. Transitioning transport and cooking to electricity, as emissions from electricity generation approach zero, could eliminate about 55% of current emissions.

India’s proactive measures, including the National Hydrogen Mission, are anticipated to significantly aid the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, enhancing India's role as a responsible global leader in climate action. Pilot projects in these sectors will be crucial for achieving net zero emissions.

Girish Sethi, Program Director at TERI, highlighted the essential role of non-state actors, particularly the corporate sector, in reaching net zero. He discussed the Industry Charter for Near Zero Emission Ambition by 2050, instituted by TERI, and stressed the importance of technology innovation and policy instruments in this transition.

The discussion concluded with a consensus on the collective effort required from all stakeholders to navigate the complex journey towards net zero emissions. The framework proposes strategic approaches for each sector and calls for detailed studies to develop feasible pathways. The central theme emphasized the urgent need to decouple carbon emission growth from economic growth to ensure sustainable development.

The session was part of TERI’s 50-year celebrations, highlighting its ongoing commitment to energy, environment, and sustainability.

Studio Symbiosis Introduces VERTO: A Revolutionary Urban Air Purification Tower

21st May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

In a move to address urban air pollution, Studio Symbiosis, in collaboration with German filtration expert MANN+HUMMEL, has unveiled VERTO, a revolutionary 360-degree air filtration tower designed to significantly improve air quality in cities.

According to communication, the company has cited that more than 99% of urban residents breathe air with pollution levels exceeding the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). This alarming statistic highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to combat this pressing health hazard. VERTO, the latest project from Studio Symbiosis, aims to meet this need.

VERTO is not merely an architectural feat; it represents a sustainable approach to tackling air pollution. The innovative design has already received prestigious awards, including the Red Dot and the German Design Award, underscoring its potential to transform urban air quality.

"VERTO is designed to clean the air of ultrafine particles harmful to human health (PM 2.5, PM 10, NO2)," explains Britta Knobel Gupta, the founding partner of Studio Symbiosis. "Its name derives from the Latin 'vertere' – to turn, symbolizing its transformative effect on polluted air."

The aerodynamically designed tower can purify an impressive 700,000 cubic meters of air per day, equivalent to the volume of 321 hot-air balloons. This is achieved through energy-efficient fans and fine dust filters, ensuring clean and safe air. Additionally, VERTO's control system allows for demand-driven operation based on pollution levels, maximizing its effectiveness.

Cerana Meads, India's Premier Mead Brand, Highlights the Vital Role of Sustainable Honey Sourcing in Supporting Bee Populations and Environmental Guardianship

20th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

In celebration of World Honey Bee Day, Cerana Meads, India's leading mead brand, is shining a spotlight on the critical importance of sustainable honey sourcing and the broader role of environmental stewardship. As guardians of the ancient craft of mead-making, Cerana underscores the necessity of preserving bee habitats and ensuring ethical honey procurement practices.

Mead, an age-old alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, epitomizes the symbiotic relationship between humans and bees, a bond deeply ingrained in history and culture. Cerana Meads embodies this tradition, producing meads that are not only delicious but also rooted in a philosophy of ecological responsibility.

Central to Cerana’s ethos is the ethical sourcing of honey. The brand prides itself on a procurement approach that respects the natural needs of bees. Unlike traditional methods that often deplete the bees' primary food sources, Cerana only harvests honey from the “super chamber” of the bee box. This chamber is where bees store surplus honey, ensuring that the bees' own sustenance is not compromised. This method significantly minimizes disruptions to the bees, fostering a healthier bee population and more stable bee boxes.

Cerana’s meads are celebrated for their purity and natural essence, free from synthetic additives. This commitment to natural ingredients preserves the authentic flavors of honey, which are the hallmark of their beverages.

Cerana Meads showcases the vast diversity of honey varieties sourced from across India, each contributing unique and authentic flavors to their meads. These include:

Each variety reflects the rich biodiversity of its region, offering consumers a taste of India’s ecological wealth.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact: In line with its sustainability goals, Cerana is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint through locally sourced materials and eco-friendly production practices. The brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility extends beyond honey sourcing to encompass all aspects of its operations.

Moreover, the ecological benefits of mead consumption are significant. By promoting beekeeping, Cerana aids in the cross-pollination of flowers, which is crucial for fostering biodiversity and supporting healthy bee populations.

With an unwavering dedication to quality, innovation, and environmental responsibility, Cerana Meads has successfully produced 25,000 litres of mead to date. This achievement not only highlights the brand’s commitment to excellence but also sets a benchmark for sustainability in the beverage industry.

Forest Advisory Committee Regularises BRO Projects, Enforces Penalties on BSNL and Other Violators

18th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has published the minutes of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting held on April 30, 2024. The meeting addressed various proposals involving the diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes, highlighting violations, and imposing penalties. Key decisions are as follows:

BSNL sought approval for the non-forestry use of 0.120 hectares of forest land in Dhamtari Forest, Chhattisgarh, under the USOF 4G Saturation Project. The FAC noted violations and mandated BSNL to pay five times the Net Present Value (NPV) plus 12% simple interest from the date of demand until payment. The State Government is instructed to initiate action under Section 3A and/or 3B of the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980.

The proposal of Nuagaon Iron and Manganese Ore Mines involved 11.34 hectares of forest land in Sundargarh District, Odisha. It was confirmed that 10.824 hectares of revenue forest land were under violation, dating back nearly three decades. The Odisha State Government reported infeasibility in taking action against retired officials. The user agency had already deposited ₹38,65,08,656 along with 2% interest in compliance with a Supreme Court judgement. The FAC directed the Regional Office of MoEF&CC to review the penalties proposed by the State Government, which included a 20% NPV for each year of violation from 1988 to 1997 and compensatory afforestation (CA) on equivalent non-forest land.

The FAC reviewed the proposal of Merle Construction & Marketing Pvt. Ltd., Assam for the non-forestry use of 5.21 hectares of forest land in the Nakkati Reserved Forest, Assam. The Committee requested a holistic study of the project's ecological impact and justifications for quarrying forest land for commercial purposes. The proposal for Nakkati Hill Stone Quarry No. 3 was deferred pending further information.

Two proposals for the regularisation and diversion of forest land in Sikkim were reviewed. HQ 758 BRTF (GREF) in Chandmari: 3.25 hectares for new accommodation. Vegetation density was reported at 0.2 with 428 project-affected trees. HQ 129 RCC (GREF) in Phenegla/Shotak: 6.07 hectares for new accommodation. Vegetation density was 0.2 with 1,950 affected trees and plants. However, both the proposals do not involve tree felling.

Stage-I clearance was recommended for the diversion of 5.23 hectares for Chitalmari Stone Quarry, Assam

in Chitalmari Reserve Forest, Goalpara Division, for the widening of NH-17. Specific conditions included submission of a site suitability certificate and action against detected violations. The proposal included felling 634 trees with a vegetation density of 0.35.

The FAC deferred a decision on the non-forestry use of 5.34 hectares by Sreenivasa Mineral Company

in Nakkati Reserved Forest, Assam, requesting further information regarding potential violations and the status of the access road used by multiple mines.

A CNG Station in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh was approved diversion of 0.0406 hectares for a CNG station facility with penal NPV and action under local forest laws. Shivalik Energy Pvt. Ltd., Himachal Pradesh was granted ex-post facto approval for 12.90 MW Chirchind-II HEP on 0.1668 hectares of forest land, with penal NPV and submission of CAT plan details.

Ministry Notifies SEIAA and SEAC Formation for Andhra Pradesh 

14th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued Notification S.O. 1980(E) on 13th May 2024, establishing the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for Andhra Pradesh, in accordance with the authority vested by sub-section (3) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The SEIAA will be chaired by B. Sreedhar and includes Prof. M Chandra Sekhar as a member and the Special Secretary to the Government in the Environment, Forests, Science and Technology Department of the Andhra Pradesh Government, serving as the Member Secretary. Their tenure spans three years from the date of publication of the notification in the Official Gazette.

Regulated operations of Diesel Generator (DG) sets in NCR to Tackle Air Pollution

29th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Samar Pratap

In a bid to combat deteriorating air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has introduced revised regulations for the operation of Diesel Generating (DG) sets. The large-scale use of DG sets has been identified as a major contributor to air pollution in the region.

CAQM, in its efforts to control emissions from DG sets, has issued a series of directives and advisories since February 2022. Following a review of progress in implementing these directives, a comprehensive revision was made in the form of Direction No. 73 dated 02.06.2023, which is set to take effect from October 1, 2023.

Several concerns and challenges have arisen during the implementation process, including:

In response to these concerns, CAQM has issued a revised schedule for regulated DG set operations under Direction No. 76 dated 29.09.2023. The key provisions are as follows:

While the revised schedule is set to take effect from October 1, 2023, DG sets of all capacity ranges have been temporarily allowed to operate for emergency services until December 31, 2023, to avoid disruptions in critical sectors. These include elevators/escalators, medical services, railway services, metro rail, airports, sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations, national security projects, and telecommunications/IT/data services. Emission control mechanisms must be implemented in these sectors by the specified deadline to avoid legal consequences.

Innovative Pipe Composting Revolutionizes Waste Management in Assam 

28th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Composting, the natural biological process of breaking down organic materials, such as food scraps, yard waste, and other biodegradable substances, into nutrient-rich soil conditioner known as compost, has become an eco-friendly phenomenon with profound historical significance. This process is orchestrated by a cadre of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes, as well as larger organisms like earthworms and insects. Composting thrives in diverse settings, from the untouched expanses of forests and grasslands to controlled environments, such as backyard compost bins or expansive industrial-scale composting facilities.

Composting has a long history that goes back thousands of years. It was really important for farming, keeping things clean, and living in a way that's good for the environment. Back then, people like the Chinese and Romans saw how amazing composting could be. Chinese farmers, more than 2,000 years ago, were the first to use composting to make their soil better. At the same time, the Romans also liked composting because it helped them reuse organic waste and make their farms better.

In the modern era, Assam stands as a trailblazer in sustainable waste management, championing pipe composting as a straightforward yet highly effective solution for managing biodegradable waste at the grassroots level. This environmentally-conscious endeavor has gained remarkable traction during the ongoing Swachhata Hi Seva campaign, underlining Assam's unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and waste reduction.

Leading this charge is the District Water and Sanitation Committee of Biswanath District in Assam, celebrated as pioneers in promoting pipe composting. Their achievements are most prominently visible in the education sector, where they have successfully implemented this environmentally friendly method in schools. Their primary focus has been on efficiently managing biodegradable waste generated during midday meals. As part of the Swachhata Hi Seva 2023 program, district officials have orchestrated the installation of two composting pipes at Chariali Majaliya ME School, marking a significant stride toward a greener future.

Demystifying Pipe Composting: Pipe composting, a methodological marvel, unfolds through a meticulously choreographed sequence of events. It commences with the utilization of PVC pipes, measuring 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 1.25 meters in length. These pipes are strategically placed vertically, buried 25-30 centimeters into the earth. Only biodegradable waste finds its place within these pipes - a medley of leftover food, fruit and vegetable peels, flowers, dung, and agricultural remnants. A fortnightly ritual involves the infusion of a blend of cow dung and dry leaves, enriched with water, to invigorate the growth of beneficial microorganisms and worms. The sanctity of the process lies in safeguarding the pipes, ensuring that rainwater remains an unwelcome intruder. Two months later, the fruits of this labor are harvested in the form of nutrient-rich compost, easily collected by simply lifting the pipe.

Pipe composting offers a range of benefits. It efficiently turns biodegradable waste into valuable compost, following eco-friendly principles. It keeps the environment clean and hygienic, without unpleasant odors and flies. It works well in tight spaces, like schools and small areas. Plus, it's sustainable because you can use the same pipes over and over, reducing the need for new materials.

Unified Portal Revolutionizes CBG and Biogas Plant Registration

25th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), part of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, has introduced a groundbreaking Unified Registration Portal for GOBARdhan (gobardhan.co.in). This portal aims to simplify and streamline the registration process for Compressed Biogas (CBG) and biogas plants across India.

DDWS, as the nodal department for GOBARdhan, celebrated a significant achievement with over 1163 biogas plants and 426 CBG plants already registered on the platform. These registered plants now qualify for support under the Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme, offered by the Department of Fertilizers under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers.

The MDA scheme provides eligible plants with financial support of Rs. 1500 per metric ton for the sale of Fermented Organic Manure (FOM), Liquid Fermented Organic Manure (LFOM), or Phosphate Rich Organic Manure (PROM) produced by BG/CBG plants participating in GOBARdhan. To access MDA assistance, manufacturing plants must register on the Unified GOBARdhan portal and comply with Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) specifications for organic fertilizers.

Manufacturing units registered on this portal can market FOM/LFOM/PROM, co-products of CBG/Biogas plants, through Fertilizer Marketing Companies in various forms. Additionally, they can experimentally market these products in bulk/loose form for two quarters from October 2023 to March 2024. Quality testing will be conducted at recognized laboratories.

The MDA scheme, with a budget of Rs. 1451.82 Crore over three years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2025-26), aims to boost the production and use of organic fertilizers from GOBARdhan plants. It seeks to promote widespread adoption of organic manure, reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers, and encourage sustainable agriculture practices.

For the CBG/Biogas sector, the MDA scheme enhances financial stability, attracting private investments. Successful marketing of FOM/LFOM also instills confidence in banking institutions, further stimulating sector growth.

GOBARdhan, a multi-ministerial initiative, transforms organic waste into valuable resources like biogas, CBG, and organic manure. It promotes high-value Biogas/CBG production and utilizes bio-slurry to enhance soil health, reduce urea imports, and empower farmers with organic manure.

Several policy enablers, such as bio-slurry standardization and inclusion of CBG plants in various funds, have propelled the GOBARdhan initiative. The recent addition of the MDA scheme aligns perfectly with the objectives of efficient organic waste management and improved soil health.

This initiative, combined with forthcoming policy measures, aims to expand the reach of Biogas/CBG plants, making the sector increasingly attractive for private sector investments.

Indore Ranks First in Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023

7th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

On the eve of the 4th International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (Swachh Vayu Diwas 2023), Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, announced the prestigious Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023 awards. The assessment, which evaluates the air quality efforts of Indian cities, revealed impressive rankings across three population categories.

