Major Land Loss envisaged in Chetlat, Amini Islands due to Climate Change

18th June 2021, New Delhi

More than one-third of the world’s heat deaths each year are due directly to global warming, according to the latest study to calculate the human cost of climate change reports US Today.

But scientists say that’s only a sliver of climate’s overall toll – even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought – and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures.

Sea level will rise around the Lakshadweep Islands in the range between 0.4 mm/year to 0.9 mm/year, shows a study conducted projecting different greenhouse gas scenarios.

The study highlights that the worst possible inundation scenarios projected for Lakshadweep Islands are almost similar under different emission scenarios projected and all the islands in the archipelago would be vulnerable to impact from sea-level rise.

One of the major threats in the coming years is rising sea level and its significant impact on small islands and this is for the first time, that climate model projections were used to assess the potential areas of inundation over the archipelago of Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

A team of scientists including Aysha Jennath, Athira Krishnan, Saikat Kumar Paul, Prasad K. Bhaskaran jointly from the Department of Architecture & Regional Planning and Department of Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture, IIT Kharagpur, with support from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India under the Climate Change Programme (CCP), studied the Climate projections of sea level rise and associated coastal inundation in atoll islands, a ring-shaped coral reef or island.

The study estimated that smaller islands Chetlat and Amini are expected to have major land-loss. Projection mapping indicated that about 60%-70% of existing shoreline would experience land-loss in Amini and about 70%-80% in Chetlat. The present work highlights that, larger islands Minicoy and the capital Kavaratti are also vulnerable to sea-level rise, and expected to experience land-loss along 60% of the existing shoreline. Sea-level rise effects are seen to have the least impact on Androth Island under all emission scenarios.

The research that was published in the journal ‘Regional Studies in Marine Science, Elsevier recently showed that the coastal inundation could have wide socio-economic impact. According to the team, projected inundation due to sea-level rise can impact the islanders as residential areas are quite close to the present coastline. Also, the only airport in the archipelago is located at the southern tip of Agatti Island, and has a high likelihood of damage due to inundation from sea-level rise.

The authors have suggested that keeping in view the impacts from projected sea-level rise for Lakshadweep, it is necessary to have appropriate coastal protection measures and best-practices to formulate planning guidelines.

This study also opens up a new outlook and dimension on future research to assess the directional nature of wave energy, impact of storminess in the Arabian Sea region, islands that are exposed and sheltered and amenities such as potable water, sanitation and so on.

This noteworthy study has practical value and can be immensely useful to policy makers and decision making authorities for both short and long-term planning that benefit the population in Lakshadweep Islands.

India & Bhutan agree to cooperate on environment

18th June 2021, New Delhi

India and Bhutan today inked an MoU for developing cooperation between two countries in the area of environment. The MoU was signed virtually by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar from the Indian side and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the National Environment Commission Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji from the Bhutanese side.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said, the MoU will open new vistas of bilateral co-operation in the area of climate change, waste management etc. Describing the relationship between the two countries as symbolic, he said, India wants to engage with Bhutan on environmental related issues including climate change.

The MoU is a platform to further enhance Indian and Bhutanese partnership and support, exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air Pollution, Waste Management, Chemical Management, Climate Change, etc. It also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest. The MoU will also strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and expand the areas of cooperation in the field of environment to promote a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

EIA Notification 2006 amended to boost Ethanol Blending Programme

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers. The Central Government has scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP). The Government has resolved to meet the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, which is preponed by 5 years.

Pursuing modern thinking and modern policy for 21st century energy, the Union Government has amended some provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006. The amendments have been introduced through a notification bearing S.O. 2339(E) dated 16th June 2021.

Expansion of sugar manufacturing units or distilleries for production of ethanol, having Prior Environment Clearance (EC) for existing unit, to be used completely for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme only, as per self-certification in form of an affidavit by the Project Proponent, shall be appraised as category B2 projects. This was done as the sugar manufacturing units or distilleries seeking expansion were unable to comply with the requirements of obtaining certificate from the competent authority relating to certification that the distillery is producing or shall produce ethanol for blending with fuel in a timely manner, and this was stalling the entire process of EBP programme.

Further, if it is found that the ethanol, produced based on the EC granted as per this dispensation, is not being used completely for EBP Programme, or if ethanol is not being produced, or if the said distillery is not fulfilling the requirements based on which the project has been appraised as category B2 project, the EC shall stand cancelled.

Grain based distilleries projects producing ethanol, solely to be used for EBP Programme of the Government of India without Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) shall be treated as Category A projects.

The amendment creates a new provision in paragraph 4 after sub-paragraph (iii) by inserting (iii a) Such Category ‘B’ projects, as notified by the Central Government on account of exigencies such as pandemics, natural disasters, or to promote environmentally friendly activities under National Programmes or Schemes or Missions, shall be considered at the Central level as Category ‘B’ projects.

This provision is applicable for those projects which file application for grant of EC up to 31st March 2024 or till further notification whichever is earlier provided that any subsequent amendment or expansion or change in product mix after 31st March 2024, shall be considered as per the provisions in force at that time. #Ethanol #EIA

Environmental Lab Recognition by CPCB now, on the basis of NABL Accreditation and ISO 45001 Certification

16th June 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has brought a landmark notification into the process of recognizing Environmental Laboratories. According to the notification dated 16th June 2021 issued by the MoEF&CC, recognition of private laboratories under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 12 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as well as recognition of their Analysts as Government Analysts under section 13 of the Act shall be done by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Earlier, the private environmental laboratories were recognized by the MoEF&CC, while the government laboratories were dealt by the CPCB.

All environmental laboratories shall have to obtain accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), as per ISO 17025:2017 for all criteria of testing parameters as defined by CPCB along with ISO 45001:2018 certification for Occupational Health and Safety Management System before applying to CPCB. This is applicable to fresh or renewal of recognition of a laboratory or in case of changes in the name of Government Analysts; and also in the event of shifting of laboratory premises.

CPCB's recognition shall be granted for the validity period of accreditation under ISO 17025:2017 and ISO45001:2018 for the same premises of its operation for which the application is made. The environmental laboratories shall be recognized by CPCB for the testing parameters accredited by NABL.

The processing of application including disseminating the information on status of applications for recognition of environmental laboratories or Government Analysts shall be made operational by CPCB within three months from 16th June 2021. The web portal shall also have the provision for online submission of compliance report submitted by the recognised laboratory.

The laboratory or Government Analyst seeking recognition shall have to submit self-declaration of compliance of the requirements and submission of supporting documents for all requisite information as stipulated by the CPCB for grant of recognition by the Board. The recognised laboratories shall have to submit Compliance report, as defined by CPCB, bi-annually.

The notification mandates that CPCB shall conduct Proficiency Test (PT) and Inter-Laboratory Comparison exercise either of its own or in collaboration with National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) or such research institutes having proven capabilities for undertaking such exercise, for all recognised laboratory bi-annually, covering all parameters annually, and the cost associated in conducting such exercise shall be borne by the participating laboratories, and records and reports of such exercise shall made available in public domain.

CPCB shall make provision for surprise inspection for verification of conditions imposed on the environmental laboratories recognised under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by constituting a joint committee comprising members of the MoEF&CC, CPCB, concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) . Such inspection reports shall be made available in public domain.

The CPCB shall constitute an expert committee comprising of members from the MoEF&CC, SPCBs, NABL, NEERI and experts as deemed appropriate, to review and revise the existing guidelines for laboratory recognition including defined criteria testing parameters, procedure, process and cost estimate for PT and ILC exercise, compliance condition for recognition and corresponding information required for online submission of compliance report by laboratories, etc., within three months from 16th June 2021. Based on the recommendation of expert committee, the CPCB shall recognise the laboratory and the Government Analysts

The expert committee shall review and reassess the procedures, guidelines and other process annually and make necessary recommendation for consideration of CPCB.

One-time exemption for Import of Used Critical care Medical Equipment for re-use

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

Used critical care medical equipment for reuse listed against Basel No. B1110, under Schedule VI of hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 and prohibited for import. In a significant move in the pandemic time, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has exempted the import of such items.

In its order dated 14th June 2021, the MoEF&CC has stated that it has received several requests for the relaxation in the import of used critical care medical equipment for re-use. The order also cites that there are several legal cases pertaining to the matter, pending in various Courts in India. In view of COVID situation prevailing in India, the Ministry has decided to allow one-time permission for import of used critical care medical equipment for re-use. The exemption is also applicable to such equipment already imported and lying at different ports and airports in India as on 8th June 2021.

The rule defines critical care medical equipment as life-saving equipment and includes such equipment as specified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time. #Medical #criticalcare

Prime Minister Modi addresses Opening Segment of UNCCD meeting

Banni region in Rann of Kutchh exemplifies land restoration & land degradation neutrality through grasslands creation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

14th June 2021, New Delhi

Land is the foundation of our societies and is a cornerstone to global food security and environmental health. Globally, 1/5th of Earth’s land area, which stands to be more than 2 billion hectares – is degraded. This includes more than half of all agricultural land. Each year, more than 12 million hectares of land are lost to desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). Approximately 95% of our calories from food come from soil, yet topsoil erosion has accelerated by tenfold due to human activity. The world loses 24 billion tons of fertile soil annually due to dryland degradation, with significant negative impacts on food production and economic activity.

A high-level meeting with the support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to assess the progress made in fighting land degradation, and map the way forward on global efforts to revive and restore healthy land took place today. The virtual event was hosted at UN Headquarters in New York. The Dialogue was convened in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 74/220 and 75/218.

Delivering keynote address, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi described land as the fundamental building block for supporting all lives and livelihoods, and called for reduction of the tremendous pressure on land and its resources.

Speaking at the Opening Segment of the event, in his capacity as the President of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Prime Minister Modi listed steps taken by India to deal with the land degradation issue. He said that India has taken the lead to highlight land degradation issues at international forums. The Delhi Declaration of 2019 called for better access and stewardship over land, and emphasised gender-sensitive transformative projects. In India, over the last 10 years, around 3 million hectares of forest cover has been added. This has enhanced the combined forest cover to almost one-fourth of the country's total area, the Prime Minister informed.

The Prime Minister conveyed that India is on track to achieve its national commitment of Land degradation neutrality. “We are also working towards restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. This would contribute to India's commitment to achieve an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent”, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister cited example of the Banni region in Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to illustrate how restoration of land can start a virtuous cycle of good soil health, increased land productivity, food security and improved livelihoods. In Banni region, land restoration was done by developing grasslands, which helped in achieving land degradation neutrality. It also supports pastoral activities and livelihood by promoting animal husbandry. “In the same spirit, we need to devise effective strategies for land restoration while promoting indigenous techniques”, the Prime Minister stressed.

In the spirit of South-South cooperation, India is assisting fellow developing countries to develop land restoration strategies. A Centre of Excellence is being set up in India to promote a scientific approach towards land degradation issues, informed the Prime Minister. “It is mankind's collective responsibility to reverse the damage to land caused by human activity. It is our sacred duty to leave a healthy planet for our future generations”, the Prime Minister concluded.

G7 to end international funding for coal projects by 2022

14th June 2021, New Delhi

On the second day of the Outreach Sessions of the G7 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in two sessions titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’ and ‘Building Back Greener: Climate and Nature’.

Invited as a Lead Speaker in the session on Open Societies, Prime Minister Modi recalled that democracy and freedom were a part of India’s civilizations ethos. He shared the concern expressed by several Leaders that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting it. Highlighting the non-democratic and unequal nature of global governance institutions, PM called for the reform of the multilateral system as the best signal of commitment to the cause of Open Societies. The leaders adopted the ‘Open Societies Statement’ at the end of the meeting.

In the session on climate change, PM highlighted that the planet's atmosphere, biodiversity and oceans can not be protected by countries acting in silos, and called for collective action on climate change. Speaking about India's unwavering commitment to climate action, he mentioned the commitment by Indian Railways to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2030. He stressed that India is the only G-20 country on track to meet its Paris commitments. He also took note of the increasing effectiveness of the two major global initiatives nurtured by India i.e. the CDRI and the International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister stressed that developing countries need better access to climate finance, and called for a holistic approach towards climate change that covers all dimensions of the problem- mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, climate financing, equity, climate justice and lifestyle change.

Prime Minister's message of global solidarity and unity, especially between open and democratic societies and economies, in tackling the global challenges of health, climate change and economic recovery was well received by the Leaders at the Summit.

David E. Sanger and Michael D. Shear write in The New York Times that the leaders unanimously promised to cut their collective emissions in half by 2030, a striking contrast with the statement issued by the same group three years ago in Charlevoix, Canada, where the United States refused to sign onto the pledge to combat climate change.

They also mention, on climate, energy experts said the inability of G7 nations, which together produce about a quarter of the world’s climate pollution, to agree on a specific end date on the use of coal weakens their ability to lean on China to curb its own coal use.

The Group of 7 did promise that their nations would end by 2022 international funding for coal projects that do not include technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions. They also promised an “overwhelmingly decarbonized” electricity sector by decade’s end. And they promised accelerated efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Weekend AQI Report

13th June 2021, New Delhi:

The maximum AQI value for the week ending 13th June was recorded to be 461 in Fatehabad, while the minimum was in Aizawl. Predominant air pollutant causing maximum daily AQI was PM10. Prayag (387), Sonipat (338 and 331), Baghpat (272), Sirsa (257) and Bhiwani (173) were among other cities with maximum on different days in the week.