In the first category (million-plus population):

Indore secured the top position with the score of 187 out of 200. Agra, renowned as the City of the Taj Mahal, followed closely behind with 186, while Thane in Maharashtra earned the third spot with 185.2.

In the second category (3-10 lakhs population): Amravati emerged as the leader with 194out of 200. Moradabad and Guntur claimed the second and third positions, respectively.

In the third category (less than 3 lakhs population): Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh clinched the first rank. Kala Amb, also in Himachal Pradesh, secured the second position. Angul in Odisha stood third in this category.

The rankings were determined based on self-assessment reports and supporting documents submitted by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). These reports were subsequently vetted by the respective Air Quality Monitoring Committees (AQMC), chaired by the Principal Secretary of Environment, and further evaluated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), following the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The assessment period covered the financial year from April 1st to March 31st of the preceding year.

Specific weightage was assigned to eight identified sectors to assess city performance. These sectors included Biomass and Municipal Solid Waste Burning, Road Dust, Dust from Construction and Demolition Waste, Vehicular Emissions, Emissions from Industries, Other Emissions, IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) activities/Public Awareness, and Improvement in PM10 concentrations. Notably, IEC activities/Public Awareness and Improvement in PM10 concentrations received a 2.5% weightage each.

Speaking at the event in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Minister Yadav emphasized that Swachh Vayu Diwas 2023 aimed to strengthen partnerships, increase investments, and share the responsibility of combatting air pollution, aligning with the global theme of "Together for Clean Air."

Minister Yadav also recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment on August 15, 2020, to provide clean air to all citizens and announced plans to improve air quality in over 100 cities through a holistic approach. The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been implementing the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) since 2019 as a national-level strategy to reduce air pollution at city and regional scales.

Under NCAP, 131 cities have been identified for city-specific action plans. The program focuses on preparing and implementing national, state, and city-level action plans to systematically address air pollution, involving all stakeholders.

Minister Yadav highlighted the launch of "PRANA," a portal to monitor NCAP implementation, where action plans of cities, states, and line ministries are reflected and monitored for their status. The portal also shares best practices for adoption by other cities.

Additionally, the Minister underscored the notification of waste management rules covering various waste types, Extended Producer Responsibility, and the "SATAT" (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme, which promotes Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production for use as a green fuel. He noted the establishment of a statutory Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas, which comprehensively addresses air quality concerns in the region.

The Minister's remarks emphasized the government's unwavering commitment to achieving cleaner air for all citizens and the importance of collective efforts in realizing this goal. The Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023 awards serve as recognition and motivation for cities across India to continue their work in improving air quality. Read at Enviro's Substack

NGT Questions PCB's Procedures in Environmental Violation Case

30th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

While hearing on the matter of Gautam Prakash versus Seventeen Degree Hotel Company Pvt. Ltd. & Anr., Original Application No.74/2023/EZ (I.A. No.40/2023/EZ) the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone Bench has questioned Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board regarding the provision for giving a second show cause notice. 

During the hearing, the Bench, comprising Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member pressed the pollution control board about the provision for a second show cause notice under environmental laws. The board was directed to submit an affidavit in a week clarifying this provision's existence and explaining the lack of action against the violators.

Additionally, Advocate Ashok Prasad requested the removal of remarks from a previous order that criticized his preparedness. The Bench granted this request, expunging the comments.

Japan Begins Release of Treated Radioactive Water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into Pacific Ocean

25th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Japan commenced the controlled release of over a million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday. The process, set to span across decades, has prompted varying reactions from neighboring countries and international organizations.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station suffered catastrophic damage during a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Since then, a constant inflow of water has been necessary to cool the reactors, while groundwater and rainwater have seeped into the compromised reactor and turbine buildings. The contaminated water, which came into contact with melted fuel, fuel debris, and other radioactive materials, underwent treatment and dilution using an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) filtration process. This treated water has been stored in specialized tanks, numbering over a thousand and holding more than a million cubic meters as of June.

In a move closely monitored by experts from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan began the phased release of this treated water into the Pacific Ocean. The IAEA has been providing real-time data regarding water flow rates and radiation levels, aiming to ensure that all relevant international safety standards are adhered to throughout the discharge process. Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi emphasized the IAEA's commitment to oversee the process from start to finish.

Addressing concerns over potential environmental and health implications, a recent IAEA report asserted that Japan's approach aligns with international safety standards. The gradual and controlled discharge of the treated water, according to the report, would result in a "negligible radiological impact" on both human populations and the environment.

However, the decision has not been without its critics. Protests erupted both within Japan and in neighboring countries, most notably the Republic of Korea and China. China swiftly responded to the news by imposing an immediate ban on all aquatic imports from Japan. Furthermore, Hong Kong introduced stricter import controls on Japanese seafood products.

The international community remains divided on the issue, with concerns about potential long-term effects and the overall impact on marine ecosystems. As the release of treated radioactive water from Fukushima continues, it is clear that this decision will remain a subject of debate and scrutiny for years to come.

Indonesia Raises Concerns Over EU Biodiesel Import Duties

16th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Indonesia has formally taken its concerns to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the European Union's (EU) imposition of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Indonesia. This move was made through a process called "request for consultations," which is the first step to address trade disputes.

Indonesia claims that the EU's decision to impose countervailing duties and the investigation that led to this decision go against certain rules outlined in international trade agreements. Specifically, Indonesia believes that the EU's actions violate the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

A "request for consultations" is like a formal invitation to discuss the issue at hand. It provides both sides with an opportunity to talk and hopefully find a solution without resorting to legal actions. This process typically lasts for 60 days. If, after this period, the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the complaining country (in this case, Indonesia) can ask for a panel of experts to make a judgment on the matter.

The specific issue here is the import duties that the EU has imposed on biodiesel from Indonesia. Indonesia is concerned about two types of duties: provisional duties (applied temporarily) and definitive duties (applied permanently). These measures were enacted by the EU in response to what they believe were subsidies provided by the Indonesian government to its biodiesel industry. These subsidies, according to the EU, gave an unfair advantage to Indonesian biodiesel in the international market.

Indonesia argues that the EU's claim about subsidies is not valid. The Indonesian government maintains that any support given to its biodiesel industry was in line with trade rules and regulations, and thus, the countervailing duties are unwarranted.

The situation will now unfold over the next two months of consultations. If a resolution isn't reached during this time, the dispute could escalate further to a panel ruling, where a group of experts would evaluate the arguments from both sides and make a final decision on whether the EU's duties are justified or not.

EAC Recommends EC for Expansion of Sasti OCP by Western Coalfields

14th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

In the 47th meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) it has recommended the grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) for the expansion of the Sasti Open Cast Project (OCP) by Western Coalfields Limited. The expansion project seeks to increase the mine lease area from 919.69 hectares to 1120.48 hectares, with a production capacity of 2.50 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Interesting to note that the project made excess production as compared to the approved qunatity from 1994-95 to 2004-05. 

Chaired by G.P Kundargi, the EAC convened on July 21-22, 2023, to appraise coal mining projects' environmental impact. The expansion of the Sasti OCP, located in the villages of Sasti and Mathra, Tehsil Rajura, District Chandrapur, Maharashtra, aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply of non-coking coal for power plants and other consumers in the Western and Southern regions of India. This increased domestic production is projected to reduce reliance on coal imports and save valuable foreign exchange.

The expansion is projected to help alleviate the demand for non-coking coal, leading to a reduced environmental impact and preservation of foreign exchange resources.

The project area is not categorized as a Critically Polluted Area (CPA). Meteorological and air quality data have been collected from October 2020 to December 2020, representing a production capacity of 1.46 MTPA. Air quality modeling has been conducted for an incremental production of 1.04 MTPA to match the proposed production capacity of 2.50 MTPA.

The EAC has stated about the Certified Compliance Report issued by the Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry, Nagpur vide F No. 3-15/2008 (ENV)/10978 dated 13.01.2023.. The report shows that the mechanized system has not been implemented in a timely manner, and the tree plantation area remains limited to 169 hectares. The EAC stressed the need for the plantation area to be expanded to at least 575 hectares, as indicated in their submission. 

Although the project area reportedly does not involve any forest land, the study identified the presence of several Schedule-I species, including Tigers, Sloth Bears, Leopards, and wild dogs. To mitigate this, a conservation plan with a budget of 1.59 Crore has been proposed.

The project involves seven external overburden (OB) dumps covering an area of 202.52 hectares, with a maximum height of 60 meters and 46.85 million cubic meters of OB. Additionally, there will be one internal OB dump spanning 275.89 hectares, with a height of 90 meters and 171.54 million cubic meters of OB. The project's quarry area will be 544.79 hectares, with 275.89 hectares designated for backfilling and 268.90 hectares for final mine void, reaching a depth of 200 meters. After mining operations are completed, the backfilled quarry area will be reclaimed with plantation, while the final mine void will be converted into a water body, totaling 686.41 hectares of post-mining plantation.

Coal transportation will involve dumpers in the mine pithead, trucks from the surface to siding, and railways at the sidings. A new railway siding will be constructed within the existing mine lease area, requiring approximately 2.5 km of new railway track. However, there is no timeline, while life of mine is said to be 11 years. However, the EAC's condition "PP shall deploy atleast 20% of overall fleet of dumpers/trucks/other vehicles as electrical or CNG/LNG based for transportation of coal/OB etc. "  seems to be impractical. 

The EAC has proposed the establishment of a "Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System" to address pollution-related concerns within 30 days. This system aims to provide a simple and efficient mechanism for the public to raise and resolve grievances. Additionally, provisions have been made to compensate farmers for agricultural land losses due to pollution, as assessed by the concerned District Commissioner.

Lok Sabha discusses on 5 years old data on Average Temperature Rise in India

3rd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Earth Sciences, informed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in 2020 has published ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’. The report contains a comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change upon the Indian subcontinent. The highlights of the report are:

It was also said that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) routinely monitors Climate over Indian Region and bring out yearly publication viz. “Annual Climate summary”. IMD issues monthly climate summary. Annual climate summary includes information about the temperature, Rainfall and extreme weather events occurring during the concerned period.

SEIAA UP gets new Chairperson 

2nd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The Central Government on the 1st August 2023 notified inclusion of the name of Mrs. Mamta Sanjeev Dubey for post of Chairperson, State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA)  Uttar Pradesh. Mrs. Mamta Sanjeev Dubey is now replacing Dr. Rajiv Kumar Garg who was named as Chairman SEIAA, UP vide S.O. 2276(E), dated the 11th June 2021.

47 TPPs used about 1.65 Lakh Tonne Bio-mass

2nd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy has informed that as of May 2023, 47 Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) across the country have successfully carried out co-firing of agro-residue-based biomass pellets with coal.

While replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister R K Singh said that the Ministry of Power has been actively working towards bolstering the use of biomass in TPPs to achieve cleaner and greener energy production. As part of this effort, the Ministry issued a modification on 16th June 2023, to revise the biomass policy dated October 8, 2021. The updated policy now mandates a minimum of 5% biomass co-firing in Thermal Power Plants starting from the fiscal year 2024-25. This obligation will be further increased to 7% from the fiscal year 2025-26.

To ensure the smooth implementation of this policy, the Government has taken several initiatives to facilitate the availability and procurement of biomass pellets for co-firing in TPPs. Some of these initiatives include:

Finance Assistance Schemes: The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have issued Finance Assistance Schemes to support biomass pellet manufacturing units.

Priority Sector Lending (PSL): The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved 'Biomass pellet manufacturing' as an eligible activity under Priority Sector Lending, making it easier for manufacturers to secure loans for their operations.

GeM Portal: A dedicated 'Procurement Provision of Biomass Category' has been created on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal to streamline the procurement process for biomass pellets.

Revised Model Contract: The Ministry of Power issued a Revised Model long-term contract for Biomass supply to establish clear guidelines for biomass procurement.

Vendor Database and Awareness Campaigns: A comprehensive vendor database has been finalized and listed on the SAMARTH website. Additionally, various awareness programs and advertisement campaigns were carried out to promote biomass co-firing.

Udyam Aadhaar: The provision of Udyam Aadhaar on the National Single Window System simplifies the registration process for biomass pellet manufacturing units.

Bankable Model Project Report: The Government has developed a Bankable Model Project Report for Biomass Pellet Plants to aid potential investors and entrepreneurs in setting up new units.

The policy also identifies various types of agro-residues that can be used for biomass pellet production and subsequently for co-firing in TPPs. These include residues obtained from crops such as Paddy, Soya, Arhar, Gwar, Cotton, Gram, Jawar, Bajra, Moong, Mustard, Sesame, Til, Maize, Sunflower, Jute, Coffee, and more. Additionally, waste materials like Groundnut Shell, Coconut Shell, Castor Seed Shell, Bamboo, Horticulture waste (dry leaves and trimmings from trees and plants), and other biomass like Pine Cone/Needle, Elephant Grass, Sarkanda, etc., can also be used for co-firing.

The implementation of this policy has led to significant progress in biomass co-firing in TPPs. As of May 2023, approximately 1,64,976 Metric Tonnes of agro-residue-based biomass have been co-fired in 47 coal-based thermal power plants.

NMCG Initiates M.Sc. Course in Freshwater Ecology and Conservation

1st August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Another remarkable initiative approved in the 50th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)  is the initiation of an M.Sc. Course in Freshwater Ecology and Conservation at the Ganga Aqualife Conservation Monitoring Centre, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. This pioneering project, expected to run for 10 years at an estimated cost of Rs. 6.86 crore, aims to produce a specialized cadre of ecologists and field biologists proficient in freshwater ecology. The course curriculum will encompass various aspects of freshwater ecosystems, their biodiversity, and the impacts of environmental drivers.

The meeting was convened under the chairmanship of DG, NMCG, G. Asok Kumar. During the meeting, the committee approved seven significant projects with an approximate total cost of Rs. 692 crore. Among these projects, four are dedicated to sewage management in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This marks another step forward in the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate and preserve the sacred River Ganga.