Among the four metropolitan cities, Delhi registered the maximum AQI for all 7 days of the week. AQI in Delhi was reported in the range of 83 on 13th June to 305 on 9th June. The minimum AQI was attributed to rainfall. The weekly minimum AQI among the four metros was recorded to be 33 in Mumbai on 10th June.

Maximum number of cities monitored during the week was 131 on 8th June and the minimum was 114 on 13th June.

Maximum cities found in Good category was 52 on 13th June. During the week, in 3 cities AQI was found in severe category on 9th June, barring which there was no such occurrence. On an average 39 cities were found with "Good" category of AQI, while 45 in "Satisfactory", 30 in "Moderate", 7 in "Poor" and 2 in "Very poor" category.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered "Good", 51 and 100 "Satisfactory", 101 and 200 "Moderate", 201 and 300 "Poor", 301 and 400 "Very poor", and 401 and 500 "Severe". #AQI #CPCB #Data

PM participates in G-7 Summit first outreach session

Group finds ways to cooperate with China in areas like climate change, while competing in other realms and contesting China’s actions where required

13th June 2021, New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the first Outreach Session of the G7 Summit on Saturday.

The session, titled ‘Building Back Stronger - Health’, focused on global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and on strengthening resilience against future pandemics. Washington Post reports that “Build Back Better for the World” infrastructure development plan is a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by major democracies, involving millions of dollars, and private industries, to offer nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere options to say no to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road program.

During the session, Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the support extended by the G7 and other guest countries during the recent wave of COVID infections in India.

He highlighted India's ‘whole of society’ approach to fight the pandemic, synergising the efforts of all levels of the government, industry and civil society.

Prime Minister Modi also explained India’s successful use of open source digital tools for contact tracing and vaccine management, and conveyed India's willingness to share its experience and expertise with other developing countries.

While committing India's support for collective endeavours to improve global health governance, the Prime Minister sought the G7's support for the proposal moved at the WTO by India and South Africa, for a TRIPS waiver on #COVID related technologies.

He said that today's meeting should send out a message of "One Earth One Health" for the whole world. Calling for global unity, leadership, and solidarity to prevent future pandemics, Prime Minister emphasized the special responsibility of democratic and transparent societies in this regard.

PM will participate in the final day of the G7 Summit tomorrow and will speak in two Sessions.

It also reports that the group aired ways that the members could cooperate with #China in some areas, such as climate change, while competing in other realms and contesting China’s actions where required. Britain and Italy will co-chair a major international climate conference this year and are seeking China’s help to meet targets.

Noted Environmentalist & Educationist Prof. Radhamohan passes away

11th June 2021, New Delhi

Noted environmentalist and educationist Prof. Radhamohan has breathed his last in a hospital in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, today. He was 78.

Prof Radhamohan was an educationist by profession and an ecologist by passion, well known for his pioneering works on organic farming in Odisha. Also known for his social service and a former Information Commissioner in the State Information Commission of Odisha, Prof Radhamohan had been awarded with the prestigious Padmashree. Radhamohan and his daughter Sabarmatee were conferred with prestigious Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country, in 2020 for their contribution to agriculture sector.

The retired professor had also opened a social organisation-‘Samvab’ aiming at educating farmers regarding organic farming and exchange of seeds.

Odisha Government had also awarded him with Utkal Seva Samman for his outstanding social service. Similarly, UNEP had conferred ‘The Global Roll of Honour’ for his distinguished work for environment.

Many dignitaries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled his sad demise. In a tweet, the Prime Minister has said, Prof Radhamohan was deeply passionate about agriculture, especially adopting sustainable and organic practices. The prime minister has said he was also respected for his knowledge on subjects relating to the economy and ecology. #Radhamohan

Consultants Consortium of Chennai Celebrates WAD 2021, deliberates Sustainable Business

9th June 2021, New Delhi

To mark the World Accreditation Day (WAD) 2021, the Consultants Consortium of Chennai (CCC) has been organising series of webinars from 8th June till 11th June 2021. Two sessions scheduled every day, one from morning 11 AM to 1 PM and evening 4 PM to 6 PM.

WAD is a global initiative established by International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to promote the value of accreditation. This year’s theme focuses on the use of accreditation in supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are at the core of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a broad and ambitious plan of action with the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. Accreditation, in collaboration with other quality infrastructure institutions, provides the technical foundations that are critical to the functioning of developed and developing societies. It enables industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, and health and environmental protection. In CCC programmes most of the topics, sessions have been created for all sectors. There are some sessions which are sector specific too.

The sessions are widely participated by Management Systems Consultants, Technical Experts, Industry Experts, Professionals, Industry Members, Academia, Students, Members of Trade & Industry Associations, and Government Organizations etc. Industries and professionals from various sectors as such as Paper, Wood, Toy Industries, Pharma, Biotech Medical Devices, Healthcare attending the programme.

The first session on 8th June 2021 deliberated on SDGs and ISO Standards with focus on applicable regulations and various Government Schemes. Waste Management with greater focus on composting and plastic waste was deliberated during the second session of 8th June 2021.

Sustainable Forest Management was the topic for discussion in the first session on 9th June 2021. Avani Kumar Varma, Retd. IFS and Co-Chairman NCCF delivered a talk on NCCF and PEFC Scheme for Forest Management. Parth Munshi from SGS India, Dr. T.R. Manoharan, a Sustainability Professional presented on various Forest Management and Certification schemes. V. Premkumar of Jayvin Management Systems and Solutions spoke of implementation perspectives of various forest management certification.

The topic in the post-lunch session on WAD, the 9th June 2021 was “Commitment and goals set for addressing Climate Change in Paris Agreement”. Col. Shashikant Dalvi (Retd.), National Coordinator – Water Conservation, The Climate Reality Project India, and Vinay Deodhar from Clean Tech Solutions addressed in the session.

Anil Jauhri, Ex-CEO, NABCB, and International Conformity Assessment Expert; Dr. Harish Nadkarni, ex-CEO, NABH; Dr. Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO NABH; Dr. Bhupendra Rana, CEO, QAI; Dr. Rohit Jain, Secretary, Practising Pathologists Association, Rajasthan; Malini Aisola, Co-convenor, AIDAN; Rajiv Nath, MD – Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices and also Forum Coordinator – AiMED; Arpit Bajpai, Director, Category Management Govt. E marketplace – GeM, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India; Dr. V. Kalaiselvan, Sr. Principal Scientific Officer, IPC, MoHFW; G S Sathyendra, Expert & Consultant, MDQMS, Founder – Qmart Global and Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, MDQMS, Regulatory & Technical Consultant Intrust Consulting are some of the eminent speakers to address in the 4-days programme.

Rama Venugopal, Founder Member and President of CCC said, businesses have to go the sustainable way. ISO has released many sustainable standards for implementation in businesses. It is a matter of delight that there is a huge increase in the awareness of quality and accreditation among people in general and business in particular. Sustainable Businesses is the way forward, she added.

Registration details are available at http://ccc-consultants.org/wad-2021-celebrations.

PAT needs a pat as it saves 87 million ton CO2

9th June 2021, New Delhi

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. The May 2021 monthly average figures of CO2 in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa - this one particular site - was 419.13 parts per million (ppm); that’s up from 417.31 ppm in May 2020. It is notable that world's benchmark atmospheric monitoring station is the Mauna Loa Observatory, in Hawaii. CO2 is the well-known greenhouse gas (GHG) on our planet Earth. Rapid increase in its concentration in atmosphere is major cause of global temperature rise which in turn leads to many environmental and healthcare problems. The ‘greenhouse effect’ works in case of CO2 when solar radiation hits the surface of the earth, part of the heat escapes the atmosphere while balance heat gets trapped which in turn, raises the earth’s temperature. This is a phenomenon popularly known as global warming. This primarily results in severe impact on climate change, which has a ripple effect over all natural ecosystems, and by extension, all industries and people around the globe.

In the Government of India, the Ministry of Power is implementing measures to save energy with an objective to reduce CO2 emission levels in the environment from industries, establishments and by using equipment/ appliances. In this regard, Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme is a key programme for large industries and establishments. PAT scheme aims to enhance the cost-effectiveness of energy savings by upgrading technologies or by taking in-house actions to minimize energy consumption. The scheme provides mandatory targets for the identified Large Units and the excess energy saved by them is issued as Energy Saving Certificate, which are tradable instruments. The different industries and establishments are assigned separate energy efficiency targets based on their levels of energy consumption and the potential for energy savings.

By the year 2020 the scheme coverage has been extended to 13 most energy intensive sectors in the country including Cement, Iron and Steel, Fertilizer, Thermal Power Plants, Refineries, Petrochemicals, Railways and others. This initiative is currently leading to energy savings of about 17 MTOE (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent) and has resulted into mitigation of about 87 million tonnes of CO2, per year, a figure close to total CO2 emissions of country like Bangladesh.

Appliances are the main points for electricity consumption at household level and non-industrial establishments such as office and commercial places. In view of the rapid growth in high energy consumer goods, the demand for electrical energy has been increasing every year. This rising demand can be optimized, if the consumers prefer high efficiency appliances. To enable market transformation of efficient products, Standards and Labeling (S&L) Program was introduced by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The objective of S&L is to provide the consumers, an informed choice about the energy savings potential and thereby the cost saving due to the products available in the market. The scheme includes display of energy performance labels on key energy consuming equipment & appliances, with stipulation for minimum energy performance standards. The scheme has now included 28 appliances till March 2021 and over 15000 models of energy efficient products have been awarded Star labels, a popular symbol among the consumers for endorsing energy savings. The impact of using a huge number of efficient products by the citizens have resulted into an estimated electricity savings of 56 Billion Units during 2020-21, worth over Rs. 30000 crore. This initiative has been effective in reducing the CO2 emissions by about 46 Million Tonnes every year. Such steps have become very effective and a simplified approach is considered more useful to promote energy efficiency globally.

Useful in 20th Century, Useless Now

8th June 2021, New Delhi

In the 4th episode of “Mann Ki Baat 2.0” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that it is a matter of pride for India as well as the whole world, while we are celebrating ‘Gandhi 150, our 130 crore countrymen have pledged to be rid from the menace of Single Use Plastic (SUP). He had expressed confidence that all the countrymen will be a part of the campaign for liberation from the menace of SUP on 2nd October. Earlier, in 2018, India had celebrated Beat Plastic Pollution. And, India started a movement to shun SUP by 2022.

Reiterating government’s commitment to phase out SUP items, though identified ones only, and not all, which have low utility and high adverse environmental impact, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar today said that plastic was a useful innovation of 20th century, which has emerged as a serious threat to the environment of today, if not managed properly.

Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call to phase out single use plastics by 2022, Javadekar said that considering the adverse impacts of littered SUP items on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the government has taken effective measures to manage plastic waste.

The Environment Minister emphasized that Government of India has already banned import of plastic waste in the country. He further recalled that, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the first time brought out Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, to handle the plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner. “Under the rules plastic carry bags below 50 microns have been banned. Many states/UTs have also banned identified single use plastic items. Further, the Ministry has issued a draft notification in March 2021 for amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, with respect to prohibiting identified 12 single use plastic items such as disposable plastic cutlery etc.”, stated Javadekar.

Stressing the importance of public participation in elimination of SUP items, the Environment Minister said that awareness generation on plastic waste management and reduction in use of single use plastic items is vital in bringing about behavioural change. With this mission the minister launched a two-month awareness generation campaign on plastic waste management and elimination of identified SUP items.

Jaypee Cement plea to avoid public Hearing turned down by Expert Committee

7th June 2021, New Delhi: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for the proposal involving violation of EIA Notification, 2006 held its 47th meeting on 2nd June 2021. The nine-member EAC chaired by Dr. Satish R Wate reviewed a proposal of Jaypee Cement Corporation for mining of Limestone from Shahabad (Bankur) Limestone Mine within mining lease area of 328.34Ha located at Villages , Tehsil Chitapur, District Gulbarga, State Karnataka.

The EAC noted that Jaypee Cement has now submitted the required details in line with the observation of EAC during the 44th EAC meeting. EAC also deliberated on the company's request regarding exemption of Public Hearing. After detailed deliberation on the project proposal including Public Hearing requirement, EAC reiterated its recommendations made in the 44th EAC meeting i.e. recommended the proposal for issuing Standard Term of Reference along with the specific Term as prescribed in the 44th meeting held during 18th – 19th February 2021, for undertaking EIA and preparation of Environmental Management Plan (EMP) along with conduct of Public Hearing. #EIA

Government has identified 11 sectors which can make good use of resources by recycling : PM

6th June 2021, New Delhi: On the eve of World Environment Day 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the event jointly organized by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through a video conference. During the event the PM interacted with a farmer from Pune who shared his experience of organic farming and use of biofuel in agriculture.

The Prime Minister released the "Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for ethanol blending in India 2020-2025". He also launched the ambitious E-100 pilot project in Pune for the production and distribution of ethanol across the country. The theme for this year’s event is ‘promotion of biofuels for a better environment’.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that ethanol has become one of the major priorities of 21st century India. The focus on ethanol is having a better impact on the environment as well as on the lives of farmers. He said that the Government has resolved to meet the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, which is preponed by 5 years. He added that till 2014, on an average, only 1.5% of ethanol could be blended in India which has now reached about 8.5%. In 2013-14, about 38 crore liters of ethanol were purchased in the country which has now grown to more than 320 crore liters.

The Prime Minister remarked that the 21st century India can get energy only from the modern thinking and modern policies of the 21st century. With this thinking, the government is continuously taking policy decisions in every field. He said today, a lot of emphasis is being laid on building the necessary infrastructure for the production and purchase of ethanol in the country. Most of the ethanol manufacturing units are mostly concentrated in 4-5 states where sugar production is high but now Food Grain Based Distilleries are being established to expand this to the whole country. Modern technology based plants are also being set up in the country to make ethanol from agricultural waste.

The Prime Minister said that India is a strong proponent of climate justice and is moving ahead with a lofty global vision like the founding of International Solar Alliance for realizing the vision of One Sun, One World, One Grid and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative. He noted India has been included in the top 10 countries of the world in the Climate Change Performance Index. He added that India is also aware of the challenges that are being faced due to climate change and is also working actively.

The Prime Minister spoke about the hard and soft approaches taken to fight climate change. On the hard approach, he noted that our capacity for renewable energy has increased by more than 250 percent in the last 6-7 years. India is today among the top 5 countries of the world in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. Especially the capacity of solar energy has increased by about 15 times in the last 6 years.

The Prime Minister said that the country has also taken historic steps with a soft approach, today the common man of the country has joined and leading the Pro-Environment Campaign like avoiding single use plastic, beach cleaning or Swachh Bharat. He added that the impact of giving more than 37 crore LED bulbs and more than 23 lakh Energy Efficient Fans are not discussed often. He said similarly, by providing free gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme, by providing electricity connections under the Saubhagya scheme, to crores of poor, their dependence on wood has greatly reduced. Apart from reducing pollution, it has also helped a lot in improving the health and strengthening environmental protection. He said India is setting an example to the world that it is not necessary to stop development for protecting the environment. He stressed that Economy and Ecology both can go together and move forward. And this is the path India has chosen. He said along with strengthening the economy, our forests have also increased by 15 thousand square kilometers in the last few years. The number of Tigers in our country has doubled and the number of leopards has also increased by about 60 percent in the last few years.

The Prime Minister said Clean and Efficient Energy Systems, Resilient Urban Infrastructure and Planned Eco-Restoration are a very important part of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Campaign. He said due to all the efforts taken related to the environment, new investment opportunities are being created in the country, lakhs of youth are also getting employment. He said India is working with a holistic approach through the National Clean Air Plan to curb air pollution. He said the work on waterways and multimodal connectivity will not only strengthen the mission of green transport, but also improve the logistics efficiency of the country. Today, the service of metro rail in the country has increased from 5 cities to 18 cities which has helped in reducing the use of personal vehicles.

The Prime Minister said that today, a large part of the country's railway network has been electrified. Airports of the country are also made to use electricity from solar energy at a rapid pace. He elaborated that before 2014, only 7 airports had a solar power facility, whereas today this number has increased to more than 50. More than 80 airports have been installed with LED lights which would improve energy efficiency.

The Prime Minister spoke about a project which is underway to develop Kevadiya as an electric vehicle city. He said necessary infrastructure is being made available so that only battery based buses, two-wheeler, four-wheeler will run in Kevadiya in future. He said the water cycle is also directly related to climate change and imbalance in the water cycle will directly affect water security. He told that work is being done with a holistic approach from creation and conservation to use of water resources in the country through Jal Jeevan Mission. On one hand, every household is being connected with pipes, while on the other hand, the focus is on raising the ground water level through campaigns like Atal Bhujal Yojana and Catch the Rain.

The Prime Minister announced that the government has identified 11 sectors which can make good use of resources by recycling them through modern technology. He said a lot of work has been done in the last few years on the Kachra to Kanchan campaign and now it is being taken forward very fast in mission mode. The action plan related to this, which will have all the regulatory and development related aspects, will be implemented in the coming months. He stressed that to protect the climate, it is very important to organize our efforts to protect the environment. He urged that we will be able to give a safe environment to our coming generations only when every citizen of the country makes a united effort to maintain the balance of water, air and land.

India playing a global leadership role in energy transition: Dharmendra Pradhan

1st June 2021, New Delhi: Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan said that the Government of India is committed to harness the full potential of biofuels, so as to ensure a sustainable energy future for the nation, and contain the global warming as per commitment to COP-21.

The Union Minister today presided over a virtual ceremony in which a number of initiatives were launched to provide major fillip to the SATAT initiative, and help India leap ahead towards a greener tomorrow.

This included signing of a Cooperation Agreement by Oil and Gas majors including IndianOil, HPCL, BPCL, GAIL and IGL, for the promotion and development of the SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme. The SATAT scheme aims to set up Compressed Bio-Gas production plants and make CBG available in the market for use as a green fuel. 'SATAT', launched on 1st October 2018, envisages to target production of 15 MMT of CBG from 5000 plants by 2023.Besides the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, the 5000 CBG plants will provide an investment of 1.75 lakh crore, an additional revenue source to farmers, and 75,000 direct job opportunities and lakhs of indirect jobs.

The Cooperation agreement provides for establishing a strong network for marketing the entire produced quantity of CBG Plants through various channels. The agreement also has provision for associate implementers to join the SATAT movement. As per the agreement, IndianOil shall act as coordinator under the SATAT scheme and liaison with the Government and other agencies on behalf of Industry members. GAIL shall serve as the coordinator for the implementation of the CBG-CGD synchronization scheme.

During the event, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas also signed MoUs with Essar Capital Limited, XEMX Projects, Knowledge Integration Services, and Global Green Growth Institute, Seoul to set up new CBG Plants across the country.

Pradhan laid the foundation stones of 5 upcoming CBG Plants. These plants are being set up across Gujarat(2), Uttar Pradesh(2) and Punjab(1) by CNM Energy Solution Pvt Ltd, Carboneu Pvt Ltd, Cities Innovative Biofuels Private Limited and CEF Budhana Energy Private Ltd.

The Union Minister also dedicated to the nation the newly commissioned CBG plants of Solika Energy Pvt. Ltd. in Hyderabad and T R Mega Foods and Beverages LLP in Ludhiana. He also dedicated new CBG selling retail outlets at Hyderabad (Masab Tank Service Station), Bengaluru (Jai Bheem) and Ludhiana (Sharma Filling Station) to the nation.

During the landmark event, Union Petroleum Minister also inaugurated the first injection of CBG into the CGD pipeline network at Govardhannathji Energies into Gujarat Gas CGD network at Nadiad Kheda Distt., Gujarat. This is in line with the recently issued policy guidelines by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on CBG injection in the CGD network. A website to provide a digital boost to the SATAT programme was also unveiled during the event. The website www.satat.co.in shall be a resource centre for new and existing CBG Plants providing details on CBG & SATAT, enablers under the SATAT scheme and FAQs. The portal also contains a section on the learning modules where handy presentations and videos have been made accessible.

The Minister said that India should play a global leadership role in energy conversion, as we convert agro-residues/municipal wastes and other green wastes into energy, and make the farmers and rag-pickers important stakeholders in the process. He said that this will help in reducing oil imports, improving environment, saving foreign exchange, enriching our poor, and also brand building. The Minister said that there is a large potential of harnessing usable Hydrogen from CBG in an economically-viable manner.

MoEF&CC rescinds 2019 Draft Amendment for fly ash utilization

31st May 2021, New Delhi: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has revoked its earlier notification vide G.S.R.157(E), dated the 25th February, 2019; which was a draft amendment pertaining to S.O. 763(E) dated the 14th September, 1999. It had proposed for effective fly ash utilization by the coal or lignite based thermal power plants.

MoEF&CC) has already notified G.S.R. 285(E) dated 22nd April, 2021 and considering the revision of the principal notification number S.O.763(E), and its subsequent amendments for consolidating the notification in the interest of effective fly ash utilisation by the coal or lignite based thermal power plants. The Ministry has invited comments on the same. The comments may be sent to the Ministry through e-mail id: "moefcc-coalash@gov.in”.

The new draft amendment suggests huge changes in the 2019 draft notifications.

Boom Boom Bandhavgarh

28th May 2021, New Delhi: People and big cats share an unusual relationship. We have long associated these “kings of the jungle” with courage and power. We name luxury cars and sports brands after them. And they are synonymous with high fashion. Tigers, the top predators in an ecosystem, are vital in regulating and perpetuating ecological processes. Ensuring the conservation of this top carnivore guarantees the well-being of forested ecosystems, the biodiversity they represent as well as water and climate security. As recently as a century ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers in Asia. An UNEP article of March 2018 states that there remain about 3,900 of these magnificent big cats in the wild. The fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, results of which were declared to the nation on Global Tiger Day 2019 entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.

May 2021 witnessed the tragic death of two cubs in Maharashtra. And, now, in a neighbouring state, Madhya Pradesh, which is facing ire of environmentalists due to forest loss in the quest of diamond mines, a whopping 41 cubs were traced. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR), once known for highest tiger density in in news again. The PTI reported today that Madhya Pradesh's Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) has witnessed a big cat boom, as foresters have spotted nearly 41 tiger cubs, from newborns to one year olds, at the sanctuary, a senior forest official said on Friday.

PTI report also states that Foresters have collected the information from camera traps and based on actual sightings of cubs in the reserve, which is a densely populated haven for big cats in the state. It is reported that Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Alok Kumar has said "The forest staff after analysing the data has found over 41 tiger cubs, from newborns to one year olds, at BTR."

As per the data, four eight to 10-month-old cubs were spotted in Kallavah beat, while 12 in the same age group were seen in Pator. Similarly, five cubs of a tigress identified as T-17 were seen in Tala beat, four six-month-old cubs were spotted in Dhamakhor, while Panpatha core and buffer areas have two three-month-old big cats each, it was stated. Apart from these, Bhanpur has two newborns, five cubs aged 10 to 12 months old were seen in Maghdi beat and four in the age group of eight to 12 months old in Khitouli, the official said, adding that two cubs were spotted in a cave in Badkheda beat.

The BTR is also known as a nursery of tigers in the state and once they grow, adult big cats are shifted to places in and out of the state, where their density is low, informed by the PCCF (WL).

Bandhavgarh was declared a national park in 1968 and later as a tiger reserve in 1993. Spread across 716 sq km, the reserve is known for the highest density of tiger population. Bandhavgarh was placed ast 11th position in the 2018 tiger census reports.

On the eve of Global Tiger Day in New Delhi on 28th July 2020 Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, while releasing of the detailed report of Tiger Census, mentioned that India is tirelessly working with all 13 tiger range countries towards nurturing the tiger. India’s tiger population now stands at 2967, excluding cubs. There is hardly any parallel of such a focused species oriented program like Project Tiger across the world, which started with 9 Tiger Reserves, with 50 tiger reserves currently. And none of the reserves are of poor quality.

Authorities concerned should ensure the protection of the cubs and there should not be any repeat of untoward incidence that took place in Bhandara district of Maharashtra in the middle of this month.

Turtle considered extinct for 100 years, resurfaces

27th May 2021

Ecuador confirmed on Tuesday that a giant tortoise found in 2019 in the Galapagos Islands is a species considered extinct a century ago.

The Galapagos National Park is preparing an expedition to search for more of the giant tortoises in an attempt to save the species.

The turtle was found two years ago on Fernandina Island, one of the youngest and most pristine in the archipelago, during a joint expedition between the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Conservancy.

Scientists from Yale University then identified it as the Chelonoidis phantasticus species, which had been considered extinct more than a century ago.

Source: Reuters

NGT expresses concern over Construction Projects dealt by Maharashtra SEIAA

26th May 2021, New Delhi: The Bench Headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, National Green Tribunal (NGT), while dealing Pune Bench Matter on Construction of residential complex, was greatly disturbed on the manner in which Construction matters dealt by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

The Green Court was hearing the Appeal No. 34/2020 (WZ) filed by Tanaji B. Gambhire, Appellant Versus Chief Secretary Government of Maharashtra & Ors., on the grievance that originally EC was granted on 19th September 2008 for office building and hotel for 40 rooms, against which residential buildings were constructed. Thus, the project proponent (PP) changed the scope of the project in violation of the Environmental Clearance (EC) and raised construction. In the changed project, there is structure of 3 residential buildings with 232 flats and 68 shops with total BUA of 37975 sq. m.

The applicant also submitted before the NGT that the construction project is illegal being without the mandatory prior EC. Ex-post facto EC is not substitute for prior EC as evaluation of impact on environment cannot be fully gone into as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of the same PP viz. Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd. v Union of India.

The Green Court observed that there have been several cases resting in Pune Bench of NGT, which are now being heard regularly through virtual mode by the Chairperson’s Principal Bench, refers to Construction Projects having either no EC or post facto clearance and no demolition nor environment compensation imposed on such blatantly violating Projects.

The Tribunal has directed Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to review functioning of Maharashtra SEIAA and provide Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be adopted for dealing clearances without hurting environmental issues. The Tribunal directed MoEF&CC to act and file compliance report.

TDB National Award 2021 to Carbon Recycling Tech Startup

24th May 2021, New Delhi: A Bangalore based startup has received the National Award 2021 from Technology Development Board (TDB) for developing a commercial solution for conversion of CO2 to chemicals and fuels.