In Uttar Pradesh, three sewage management projects worth Rs. 661.74 crore were given the green light. These include the establishment of a 100 Million Litres per Day (MLD) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in Lucknow, along with Interception and Diversion (I&D) works under the Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM). Another project involves I&D of the remaining discharge from Dariyabad Pipalghat and Dariyabad Kakahraghat drains, alongside the construction of a 50 MLD STP in Prayagraj. This particular project, valued at approximately Rs. 186.47 crore, is designed to enhance the treatment capacity of Naini STP in sewerage district-A, Prayagraj, to 80 MLD. Additionally, a smaller project costing around Rs. 6 crore was sanctioned for the construction of a 6 MLD STP and I&D works in Hapur, with the purpose of preventing the flow of Hapur city drain into River Kali, a tributary of River Ganga.

In Bihar, two STPs, with capacities of 5 and 7 MLDs respectively, were approved at an estimated cost of Rs. 74.64 crore. These projects aim to address pollution in Sirsiya River, originating in Nepal and entering Bihar at Raxaul, in East Champaran district.

In a significant move towards effective water management in urban areas, the committee approved a project for the preparation of 60-70 Urban River Management Plans (URMPs) in two phases, with a budget of approximately Rs. 20 crore. The first phase will focus on preparing 25 URMPs, while the second phase will cover 35 URMPs. The selected cities in this phase belong to five main stem Ganga basin states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. This project is part of the River-Cities Alliance (RCA) under Namami Gange, which fosters cooperation, knowledge sharing, and transformational solutions among cities. The World Bank will fund this initiative. The RCA, which began with 30 members in 2021, now boasts more than 140 members, including international cities.

In addition to these projects, the committee also granted approval for the construction of an electric crematorium in Barkola, Kharagpur, West Bengal.

WCCB Busts Tiger Poaching and Illegal Trade Syndicate

1st August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a major breakthrough, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), an apex body constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), issued a red alert to all Tiger reserves and tiger-bearing areas on 29th July 2023. The alert aimed to intensify patrolling and sanitize the above-mentioned areas to combat the organized wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade. This move came after credible inputs indicated a surge in tiger poaching and trafficking activities.

The WCCB's actions came in the wake of a significant tiger poaching incident that took place on 28th June 2023, where a tiger skin and bones were seized, and five offenders were arrested in Guwahati by Assam Forest and police officials. Due to the involvement of multiple states, the Assam Forest Department transferred the case to the WCCB for investigation.

The WCCB, in response to the preliminary interrogation of the arrested offenders, shared information with the Maharashtra forest department officials, revealing that the tiger body parts seized in Guwahati belonged to the Gadchiroli area in Maharashtra. Subsequently, the WCCB acted upon this information and arrested ten members of a hunting gang belonging to the Bawariya community from the Gadchiroli area. The suspects were found in possession of leg-hold traps and additional tiger body parts. One of the wanted offenders from the Guwahati seizure case was also apprehended from Gadchiroli.

Further investigation led to the identification of Mishram Jakhad as a key figure controlling and directing the tiger poaching and illegal trade of tiger body parts. The WCCB, along with the Maharashtra forest officials, conducted a raid on Jakhad's premises on 31st July 2023. During the raid, Jakhad was arrested, and authorities seized a significant amount of cash, amounting to Rs. 14.80 lakh, suspected to be linked to illegal tiger trade.

Shockingly, an ID card was recovered from Mishram Jakhad, indicating that he had previously worked as a field officer of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) in the wildlife wing of the forest department, NCT Delhi Government.

Jakhad's arrest has led to the registration of a case under various sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, despite his age (81 years), the Honorable Court granted him a transit bail, allowing him to appear before the court and the Investigation Officer on designated dates and times for further interrogation.

The investigation is ongoing, with the WCCB SIT, along with Maharashtra forest officials, delving deep into the tiger poaching and illegal trade network under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Additionally, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) will be roped in to investigate the predicate offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The WCCB's efforts demonstrate the seriousness of the government's commitment to combat wildlife crime and protect the endangered tiger population. It is hoped that these actions will dismantle the illegal trade syndicate and bring justice to the exploited wildlife.

Delhi Witnesses Lowest July Air Quality in Four Years

31st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change today issued a press release stating that Delhi experienced its lowest average Air Quality Index (AQI) during July 2023 compared to the same month in the last four years, starting from 2019. The city recorded all 31 days of July with 'Good to Moderate' Air Quality Index (AQI), a significant improvement over previous years.

During July 2023, Delhi's AQI remained consistently in the 'Good to Moderate' category, with a monthly average AQI of 83.71. This represents a remarkable achievement, as it is not only lower than the AQI recorded during the corresponding period in 2019, 2021, and 2022, but also below the monthly average AQI for July 2020, which was deemed cleaner due to reduced human activities during the pandemic.

The data revealed a consistent upward trend in the number of 'Good to Moderate' AQI days over the years, with 26 days in 2019, 31 days in 2020, 29 days in 2021, 31 days in 2022, and a full 31 days in 2023. This suggests a positive trajectory in Delhi's air quality management efforts, with the city now consistently experiencing better air quality conditions.

A chart shared by the Ministry showcased the Monthly Average AQI for the month of July between 2019 and 2023. The noticeable decline in AQI values over the years, especially during July 2023, points towards the effectiveness of pollution control measures undertaken by various stakeholders.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that Delhi witnessed the lowest levels of daily average PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations during the 31-day period in July 2023 compared to the corresponding period in the past four years. This milestone is a testament to the successful efforts to reduce particulate matter pollution, one of the major contributors to poor air quality.

In light of this encouraging data, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) called upon the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), NCR State Governments, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), regulatory bodies, industries, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), civil society organizations, and citizens to continue their dedicated efforts in promoting clean air initiatives. The CAQM reaffirmed its commitment to monitor and enforce air quality-related laws, rules, regulations, and standards while supporting public awareness campaigns aimed at emphasizing the importance of clean air.

The collaboration of various stakeholders in adopting effective measures for air pollution prevention, control, and abatement has played a pivotal role in improving the overall air quality in the National Capital Region. CAQM's coordination with concerned entities has resulted in positive outcomes, and the authorities intend to build on this progress to further enhance air quality in the region.

The achievement of record-low AQI levels during July 2023 is definitely laudable, because Delhi Government, with the help of reputed institutions like IITs and TERI, was still trying to find details of air pollution sources. It is also notable that number of vehicles have increased, and road traffic remains in similar situation.  Whether this is a result of calibration of air pollution measurement sensors? Or whther it was from mega construction projects? 

EAC Industry 3 okays EC Amendment to Sarna Chemicals, Fresh EC to Huber Group

Should EACs be allowed to skip mentioning groundwater/surface water to legitimize tanker water?

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In the 56th meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee for the Industry-3 Sector projects, two major approvals were granted to Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. and Huber Group India Pvt. Ltd. Both are said to be located in GIDC Industrial Area in Vapi, Gujarat.

Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., known for its expansion of Dyes Intermediates Manufacturing Capacity at Unit II in GIDC Vapi, Valsad District, Gujarat, secured an amendment in Environmental Clearance (EC). The initial EC was granted on 4th May 2019. The company recently acquired an adjoining plot, Plot No. 1707, spanning an impressive 5515 square meters. While 400 square meters are currently dedicated to a tank farm for storing various solvents and chemicals (with a Consent to Operate obtained from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board), the remaining 5115 square meters will be utilized to alleviate space constraints by relocating some plant and machinery from the existing facility.

The Expert Appraisal Committee reviewed several key aspects, including the revised plant layout for greenbelt and area bifurcation, revised water balance for additional greenbelt, action taken report for partially complied conditions, justification for show cause notice, and the undertaking of purchase of vacant land. The committee expressed satisfaction with the provided responses, leading to the approval of the amendment with certain conditions.

One crucial condition stipulates that the company must develop a Greenbelt within the plant area, covering 3515 square meters. To fulfill this commitment, Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. will be required to plant approximately 1053 saplings within one year of receiving the Environmental Clearance. The prescribed density for the greenbelt will be 2500 trees per hectare, with an 80% survival rate. Additionally, an estimated water requirement of 7 Kilo Litres per Day (KLD) will be necessary for greenbelt development, to be sourced through private tanker supply. However, in environmental appraisals, mentioning such source is vague. It may either be groundwater or surface water or treated wastewater, which the EAC didn't deliberate.

In another notable decision, Huber Group India Pvt. Ltd. presented a proposal for establishing a manufacturing plant specializing in various Resins, Esters, and Monomers. The proposed site for this project is Plot No. 1303/C in Phase-III, Notified Industrial Area, GIDC Vapi, Pardi Taluka, Valsad District, Gujarat. The plant's anticipated production capacity is an impressive 2814 Tonnes per Month. After thorough review, the Expert Appraisal Committee recommended the project for the grant of Environmental Clearance.

Tiger | 5 Tiger Reserves from Karnataka Score Excellent in Management Effectiveness Evaluation

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

India completes its fifth cycle of Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves. Based on the framework of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas, the MEE has emerged as a crucial tool for assessing and improving the management perspectives of Tiger Reserves and their associated landscape connectivity.

Since its inception in 2006, the MEE, jointly conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), has played a pivotal role in evaluating the efficacy of national tiger conservation endeavors. India's tiger reserve network, comprising 53 reserves spread across 18 states, covering a vast area of 75,796.83 sq km, has undergone extensive evaluations in each of the five cycles of MEE.

The latest cycle saw 51 Tiger Reserves being independently evaluated by ten Regional Expert Committees (RECs) in different clusters of tiger landscapes. Each team, comprising experienced retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers and a faculty member from the Wildlife Institute of India, visited the reserves to assess their performance based on 33 criteria developed in the technical manual. The assessment aimed to provide a balanced analysis of the diverse reserves and guide evaluators in making their judgments.

The MEE scores for all 33 criteria were pooled for each reserve, resulting in an overall mean score of 78.01% (ranging from 50% to 94%). Impressively, 12 Tiger Reserves achieved the coveted "Excellent" category, while 21 secured a "Very Good" rating. Additionally, 13 reserves were rated as "Good," and 5 were placed in the "Fair" category.

12  Tiger Reserves are placed in Excellent Category. 

Five are from Karnataka, namely - Bandipur, Nagarhole, Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Bhadra and Kali (Dandeli-Anshi).  

Satpura and Kanha from Madhya Pradesh, Annamalai and Mudumalai from Tamil Nadu, 

Odisha's Similipal, Maharashtra's Pench and Periyar in Kerala were placed 

The announcement of the MEE results came on the occasion of the Global Tiger Day, with a detailed report released by Union Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey during a program organized at the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The event was graced by the presence of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Union MoS for the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Tourism, Ajay Bhatt.

Tiger | Tiger Census | India's Tiger Census 2022 Unveiled on Global Tiger Day

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Global Tiger Day 2023 was celebrated with the relase of a comprehensive report at Corbett Tiger Reserve by Union MoS Ashwini Kumar Choubey. CM Uttarakhand and Union MOS Ajay Bhatt joined the occasion. The event marked the 50th anniversary of India's Project Tiger, which has achieved significant milestones in tiger conservation and biodiversity preservation.

Launched in 1973, the project aimed to safeguard India's tiger population and biodiversity. It began with nine reserves covering 18,278 km2 and has since expanded to 53 reserves, now spanning 75,796 km2, making India the home to nearly 75% of the world's wild tiger population.

In its initial phase, the project focused on enacting wildlife protection laws, but poaching posed a severe threat to tiger numbers. In response, the second phase in 2005 adopted a landscape-level approach, engaging local communities and implementing advanced technology for conservation. As a result, over three-fourths of India's tigers now reside within protected areas.

During the Global Tiger Day celebrations in 2022, PM Narendra Modi announced a minimum tiger population of 3,167. Subsequent analysis estimated up to 3,925 tigers, reflecting an impressive annual growth rate of 6.1%.

Central India and the Gangetic Plains observed significant increases in tiger populations, but certain regions faced challenges with small tiger populations. To address this, targeted monitoring and conservation efforts are crucial.

Approximately 35% of reserves require enhanced protection measures and habitat restoration. Maintaining an eco-friendly development agenda, strengthening anti-poaching measures, and addressing human-wildlife conflict are essential to ensure the preservation of India's tigers and their ecosystems for future generations.

Project Tiger's remarkable achievements underscore the importance of continued efforts and commitment towards tiger conservation to secure a brighter future for these majestic creatures.

IICA Concludes Impactful ESG Workshop with Diverse Representation

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The School of Business Environment, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), successfully concluded a two-day workshop on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Impact Leadership. The workshop brought together ESG leaders from various parts of the country at the IMT Manesar campus.

Amarjeet Sinha, Member of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), Government of India, emphasized the growing relevance of ESG in the global corporate landscape and the importance of leadership skills for becoming impactful ESG leaders. He praised IICA for conducting the foundation batch of the 'IICA Certified ESG Professional: Impact Leader Programme' and motivated delegates to be path-breakers in the ESG ecosystem.

During the valedictory address, Praveen Kumar, DG&CEO, IICA, highlighted the positive response from the industry to the ESG Professional programme. He announced the constitution of a 'National Association of Impact Leaders' (NAIL), exclusively for ESG professionals certified by IICA.

Prominent speakers from academia and industry addressed the gathering, shedding light on critical ESG topics. Prof. Raghu Tata from XLRI highlighted environmental challenges faced by corporations and the need to scale up corporate ambitions while staying within planetary limitations. Mr. Ashok Emani, Head ESG, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, shared insights on ESG investing.

Other speakers included Shankar Venkateswaran, Adjunct Faculty at IICA, Kanishk Negi from Schneider Electric, Anu Chaudhary from Uniqus Consultech Inc., and Prof. Rupamanjari Sinha Ray from MDI, who discussed various aspects of ESG and sustainability.

Prof. Garima Dadhich, Head of School of Business Environment, IICA, stressed the importance of ESG professionals in today's dynamic economy and highlighted the program's unique pedagogy.

The workshop, inaugurated by Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in December, saw enthusiastic participation from forty senior corporate officials and IICA-trained professionals eager to become Certified ESG Impact Leaders.

NGT finds MoEF&CC Affidavit Carelessly Filed, Lacking Verification and Authenticity

24th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone Bench of Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member, has taken cognizance of a petition regarding rampant excess mining activities in Kalinganagar by a lessee. The petitioner alleged that the lessee was involved in unauthorized extraction and transportation of over 1000 cubic meters of sand daily, utilizing approximately 200 vehicles of varying sizes and capacities. This scale of mining vastly surpassed the permitted limits. 

In the Original Application No. 43/2023/EZ filed by Pradeep Kumar Dhal & Ors. versus State of Odisha & Ors., in which Sankar Prasad Pani is the Counsel for the Applicants, concerns were raised regarding the revised Consent to Operate (CTO), which restricted sand extraction to a maximum of 17 cubic meters per day for approximately 210 days in a year.

However, the joint committee appointed to investigate the matter encountered challenges during their site visit. They reported that the majority of the leased quarry area was submerged in water, making it difficult to ascertain the exact quantity of sand being extracted.

Furthermore, the joint committee, comprising the Additional District Magistrate of Kalingangar, the Regional Officer of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), and the Tahasildar of Vyasanagar, stated that the leased area was properly demarcated with pillar postings throughout the riverbed. This was in contrast to the petitioner's claim that there were no pillar postings in the lease area. Nevertheless, it's interesting to point out that there was no technical data provided regarding the aging of the pillar posts, raising doubts on the Committee's counter claim.

Regarding the complaint of non-compliance of CTO conditions by the Regional Offices of Kalinganagar SPCB, the joint committee stated that no violations were observed during the field visit. This contradicts the joint Committee's own statement in the same report claiming that the lease area was submerged in water during inspection.

It is significant to note that the NGT discovered that there was only one mining lease, not two, as stated in the affidavit of Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). MoEF&CC also found to have failed to provide any documentary evidence to support their claim. The NGT Bench expressed displeasure, stating that the MoEF&CC's affidavit seemed to have been carelessly filed in a cut-and-paste manner from some other affidavit, lacking proper verification and authenticity.

The NGT is actively reviewing the submissions and reports to determine the appropriate course of action against the alleged violations and excessive mining activities in Kalinganagar. The matter is further listed for hearing on 25th August 2023. 

Execution Application Against MoEF&CC Over Ghaziabad Solid Waste Burning

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a recent development, Jaishree Bansal has filed an Execution Application (EA) No. 23/2023 before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Bench. The application has been filed against the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change & Ors. The NGT bench, comprising Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Chairperson), Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi (Judicial Member), and an Expert Member, convened today, 21st July 2023, to hear the matter.

The EA seeks to implement the Tribunal's Order dated 26th April 2023 in M.A. No. 33/2023 in O.A. No. 75/2023, which primarily dealt with an appropriate disposal of solid waste. The contention raised by Jaishree Bansal alleges that the authorities concerned have been resorting to burning solid waste, leading to environmental hazards.

As supporting evidence the Applicant has submitted Fire Department report revealing use of a staggering 4,17,300 liters of water between 1st May 2023 and 20th May 2023 to control the fire resulting from the burning of solid waste. 

The NGT Bench had previously noted a discrepancy in the generation and processing of waste by Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam, which led to the accumulation of a significant legacy waste dump site, amounting to 329,936 Metric Tons (MT). In response to the Tribunal's concerns, Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam reported that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) had been prepared to remediate the legacy waste. The completion of the project was to be taken up within 18-20 months.

Considering the seriousness of the issue, the NGT directed the District Magistrate and Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam to take appropriate remedial actions, as per the law, and submit a report to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh within one month from 26th April 2023. The Chief Secretary was entrusted with the responsibility to review the compliance status, ensure further necessary actions, and submit a separate report, in addition to the one to be filed in O.A. No. 606/2018.

In the present proceedings, the NGT has directed Jaishree Bansal to furnish copies of the filed application and relevant documents to the Respondents within a week. The next hearing on this matter has been scheduled for 1st November 2023. #Ghaziabad #NGT #solidwaste

Govt's Initiatives in Boosting Cultivation of Medicinal Plants

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In response to questions raised by Vishnu Datt Sharma and Sudarshan Bhagat, Lok Sabha MPs, the Minister of AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal, highlighted the Government's efforts to promote the cultivation and usage of medicinal plants. 

Government Initiatives:

Rise in Cultivation:

2018-19 : 627000 Hac

2019-20 : 641000 Hac

2020-21 : 653000 Hac

2021-22 : 668000 Hac

2022-23 :  671000 Hac

Assistance to Farmers:

Lok Sabha MP Raises Questions on Chemical and Petrochemical Accidents, Spillages in India

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a ongoing Parliamentary session, today, Lok Sabha MP Chandeshwar Prasad raised concerns about the government's actions regarding harmful gas and chemical leaks in the country over the past decade, including the most recent year. The MP sought answers on various aspects related to these incidents.

The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Bhagwanth Khuba, responded to the questions, explaining that the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is responsible for compiling data on chemical accidents, including gas and chemical leakages. This data is collected from various State Governments and Union Territories based on information provided by the Chief Inspector of Factories (CIFs). 

He presented State-wise data for the past 10 years. However, the data presented is limited to which was received from CIFs on gas/chemical leakage incidents along with injuries/ deaths resulting from such incidents. The State Govts./ UT Administrations, along with the District Administration are the first responders to provide accident relief during the incidents of chemical accidents, including gas leakage incidents, to the victims.

According to the data maximum injuries recorded to be 4017 in Andhra Pradesh in 2020. 

The maximum No. of Incidents of Gas/Chemical Leakage in a year was 26 in Telangana in 2016. 

Telangana also records the maximum number of fatalities in a year that is 35 during two consecutive years 2015 and 2016.  

Lok Sabha MP Anumula Revanth Reddy raised crucial questions concerning accidents, spills, leaks, and fires within the chemical and petrochemical industries over the past five years. He sought information on the human and environmental damage caused by these incidents, the compensation provided to affected parties, the number of inspections conducted in the past year, major findings or violations discovered during inspections, and whether the Government has taken legal action against responsible companies. These inquiries highlight the need for enhanced safety measures and corporate accountability within these industries.

As per the Ministers' reply 176 accidents took place during 2018 to 2022, with maximum of 66 in 2020 and minimum 4 in 2022. Gujarat recorded 57 out of 176 accidents, followed by Telangana 50 during 2018-2022. In a single year, during the same 5 years, Gujarat recorded maximum of 25 accidents. 

To ensure chemical safety in industrial operations, the MoEF&CC administers the Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemical (MSIHC) Rules, 1989 (as amended) and Chemical Accident (Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules, 1996 (as amended). The concerned Chief Inspector of Factories (CIFs), appointed under the Factories Act, 1948, acts as the nodal authority for implementing these rules in Major Accident Hazard (MAH) units and takes enforcement measures accordingly. The Ministry of Labour and Employment is responsible for implementing the Factories Act, 1948, at the central level.

The MSIHC Rules, 1989 mandate the occupiers of MAH units to conduct a safety audit once a year and update the Safety Audit Report, submitting a copy to CIFs within 30 days. These occupiers are also responsible for preparing and updating the 'On-site Emergency Plan.' Additionally, the District Collector or designated District Emergency Authority (DEA) by the State Government is responsible for preparing the Off-site Emergency Plan of a district, with the CIFs' assistance.

In response to directions from the National Green Tribunal, the MoEF&CC and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have developed an 'Integrated Guidance Framework for Chemicals Safety.' This framework covers isolated storage and industries under the MSIHC Rules, 1989, and prescribes regular inspections, preparation of on-site emergency plans, safety audits, and information sharing among stakeholders to ensure compliance.

The government's efforts in formulating rules and guidelines for chemical safety aim to prevent such incidents in the future and mitigate the impact of any accidents that might occur. However, further scrutiny and continuous improvement in safety measures remain crucial to ensure the well-being of the people and the environment. #chemical #accident

Halman-Aldubi Group joins hand with CEF Group to Convert Slaughterhouse Waste into Fish Food in India

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

CEF Group, an Indian waste management organization, has partnered with Halman-Aldubi Group, an Israeli company specializing in finance, energy, climate, and technology management solutions, to convert slaughterhouse waste into protein-rich fish food. This collaboration aims to revolutionize waste management in the slaughterhouse industry and promote a circular economy and waste management innovation.

The joint initiative focuses on providing an eco-friendly solution for utilizing slaughterhouse waste, thereby addressing environmental challenges. The advanced technology employed in the conversion process ensures that the fish feed meets nutritional requirements for optimal fish growth and health.

The partnership also explores exporting the outcome products to foreign developed countries, creating economic opportunities and fostering international collaboration. The shared vision includes establishing a model that can be replicated and scaled up in various locations, leading to a widespread positive impact on waste management practices and the agriculture industry.

3M Releases India 3M State of Science Index 2023

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

3M India released the sixth India 3M State of Science Index 2023 (SOSI 2023), a global science perception survey. The findings revealed that 86% of Indians believe positive outcomes can be achieved by defending science, addressing climate change, public health, and sustainable agriculture.

Climate change concerns were evident, with 83% of Indians worried about its consequences. The majority (95%) believe that science can minimize climate change effects, and 94% support the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce pollution.

The survey emphasized the need for equity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professions, with underrepresented groups and women often overlooked despite their potential. Skilled trade workers are also in demand, but there is a negative stigma surrounding their careers.

The report stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion, fostering innovation and collaboration. 3M aims to provide five million unique STEM and Skilled Trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by 2025.

The SOSI 2023 data highlights the need for preparation and understanding of science's impact on the future. 3M remains committed to placing science at the core of its endeavors.

Steel slag road technology fulfilling India's Waste to Wealth Mission

19th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Union Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste, while participating in the industry meet organized under the 'One Week One Lab' program of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said that the Steel Slag Road technology of CSIR-CRRI is playing a significant role in realising India's ‘Waste to Wealth’ mission. 

The Union Minister informed that India is the second largest steel producing country in the world and about 19 million tonnes of steel slag is generated in the country as a solid waste, which is expected to increase to 60 million tonnes by the year 2030. About 200 kg of steel slag is generated in one tonne of steel production, which is almost 20%. On this basis, India generates 3.8 million tons of steel slag. Due to non-availability of efficient disposal methods of steel slag, huge piles of steel slag have come up around the steel plants, which have become a major source of water, air and land pollution.

According to the Government, the first road made with steel slag road interpretation technology in Surat, Gujarat, has become famous for its technological excellence at national and national level. Though, no data has been given for per kilometer consumption of steel slag, it is said that about one lakh tonnes of steel slag aggregate has been used in its construction, under the technical guidance of CRRI at the Hazira plant of ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel. No natural ballast of any kind has been used in the construction of this road.

As per Press Information Bureau, the Border Roads Organization (BRO) has also constructed a steel slag road in Arunachal Pradesh along with CRRI and Tata Steel on India-China border, having a much longer life than conventional road. Similarly, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has also successfully used this technology in road construction on National Highway-66 (Mumbai-Goa) in collaboration with JSW Steel, under the technical guidance of CRRI.

The Minister also highlighted that the Steel Ministry is working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, for the usage of steel slag road technology throughout the country. He congratulated Dr. Manoranjan Parida, Director of CRRI and Dr. Satish Pandey, Principal Scientist, Head of Steel Slag Road Project, for the development of this technology and strongly encouraged the institute for road construction across India through this technology.

The Steel Slag Road Technology has been developed by the Central Road Research Institute under a research project in collaboration with the Ministry of Steel, Government of India and four major steel manufacturing companies of the country, viz., ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. This technology facilitates the large-scale utilization of waste steel slag of steel plants and has proved very useful in effective disposal of about 19 million tonnes of steel slag generated in the country. This technique has been successfully tested in road construction in four major states of the country including Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh.

Delhi Government Approves Notification to Establish Large Industrial Area in Kanjhawala

17th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Delhi government has approved a notification to declare 920 acres of land in Kanjhawala as an industrial area. This forthcoming industrial zone will be one of the largest in Delhi, contributing to the city's economic growth and providing employment opportunities for many individuals.

Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj highlighted the government's commitment to providing modern amenities in Delhi's industrial areas. With the aim of establishing Delhi as a thriving industrial hub, the government has authorized the designation of Kanjhawala Industrial Estate as an industrial area. This move will stimulate economic activities in Delhi and offer numerous job prospects for the youth. Covering approximately 920 acres, the Kanjhawala Industrial Area will provide a valuable opportunity for the industrial community to establish their businesses.

The development of the Kanjhawala industrial area is expected to drive consistent industrial growth in the capital. This initiative will effectively address the issue of illegal operations conducted by some industrial units, which often lead to accidents and uncontrolled pollution in commercial and residential areas. The Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) will provide essential services such as roads, sewage and drainage systems, solid waste management, fire-fighting systems, and electricity in the industrial area. The comprehensive development of the area aims to facilitate industry growth and create more job opportunities.

Controversy Surrounds Government's Explanation on Cheetah Mortalities at Kuno National Park

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Government of India's recent press statement on the mortalities of cheetahs at Kuno National Park has raised skepticism among experts and the public. The preliminary analysis conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which attributes all reported deaths of the translocated cheetahs to natural causes, is being met with conflicting reports from media sources, casting doubt on the transparency and accuracy of the information provided.

While the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change acknowledges that Project Cheetah is in its early stages, they remain optimistic about its long-term success. Stakeholders involved in the project have gained valuable insights into cheetah management, monitoring, and protection over the past ten months. However, given the magnitude of the recent cheetah mortalities, concerns are mounting about the efficacy of the project's management strategies.

To address conservation efforts, the Ministry has outlined various measures, including the establishment of a Cheetah Research Center with comprehensive facilities for rescue, rehabilitation, capacity building, and interpretation. They also plan to bring additional forest areas under the administrative control of Kuno National Park to facilitate landscape-level management. Moreover, the deployment of extra frontline staff, the establishment of a dedicated Cheetah Protection Force, and the creation of a second cheetah habitat in Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, have been proposed.

The Ministry refers to global experiences with cheetah translocation, citing challenges encountered during the initial phases of reintroduction in African countries, resulting in high mortality rates exceeding 50% among introduced cheetahs. While acknowledging the potential risks associated with reintroduction, such as intra-species fights, diseases, accidents, hunting-related injuries, poaching, road accidents, poisoning, and predatory attacks, it is crucial to thoroughly investigate the specific causes of the recent cheetah deaths.

Conflicting reports from media sources have emerged, indicating collar-related infections as the cause of death for cheetahs Tejas and Suraj. Rajesh Gopal, Chairman of the Cheetah Project Steering Committee, who possesses over 30 years of experience with Project Tiger, expressed surprise at radio collars causing such severe problems, describing it as a clear-cut case of abrasion and sepsis.