Breathe Applied Sciences, a startup incubated at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) developed efficient catalysts and methodologies for the conversion of CO2 to methanol and other chemicals.

It has led to improvisation of process engineering to enhance the production of chemicals and fuels from anthropogenic CO2 generated from various sources including coal and natural gas power generation sectors, steel industry, cement industry, and chemical industries and integrating multiple components involved in the CCUS (Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration) to develop a complete solution for the environmental issues due to global warming.

The research was carried out by Prof. Sebastian C Peter and his group from the New Chemistry Unit at JNCASR. He is also a co-founder and director of Breathe Applied Sciences which was started from the generous funding from DST Nano Mission.

The startup signed an agreement with JNCASR, an autonomous institute of Department of Science and Technology for transfer of technology based on lab-scale research on reducing CO2 to methanol and other useful chemicals and fuels.

The MOU helped in smooth translation of the research in the area of CO2 reduction to useful chemicals and fuels from the laboratory scale to pilot scale economically.

“In the pilot mode, the current capacity of CO2 conversion is 300 kg per day, which can be scaled up to several 100 tons in an industrial scale. It will take some time to reach the level of industrial production. A few industry sectors are in discussion with Breathe for potential use of our developed technology soon" said Prof. Sebastian C Peter.

Goodyear CSR Report 2020 depicts 55% reduction in water intake globally

24th May 2021, New Delhi: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, one of the world’s largest tire companies, today released its annual report on corporate responsibility performance.

According to a company release, Goodyear’s 2020 report is organized by the pillars of the Better Future framework, which are Sustainable Sourcing, Responsible Operations, Advanced Mobility and Inspiring Culture. In 2020, Goodyear introduced its fourth consumer tire line that features soybean oil as a replacement for petroleum-derived oils. Soybean oil is a bio-based, renewable resource that helps keep a tire’s rubber compound pliable in low temperatures, a key performance achievement in maintaining and enhancing grip in dry, wet and winter weather.

The company states achieving a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity, a 19% reduction in energy intensity and a 55% reduction in water intensity, all compared to a 2010 baseline.

In terms of energy efficiency programme, installation of low pressure steam turbine at Goodyear's Aurangabad, plant in India has reportedly resulted in an approximate annual savings of 480 kW. Full LED lighting installation was completed in Aurangabad and Ballabgarh units in India. The company has also installed 250 kW solar power generation in Aurangabad plant,

The CSR 2020 report depicts that steam generation and distribution projects in Pulandian, China; Aurangabad, India; Indonesia; and Thailand resulted in a combined savings of 8,821 MT of steam with GHG emissions reduction of 1,568 MT. Further, technological initiatives like centrifugal compressors in Ballabhgarh, India and Pulandian, China, resulted in savings of 2,376 MWh with GHG emissions reductions of 1,947 MT. The compnay has also implemented heat recovery system installation in Aurangabad, India, and Pulandian, China that has resulted in reduced steam consumption of 7,848 MT with GHG emissions reduction of 1,454 MT.

Though, Goodyear’s production of tires is not a water-intensive process, in 2020, the company reduced its global water usage by 55% from a 2010 baseline. The replacement of eight low-efficiency water filters with five high-efficiency ones at our plant in Adapazari, India, saves nearly 364 kilo-liter water a day and 22 tons of salt per month. The replacement filters, which also result in a savings of approximately $6,800 per year, which is more than Rs. 4.95 lakh/year. It also requires less backwashes and use less water per backwashing cycle.

International Day for Biological Diversity 2021 - a call for action to biodiversity

22nd May 2021, New Delhi: “We will all be losers if we don’t achieve peace with the planet”, Secretary-General António Guterres told a webinar ahead of the International Day for Biological Diversity, commemorated annually on 22 May. “We should all be advocates for nature”, he said.

Nature sustains life and provides opportunities, services and solutions, he explained, noting that “a healthy planet is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, biodiversity is declining at an “unprecedented and alarming rate”, and the pressures are intensifying, he warned.

“We have failed to meet any of our internationally agreed biodiversity targets”, the UN chief said.

He said one million species are at risk of extinction; ecosystems are disappearing “before our eyes”; deserts are spreading, and wetlands are being lost.

Every year, 10 million hectares of forests are lost, oceans are overfished and “choking with plastic waste” as the carbon dioxide they absorb is acidifying the seas, bleaching and killing coral reefs, he added.

And the total annual international public finance for nature is significantly less than the subsidies causing its degradation.

“We are depleting resources faster than nature can replenish them”, the UN chief continued.

During International Day for Biological Diversity 2020, Union Minster for Environment, Forest and Climate Change has stated that India, a mega biodiverse country, welcomes those countries who are interested in improving their biodiversity scenarios, and we are ready to share our experiences and best practices with them. On the eve, the Environment minister also laid emphasis on the need to limit our consumption and promote a sustainable lifestyle.

The United Nations proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Day) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues (UNGA Resolution 1994, COP1 Decision, UNGA Resolution 2000). Biodiversity Day 2021 is a call to action for biodiversity. Theme of this year is “We’re part of the solution”. The slogan was chosen to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the over-arching theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, which served as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better.

Today, World Bee Day

20th May 2021, New Delhi: There are over 20,000 species of bees on the earth to safeguard biodiversity. Today bees, pollinators, and many other insects are declining in abundance. If this continues, the food chain will be devastatingly affected. World Bee Day is observed on 20th May each year to increase awareness on the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy, and on the many challenges they face today. The date for this observance was chosen as it was the day Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture, was born. Janša came from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia, where beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition.

In 2017 United Nations General Assembly unanimously proclaimed 20th May as World Bee Day. It was first observed in year 2018.

Year 2020 and this year, World Bee Day has come during an exceptional time in history, where many countries are reeling under the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Bee Day is on 20 May 2021 under the theme “Bee engaged – Build Back Better for Bees”.

This day has wide significance to food security and agricultural livelihoods alongside prioritizing environmental regeneration and pollinator protection. Approximately 80% of all flowering plant species are specialized for pollination by animals, mostly insects, and they affect 35% of the world's crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide. Three out of four crops across the globe producing fruits or seeds for human use as food depend, at least in part, on pollinators. Pollination is therefore critical to crop, vegetables and fruit production. Improving pollinator density and diversity boosts crop yields and quality. Awareness of this essential ecosystem service is important for everyone. Creating home gardens in villages and cities, apart from natural forests may prove vital. This will help increase the population of bees and other insects and secure our foods. Everyone can make a difference to support, restore and enhance the role of pollinators.

NABL mandates QR Code for accredited laboratories

19th May 2021, New Delhi: The National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Labs (NABL) has issued order stating that all accredited laboratory’s test reports and calibration certificates must bear a QR code, which can be scanned using any QR scanning application available on mobile or any devices to authenticate and reproduce the test reports, and calibration certificate online.

Medical Laboratories also need to provide QR code on all test reports issued by them. Authorized test results in a tamper-proof and non-editable test report will build trust in laboratory results.

It is expected that this step of NABL will prevent the manipulation of test results, calibration data and the circulation of forged test report, calibration certificate in the market. Hence, it would help in protecting interest of the consumer and end user of the product. Also, the reputation of the laboratory shall be protected.

NABL is an accreditation body, with its accreditation system established in accordance with ISO/ IEC 17011. NABL provides voluntary accreditation services to Testing and Calibration Laboratories in accordance with ISO/ IEC 17025, Medical testing laboratories in accordance with ISO 15189, Proficiency Testing Providers as per ISO/IEC 17043, and Reference material producers (RMP) in accordance with ISO 17034.

Welcoming NABL’s decision, Anil Jauhri, ex-CEO, NABCB, and a Member, CDM AP, UNFCCC has said that it is an excellent move by the Board. Now, it should be strictly enforced. “Actually all conformity assessment bodies should be forced to adopt this to eliminate possibility of tampering of certificates or reports”, he added.

Rama Venugopal, Founder Member and President of Consultants Consortium of Chennai, also hailed NABL’s decision. She said, by this, authenticity of test reports and calibration certificates can be verified. It was long overdue. Quality and Safety is always linked to communities’ wellbeing, she added.

Dumping of dead bodies into river water must stop to protect water quality

Sand bury of dead bodies on river bank must also be prevented

16th May 2021, New Delhi: Encountering the heart-sinking view of floating dead and decomposing bodies across river Ganga is not new. It has a huge water pollution load, besides damaging the social values. When the country is facing an extraordinary situation due to increase in number of COVID-19 cases and consequential deaths, dumping of dead bodies, partially burnt or decomposed corpses in the river Ganga and its tributaries has become a matter of grave concern.

According to a shocking report by Hindi Daily Dainik Bhaskar on 14th May 2021, over 2000 bodies were found on the bank of river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh within 1140 kilometers. Bhaskar’s reporters traveled to Bijnor, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Aligarh, Kasganj, Sambhal, Amroha, Badanyu, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Kanpur, Unnao, Raebareli, Fatehpur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh Visited the ghats and villages along the Ganges in Varanasi, Chandauli, Ghazipur and Ballia. Ganga travels 1140 kilometers in these districts of UP and enters Bihar. This is most undesirable and alarming. As per the report, the situation was very bad in Kanpur, Kannauj, Unnao, Ghazipur and Ballia.

Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) stated that the instructions already given and wanted expeditious action and also underscored the need to give equal attention to such incidents in urban as well as rural areas along Ganga and other rivers. He stressed on stopping of dumping of dead bodies as well as their safe disposal and protection of water quality has to be attended to on war footing. In a review meeting on 15th May 2021, he mentioned that after knowing the progress from states; the Central Water Commission (CWC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) would also be giving their feedback and action plans.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga said that there is need to strengthen enforcement, maintain vigil and also take proactive action to facilitate and support the families for cremation of dead bodies and asked state missions to specifically report on this. If needed, Project Directors can assess and also give support to District Ganga Committees for this out of NMCG funds available with them while keeping NMCG informed.

In UP and Bihar, district magistrates are getting patrolling carried out to prevent dumping of dead bodies in Ganga. It was informed in the review meeting that 13 crematoriums under NamamiGange in addition to existing ones are made available for cremation of dead bodies in UP. UP has also informed to have issued orders for financial support in urban areas.

Debashree Mukherjee, Addl. Secretary, MoJS stated that besides urgent assessment of the risks imposed to the river-side communities by the PCBs, there is need for spreading awareness with the river side communities on do’s/ don’t for the use of river water and to prevent such incidents of dumping of bodies in the river.

Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, CPCB apprised that the board has forewarned all water monitoring stations along Ganga and her tributaries. The periodicity of testing water quality has also been increased.

CWC is also monitoring flow and water quality through their stations and will further increase frequency.

It was also decided that burying of dead bodies in sand along the river must also be prevented. A suitable awareness generation program needs to be taken up against the ill effects of such practices. SPCBs were directed to improve and make more frequent water quality monitoring in consultations with the health department. The CPCB was assigned the task of over-all monitoring and giving guidance to state pollution control boards and to take up advanced analysis in the matter. Support for cremation needs to be given top priority for safe and dignified cremation. Effective implementation of the Govt orders needs to be ensured and no loss of time should take place in implementation.

Centre issues advisory to States & UTs for safe drinking water supply

15th May 2021, New Delhi: The National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) has issued an advisory to the States and UTs to carryout water quality monitoring and surveillance (WQM&S) activities. This is essential to ensure potable drinking water to every rural home and public institution in all villages across country.

In the wake of CoVid-19 pandemic, criticality of public health including preventive action, is well understood, making safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better hygiene a pre-requisite for improved public health. Further, a number of water-borne diseases can be prevented with regular water quality testing and timely remedial action.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented across the country in partnership with States/ UTs. The Mission aims at providing assured tap water supply to every rural home by 2024. Under JJM, up to 2% of total fund allocation is to be used on water quality monitoring & surveillance activities, which primarily comprise of water quality monitoring by Department through laboratory testing and water quality surveillance by community through testing local water sources using Field Test Kits (FTKs). All drinking water sources are to be tested once a year for chemical contamination and twice a year for bacteriological parameters (pre and post monsoon). It is also emphasized that the fund should be utilized for setting up of laboratories, its upgradation, hiring human resources, procuring FTKs/ vials, equipment/ glassware, provide training/ capacity building, carry out IEC activities, etc. on urgent basis.

With a view to empower the local community on water quality surveillance, States have been advised to identify and train 5 persons especially women in each village from local community, viz. ASHA workers, health workers, VWSC/ Pani Samiti members, teachers, SHG members, etc., to conduct water quality tests using FTKs/ bacteriological vials at village level, schools and anganwadi centres. FTKs/ vials are procured and provided to every Panchayat to enable them conduct tests on regular basis.

Further, Jal Jeevan Mission – Water Quality Management Information System (JJM-WQMIS) has been developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dept of Health Research (DHR) as an online portal along with mobile application for water quality management. All water quality testing data i.e. sample collection, tests results both in laboratories including mobile labs and through water quality testing kits, are uploaded on this portal. The availability of all water quality related data at one place will be helpful in easy access and tracing the history of every drinking water source so that timely remedial action is ensured for every home. The link to access the portal is https://jaljeevanmission.gov.in/ or https://neer.icmr.org.in/website/main.php.