The controversy surrounding the cheetah mortalities underscores the necessity for an unbiased and thorough investigation into the true causes of death. Transparency and scientific rigor are paramount in understanding the factors contributing to the mortalities and addressing any potential shortcomings in the management of the project. This calls for prompt action to protect and conserve the reintroduced cheetah population in India.

As the Cheetah Project continues to evolve, it is vital for the government to uphold its commitment to the conservation of India's cheetah population. Patience, understanding, and accountability must guide the project's long-term goals. Scientific evidence, expert consultation, and ongoing evaluation of conservation efforts are essential in ensuring the success of this ambitious endeavor.

Delhi Zoo Observes World Snake Day to Raise Awareness and Appreciation for Snakes

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The National Zoological Park, commonly known as Delhi Zoo, marked the celebration of World Snake Day today, July 16, 2023. The main objective of this day is to protect snakes by increasing awareness about the snakes found in India, dispelling misconceptions about them, and highlighting their importance in our ecosystem. To commemorate the occasion, the snake keeping staff organized an enrichment activity by providing cage furniture in the reptile house. Additionally, plantation activities were carried out within the snake enclosures.

As per a press statement by the Government of India, the National Zoological Park currently houses 31 snakes belonging to 7 different species. 

The India Biodiversity Portal indicates that India is home to 324 snake species. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are over 3,500 species of snakes worldwide. Out of these, only approximately 600 species are venomous, which accounts for less than 25% of all snakes. Moreover, there are only about 200 snake species that pose a considerable risk to human life. This means that snakes are not as dangerous or scary as they are often perceived to be. However, it is important to remember that approaching any snake without proper knowledge or caution is not advisable.

These facts invite us to reconsider our attitudes towards these creatures. While it is not recommended to interact with snakes in the wild, it is worth reflecting on whether we give them more fear and trouble than they actually deserve. Snakes play vital roles in maintaining ecological balance, and they deserve our respect and protection.

World Snake Day serves as a reminder to appreciate and coexist with these fascinating creatures. By increasing awareness and dispelling myths, we can foster a better understanding of snakes and contribute to their conservation. Let us strive to protect snakes and appreciate their role in our ecosystem for a harmonious coexistence.

Coal | Coal Gasification | India Focusses on 100 Million Tonne Coal Gasification by 2030

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Coal aims to achieve coal gasification of 100 Million Tonne (MT) coal by FY 2030.

The proposal focuses on capitalizing on natural resources and demonstrating the financial and technical feasibility of coal gasification.

Coal gasification will reduce reliance on imports of Natural Gas, Methanol, Ammonia, and other essential products. Currently, India imports approximately 50% of its Natural Gas, over 90% of its total Methanol consumption and around 13-15% of its total ammonia consumption to cater to the domestic demand.

The initiative aligns with India's vision of self-reliance and will create employment opportunities.

The implementation of coal gasification is expected to significantly reduce imports by 2030 and contribute to environmental sustainability.

The Ministry plans to promote coal/lignite gasification projects through a comprehensive scheme with an outlay of Rs 6,000 crores.

Selection of entities for the scheme will be done through a competitive and transparent bidding process.

Budgetary support will be provided to eligible Government Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and the Private Sector.

An incentive to reimburse the GST compensation cess on coal utilized in gasification projects is being considered for a period of 10 years.

Collaborative efforts are underway for Surface Coal Gasification (SCG) projects across Coal India Limited (CIL) coalfields.

Pre-feasibility reports have been accepted for three projects, and tendering activities for Detailed Feasibility Reports (DFRs) are underway.

The Ministry aims to attract investments, foster innovation, and promote sustainable development in the coal gasification sector.

MISHTI | Mangrove Plantation Drive Organized in Tamil Nadu under MISHTI Scheme

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organized a mangrove plantation program in Kovalam Panchayat, Chengalpattu District, Tamil Nadu.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, led the plantation drive as part of the Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) scheme.

The plantation drive is a part of the ongoing "Hariyali Mahotsav" with a focus on mangroves.

Tamil Nadu has the second longest coastline in the country and is vulnerable to natural disasters like cyclones and storms.

Mangrove forests serve as a bioshield along the coastal areas, protecting lives and livelihoods, especially of fishers and local communities.

The Minister released the book "Biodiversity and Importance of Mangrove Ecosystem," prepared by M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.

The MISHTI program aims to promote mangrove reforestation and afforestation, develop mangrove-associated ecotourism, and generate livelihoods in coastal states.

The program plans to cover an additional area of 540 sq km across nine states and four union territories, with a focus on converging CAMPA Fund, MGNREGS, and other sources.

The scheme will be implemented for a period of five years from 2023-2024 to 2027-2028.

Chief Secretary Punjab seeks more time to report on Flood Plain Mapping Compliance

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant development in the case of Karnvir Thamman versus State of Punjab and others, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab has submitted an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The case, filed as Original Application No. 303/2023, pertains to the mapping of flood plain zones in the state.

Following directions issued by the NGT on 25th April 2023, the Chief Secretary submitted the affidavit to provide a status report on the compliance of the mapping of flood plain zones. The responsibility for this task was assigned to the Department of Science, Technology, and Environment.

However, upon assuming the charge as Chief Secretary on 1st July 2023, the answering deponent expressed dissatisfaction with the draft reply submitted by the Department of Science, Technology, and Environment. In response, a committee consisting of two officers has been constituted on 13th July 2023 to ensure compliance with the NGT's order dated 22nd January 2021 and to submit a compliance status report as per the order issued on 25th April 2023.

The committee comprises the Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) cum Financial Commissioner Revenue and the Principal Secretary Water Resources. Its primary responsibility is to ensure that the directives regarding flood plain mapping are implemented effectively. The committee has been given a period of 30 days to submit its report.

Recognizing the importance of this matter, the State Government has prayed before the NGT for the grant of required time to fully comply with the mapping of flood plain zones. 

Utilization of Crop Residue by Thermal Power Plants Regulated

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a bid to address environmental concerns and promote sustainable practices, the Central Government has introduced new rules to regulate the utilization of crop residue by thermal power plants. These rules, called the Environment (Utilisation of Crop residue by Thermal Power Plants) Rules, 2023, have been formulated under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The rules, which come into force immediately, apply to the National Capital Region and the Adjoining Areas as defined in the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021. All coal-based thermal power plants of power generation utilities in these regions will be required to use a minimum of five percent blend of pellets or briquettes made of crop residue along with coal.

To ensure compliance, the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, or any authorized officer appointed by the Commission, will impose and collect environmental compensation from thermal power plants that fail to utilize crop residue as mandated. The rates of environmental compensation for non-utilization have been specified in a table provided in the rules.

For the year 2024-2025, the rates of environmental compensation range from zero to 0.03 Rs. per unit of electricity generated, depending on the percentage of crop residue pellets or briquettes utilized. From the year 2025-2026 onwards, the rates increase gradually, with a maximum compensation of 0.05 Rs. per unit of electricity generated for utilization below one percent.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission or the State Regulatory Commissions, as applicable, will consider these rules while determining tariffs under the Electricity Act, 2003.

In cases where thermal power plants face difficulties in complying with the provisions of rule 2 and 3 due to circumstances beyond their control, the Commission for Air Quality Management has the power to grant relaxation on a case-by-case basis. Such relaxation will be granted in consultation with the Central Electricity Authority and the Central Pollution Control Board.

The introduction of these rules marks a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of thermal power plants and promoting sustainable energy practices. By mandating the utilization of crop residue, the government aims to mitigate air pollution and encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies in power generation.

Ministry Amends CRZ Clearance Provisions on Validity, Transfer and Split

4th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has issued a new notification dated 3rd July 2023, for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The notification states that the validity period for projects granted CRZ clearance is ten years, with a provision for a one-year extension if an application is submitted within the validity period, along with recommendations from the Coastal Zone Management Authority.

Applicants can request an extension within thirty days after the clearance expires, which can be condoned by the respective authority. Similarly, if the application is filed within ninety days after expiry, the delay may be condoned by the Minister or the Coastal Zone Management Authority's chairperson. However, applications for extension filed beyond ninety days will not be entertained.

The validity of clearance is defined as the period from when the CRZ clearance is granted until the start of production or the completion of construction operations, depending on the project type. Projects requiring both Environmental Clearance (EC) and CRZ clearance will follow the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification for their validity period and extension requests, with recommendations required from the Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Expert Appraisal Committee.

The notification also introduces provisions for the transfer and split of CRZ clearances. A CRZ clearance granted for a specific project can be transferred to another legal entity entitled to undertake the project during the validity period. The transfer requires an application from the transferor and a written "no objection" from the transferor, with approval from the relevant authority.

For projects requiring both EC and CRZ clearance, the transfer process will comply with the provisions of the EIA Notification, with recommendations obtained from the relevant Coastal Zone Management Authority.

Earlier on June 21, 2023, the State Governments have received instructions through a gazette notification, to develop a Zonal Master Plan for the Eco-sensitive Zone. This plan will be created in collaboration with the local community, adhering to the guidelines specified in the notification. The State Governments have a two-year deadline from the date of this amendment notification to finalize the plan. 

The Central Government, empowered by the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, has issued a notification, S.O. 2818(E), on June 21, 2023, to amend the existing rules previously outlined in notification S.O. 2561 (E) on August 22, 2013. The Government considers these amendments necessary and in the public interest, thus waiving the requirement of notice for this amendment.

New Strategy Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Shipping

4thJuly 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Top United Nations officials have announced a new strategy to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. They believe this strategy will help to phase out these emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures. Shipping currently accounts for about three percent of global emissions, so it plays a crucial role in addressing climate change.

The officials are urging the members of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), responsible for environmental matters under the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to agree on this strategy during their meeting in London. The MEPC deals with pollution from ships, including oil spills, chemical leaks, sewage, garbage, and air pollution.

The goal of the new strategy is to set ambitious targets that will guide the shipping industry towards reducing and eventually eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. The officials believe that this strategy will have a significant impact on future generations and the health of our planet.

During the meeting, the Committee will review ongoing efforts and is expected to adopt the strategy to combat climate change and protect biodiversity. The IMO Secretary-General has emphasized the importance of this moment, calling for global leadership in creating a greener and more sustainable future for the maritime industry.

The strategy will outline possible measures, both technical and economic, that can be implemented to achieve these goals. It will also highlight the need for concrete actions to protect biodiversity. The officials believe that the MEPC's efforts are essential in promoting a greener and more equitable maritime sector.

The adoption of this new strategy reflects the growing recognition of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry and protect our environment.

Global Climate Change Litigation Cases More Than Double in One Year, Surpassing 2,300

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Global climate change-related cases have more than doubled since 2015, reaching over 2,341 cases between May 2022 and May 2023, according to the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law. 

The report highlights the expanding diversity of climate change litigation, with emerging cases in countries such as Bulgaria, China, Finland, Romania, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. 

Over 50% of the cases analyzed resulted in direct judicial outcomes supporting climate action. Climate litigation has influenced decision-making beyond the courtroom, with domestic legal protections playing a crucial role. Corporate actors face complex legal arguments, and notable cases against major carbon-emitting companies are likely to proceed to trial. 

The rise of "climate-washing" cases challenging green claims and commitments is also noted. Litigation addressing climate policy responses and investment decisions is on the rise, demonstrating a comprehensive effort to tackle climate change concerns. 

The increase in climate change litigation reflects the growing demand for action and accountability in addressing climate change.

Government Revises Crop Residue Management Guidelines for Efficient Paddy Straw Utilization

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant move towards combating stubble burning and promoting sustainable agricultural practices, the Indian government has introduced revised Crop Residue Management guidelines. The new guidelines focus on enabling efficient ex-situ management of paddy straw generated in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.

Under the revised guidelines, techno-commercial pilot projects for the Paddy Straw Supply Chain will be established through bilateral agreements between various beneficiaries and industries involved in utilizing the paddy straw. The beneficiaries include farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, farmers' producer organizations (FPOs), and Panchayats.

To facilitate the implementation of these projects, the government will provide financial assistance for the capital cost of machinery and equipment. The working capital required can be financed jointly by the industry and beneficiaries or through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), NABARD Financial, or financing from financial institutions by the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will also be responsible for arranging and preparing land for the storage of collected paddy straw, guided by the end-use industry.

Financial assistance will be extended for procuring essential machinery and equipment such as higher horsepower tractors, cutters, tedders, medium to large balers, rakers, loaders, grabbers, and telehandlers, which are necessary for establishing the paddy straw supply chain.

State governments will play a crucial role in approving these projects through a project sanctioning committee.

The funding for these projects will be divided as follows: the government (jointly by the central and state governments) will provide 65% of the project cost, the industry as the primary promoter will contribute 25%, and the direct beneficiaries, such as farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, farmers' producer organizations (FPOs), or Panchayats, will contribute the remaining 10%.

The implementation of these interventions is expected to yield several positive outcomes. It will supplement the existing in-situ options for paddy straw management, resulting in the collection of approximately 1.5 million metric tonnes of surplus paddy straw over three years, which would have otherwise been burned in fields. Around 333 biomass collection depots with a capacity of 4,500 metric tonnes will be established in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. This proactive approach will significantly reduce air pollution caused by stubble burning and generate employment opportunities for approximately 900,000 man-days.

Moreover, these interventions will encourage robust supply chain management of paddy straw, making it available for various end uses such as power generation, heat generation, and bio-CNG production by power/bio-CNG/bio-ethanol producers. This will lead to new investments in the biomass to biofuel and energy sectors, promoting sustainability and driving economic growth.

The implementation of the revised guidelines marks a crucial step towards addressing the issue of stubble burning, mitigating environmental pollution, and fostering a sustainable agricultural ecosystem.

Delhi Government to Transform Non-Conforming Industrial Areas for Growth and Development

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant move, the Kejriwal government in Delhi has announced a comprehensive plan to transform non-conforming industrial areas into conforming zones. This initiative aims to provide recognition to these areas and support the growth and development of industries within them. To kickstart the process, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with industrialists on June 30, 2023, to initiate the layout planning phase for these areas.

During the meeting, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal underscored the importance of uplifting the non-conforming industrial areas and emphasized the positive impact this step would have. Through this project, the government intends to completely redevelop these areas, fostering the growth of existing industries and generating a significant number of new employment opportunities.

The redevelopment plan will be executed in three phases. The initial phase will focus on developing layouts, followed by the construction of necessary infrastructure in the second phase. In the third and final phase, essential public facilities will be established to cater to the needs of the transformed zones. To ensure the successful implementation of the project, a panel of consultants will be formed. The Delhi Government will bear 90 percent of the consultancy cost, with the remaining 10 percent shared by the industry associations. This collaborative effort aims to leverage expertise and resources from both the public and private sectors.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the redevelopment of non-conforming industrial areas will create employment opportunities for an estimated 10-15 lakh people, making a significant contribution to the economy and improving the lives of countless individuals and families.

Addressing the industrialists, the Chief Minister acknowledged the unplanned nature of development in Delhi, where residential, commercial, and industrial establishments have spread without adequate infrastructure such as sewer networks, water, and electricity availability. As a result, these areas were designated as non-conforming industrial areas. The government identified 26 such notified areas, including a godown cluster, as non-conforming industrial areas. Two decades ago, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) issued an order requiring the creation of layout plans and the commencement of redevelopment in these areas.

The Chief Minister explained that failure to comply with the DDA's order resulted in the directive to shut down non-compliant units and areas. However, the industrial units faced difficulties in meeting the requirements, leading to a legal quagmire and unfavorable court rulings.

Recognizing the importance of these industrial units in providing employment opportunities, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stressed the need for an alternative approach that would not unjustly affect employees. Understanding the ramifications of closing down these units, as they employ over 5 lakh people across the 26 notified areas, with an additional 10 lakh employed informally, the government decided on the Redevelopment of Non-Conforming Industrial Areas policy.

The 26 non-conforming industrial areas in Delhi that will undergo redevelopment include Anand Parbat, Shahdara, Samaypur Badli, Jawahar Nagar, Sultanpur Majra, Hastsal Pocket-A, Hastsal Pocket-D, Naresh Park Extension, Libaspur, Pira Garhi Gaon, Khayala, Shalimar Gaon, New Mandoli, Nawada, Rithala, Swarn Park Mundka, Haiderpur, Karawal Nagar, Dabri, Basai Darapur, Prahlaadpur Bangar, Mundka Udyog Nagar Dakshin, Firni Road Mundka, Nangli Sakrawati, and Tikri Kalan. Additionally, the Mundka (North) cluster, which consists of godowns, is also planned for resettlement. The notification process for these non-conforming industrial areas began in 1990 and continued until 2021.

Under the Delhi Master Plan 2021, notifications have been issued for the redevelopment of non-conforming industrial areas and industrial and warehouse clusters. To qualify for redevelopment, a non-conforming industrial area must cover a minimum of 4 hectares of land, with industrial activity present on over 70% of the land within the cluster. The redevelopment plans will be prepared based on advice from society, local authorities, and land-owning agencies. Warehousing clusters with an area of around 2 hectares and more than 55% industrial plots can also be identified and redeveloped based on an actual survey. As per this provision, the Mundka (North) warehouse cluster has been notified for redevelopment.

UNOOSA Raises Global Awareness on Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Objects

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is intensifying efforts to draw attention to the presence of nearly 18,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs), with approximately 2,000 classified as potentially hazardous. On the occasion of International Asteroid Day, celebrated annually on Friday, UNOOSA aims to increase public awareness worldwide about the existence and potential risks associated with NEOs. These NEOs include asteroids and comets that come within a proximity of approximately 50 million kilometers from Earth's orbit, with some classified as "potentially hazardous objects" (PHOs) due to their even closer minimum distance of less than 7.5 million kilometers in interstellar terms.

Of particular concern are PHOs measuring over 140 meters across, as they possess the capacity to cause regional devastation with potential global consequences. However, even smaller NEOs can still inflict significant localized damage. For instance, the Tunguska event on June 30, 1908, which occurred over Siberia, is believed to have resulted from an object with a diameter of up to 60 meters. This catastrophic incident, recognized as the largest recorded asteroid impact event, inspired the selection of its anniversary as the date for International Asteroid Day in 2017.

Smaller NEOs also pose risks, as demonstrated by the incident in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15, 2013. A sizable fireball approximately 20 meters across disintegrated in the skies above the city, releasing energy equivalent to about 440,000 tons of TNT. The resulting shock wave shattered windows and damaged buildings, leading to over 1,600 injuries primarily caused by shattered glass.

The majority of these NEOs originate from the inner portion of the Solar System's main asteroid belt. Formed due to gravitational influences from Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, as well as collisions between larger celestial bodies, these NEOs present a global challenge that necessitates a robust international response. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, UNOOSA has established the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) to coordinate worldwide efforts in planetary defense.

IAWN's role entails equipping member states with comprehensive communication plans and protocols to aid in making informed decisions in the event of an asteroid impact. On the other hand, SMPAG serves as an inter-agency forum that selects technologies required for NEO deflection and facilitates consensus on planetary defense measures.

In practical terms, if a credible impact threat emerges, IAWN would issue an alert. For objects larger than 50 meters with a probability of impact exceeding one percent within the next 50 years, SMPAG would evaluate potential mitigation options and develop an implementation plan.

Government Notifies Draft Green Credit Programme Implementation Rules 2023

27th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The introduction of the Green Credit Programme marks a significant step towards promoting sustainable lifestyles and encouraging environmental actions across various sectors. By creating a competitive market-based approach, the programme aims to incentivize individuals, communities, and organizations to actively participate in initiatives that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future. The government welcomes public feedback on the proposed rules as it moves towards implementing this voluntary market mechanism.

Read more in our print version. DOWNLOAD NOTIFICATION

NGT Chairperson Emphasizes Significance of District Environment Plan for Environmental Protection

26th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Justice Adarsh ​​Kumar Goyal, Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), addressed the importance of the District Environment Plan (DEP) as a crucial tool for environmental protection and waste disposal. Speaking at a one-day training camp held at the Haryana Institute of Public Administration in Gurugram, Justice Goyal stressed the need for collaborative efforts among various stakeholders including government agencies, local officials, citizens, social organizations, educational institutions, and community representatives.

The DEP serves as a comprehensive document that fosters cooperation among stakeholders to effectively address environmental concerns. Justice Goyal emphasized its role in integrating environmental considerations into different developmental activities at the district level. He explained that the DEP involves analyzing the existing environmental conditions, identifying district-specific challenges, and assessing the potential impacts of developmental projects. These assessments serve as the basis for setting goals and objectives that promote sustainable development and tackle environmental challenges within the district.

Justice Goyal further highlighted that the DEP plays a vital role in formulating action plans designed to achieve the established goals and objectives. These plans encompass measures for pollution control, waste management, conservation of natural resources, promotion of renewable energy, and environmental education and awareness.

The establishment of a robust institutional framework within the DEP was also emphasized by Justice Goyal. This framework identifies responsible agencies, coordination mechanisms, and the roles of various stakeholders involved in the implementation and monitoring of the DEP. He stressed the importance of incorporating a monitoring and evaluation mechanism within the DEP to ensure continuous improvement and adaptability to emerging environmental challenges and district priorities.

Addressing the training program focused on the implementation of District Environment Plans, Sanjeev Kaushal, Chief Secretary of the Haryana Government, highlighted the state's efforts in ensuring the scientific handling and disposal of municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, biomedical waste, and enforcing a ban on single-use plastics. As per the directives of the NGT, all Deputy Commissioners of the state have been instructed to prepare DEPs, covering various thematic areas such as solid waste management, air quality, industrial wastewater treatment, water quality, mining activity, and noise pollution. These comprehensive plans will be made available on the Environment Department's website. Kaushal added that these plans will play a vital role in addressing environmental challenges, ensuring compliance with environmental norms, and contributing to the sustainable development and progress of the state.

Furthermore, to ensure the efficient utilization of environment compensation funds collected from violators, a high-powered committee has been constituted. This committee will undertake environment restoration activities outlined in the DEPs, further strengthening environmental protection measures.

The training camp and the commitment of stakeholders to implement the DEP reflect a collective effort to safeguard the environment, promote sustainable development, and ensure a greener future for the state of Haryana.

Prestigious International Award for CSIR-CRRI's Steel Slag Road Innovation

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

(This news article is already published in our print version dated 21st June 2023)

In a moment of pride for the Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), their Delhi Steel Slag Road Technology has been honored with a prestigious award from Germany. Principal Scientist Satish Pandey has become the first Indian scientist to receive the Global Slag Personality of the Year Award 2023, recognizing CSIR-CRRI's significant contributions in promoting the environmentally-friendly use of iron and steel slag generated as solid waste in the steel industry since 2007.

The technology developed by CSIR-CRRI has played a crucial role in the construction of India's first steel slag road in Surat, Gujarat in 2022. Following this success, the technology was utilized in the construction of NH-33 and NH-66 in Jharkhand and Maharashtra, respectively. Moreover, the Border Roads Organization successfully implemented the steel slag road technology in the construction of roads near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh.

These roads, built using the innovative technology, not only exhibit greater strength compared to conventional roads but also prove to be cost-effective by utilizing steel slag waste from steel plants.

The development of steel slag road technology by CSIR-CRRI aligns with the Indian government's vision of turning waste into wealth. 

Dr. Satish Pandey's leadership in the steel slag road research project has made a significant contribution to the construction of steel slag roads across the country. It is noteworthy that India produces around 19 million tons of steel slag as solid waste from various steel plants each year, with this number expected to reach approximately 60 million tons by 2030. Effectively utilizing steel slag in an environmentally friendly manner remains a major challenge for the steel industry.

Expressing his elation, Dr. Satish Pandey described the recognition as a proud moment for the CSIR-CRRI team. He emphasized the importance of steel slag valorization through processed steel slag aggregates and its utilization in constructing the world's first heavy-duty 100% steel slag road in Gujarat, as well as the high-altitude border road in Arunachal Pradesh. The esteemed "Global Slag Personality of the Year Award 2023" was conferred upon him at the Global Slag Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The recognition bestowed upon CSIR-CRRI not only acknowledges their accomplishment but also underscores the immense potential of steel slag road technology in revolutionizing sustainable infrastructure development, not only in India but also globally. This achievement showcases the true essence of the circular economy and the concept of turning waste into wealth.

Mercury Concentration in Boiler Emission?

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

How often you have heard about Mercury concentration in Air Emission from Boilers run on imported fuel?

Solaris Chemtech Industries Ltd. in its proposal for EC expansion of Marine Chemicals, Fertilizers, and Organic Chemicals to boost production by a whopping 37.6 times (from 3,005 to 112,917 MT/Month) has declared mercury concentration in boiler air emission. The boiler is run on imported coal as fuel. The company has also planned to increase the Captive Co-Gen Power Plant from 7.675 MW to 33.275 MW. The project is located in Ratadia Village, near Khavda in Bhuj Tehsil, Kutch District of Gujarat..

The company's proposal was deferred due to lack of confirmation from the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) or an authorized agency of the Ministry, along with supporting documents regarding the non-requirement of CRZ clearance for seawater withdrawal.

In the 52nd meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry-3 Sector projects held on May 30th and 31st, 2023, several projects were discussed, and two projects from Gujarat were deferred for a common reason.

The proposal by Agrocel Industries Pvt. Ltd. for environmental clearance (EC) of their proposed expansion of Marine Chemicals, Fertilizers, and Captive Co-Gen Power Plant in Greater Rann of Kutch, near Village Dhordo, Tehsil Bhuj, in the Kutch District of Gujarat, was also deferred. 

Agrocel Industries has been seeking EC for products such as Potassium Schoenite, Syngenite, Sulphate of Potash, Potassium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulphate, and a Captive Co-Gen Power Plant. The expansion project involves the addition of 26 process emission stacks. The proposal also mentioned the reuse of 700,000 MT/year of Neutralizer sludge in Syngenite and Potassium Schoenite, as well as the utilization of an additional 46,000 MT/year of Spent Sulphuric Acid for captive consumption.

The proposed expansions has an enormous water requirement, estimated at 26,287 KLD. However, the company states that it will not directly withdraw seawater. Instead, it plans to pump saline water from ponds generated after salt recovery, located approximately 18 to 22 km away from the project area. The company argues that since the Arabian Sea is about 100 km from the site, there is no need for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for seawater withdrawal. In this light, the EAC has asked for submission of a confirmation from the GCZMA or any Competent Authority, along with supporting documents to substantiate the non-requirement of CRZ clearance. Consequently, the decision regarding EC was deferred.

As a rare case, Unit 2 of Sajjan India Limited, which involves the production of Specialty Chemicals and Agrochemicals with a product capacity of 21,620 MT/Annum. has clearly declared that its Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) is not based on a total zero liquid discharge system. The proposed project location is in GIDC Estate Ankleshwar, Bharuch District, Gujarat, which is declared a critically polluted area. 

While the EAC approved the expansion proposal of Navin Fluorine International Ltd. to increase Specialty Chemicals production capacity, concerns were raised by Enviro Annotations. No statement was given by the EAC regarding the assessment of the carrying capacity of the drain and Common Sewage Treatment Plant (CSTP) for the treated wastewater discharge.

Solaris Chemtech Industries Ltd.'s declaration regarding the mercury concentration in boiler emissions raises concerns and highlights the importance of reevaluating the requirements for emission and ambient air quality monitoring. Given the potential environmental and health impacts associated with mercury pollution, it becomes crucial to ensure that proper measures are in place to monitor and control emissions from industrial sources.

Delhi Government Implementing European Standards for Water Supply Management in Delhi

23rd June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Kejriwal Government in Delhi has stated of adopting European Standards and implementing state-of-the-art SCADA systems to revolutionize water supply management. The installation of flow meters throughout the city is said to be underway and expected to be completed by December 31, 2023. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, according to a Delhi Government press release, emphasizes timely execution to enhance water distribution and track usage. Starting from July 1, 2023, central monitoring of water supply is slated to be initiated by the Delhi Jal Board. This would streamline management, improve efficiency, and ensure equitable distribution. 

The government aims to conserve water resources and accurately record water supply to address shortages and wastage. The installation process is being closely monitored, and flow meters will be connected to SCADA systems for comprehensive data analysis. The initiative aims to meet the diverse water supply demands of different areas in Delhi.