The advisory also stated that every State/ UT is to have at least one State/ UT level laboratory and region-wise laboratories in bigger States/ UTs so that all nearby sources are tested regularly. Similarly, all districts to have a district-level laboratory and setting up of the same to be accorded highest priority. All State/ regional and district level laboratories are to be made fully functional and it is mandatory to get them NABL accredited. All sub-division/ block level laboratories are to get NABL accreditation.

Further, all laboratories are to be opened for public to test their water samples at a nominal rate. This will instill confidence in public on the quality of water supplied and the demand for water purification devices will be curtailed.

The motto of the Jal Jeevan Mission is service delivery and not just infrastructure creation. Empowered and enabled Panchayats as well as community, who will ultimately be the custodian of the infrastructure created, will be in a position to operate, maintain and sustain the water supply system created in each village for its entire design cycle.

Gas Cylinder Rules, 2016 relaxed amid Medical Oxygen Crisis

15th May 2021, New Delhi: Government of India has reviewed the existing procedure for approval of global manufacturers for importing oxygen cylinders by Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO). In view of the COVID pandemic, PESO shall not carry out physical inspection of global manufacturers' production facilities before grant of such approval. Now, such approvals shall be granted online without any delay on submission of manufacturer’s particulars; ISO certificate of manufacturer; List of Cylinders their specifications, drawings & batch number; Hydro test certificate and Third-Party inspection Certificate. Every foreign manufacturer/importer who wants to import oxygen cylinders is required to apply for import permission through PESO online system.

PESO Certification will not be mandatory pre-shipment. However, the certification of PESO will be required before use of the oxygen cylinders, which entails weight and hydro testing. The Indian Missions should however ensure that the oxygen cylinders should comply with India or International standards before shipment. In case of filled cylinders, the agency exporting to India shall certify that the oxygen filled in the cylinder is of such purity and concentration that is fit for medical use. The certification shall be attested by the Indian Mission in the exporting country. Further, soon upon receipt in India, such filled cylinders shall be inspected on sample basis by an empanelled agency of PESO and certified as fit for medical use. The following relaxations have been initiated by the Central Government.

  1. Design approval prior to import of oxygen cylinders under Rule 3(3) of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 has been relaxed and now cylinders manufactured with any international code without TPIA appraisal shall be acceptable.

  2. Import permission required under Rule 50, 51 & 54 of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 has been relaxed. Now, manufacturer’s test and inspection report not required. Fee waived off.

  3. Recognition of Original Equipment Manufacturer with 10 years experience under Rule 3(3) of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 and Filling permission as required under Rule 43 & 45 of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 has been exempted with conditions that conformity of weight reduction not more than 5% of tare weight and must pass hydro static test at a pressure of 225 Kg/Cm2 for 30 seconds.

  4. PSA installations and other COVID centres installations with cylinder filling facilities as required under Rule 50, 51 & 54 of the Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 has been exempted to obtain E&F licence with moderate guidelines prepared by PESO to be followed.

All the filled cylinders must be verified for quality of gas filled therein under the supervision of medical/ Food and Drugs Controllers and if quality of gas conforms to their requirement of medical oxygen, cylinder may be sent directly to hospitals for use. On emptying out the oxygen, cylinder shall be sent to filler and the process as given above shall be followed.

The government has also issued guidelines for PSA installations at hospitals with filling facility or at COVID centers, as follows:

  1. PSA plants where generated oxygen is directly supplied to hospital/ no filling of cylinder is taking place; does not need any permission or license under rules administered by PESO and can be allowed.

  2. If PSA is attached with a compressor and filling of oxygen cylinder is to take place, hospital must notify it to PESO with following information:

  • Number of filling points.

  • Number of cylinders to be stored at site

  • An SRV shall be mandatorily installed in the pipeline outlet to compressor.

  • Well ventilated location with adequate illumination.

  • Before filling the cylinder, shall be examined/ cleaned for absence of any Carbonaceous grease and valid hydro test certificate (tested cylinder at 225 Kg/Cm2 hydrostatically)

  • Filling operation shall be carried out under supervision of a competent & experienced person.

  • The space for filling of cylinders to be isolated and maintain clearance of 1m from filling point on all the sides.

  1. Any COVID centre may utilize liquid cylinders on board with vaporizer for supplying of gaseous medical oxygen through pipeline or for filling cylinders in open places are permitted subject to conditions stipulated under Sr No. (B) above for PSA and information be submitted to PESO.

These relaxations shall be valid for a period of 6 months or till further orders of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, whichever is earlier.

Manufacturing of zero pollution paper sizing products needs EC?

Production of Bitumen Emulsions, Modified Bitumen & Road bond from Bitumen needs prior EC

14th May 2021, New Delhi: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry-2 sector projects, set up by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has clarified that prior Environmental Clearance is required for the production of Bitumen Emulsions, Modified Bitumen and Road bond from Bitumen. The EAC, chaired by Dr. J. P. Gupta, decided that the activity falls under category 4(a) [Petroleum Refining Industry] of Schedule of EIA Notification, 2006.

The EAC decision came during their 33rd meeting while discussing a case of Hindustan Colas Pvt. Ltd., which plans to produce Bitumen Emulsions, Modified Bitumen, and Road bond from Bitumen.

In another similar event, the EAC for Industry-3 sector projects, set up by the MoEF&CC, in its 9th meeting, deliberated on a proposal to set up zero pollution paper sizing products (formulation type) Manufacturing Unit by Sree Padma Industries. The EAC, chaired by Dr. Rajashekar P. Mandi, after a detailed deliberation opined that the instant process falls under Synthetic Organic Chemical and should require prior Environmental Clearance as per the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006 amended time to time.

DST's SATHI may scale India's high-end testing capacity, reduce foreign dependence

14th May 2021, New Delhi: In another bid to increase self-reliance, the Union Government setting up centers to house major analytical instruments to provide common services of high-end analytical testing. This may help averting duplication and reduce dependency on foreign sources.

Three such centers set up at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU Varanasi, are being operated with a transparent, open access policy. These centers initiated under the ‘Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI)’ scheme of Department of Science and Technology (DST), will address the need for building shared, professionally managed, and strong science and technology infrastructure in the country which is readily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs.

DST is planned to set up five SATHI Centers every year for the next four years. SATHI will address the problems of accessibility, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in our Institutions, while reaching out to the less endowed organizations in need, e.g., industry, MSMEs, startups and state universities. This will also foster a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.

Besides SATHI initiative, support to 100 top-performing departments in universities, IITs and are being provided for augmentation of their research facilities to global benchmarks. The research profile of the supported departments are being aligned with the national priorities of excellence in manufacturing, waste processing, clean energy and water, Start-up India and so on.

CPCB's role in dealing Green issues for Green Court and the Nation

13th May 2021, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was instituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Since then, the Board, an apex statutory institution, has put forward many technical advisories and countrywide plans for execution on various facets of abatement of pollution. CPCB is not only functioning as main arm of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change but, it has worked as technical arm of India's Green Court, the National Green Tribunal ( NGT).

During the period of 2018 - 2021, while complying with the directions of NGT in different Matters, CPCB has contributed outstandingly by filing Technical Reports. It has captured the essence of each matter and provided significant inputs.

During the course of dealing with various matters, CPCB coordinated with National leading R & D Institutions of the country and this developed networking to deal with multidisciplinary facets of environmental management.

CPCB reports filed in NGT have been based on field surveys and followed by analysis of samples so collected. CPCB is equipped with Laboratories which are duly notified as 'Environmental Laboratories' under the Environment ( Protection) Act, 1986 which includes recognized under NABL and OSHAS.

In the last three years, the Board dealt Pan India issues in some major areas such as Waste Management, which includes Municipal Solid waste, Plastic Wastes, Biomedical wastes, Hazardous wastes and Electronic wastes; Water Quality Management viz:- Restoration of water quality of identified polluted river stretches, Rejuvenation of water bodies, prevention of coastal pollution and Ground water quality management; Air Quality Management through maintaining air quality in more than 124 non- attainment cities, controlling dust re-suspension, regulation of fire crackers, and Industrial Pollution Control with fine deliberations into national action plans for Polluted industrial clusters, and Sector - specific reports.

It is important to observe that, the Green Court referred the statistics placed by CPCB on its website and based on this information, NGT took up the matters on its own and referring Media reports as well. The Pan - India matters included ; air quality in 124 non-attainment cities, restoration of water quality in 351 polluted river stretches, Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index and action plans for 100 industrial clusters and expanding scope of individual matters to assessing national scenario as situation and actions to be taken for restitution are similar. Some of such matters relates to ; Plastic waste, rejuvenating water bodies, coastal pollution, District environment plans, sector- specific action plans for industries and others.

The notable outputs emerging out of NGT's directions where CPCB's role was predominant, included; laying down procedures of calculating Environment Compensation on important issues, Carrying capacity and Source apportionment studies, determining number of stone crushers and brick kilns to be permitted based on carrying capacity assessment, nationwide collaboration and designing remedial action plans for solid, plastic, electronic, bio-medical and hazardous wastes.

While CPCB extended its immense operating experience to the NGT that has utilised fullest technical experience of the Board, teamed with a set of exceptional Science and Engineering savants; continued its duty at national level also. The Board provides advisory to MoEF&CC, and Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) and importantly, providing technical support to State Pollution Control Boards/ Pollution Control Committee.

Want to comment on fly ash utilization draft notification?

13th May 2021, New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has come out with a corrigendum. It states that in case any comments to be shared with the Ministry regarding G.S.R. 285(E) dated 22nd April, 2021 that pertains to fly ash utilization, one can send your comments to the Ministry through e-mail id: "moefcc-coalash@gov.in”. Read more

Two Tiger Cubs die in Bhandara, Maharashtra

13th May 2021, New Delhi: Two female tiger cubs were found dead in a well near Garada village in Bhandara district of Maharashtra on Wednesday.

According to PTI news, a villager intimated the forest personnel about the cubs lying dead in the well in the morning hours, following which range forest officer Vivek Rajukar was informed, a release by the forest department said. Read more

Union cabinet extends PLI Scheme to ACC Battery Storage

12th May 2021, New Delhi: Ever since Volta discovered in 1800 that certain fluids would generate a flow of electrical power as part of a chemical reaction, the age of batteries was born. With growing need of reliable and environment-friendly storage of electricity, battery storage has seen enormous transition. Battery storage is the future, as India is focusing on electric vehicles.

Today, on 12th May 2021, in a remarkable decision, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Department of Heavy Industry for implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme 'National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’ for achieving manufacturing capacity of Fifty (50) Giga Watt Hour (GWh) of ACC and 5 GWh of "Niche" ACC with an outlay of Rs.18,100 crore.

ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies that can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy and convert it back to electric energy as and when required. The consumer electronics, electric vehicles, advanced electricity grids, solar rooftop etc. which are major battery consuming sectors are expected to achieve robust growth in the coming years. It is expected that the dominant battery technologies will control some of the world's largest growth sectors.

While several companies have already started investing in battery packs, though the capacities of these facilities are too small when compared to global averages, but there still is negligible investment in manufacturing, along with value addition, of ACCs in India. All the demand of the ACCs is currently being met through imports in India. The National Programme on ACC Battery Storage will reduce import dependence. ACC battery Storage manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process. The manufacturing facility would have to be commissioned within a period of two years. The incentive will be disbursed thereafter over a period of five years.

The incentive amount will increase with increased specific energy density & cycles and increased local value addition. Each selected ACC battery Storage manufacturer would have to commit to set-up an ACC manufacturing facility of minimum five (5) GWh capacity and ensure a minimum 60% domestic value addition at the Project level within five years. Furthermore, the beneficiary firms have to achieve a domestic value addition of atleast 25% and incur the mandatory investment Rs.225 crore /GWh within 2 Years (at the Mother Unit Level) and raise it to 60% domestic value addition within 5 Years, either at Mother Unit, in-case of an Integrated Unit, or at the Project Level, in-case of "Hub & Spoke" structure.

The scheme envisages setting up of a cumulative 50 GWh of ACC manufacturing facilities in India under the Programme. A direct investment of around Rs. 45,000 crore in ACC Battery storage manufacturing projects is expected.

The manufacturing of ACCs may fuel the demand for EVs, which are claimed to be significantly less polluting.

By this, the government expects demand creation for battery storage in India.

IREDA gets Green Urja Award

12th May 2021, New Delhi: Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. IREDA has been conferred with “Green Urja Award” for being the Leading Public Institution in Financing Institution for Renewable Energy this year by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The award was received by Pradip Kumar Das, Chairman & Managing Director (CMD), IREDA from Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance (ISA) in presence of Anil Razdan, Chairman, ICC National Expert Committee on Energy in a virtual ceremony held today.

IREDA gets the award for the pivotal and developmental role it plays in Green Energy Financing. Appreciating the members of the jury for selecting IREDA, Das said that he is honoured to receive this award on behalf of IREDA. The award recognises our immense contribution in development of Renewable Energy Sector in line with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

Despite pandemic time, IREDA has ended the year 2020-21 ended on a strong note and disbursed the second highest (from the date of inception) amount of loan amounting to Rs. 8827 crore, which indicates that IREDA has the ability to translate this problem into an opportunity.

IREDA under the administrative control of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) is the only dedicated institution for financing Renewable Energy (RE) & Energy Efficiency (EE) projects in India. Since, its inception the company has played a catalytic role in developing market for financing RE & EE projects. IREDA has over the years sanctioned loans aggregating to Rs. 96,601 crores, disbursed Rs. 63,492 cores and supported more than 17,586 MW of RE capacity in the country till date.

BIS to release Indian Standards for Low-cost EV Charging Points

12th May 2021, New Delhi: Chasing a reduction in the dependence on import of crude oil, India is promoting use of Electric Vehicles (EVs). This transformative mobility program is also expected to reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality. Several initiatives, such as, Mission for Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, are being taken by the NITI Aayog. The launch of FAME-2 incentives are intended to stimulate the production and demand for EVs in India. Yet, the consumer adoption of EVs will also depend on the easy availability of EV charging infrastructure. Potential buyers must be confident of finding chargers for their vehicles when they are away from home.

In India, the share of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) two-wheelers & three-wheelers is ~84% of total vehicle sales. Therefore, the fastest adoption of EVs is expected to be in two-wheelers and three-wheelers. By 2025, forecasts expect up to 4 million of such vehicles could be sold each year, growing to almost 10 million by 2030. This needs a cost effective and easily accessible charging infrastructure.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, in close co-ordination with NITI Aayog team had taken on this challenge. A committee involving all the key stakeholders including EV manufacturers, auto and electronic component suppliers, power utilities, and communication service providers has worked in fast-track mode to develop specifications, prototype products, and undertake testing and validation of the proposed standards. These will be formally issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The Group had set a target price of less than Rs. 3500 for a smart AC charge point operated with a smartphone, for a global breakthrough in affordable EV charging infrastructure. Fast-track development of the standard, close working between industry and government, and diligent testing and validation has met with success. This Low-Cost AC Charge point (LAC) allows up to 3 kW of power to be drawn charging eScooters and eAutorickshaws. The user’s smartphone will communicate with the LAC via low-power Bluetooth and links up to a back-end where transaction payment and analytics are enabled. The user’s smartphone can be used for multiple accounts and payment options.

Several Indian manufacturers are already on board to make this Charge Point Device, as per Indian Standards, with target prices starting as low as Rs. 3500. The LAC device is intended to be highly scalable and deployed in any place where a 220V 15A single phase line is available – mainly targeting parking lots of metro and railway stations, shopping malls, hospitals, office complexes, apartments and even kirana and other shops.

The draft Indian Standard has been taken up by the BIS Committee on Electromobility Standards. The formal release of the standards will be done within next two months, after completion of field and durability trials of sample products. It is expected that a new industry sector will emerge catering to the high volume, low-cost charging infrastructure for EVs.

4 States & UTs have become Har Ghar Jal under Jal Jeevan Mission

11th May 2021, New Delhi: Puducherry has become the 4th among States and Union Territories (UTs) to provide every rural household a tap water connection under the Union Government’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission. Earlier Goa, Telangana and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have already attained this feat.

All 1.16 lakh rural households in Puducherry have tap water supply now. The UT has achieved the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ status much ahead of the target fixed. During Annual Action Plan finalization of the UT in April, 2021. The UT is also planning to get NABL accreditation for its water quality testing laboratories and take up testing of all drinking water sources on a campaign mode. The National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is the leading under organization to offer ISO 17025: 2017 in India

The UT of Puducherry is now planning for effective treatment and reuse of greywater coming out of homes. The UT is actively working towards water source sustainability. The four regions, namely Pondicherry Region, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe region are at different locations, geographically separated from each other. Puducherry is blessed with various rivers and tributaries. Five rivers in Puducherry district, seven in Karaikal district, two in Mahé district and one in Yanam district drain into the sea, but none originates within the territory. Puducherry has 84 irrigation tanks and more than 500 ponds which are the lifeline for groundwater recharging systems, drinking water and agriculture. Puducherry has been consistently working towards de-silting of ponds & rejuvenation of its local water bodies, which is crucial for drinking water supply schemes. An effective community mobilisation & participation is achieved through a well-charted IEC plan by the UT.

Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of the Union Government, which aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024. Under Jal Jeevan Mission, in 2021-22, in addition to Rs 50,011 Crore budgetary allocation for JJM, there is also Rs 26,940 Crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission tied-grant to RLB/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided as well as State funded projects. Thus, in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh Crore is planned to be invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes. This kind of investment in rural areas will boost the rural economy.

NGT vigilant on Industrial Accidents

6th May 2021, New Delhi: Industrial accidents are not unknown. Last year, there were several industrial accidents including LG Polymers, in the post-lockdown phase. There have been many industrial accidents took place in past and settled at local level by way of compensating the victims. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy changed the dynamics of Central and State governance on averting these tragedies.

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Assam Girl develops Biodegradable Yoga Mat

4th May 2021, New Delhi: Quantum of waste, especially, the disposable wastes, has posed an increasing challenge to the information age civilization. Equally coming new ideas, new products to reduce the wastes. In particular, a shift from non-biodegradable to biodegradable products. Recently, a six year young girl from the fishing community in Assam, has developed a biodegradable and compostable yoga mat from water hyacinth. It could turn this water plant from a nuisance to wealth.

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Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil

4th May 2021, New Delhi: In another significant move to make India self reliant in diesel fuel, biodiesel is produced from Used Cooking Oil (UCO).

On the eve of World Biofuel Day 10th August 2019, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, along with Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, had initiated the move for collection and conversion of UCO into Biodiesel and developing entrepreneurship opportunities,

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Asiatic Lions tested positive for SARS-CoV2, recovering

4th May 2021, New Delhi: Human only is not affected by the corona virus. Asiatic lions in Hyderabad zoo were also found to be affected. On the 24th April 2021 with an abundance of caution, Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), Hyderabad shared samples (as collected from nose, throat and respiratory tract under anaesthesia) with CCMB-LaCONES for eight Asiatic lions housed in the Zoo that had showed signs of respiratory distress. Based on detailed diagnostic tests and report as shared by CCMB-LaCONES on 4th May 2021, it has now been confirmed that eight Asiatic lions housed in NZP, Hyderabad have tested positive for SARS-CoV2 virus.

Further analyses of the samples have revealed that the infection was not caused by any variant of concern. The eight lions have been isolated and due care and necessary treatment has been provided. All the eight lions have responded well to the treatment and recovering. They are behaving normally and eating well. Preventive measures are already in place for all zoo staff and the zoo has been closed to visitors to avoid minimal external contact.

According to a release from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Central Zoo Authority has taken several pre-emptive measures including issuance of guidelines and advisories to the zoos towards precautions to be undertaken by zoos in the light of increasing number of cases of SARS CoV-2 .

The monitoring and guidelines for prevention, sample collection, detection in suspected cases, and safety protocols for animal keepers etc have been suggested to zoos in consultation with scientific agencies and experts Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) Uttar Pradesh and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology – Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (CCMB-LaCONES) Hyderabad. Such advisories are readily available in public domain http://cza.nic.in/news/en .

As part of next steps new guidelines for COVID precautions are being further developed in consultation with experts. Additional information shall be issued as warranted.

Based on experience with zoo animals elsewhere in the world that have experienced SARS-COV2 positive last year, there is no factual evidence that animals can transmit the disease to humans any further.

April 2021 Air Quality Index

2nd May 2021, New Delhi: Air quality index (AQI) is used to communicate to the public how polluted the air. It is also used to forecast the air pollution level. Public health risks increase as the AQI rises. India has its own AQI, corresponding to the national ambient air quality standards with indication to the health impacts.

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Good News on Medical Oxygen Supply

Industries producing Medical Oxygen by Converting Nitrogen Plants

1st May 2021, New Delhi: A good news has come from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change regarding medical oxygen production from industrial establishment. Lately, medical oxygen shortage amidst COVID-19 pandemic is fury added to fury. Taking the grave situation in to account and to further augment availability of oxygen for medical purposes in the country, the Central Government had asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), to identify the industries having spare nitrogen plants and explore the feasibility of converting of existing Nitrogen plants to produce oxygen. CPCB with the help of State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) have identified such potential industries, wherein existing Nitrogen generation plants may be spared for production of oxygen. Consultation have been held with potential industrial units and experts

About 30 industries have been identified. In these industrial units efforts have started to modify nitrogen plants for the production of medical oxygen. Some of these plants can be shifted to nearby hospitals for supplying oxygen. In the case where shifting of nitrogen plant is not feasible, oxygen can be produced in the industry.

According to information shared by the MoEFCC, UPL Ltd. converted one 50 Nm3/hr capacity Nitrogen plant to produce oxygen using Zeolite Molecular Sieve, and installed it at L G Rotary Hospital, Vapi (Gujarat). This plant is producing 0.5 ton of oxygen per day and is operational since 27th April 2021. UPL Ltd. is also under process of conversion of three more plants. On conversion to oxygen plants, these plants will be installed at hospitals in Surat and Ankaleshwar.

In the existing nitrogen plants, replacing Carbon Molecular Sieve (CMS) with Zeolite Molecular Sieve (ZMS) and few other changes such as installation of oxygen analyzer, change in control panel system, flow valves etc., oxygen for medical use can be produced. With the availability of ZMS, such modified plant can be set-up in 4-5 days while installation of new oxygen plant may take minimum 3-4 weeks.

Oxygen produced in on-site plants has to be compressed and filled in cylinders/special vessels using high pressure compressor for transporting to hospitals. Facilitation is being provided to these industries for completion of work at the earliest. This will help to give a fillip to the medical oxygen availability.

C. N. Pandey led EAC recommends Show Cause Notice to EIA Consultants

EAC observes several flaws in reports submitted by EIA consultants Ardra Consulting Services, GreenC India Consulting

29th April 2021, New Delhi: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry Projects (Industry-1 Sector) constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) while appraising the application for expansion of a steel plant project by AMMAN-TRY Sponge & Power Pvt. Ltd. found several flaws in the EIA report. The EAC has recommended to issue Show Cause Notice to the Bhubaneshwar based EIA consultant, Ardra Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd.

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Rail Double-tracking in Goa seems iffy

27th April 2021, New Delhi: According to PTI, the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee has recommended revocation of the permission granted by the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) for double-tracking the South-Western railway track which runs through Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary and the National Park at Mollem.

The double-tracking project has been strongly opposed by environmentalists who claim that it will threaten the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.

The panel, in its 23rd April report, has stated that it did not find any justification for undertaking the rail double-tracking project which will destroy the fragile eco-system of the Western Ghats- an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot and also one of the most important wildlife corridors of the country.

Citing that the doubling project will only be marginally enhancing the capacity of the most inefficient section of the railway network passing through the ecologically sensitive and bio-diversity rich tiger reserve, two wildlife sanctuaries, and a national park; the committee has submitted a 110-page report recommending Supreme Court to consider revocation of the permission granted by the standing committee of the NBWL.

Several locals groups had raised objections over three linear projects, including double-tracking of the South Western Railway line, four-laning of a national highway and laying of a power transmission line by the Goa Tamnar Transmission Project Limited (GTTPL).

The projects were cleared by the NBWL's standing committee despite apprehensions that they would severely affect the bio-diversity of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park at Mollem, both located on the Goa-Karnataka border.

The committee was formed following an application filed before the Supreme Court by the Goa Foundation NGO.

MoEFCC brings back CAQM through fresh Ordinance

26th April 2020, New Delhi: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has brought back the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas through a new Ordinance vide S.O. 1687(E) Dated 23rd April 2021.

Dr. M. M. Kutty, Ex-Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will act as Full-time Chairperson, while Ramesh K. J., Ex-Director General, IMD will be the Full-time Technical Member. Arvind Kumar Nautiyal, Joint Secretary has been named as Full-time Member Secretary.

Ashish Dhawan, Air Pollution Action Group is a NGO Member. There are nine ex-officio members from MoEFCC, Central Pollution Control Board, National Institution for Transforming India Aayog, Secretaries from Govt. of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan. Alongside, the commission has also got five associate members from different ministries of the central government.

MoEFCC's E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Taxonomy for the year 2020

22.04.2021, New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has invited applications from taxonomists with outstanding contribution in the field of Plant Taxonomy, Animal Taxonomy, and Microbial Taxonomy under the scheme of E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Taxonomy for the year 2020.

The three awards by MoEFCC will be known as ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Plant Taxonomy’, ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Animal Taxonomy’ and ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Microbial Taxonomy’. Eash awar carries ₹500,000/= cash alongwith citation, scroll, and Medallion.

It is important note that earlier, there was only one award on Taxonomy covering all the three fields of Botany, Zoology, and study of Micro-organisms.

MoEFCC has set 31st May 2021 as the last date of receiving nominations. Detailed information about eligibility with application formats is available on the Ministry’s site moef.gov.in.

Earth Day 2021: Restore Our Earth

Pervez Ahmad

22.04.2021, New Delhi: The United Nations General Assembly designated 22nd April as International Mother Earth Day through a resolution adopted in 2009. However, the original roots go back to the 1970s when environmental protection was not yet a priority of the national political agendas.

The Day recognises the Earth and its ecosystems as humanity's common home and the need to protect her to enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity. The theme for 2021 is Restore our Earth.

On this eve, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate at the invitation of President of U.S.A. Joseph R. Biden, being held virtually on 22-23 April 2021. Prime Minister will make his remarks in the Leaders’ Session 1 on 22 April 2021 from 5.30 to 7.30 pm IST on "Our Collective Sprint to 2030”.