Delhi Govt to allow 15 years permit to Taxis running on CNG and other cleaner fuels

21st June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant development, the Delhi Transport Department has issued an order to allow extension of permit validity, for all taxis plying on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or other clean fuels, and possessing a Contract Carriage permit, to 15 years. The extension, however, is subject to the fulfillment of all other prescribed conditions as stipulated in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, CMVR, 1989, and DMVR, 1993.

In a statement, Transport Minister of Delhi Kailash Gahlot said "Under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi government has always stood with our taxi drivers. This move will help thousands of taxi drivers who will be able to ply their CNG vehicles for a total of 15 years now. It is an initiative towards providing cleaner and greener modes of transportation while ensuring the welfare and convenience of taxi owners and operators in the city."

The Delhi Transport Department has urged taxi owners and operators to ensure they meet all other conditions specified in the relevant acts and regulations. Adherence to these prescribed requirements will remain crucial for maintaining the extended permit validity.

Revised CPHEEO Manual on Water Supply and Treatment under finalization

20th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in collaboration with the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization (CPHEEO) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), successfully organized a two-day national workshop to finalize the revised and updated manual on water supply and treatment. The workshop, held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, aimed to gather feedback, suggestions, and comments from states, cities, and other stakeholders regarding the contents of the manual.

The inaugural session, chaired by Manoj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, saw Dr. M. Dhinadhayalan, Adviser (PHEE) of CPHEEO, deliver the welcome address. D. Thara, Additional Secretary & National Mission Director (AMRUT), also delivered a special address during the session.

The existing manual on water supply and treatment, published in 1999, and the operation and maintenance manual, published in 2005, have served as guidance documents for planning, designing, and implementing urban water supply systems under various programs such as AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and AMRUT 2.0. However, considering technological advancements and the challenges faced in the urban water supply sector, the Ministry decided to revise and update the manuals.

To accomplish this, an expert committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Adviser (PHEE) of CPHEEO, in coordination with GIZ. WAPCOS was appointed by GIZ as the study team to draft the manual. The draft manual, divided into three parts covering engineering, operation and maintenance, and management, was reviewed and approved by the expert committee, along with input from water experts from the United States.

The revised manual provides guidelines for planning and designing water supply systems based on operational zones and District Metered Areas (DMAs). Its aim is to improve water supply services, transition from intermittent to 24x7 water supply with "Drink from Tap" facility, and incorporate GIS hydraulic modeling. The manual also covers various aspects such as water treatment technologies for different water qualities, water quality monitoring protocols, SMART water solutions, operation and maintenance guidelines, financial and asset management, stakeholder engagement, public-private partnerships (PPP), and climate-resilient water supply systems.

In his keynote address, Secretary Manoj Joshi emphasized the importance of providing safe and reliable water that meets the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) quality standards to every household in urban areas. He highlighted the financial burden placed on households due to coping costs such as storage facilities or household treatment plants. Secretary Joshi advocated for direct water supply to households on a 24x7 basis to eliminate the need for additional storage, which can lead to water deterioration and financial losses. He expressed confidence that the revised manual, incorporating the latest technologies and design procedures after 25 years, would prove beneficial to states and urban local bodies (ULBs).

During her special address, D. Thara, Additional Secretary & National Mission Director (AMRUT), suggested including the design of water supply systems for slum areas, mapping human resources within the water supply system, and empowering women in the water sector.

Laura Sustersic, Project Director of the India EU Water Partnership at GIZ, emphasized the importance of addressing gender aspects within the manual.

The conference was attended by technical heads, chief engineers, city engineers, senior engineers responsible for water supply, representatives from Public Health and Engineering Departments/Corporations/Boards/Jal Nigams, experts, public-private partnership partners, manufacturing firms, and consultants. Approximately 300 participants took part in the workshop.

The revised and updated manual on water supply and treatment is expected to provide comprehensive guidance for the planning, design, and management of water supply systems, enabling safer and more efficient water supply services across urban areas in India.

ESG, Sustainability & Impact measurement market to cross $30bn by 2030; India a leader in Asia-Pacific with $500mn share

19th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The ESG, Sustainability & Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) market has experienced significant growth over the past two decades as global economies embrace concepts like Impact Economy, Impact Capitalism, and Stakeholder Capitalism.

Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact, through their Impact Future Project, have conducted a market-sizing study revealing that the IMM market has grown from $2 billion in 2010 to $7.7 billion in 2020, with an expected growth rate of 15% CAGR, reaching $31.2 billion by 2030. India, along with Singapore, is poised to be a significant IMM market in the Asia-Pacific region.

This study, titled "The Size of ESG, Sustainability and Impact Measurement & Management Market," is the world's first market-sizing study for the integrated ESG, Sustainability, and Impact sector. It was authored by Amit Bhatia and Harpreet Kaur Ghai and released by Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact, leading pioneers in Impact Leadership and ecosystem development in India.

The publication of this study holds particular significance in light of inaccurate and misleading ESG ratings given by top global rating agencies to multinational companies in recent years.

In 2020, Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact launched the first set of Impact Standards for corporations and non-profits in India and the Global South, utilizing a 4P framework (Product, People, Planet & Policy) with over 150 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The Indian government also modified Business Responsibility Reporting into Business Responsibility & Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) in 2021-22, making it mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies from FY 2022-23.

Regulators worldwide are increasingly moving towards mandatory ESG and Sustainability reporting, driven by conscientious consumers. This shift has led to a significant increase in the number of players entering the market, as well as the diversification of existing businesses into ESG, Sustainability, and Impact. However, this growth has also resulted in a proliferation of frameworks, standards, and methodologies, delaying global consensus on impact measurement standardization.

The study not only provides a market sizing analysis but also identifies five distinct segments within the well-developed IMM ecosystem: IMM Consulting and Services, Databases, Indices, Ratings, and Rankings, Software and Technology, Executive Education & Training, and Principles, Frameworks, Standards, and Coalitions. According to the study, the Databases, Indices, Ratings, and Rankings segment are expected to grow the fastest at 30% CAGR, followed by the IMM Software and Technology market at 22% CAGR. The IMM Consulting and Services and Executive Education & Training segments are projected to grow at 11% CAGR each by 2030.

Amit Bhatia, Founder and CEO of Aspire Impact, expressed his delight in releasing the market-sizing study and highlighted its role in uniting ESG, Sustainability, and Impact intermediaries under a $7.7 billion IMM umbrella. The study also predicts imminent consolidation within the industry, analyzing over 80 M&A deals worth over $100 billion. Bhatia emphasized the potential impact of IMM in driving inclusive growth, achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and India's net-zero target by 2070.

The research publication features a Foreword by Sir Ronald Cohen (President & Co-Founder- GSG) and messages from global Impact leaders such as Cliff Prior (CEO- GSG), Fran Seegull (CEO-US Impact Investing Alliance), Prof. Rosemary Addis, Navneet Munot (MD & CEO HDFC Asset Management), Visalakshi Chandramouli (Managing Partner- Tata Capital Healthcare Fund), and Anurag Pratap (VP & CSR Leader- Capgemini).

Capgemini, the sponsor of the Impact Future Project, has been dedicated to supporting Aspire in conducting groundbreaking research within the impact economy ecosystem since 2020.

The study serves as a comprehensive resource for understanding the IMM industry and its various segments, providing insights into regulations, reporting standards, tools, and methods.

CAQM Issues Revised Schedule for Regulated Operations of Diesel Generator Sets to Control Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR

8th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In an effort to tackle the severe air pollution caused by Diesel Generator (DG) sets in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has directed the adoption of a Revised Schedule for regulated operations of DG sets across all sectors. This move aims to comprehensively and effectively prevent, control, and abate air pollution in the region.

The Revised Schedule, which modifies existing directions, orders, and guidelines, introduces specific regulations based on the capacity range of DG sets and the system adopted for controlling emissions. The following are the key highlights of the Revised Schedule:

1) Power generating sets running on LPG/Natural Gas/Bio-gas/Propane/Butane: No restrictions will be imposed on the use of these DG sets, even during periods under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

2) Portable DG sets (below 19 kW): No restrictions, except during periods of GRAP restrictions when they will not be permitted.

3) DG sets with a capacity of 19 kW to less than 125 kW: Dual fuel mode (Natural Gas & Diesel) will be required. They can run without restrictions during non-GRAP periods but will be permitted to operate for a maximum of 2 hours per day during GRAP restrictions. Maintenance logs of DG set operations should be maintained, preferably in a digital format.

4) DG sets with a capacity of 125 kW to less than 800 kW: Dual fuel mode and Retro-fitted Emission Control Devices (ECDs) through certified vendors/agencies are required. No restrictions will be imposed, even during GRAP periods.

5) DG sets with a capacity of 800 kW and above: Dual fuel mode or any other emission control device/system should be implemented. Compliance with stack emissions is mandatory. Similar to the previous category, these DG sets will be permitted to operate for a maximum of 2 hours per day during GRAP restrictions, subject to maintenance logs.

The Revised Schedule will be implemented across the entire NCR from October 1, 2023. It is crucial that retro-fitment of dual fuel kits and/or ECDs, where required, is completed by September 30, 2023. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in a complete ban on the use of DG sets, even during non-GRAP periods, throughout the entire NCR.

The Commission acknowledges the concerns raised by industrial associations, commercial entities, business organizations, and individuals regarding the practical and financial constraints associated with emission control from DG sets. These concerns were considered during the review of the regulations to ensure a balance between pollution control and the practical implementation of the directions.

The Commission urges all stakeholders, including DG set vendors across the NCR, to strictly adhere to the Revised Schedule for regulated operations. The NCR State Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) are responsible for ensuring compliance with these directions through suitable consent mechanisms and periodic monitoring.

Efforts to combat air pollution caused by DG sets are critical for improving the air quality and overall environmental health of Delhi-NCR. The revised regulations aim to strike a balance between the need for power generation and the imperative to reduce harmful emissions, thereby safeguarding the well-being of the region's residents and the environment.

NGT CZ Grants Liberty to Raj Govt Dept to Address Urgency of Adverse Impacts on Dam Storage Capacity During Rainy Season

30th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Central Zone Bench of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, Judicial Member, in Bhopal did not pass any orders in Original Application No. 06/2023 (CZ) on May 29, 2023. The tribunal cited that the matter falls under the internal working of the agency and the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited.

The applicant, Dinesh Bothra, filed the matter against the Union of India and others, alleging non-compliance with the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, and the Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020. The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited (ERCPCL), representing the State of Rajasthan's Department of Mines, issued online bids and invited tenders for the reclamation of storage capacity of Bisalpur Dam through desilting in District Tonk, Rajasthan.

The contention of the applicant is that the scope of work, as defined on page 73 of the tender document, primarily involves sand mining. The work is described as the removal of silt/sand/gravel mixed overburden deposited in the submergence of Bisalpur Dam, District Tonk, Rajasthan, using mechanical means such as dredgers, etc. The tender, which is issued for a contract period of 240 months (20 years), involves the removal of sand from the dam. However, the respondent state authorities issued the tender without preparing the District Survey Report and classified it as desilting work.

The NGT Bench has been reported that if dredging of rivers and canals is done for the purpose of maintaining the canals, it does not require environmental clearance. However, if mining is conducted for profit-making purposes and as a commercial venture involving dredging and desilting, then all the provisions of the Environment Impact Notification of 2006 and its subsequent amendments should be applied to the project. This interpretation was reiterated in the judgment passed by the Hon'ble High Court in the matter of Writ Petition (PIL) No. 93 of 2015, Jai Prakash Badoni vs. Union of India & Ors, and another connected writ petition (PIL) No. 95 of 2015, Shakti Sangh Priya vs. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.

The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited informed the tribunal that a committee called the Mittal Committee was constituted to submit a report on the desilting of reservoirs, dredging for upkeep and maintenance of structures, channels, and averting natural disasters.

Unlike the applicant, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), and all other respondents submitted that it is not a commercial activity and does not require an environmental clearance. However, the NGT Bench stated that "It is a mixed question of facts, laws, economy, and ecology and requires replies from all respondents with detailed arguments."

The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited stated that no desilting work has been initiated yet, and no machinery has been installed for desilting purposes. However, it also mentioned that desilting will not be possible after June due to the rainy season, which may adversely affect the storage capacity of the dam. This could directly or indirectly impact the general public and result in a shortage of drinking water and water for irrigation purposes.

The NGT Bench noted, "In light of the rainy season and the urgency of the matter, the department is at liberty to proceed in accordance with the law, subject to the final decision of this Tribunal."

Although I.A. No. 05/2023 has been disposed of, OA No. 06/2023 (CZ) and I.A. No. 30/2023 will be further discussed on July 21, 2023. 

NGT seeks reports from MoEF&CC and HP Govt on Kufri's degrading environment

29th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board has reported to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) several violations causing damage to the environment, including the degradation of natural vegetation. It has observed that more than a thousand horses and ponies are employed in a small area, which exceeds the carrying capacity of the area. In addition, solid waste management is not scientific, leading to significant pollution in the area.

In the matter of Shailendra Kumar Yadav versus State of H.P., Original Application No. 187/2023, the NGT Principal Bench sought a factual report through its Order dated 13.03.2023. To accomplish this, it constituted a joint committee comprising the Divisional Forest Officer, Shimla; the Regional Officer, MoEF&CC, Chandigarh; the State PCB; and the District Magistrate, Shimla.

Shailendra Kumar Yadav raised issues related to the disturbance caused at Kufri due to unscientific management of tourist activities, including the employment of a large number of horses in a small area, which was affecting natural vegetation, local ecology, and damaging the environment on a large scale.