Nearly 40 other world leaders are participating in the Summit. They will represent countries which are members of the Major Economies Forum (India is a member), and those vulnerable to climate change, among others. The Leaders will exchange views on climate change, enhancing climate actions, mobilising finance towards climate mitigation and adaptation, nature based solutions, climate security as well as technological innovations for clean energy.

The Leaders will also deliberate on how the world can align climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, while respecting national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.

The Summit is a part of a series of global meetings focusing on climate issues, being held in the run up to COP26 in November 2021.

All sessions will be live streamed and open to the media and public.

Jharkhand most vulnerable to climate

20.04.2021, New Delhi: Climate change is the global phenomenon and is a growing challenge to humanity and sustainable development. There is now enough evidence that the earth’s climate is changing, and it is adversely affecting both biophysical like mountains, rivers, forests, wetlands, etc., and also the socio-economic systems such as hill and coastal communities, agriculture, animal husbandry, etc. India ranks 5th in the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index – 2019, out of 181 countries. This implies an extremely high exposure and vulnerability.

The National climate vulnerability assessment report released today has identified Jharkhand, Mizoram, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal as states highly vulnerable to climate change. These states, mostly in the eastern part of the country, require prioritization of adaptation interventions, the report pointed out.

The report titled ‘Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India Using a Common Framework’, which identifies the most vulnerable states and districts in India with respect to current climate risk and key drivers of vulnerability, was released by DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma.

Global Pact on Food Tech Regulation needs attention

New Delhi, 15th April 2021: Expressing serious concern over the lack of proper global regulation on technologies affecting the food system, India is considering suggesting to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN to facilitate discussions on an international protocol or an agreement or a global authority on such technologies. “There are a lot of technological changes happening. In many cases, we do not have the right kind of regulation to ensure proper use of such technologies. Should we be asking the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN to help prepare some global protocol on whatever technologies are coming? So, could we or should we have some kind of global agreement on these or should a global authority be advising on these,” Professor Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, said. He was speaking at a webinar organised by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and NITI Aayog on ‘National Consultation on Issues Before the UN Food Systems Summit’.

The event was held in the backdrop of the UN announcing that a Food Systems Summit (FSS) will be held in September 2021 in conjunction with the UN General Assembly. This Summit has assumed wider significance in the context of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which exposed the fragilities in global food systems and their vulnerabilities to external shocks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to deliver his address during the summit. The 2021 FSS event has outlined five cross-cutting Action Tracks such as: Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food; Shift towards Healthy and Sustainable Consumption Patterns; Boosting Nature Positive Production at Sufficient Scale; Advancing Equitable Livelihoods; and Building Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks and Stresses.

In his valedictory address, Shri Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance drew upon contemporary challenges of agriculture livelihoods, and the emerging transformative changes and new institutional mechanisms in India for value creation through modern food processing system, with equal emphasis on sustainable food ecosystem. He duly stressed on the importance of access to markets and investments in this sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Sachin Chaturvedi, Director-General, RIS, said given the food security concerns of the developing world, India has volunteered for Action Track 4 (that is related to advancing equitable livelihoods). He said the Indian government, through its food security welfare scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, reached out to the masses including the migrant labour and ensured their food security during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts at the meeting spoke about the inequities being perpetrated in the global agriculture system with developed countries trying to formalise their first mover advantage in the World Trade Organization negotiations by not agreeing to reducing their trade distorting subsidies, and instead have not only brought in non-tariff barriers in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary or SPS measures but are also putting pressure on the developing countries to cut tariffs. Mr. Pawan Kumar Agarwal, Special Secretary (Logistics), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, though trade issues were only a small subset of the UN food systems discussions, they should be now highlighted from the perspective of hunger, safety and livelihood. There is also a need to advance the work on revisiting global and regional arrangements of food safety so that they are looked at from the objectives of the UN FSS, he said. The webinar addressed various issues related to ‘livelihood security and impli cations for trade in agriculture’ and ‘equitable access to technology for sustainable food systems.’

Havells India: A Water Positive Co.

Sustainability Report Fails to impress without e-waste compliance data

One of the India’s largest Fast Moving Electrical Goods (FMEG) and consumer durables company, Havells India Limited (HIL) is imbued with a culture of innovation that steers its sustainability agenda. It was having 12 manufacturing plants as per 2017-18 report, and as per 2019-20 now 14 manufacturing facilities across India.

In his message, Anil Rai Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, has stated that the company has been a water positive company since FY 2015-16, which is especially significant, as most of Havells manufacturing units are in water-deficit regions. The company’s water recharge capacity increased from 187,802 Kilolitres (KL) during 2018-19, to approximately 200,762 KL in FY 2019-20.

During FY 2019-20, Havells planted more than 3.5 Lakhs trees, to balance and offset the paper and wood consumption. Havells stated to have been gradually moving to become a paper and wood negative Company and towards this ambition, we plan on developing 900 hectares of green cover by 2023.

At Havells total energy consumed during 2019-20 increased to 426,810.8 GJ from 355,887 GJ during 2017-18. Nearly 4.69% of total energy consumption was sourced from renewable sources. The report claims to have reduced 37% energy intensity during FY 2019-20 (with FY 2015-16 as the base year). It is also reported that more than 40 energy saving projects were undertaken resulting in energy savings of ~1317.1 Mwh and elimination of 1,080 MT of CO2 emissions.

The report also shows that Sulphur Dioxide emission was increased to 0.18 MT from 0.15 MT, and Oxides of Nitrogen was increased from 3.4 MT to 4.5 MT. There was no details of furnace oil earlier used.

The report states decline in direct GHG emissions from 7,339 to 6,886 mtCO2e, while the indirect GHG emissions increased from 68,859 to 69,275 mtCO2e. Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) emissions decreased from 23.6 to 16.8 Kg CFC equivalent and 429 Kg R-22 consumption to 335.9 Kg.

The report also depicts total water consumption to be 135260 KL, which was nearly 15% less than the previous year consumption. 78,500 KL of groundwater was utilized during the period of reporting, against 31,400 KL of water supplied by Municipal body and 28,000 KL water supplied from unknown source, which is ostensibly groundwater. It is however, not clear about the approval status of ground water abstraction. The Sustainability Report further shows that 59,100 KL treated sewage and 15,300 KL of treated effluent was recycled.

The report states that Havells has maintained a stringent waste management system for hazardous and non-hazardous waste generated in our premises. For the reporting year, ~9,544 MT of non-hazardous waste was recycled and 661 MT was reused that included, metal, rubber and plastic scrap, which was sold to authorised waste recyclers. All the hazardous waste generated in our manufacturing plants are stored and disposed according to the applicable regulatory laws and guidelines provided by State Pollution Control Board/Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. There were no significant spills reported in the current year. Total hazardous waste transported for the disposal was 203.3 MT.

The report also informs that about 93% of company’s non-hazardous waste is re-used and recycled of our total waste generated. Havells has completely replaced the use of thermocol with pulp trays in our cartons of fan motors. Pulp offers several benefits, including stable cost bases and excellent cushioning properties. Moreover, it is a sustainable product, fully recyclable, biodegradable and compliant with ISO 14000 series and European Green Dot Standards.

Havells, has reduced our consumption of R-22 gas by more than 50%. R-22 is being replaced with R-134 coolant gas and during the reporting year, 204 kg of R134a was consumed.

During FY 2019-20, Havells total environmental expenditure stood at ₹2.4 Crores.

The report may further provide details of e-waste management practices and clearly show the volume of electronic wastes generated and disposed. Also, the status of groundwater approvals, the process of which is now quite simplified by the government.

Indian Scientists find solution to sewer problems

14.04.2021, New Delhi: Oftentimes, new pipelines are being laid over the old system while the old pipelines are still functional.

The stench emanating from sewers could be an indicator of what’s taking place within the pipeline. It is not entirely the smell of generated waste such as faecal and industrial discharges flowing through it. Studies show, sometimes, the strongest, the most offensive smell is generated in the sewer itself from inorganic compounds produced in the sewer from natural biology. These odor-generating conditions are also the main cause behind corrosion leading to degradation and eventual failure of sewer pipelines.

Corrosion is a serious problem plaguing the sewer system all over the world as old pipelines are ignored and in a state of deterioration and collapse.

Indian Scientists with Saudi Arabia collaboration have developed an electronic nose with biodegradable polymer and monomer that can detect Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), a poisonous, corrosive, and flammable gas produced from swamps and sewers. Sulfate-reducing bacteria oxidize organic matter with sulfate in anaerobic conditions i.e. the absence of oxygen or nitrate and form sulfides. The production of hydrogen sulfide takes place at low flow velocity and temperatures above 15 to 20°C in gravity sewers.

Biological activity increases at high temperatures, increasing the consumption of oxygen and the production of sulfide.

H2S is the primary gas produced from the microbial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, and this necessitates easy detection of its emission from sewers and swamps.

Scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bangalore, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, in collaboration with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, have developed an exceptionally sensitive and selective H2S Gas sensor developed by impersonating the neuron responsible for identification of airborne molecules or olfactory receptor neuron (ORN).

This development envisaged to create a major impact on groundwater, and soil environment, besides huge direct cost savings. (More in print version)

MoEFCC extends last date for Medini Puraskar 2020-21 Application

14.04.2021, New Delhi: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has extended the last date for application submission under its Medini Puraskar Yojana 2020-21.

The objective of Medini Puraskar Scheme is to encourage Indian authors to write books originally in Hindi on the subject Environment and related subjects such as . (i) Environment Protection; (ii) Pollution Control; (iii) Environmental Impact Assessment; (iv) Ecological Restoration and Development; (v) Forest Conservation; (vi) Forest Resources and Development; (vii) Protection of Wildlife; (viii) Biodiversity; (ix) Climate Change; (x) Conservation of Nature and Biosphere Reserve; (xi) Environment Education; and (xii) Nature & Environment related topics/subjects etc.

Original books published after 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2021 for the last three consecutive years and at least 100 printed pages of dimai size would be accepted for consideration for awards.

Cash awards to be given under the scheme are :- First prize Rs. 1,00,000/- (one) Second prize Rs. 75,000/- (one) Third prize Rs. 50,000/- (one) Consolation prize Rs. 25,000/- (one)

Any book which has received any award, subsidy or any financial assistance under any similar scheme, being operated by Government of India or any State Government or any organisation would not be eligible for consideration for the said award. Authors, whose books have already been awarded by the Ministry, would not be eligible for participating under the scheme for the next three years.

Any Indian author may send his/her entries, duly filled in the prescribed proforma, alongwith seven copies of his/her book, latest by 15th May, 2021 (revised date) to the Director (OL), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Room No.P227, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, Aliganj, New Delhi-110003.

Detailed proforma can be had from website http://www.envfor.nic.in

Hydrogen Roundtable on 15th April

Amidst growing pressure on climate commitments, Hydrogen is gaining increasing importance as a source to bridge energy gaps and also as a standalone source to conventional fuels.

To discuss emerging hydrogen ecosystems and exploring opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and coalition, a virtual Hydrogen Roundtable is being organized on 15th April 2021 by the Energy Forum (TEF) and the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI), under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. The Roundtable event titled “Hydrogen Economy- the Indian Dialogue-2021” can be accessed from www.futureenergyasia.com/hydrogen-economy, from 2 pm (IST) on 15th April 2021.

3000 participants expected.

5th Annual Apex India Awards and Conference on Health & Safety

09.04.2021, New Delhi: In a glittering event organized by Apex India Foundation at Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, New Delhi, many Corporate, Industry stalwarts and professionals were awarded for their outstanding contribution in the field of Occupational Safety and HR Excellence.

Eminent Defence Expert Major General (Retd.) P. K. Saighal graced the occasion as Guest of Honour. In his powerful address to distinguished delegates from corporate and industry across India, he pointed out that akin to the industry professionals, Indian Defence Officers, too handle acutely challenging situations with extreme care to protect national assets, as well as human and environment. He opined more interaction between industry and defence persons could strengthen industrial and social safety.

Lauding achievements of award recipients, Kuldeep Singh, President, Apex India Foundation said that in the current pandemic inflicted society, corporates and industries have exhibited phenomenal contribution to occupational safety, employee health, and inspiring HR practices is phenomenal. He said Apex India Foundation recognition could motivate many others to excel in their respective organizations and ultimately for a great nation.

Manoj Tiwari, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Guest of Honour for the event, shared a video message congratulating all the award winners. He also applauded Apex India’s initiatives, describing it as of hidden but high significance in nation building.

Ravikant Somani, Former EVP and Corporate Head – Occupational HSE, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., deliberated that Health, Safety and Wellbeing of workers is one of the most important pillars for any profitable and sustainable business. He called upon industries to switch towards influential leadership approach, which advocates regular and active involvement of senior leadership to influence the company’s policies in such a way that health, safety and wellbeing of workers is kept in the centre of every business decisions.

Emphasizing safety as an Integral part of manufacturing and production, Tusar Ranjan Pattnaik, Dabur India, said if everybody adopts safety as a way of life and practically demonstrate on the ground, injuries can be reduced to a great extent. It can further culminate a positive atmosphere within company employees, in addition to elevating their morale.

Ravinder Kumar Tyagi, Ex Country Head - EHS at Marathon Electric India Pvt. Ltd., enlightened on the Role of Petroleum and Safety Organization in various Industries in order to control and regulate storage and handling of Flammable Liquids viz. Diesel, Petroleum Products and Flammable Gases. He also shared insights of the New Labour Codes of India – Changes and impact on industry and non-industry businesses, which are constituted with the objective of simplifying Labour laws which is need of the hour.