It is said that Kufri was the first place in India to be developed for alpine skiing sport by the British. The country's first winter sports club was established here. This was possible because of the lush deodar forest that resulted in abundant snowfall during the winter months from late November to the end of February. This ensured adequate water supply and moisture required for trees and forest fauna in the area, as well as continuous recharging of many natural water sources in the area. However, due to the callous attitude of state authorities, the rising number of horses, and other local reasons, snowfall in the area has continuously declined over the last two decades. As a result, water resources are drying up, and Shimla town itself remains devoid of snow for most of the winter season. Several steps were taken to encourage skiing activities in the area and promote tourism, but this has also adversely affected the ecological balance. Currently, there are about 700-800 horses operating in a small area of 8-10 square kilometers in and around the tourist village of Kufri, which is on the edge of the reserve forest and catchment area. The uncontrolled movement of horses has irreparably damaged the flora and fauna of this ecosystem, disrupting the food chain. The continuous movement of horses has severely damaged the beautiful forest trail and caused further damage to tree roots. The local administration has provided a large area as a parking place for horses in the prohibited forest area. After a day's work, the owners of these horses let them enter the adjoining forests, causing severe damage to the deodar tree roots, as well as the flora and fauna in that area. Naked tree roots, dry trees, shrubs, and heaps of stinking horse dung can be seen throughout the area. A particular patch of forest, approximately one kilometer from Kufri on the Chail-Kufri Road, has been severely damaged by horse owners who constructed an illegal road using a JCB machine. The forest authorities were aware of this but failed to take any action.

During the hearing on May 25th, 2023, the bench, consisting of Justice Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member) and an Expert Member, sought comments from the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh through the Additional Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of Tourism and Environment for the implementation of the report.

The matter is further listed for July 12th, 2023.

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 Celebrated, Emphasizing Water's Significance for Migratory Birds

13th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 was celebrated today with a strong focus on the theme "water and its importance for migratory birds". This annual event serves as a platform to advocate for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats, emphasizing the significance of water ecosystems for these avian travelers.

Migratory birds heavily rely on various aquatic habitats throughout their life cycles, including inland and coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, and ponds. These vital water sources serve as essential sites for feeding, drinking, nesting, and resting during their long and arduous journeys.

However, the world's aquatic ecosystems and the migratory birds depending on them face increasing threats. Human activities, such as the rising demand for water resources, pollution, and the impacts of climate change, have directly affected the availability of clean water and have led to challenges in the conservation of many migratory bird species.

World Migratory Bird Day serves as a global awareness-raising campaign to address the urgent need for the protection and preservation of migratory birds and their habitats. The campaign aims to raise global consciousness about the various threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the importance of international cooperation in their conservation.

In India, the Government highlighted several events organized to commemorate the occasion. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), RMNH Bhubaneswar, Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata, and the National Institute of Himalayan Environment arranged various programs and activities. The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) conducted a cleanup and awareness program in the fishing village of Kovalam. 

All these event were focused on the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) movement. 

Ministry Notifies Rules for Sections 49N and 49-O of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Amended in 2022

12th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), serves as the legal foundation for safeguarding various species of wild animals, managing their habitats, and regulating the trade of products derived from them. The Act underwent its latest amendment in 2022 with the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022, which became effective from April 1, 2023.

According to Section 49 N of the Act, individuals involved in captive breeding or artificial propagation of any listed species mentioned in Appendix I of Schedule IV are required to submit a license application within ninety days from the commencement of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Rules under Section 49 N through a Gazette Notification dated April 24, 2023. These rules can also be accessed on the ministry's website at http://moef.gov.in.

All individuals engaged in captive breeding or artificial propagation of any listed species in Appendix I of Schedule IV are urged to submit their license applications in the prescribed form, as per the Rules framed under Section 49 N of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, on or before June 29, 2023.

For more information and to obtain the necessary forms, interested parties are advised to refer to the Gazette Notification and visit the ministry's official website. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for ensuring the protection and conservation of our wildlife resources.

NLCIL EIA Report reaches NGT in Appeal No. 2/2021/EZ seeking Quashing of EC

8th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In the matter of Prafulla Samantray versus Union of India & Ors., Appeal No. 02 of 2021/EZ, in Eastern Bench of the National Green Tribunal, the final EIA Report January 2020, downloaded from the Parivesh Portal, has been submitted to the Tribunal. 

The appeal challenges the Environmental Clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLCIL) for its 3X800 MW Thermal Power Plant in the area of Talabira, part of the IB Valley in Jharsuguda district of Odisha.

The appellant, Prafulla Samantray, has sought the quashing of the Environmental Clearance dated 02.02.2021, alleging that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report did not take various factors into consideration. The appellant also claims that the thermal plant is being set up in a critically polluted area, and the impacts on ambient air quality, water bodies, land health, etc., have not been well studied in the EIA report.

The NGT has stated that the matter requires consideration as considerable question of environment arises.

The report, under the details of "Project Location", as well "Scope of Baseline Study" shows that one of the nearest rivers is Bhedan river at 0.5 Km.  

The National Green Tribunal will hear the case and determine whether the Environmental Clearance granted to NLCIL should be quashed. The outcome of this case will have far-reaching implications for the future of environmental assessments and the protection of India's natural resources.

MoEF&CC amends provisions under Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016

30th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has published a notification termed as the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment)Rules, 2023. The notification vide G.S.R. 318(E). dated 27th April 2023 amends certain provisions in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 vide notification number G.S.R. 320 (E), dated 18th March 2016. 

The changes are in following rules:

Farmers liable to pay environmental compensation on stubble burning

29th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified G.S.R. 322(E) Dated 28th April 2023. It pertains to imposition and collection of environmental compensation for stubble burning. 

The rules are referred as the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (Imposition, Collection and Utilization of Environmental Compensation for Stubble Burning) Rules, 2023. 

The rules are applicable to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, State of Punjab, State of Haryana and National Capital Region of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. As the rules are applicable to farmers, it defines “Farmer” as the owner or occupier or cultivator of the farming or agricultural land.

As per the Rules, the Commission may impose and collect environmental compensation on farmers liable for burning stubble, at three different rates, such as :- 

(a) The Farmer having an area of land less than 2 acres shall pay an environmental compensation of Rs. 2500/- 

(b) The environmental compensation for Farmer having an area of land of 2 acres or more but less than 5 acres shall be Rs. 5000/- and

(c) The Farmers having an area of more than 5 acres shall have to pay an environmental compensation of Rs. 15000/-.

The environmental compensation shall be collected from the Farmer in the form of "challan", specified in the rules.

A Farmer has to pay the challan amount within 30 days from the date of issuance of challan. If the Farmer fails to pay the challan amount within the specified period , the Commission shall prepare a certificate specifying the amount due from the Farmer and forward the certificate along with the form of challan to the officer authorised by the respective State Government or, Union territory, as the case may be, who shall proceed to recover the amount specified thereunder from the Farmer as if it were an arrear of the land revenue. 

The officer of the respective State Government or, Union territory who maintains the land revenue record as prevalent in the respective State Government or, Union territory shall ensure that such record is marked with red entry against the Farmer where from the incident of stubble burning is found or reported to burn stubble or there is a proof to the effect that stubble burning has happened in the land.

The environmental compensation collected under this rule shall be deposited in the account of respective State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.   

NGT Quashes Sand Mining EC granted by SEIAA, UP in natural habitat of crocodiles

28th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Bench quashes and sets aside the (Environmental Clearance (EC) dated 03.12.2021 granted by State Level Development Impact Assessment Authority, Uttar Pradesh in favour of R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. The NGT, after a thorough deliberation of various legal perspective and considering duly verified factual positions of the proposed mining site being natural habitat of the crocodiles, stated that the EC suffers from patent illegality and is liable to be quashed/set aside. 

R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. is held to be entitled to refund of the amounts deposited/paid with interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of deposit/payment till realization/repayment thereof and the concerned respondents are directed to pay the amount deposited/ paid by R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. with interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of deposit/payment till realization/repayment thereof within three months from the date of receipt of a copy of the order dated 27th April 2023. 

In Appeal No. 07/2022 (I.A. No. 50/2022 & I.A. No. 51/2022), Ghanai S/o Binde, a resident of Naroghat, Kotra Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh, filed the appeal challenging the EC dated 03.12.2021 for proposed River Sand/Morrum mining, with sanctioned Lease Area 8.502 ha., at Gata No. 03GA, Khand No.-03, Village-Nandha, Orai, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh. A Public hearing was conducted on 20.07.2021 by the project proponent through Green Enviro Engineers Pvt. Ltd., a Kanpur based EIA consultant.

Ghanai, the Appellant challenged the EC for proposed mining on two grounds that the proposed mining leased area is habitat of crocodiles who use the area for nesting and any mining at the site would be highly detrimental to the wild fauna and their nesting grounds and that the leased site is a rocky terrain with rocks exposed therein and there is no sufficient mineable mineral deposit which would suffice for the volume approved for mining in the impugned EC which would lead to illegal mining from nearby areas and adjoining land of the appellant.   

Interesting to note that during the process of hearings the Appellant stated that now he does not apprehend any loss to him and illegal mining in his land and he does not want to continue with the present appeal. The appellant has accordingly prayed that the appeal may be dismissed as withdrawn. 

The NGT perorated on various aspects including the question which first arises for consideration is as to whether the appellant is entitled as a matter of right and as being dominus litis to withdraw the appeal at the present stage of the proceedings. 

EC Splitting Provision in EIA Notification

26th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified an amendment in the EIA Notification 2006. The amendment is brought through S.O. 1832(E) Dated 21st April 2023.

The EIA Notification bearing S.O. 1533 (E) dated the 14th September 2006 has provision for transferring the prior Environmental Clearance (EC) from one legal person to another legal person during the validity period. However,  the said notification does not have explicit provision for splitting an EC and transferring it to more than one legal person during the validity period. 


Now, the Ministry makes a provision that A prior-Environmental Clearance granted for a specific project, except mining projects may be split amongst two or more legal persons, entitled to undertake the project and transferred during the validity to another legal person on application made by the transferor in the format specified on PARIVESH portal to the concerned Regulatory Authority along with requisite documents. The concerned Regulatory Authority shall split and transfer the prior-Environmental Clearance, on recommendation of the concerned Expert Appraisal Committee to the other legal persons for the respective projects.

So, the above notification does not apply to the mining projects.


The Ministry has said that it is necessary to create this provision to bring about greater uniformity and transparency. 

Emaar MGF withdraws EC expansion application as SEIAA seeks site inspection  

25th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana has released the Minutes of 156th Meeting held on 19th April 2023.

Emaar MGF Land Limited has withdrawn its application seeking Environment Clearance (EC) for the expansion of Group Housing Colony, Sector - 62, in Gurugram, Haryana. The company had submitted that construction has been carried out as per the condition of EC granted.  No violation of condition has been done.  However, due to the change in planning, the company has planned for the expansion. The matter was again taken up during 156th Meeting of SEIAA, Haryana held on 19th April 2023. The Authority  decided to constitute a sub-committee comprising of Member Secretary, SEIAA, Dr. R. Baskar, FGS (Ind), Member, SEIAA and Concerned Regional Officer, HSPCB to carry out inspection at the site to see the status and level of compliances in regard to the stipulated conditions, imposed in the EC letter dated 31st July 2017. Subsequently, Emaar MGF Land Limited has withdrawn its application.

Decision on several other projects were deferred, some more withdrawn.

Neverthrless, the SEIAA decided to Grant Environment Clearance (EC), under Category 5 (g) within the scope and meaning of EIA to the proposal of Panipat Coop. Sugar Mill. The Sugar Mill has planned to set up new 90 KLPD distillery consisting of 60 KLPD new plant based on B Heavy molasses from the new Sugar Mill and 30 KLPD grain Based distillery as supplementary raw material and with option of Spent Wash in specially designed Incineration Boiler. The Sugar Mill is located in -Dahar Village, Gohana Road, Panipat. 

First ever Census shows 2.42 Million Water Bodies 

Only 2.9% water bodies in Urban Areas, 55.2% owned by Private

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has stated that for the first time in the history of the country, it has conducted the first-ever census of water bodies across the nation. The census provides a comprehensive inventory of India's water resources, including natural and man-made water bodies like ponds, tanks, lakes, and more, and to collect data on the encroachment of water bodies. The Census also highlighted disparities between rural and urban areas and varying levels of encroachment and revealed crucial insights into the country's water resources. 

As per the study, 24,24,540 water bodies have been enumerated in the country, out of which 97.1% (23,55,055) are in rural areas and only 2.9% (69,485) are in urban areas.

59.5% of water bodies are ponds, followed by tanks (15.7%), reservoirs (12.1%), Water conservation schemes/percolation tanks/check dams (9.3%), lakes (0.9%) and others (2.5%).

Surprisingly, 55.2% of water bodies are owned by private entities whereas 44.8% of water bodies are in the domain of public ownership.

Top 5 States in terms of number of water bodies are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Assam which constitute around 63% of the total water bodies in the country. However, in terms of area covered under water bodies in urban areas the top 5 States areas are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura, whereas in rural areas, top 5 States are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Assam.

Snow Biking Illegal in Gulmarg?

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Mushtaq Ahmad Malik came with a grievance before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against use of snow bikes in and around the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary and Eco Sensitive Zone in terms of notification bearing S.O. 2182(E). dated 7th June 2021 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change & Ors. under the E(P) Act, 1986. Case set out in the application is that snow bikes use petrol which has harmful impact on the ecology. Weight of the bikes impacts the soil and the vegetation underneath the snow. Such activities also result in encroachments and loss of grasslands. 

The Original Application No. 287/2023 has also relied upon letter dated 21st February 2023 of Wildlife Range Gulmarg addressed to the Director Tourism, Srinagar on the subject of Unauthorized plying of Snow bikes in Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary at Kangdori Gulmarg.

The NGT Principal Bench duly considered the application but without expressing any opinion on merits at this stage, it directed for investigation of the matter. Disposing the application, the Tribunal has called for remedial actions to be taken in accordance with law as found appropriate by the ACS, Forest and Environment, J & K. 

What NGT said on complaint against noise pollution due to Railway Ops?

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

There was a grievance in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against use of horn by the trains resulting in violation of Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. The case of the applicants Ashok Malik and Anr. in Original Application No. 291/2023 was that the residents of Sundar Nagar, Subash Nagar, Gadi Malyan, Shivji Colony, Adarsh Nagar, Dhaula Bhatta, Kalyani Pura, Nehru Nagar in Ajmer and have been suffering due to noise pollution generated by the operation of Railways. 

On 20th April 2023, the NGT Principal Bench considered the matter of common knowledge that Railway operations serve large number of population and generation of noise in their operations cannot be wished away. Horns are required to be blown as per applicable ‘whistle code.’ Thus, while noise free environment is necessary, essential activities have to be conducted in absence of any other options.