Sanjaya K. Mishra, Editor of Environmental weekly newspaper, Enviro Annotations made a presentation on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Indian context. He deliberated on qualitative measurement of air pollutants, in which service buyer industry and corporates must look into aspects beyond laboratory accreditation to ensure value for money. He also called upon the industry and non-industry businesses to maintain better ambient air quality, as it greatly impacts the IAQ.

Industry giants from various sectors such as Automobile, Bank, Cement, Power, Petroleum, Petroleum & Refinery, FMCG, Metal & Mining, Paper, Pharmaceuticals, Fertilizer, Breweries, Construction, Cargo and Port etc. participated in the award programme. World class companies, like ONGC, NTPC, Ambuja, Ultratech Cement, BPCL, HPCL, Shapoorji, NLC India, Dabur India, Jindal Steel & Power, Godrej, Sree Jayajyothi Cement, Orient Cement, Kesoram Industries, BSES Power, NMDC, Nordex, JSW Cement, The Ramco Cement, Rohan Builders, Orient Electrics, Northern Coalfields, NTPC-SAIL Power, Welspun India, Oil India, Marai Overseas, Union Bank of India, Cipla Ltd., Vizag General Cargo Berth, Adani Enterprises, Shriram Rayons, Carlsberg India, Ashoka Concessions Ltd., JSW Paradip Terminal, Aravali Power Company are among the eminent ones, those bagged awards.

The award programme and conference received a high voltage response from various categories industries, despite C19 fear. With another glaring success and spirit, Apex India Foundation is now inviting nominations for "Apex India Environmental Excellence Awards 2020”. The foundation welcomes wide participation of Corporates, Industries, MSMEs, Hotels, Hospitals, Institutions, and Individuals who are doing remarkable works in the domain.

Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2021

No import of PVC pipes & fittings using lead or lead compounds as stabilizer

7th April 2021, New Delhi: Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India has brought two important notifications. G.S.R. 243(E) , called the Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2021, which comes into force on the date of publication that is 31st March 2021 - pertains to Thermal Power Plant (TPP). The notification has provision for the formation of a task force shall be by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) comprising of representative from MoEFCC, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and CPCB to categorise TPPs in three categories on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms within the time limit.

TPPs within 10 km radius of National Capital Region or cities having more than a million population will be reckoned as Category A, while within 10 km radius of Critically Polluted Areas or Non-attainment cities (as defined by CPCB) to be categorized as Category B. In Category C will fall all other than those included in category A and B.

For Category A, the time line for compliance shall be up to 31" December 2022 irrespective of Retiring or Non-retiring units, while for the Category B, the time line for compliance shall be 31st December 2023 for non-retiring units and 31st December 2025 for retiring units. Compliance timeline for Category C, shall be 31st December 2024 for non-retiring units and 31st December 2025 for retiring units.

There will be Environmental Compensation Charges for Non-Compliant operation beyond the Timeline 0 to 180 days, 180 to 365 days and above 365 days. The rates based on per unit electricity generated has been notified for different categories.

Another one is G.S.R. 228(E) called the Lead Stabilizer in Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Pipes and Fittings Rules, 2021, shall come into force six months after the date of publication that is 30th March 2021. This notification pertains to compliance with the limits of the lead extraction, as specified for the Indian Standards by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). According to the rules, the manufacturer shall obtain a licence from BIS within a period of six months from the date of publication of the rules (30th September 2021) in accordance with Scheme-I of Schedule-II of the Bureau of Indian Standards (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018. Further, the manufacturers shall have to mark the "Standard Mark" on all the PVC pipes and fittings in accordance with the specification provided in the licence issued by the BIS.

The rules have the provision that manufacturers of PVC pipes and fittings shall be prohibited to use lead or lead compounds as stabilizer in manufacturing of such PVC pipes and fittings as provided in column.

Further, as per the rules, no importer of the PVC pipes and fittings shall be allowed to import such PVC pipes and fittings manufactured using lead or lead compounds as stabilizer for items specified in the Schedule after expiry of three months from the date of publication of these rules. Sale and import of the PVC Pipes and Fittings falling under category A, B and C in the Schedule shall be regulated through this notification, except export.

India's One Year of CMS COP Presidency

6th April 2021, New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has brought details of the actions undertaken during year 2020-21 with the help of the Scientific communities, Civil Society Organizations; as was promised during the COP at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The report "First year of CMS COP Presidency" mentions about the launch of ‘National Marine Turtle Action Plan (2021-26)’ on 28th January 2021. It also deliberates on the release of the guidelines for managing marine megafauna stranding, viz., ‘The Marine Mega Fauna Stranding Management Guidelines’ which is the first of its kind in the country. The Guidelines have taken into account the global best practices in management of marine mega fauna stranding. This guideline is in sync with various decisions of CMS COP-13 pertaining to Cetacean conservation and reducing by-catch.

The report also lists “Eco-Friendly Measures to Mitigate Impacts of Linear Infrastructure on Wildlife” and Prime Minister's announcement of National Programme ‘Project Dolphin’ aimed to bring more focussed conservation of Dolphins (both riverine and marine) on the eve of 74th Independence Day celebrations on 15th August 2020.

For conservation of Elephants, including their safe natural migration across international borders, as well as to mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts, India initiated a series of dialogues with the Government of Bangladesh on trans-boundary conservation of elephants which resulted in drafting a Protocol on Trans-boundary Elephant Conservation between Republic of Bangladesh and Republic of India. The Protocol was signed by both the countries on 17th December, 2020.

The report highlights Government of India signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Myanmar for cooperation on combating of timber trafficking and conservation of tigers and other wildlife. Actions initiated for the conservation of Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), a critically endangered bird, Vultures, Migratory Birds, and Snow Leopards are also listed in the report.

During this pandemic year, India has issued an Advisory for Voluntary Disclosure of Exotic Live Species, with the objectives of creating a unified information system of the stock of exotic live species at the State/Central level through voluntary disclosure and the use of that database towards controlling and management of zoonotic diseases, and for facilitating better management of the species and providing guidance to their holders for their proper care and well-being. This initiative is also in sync with CMS COP 13 Decision 13.16 to 13.19 in connection with international trade in Appenix –I listed migratory species. .

During the first year of CMS COP Presidency, India has developed its National Action Plan for conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway. In pursuance of UNEP/CMS/Resolution 12.11 (Rev. COP 13) on flyways and CMS COP 13 decision - 13.46, India has taken initiatives for creating a common platform for promoting research, capacity building and conservation initiatives and is finalizing a programme in association with the CMS Secretariat to build the capacity of CAF range countries for preparation of thier respective National Action Plans for conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) came into force in November 1983. India became a Party to the CMS in November 1983. The 13h Conference of Parties (COP) to the CMS was held in Gandinagar, Gujarat in February 2020.

Jal Jeevan Mission issues widely deliberated in last Parliament Session

5th April 2021, New Delhi: Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented in a partnership between Centre and State Govt. The programme kickstarted in August 2019 with an aim to provide tap water connection to every rural household off the country by 2024. In the recently concluded Budget Session of the Parliament, issues pertaining to Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), especially JJM got huge attention of MPs. Considering the important role of the Members of Parliament can play in the implementation of JJM, the MoJS has issued advisory to all the States and UTs, thereby considering suggestions from Members of Parliament as well as encouraging the MPs to discuss issues related to implementation of the Mission in District Development Coordination & Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting for time-bound completion of works.

In the eight sittings of the recently concluded Budget Session commenced on 4th February 2021 and lasted till 25th March 2021, 10 Starred Questions and 94 Unstarred Questions relating to JJM were asked by various Members of Parliament in both the Houses. Wide range of questions related to piped water supply in rural households in States/ UTs, implementation of JJM, provision of safe drinking water in water quality-affected areas, sustainability of drinking water sources, functionality of tap water connections, allocation of funds under JJM, etc. were asked. Union Minister of Jal Shakti has replied to the starred questions on the floor of both the Houses highlighting the progress of JJM.

According to National Jal Jeevan Mission, since the launch of JJM more than 4 crore households have been provided with Functional Household Tap water Connection (FHTC). More than 38% rural households are now connected with FHTC. Goa, Telengana and Andamans & Nicobar Islands have reportedly 100% FHTC. There are 58 districts in the country with 100% FHTC

In the month of March during break of the session, Parliamentary Standing Committee also scrutinized the performance of Jal Jeevan Mission. In its report tabled in the Parliament, the Standing Committee appreciated the effort being made under the mission and also gave a number of recommendations. The budget for Jal Jeevan Mission in 2021-22 has been increased to Rs. 50,011 Crore from Rs. 11,000 Crore in 2020-21. In addition, funds for water supply are also coming from 15th Finance Commission tied grants to RLB/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided projects. Thus in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh crore is planned to invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes.

Green Heroes in Prime Minister's 75th Mann ki Baat

Javadekar urges States to aptly utilize FAME Fund

29.03.2021, New Delhi: Representatives of State Pollution Control Boards, Urban Local Bodies and Institutes of Repute signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 26th March 2021 for 132 identified cities for the implementation of city specific action plans under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar was also present on the occasion. Javadekar said that concerted efforts are required by the State Governments and all concerned for improving air quality in the country towards realizing the vision of ‘Swatch Bharat, Swatch Vayu’ and exhorted all to work in mission mode.

"Today's initiative is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of curbing air pollution by 20% in the next 4 years in over 100 cities… it is not an easy task but a tough challenge which we all need to achieve together." said the Union Environment Minister.

The Minister urged the States to quickly procure e-buses for public transport purpose sanctioned under the FAME Scheme. Regretting that despite allocation of funds for 6000 e-buses to different cities across the country only 600 buses have been procured and are operational, he said if any city fails to utilise the funds sanctioned for procurement of e-buses the allocation will go to other cities.

The city action plans have been prepared to control specific air pollution sources through multidimensional actions by brining several implementation agencies together. Expansion of ambient air quality network, source apportionment studies, public awareness, grievance redressal mechanism and sector specific action points are part of these action plans.

Clean Energy Transition Measures

25.03.2021, New Delhi: Government of India has set a target for installing 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity (excluding large hydro) by the end of 2021-22. this includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from Biomass and 5 GW from Small Hydro.

In order to become self-reliant in power generation and achieving energy transition towards clean energy, Government has inter-alia taken several measures, which were outlined by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, New & Renewable Energy and the Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship R.K. Singh.

Phase-wise retirement of old polluting coal based power plants , and setting up of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks to provide land and transmission to RE developers on a plug and play basis are two such measures among others, informed by the Minister in Lok Sabha today.

CSIR - CMERI develops products for better environment

25.03.2021, New Delhi: The CSIR- Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) has developed technology for Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Disposal System in modular form depending on the requirement of the end user. The different modules of technology transfer consists of separation of solid component from liquid waste utilizing screw based press, regenerative hot air drying system from hot flue gas of pyrolysis plant, briquetting machine, composting of separated solid. CSIR-CMERI has transferred five modules of technology to companies for utilization of solid component of liquid waste from sewage treatment plant/effluent treatment plant.

The Waste Management technology is expected to help in achieving decentralized decimation of solid wastes, and also in creating value-added end-products from abundantly available redundant stuffs such as dry leaves, dry grass etc. it is also claimed to be designed for scientific disposal of solid waste as per the Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM) 2016.

The Oxygen Enrichment Unit developed by CMERI, is a device, which concentrates the Oxygen from the air around us by selectively removing nitrogen to supply an oxygen-enriched air. The concentrated oxygen is delivered to the patient with breathing-related problems through oxygen mask or nasal cannula to improve oxygenation in the blood. The device may be used in Homes or Hospital type facilities for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema. It may be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea (in conjunction with a continuous positive airway pressure unit).

The technology is anticipated to be useful for the households due to the rise in pollution and at the hospitals for providing the enriched oxygen for the pulmonary diseases. It would also be equally effective for high altitude terrain soldiers for their contingency purposes due to its smooth portability.

In the context of the present pandemic, the Intelligent UVC LED Sterilizer Unit brings an extra protection. This is because hand washing and use of mask may not be enough if objects of regular usage like mobile, wallet or key chains are budding with germs. Inspite of our best preventive measures, it calls for one tainted object to make entry of infection inside the house. CSIR CMERI brings an intelligent, ultra-portable, safe UVC Led based disinfection technology, designed to sterilize germs, right to your doorstep for you and your dear ones to be safe at the touch of a button, either at home or while enjoying a long ride. The design facilitates wireless and sensor based operation with added features for safety of users. Deployment of this Sterilizer Unit at Schools and Industrial units would be vital for continuing their businesses during the resurgence of the pandemic.

Where to raise voice to protect waterbody in your area?

23.03.2021, New Delhi: Coincidentally, on the eve of World Water Day 2021, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an Order pertaining to remove encroachments from a water body near HSIIDC, Village Sersa, Tehsil Rai, District Sonipat. Smt. Neelam, Sarpanch, in her Original Application No. 69/2021 has stated that the water body was earlier source of water for the village but in the course of time, sewage wastage is being diverted to the water body. Finally, the same has been trespassed for illegal constructions but no action has been taken.

The Principal Bench of NGT headed by Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that the matter of restoration of water bodies has been dealt with by the Tribunal vide order dated 18.11.2020 in O.A. No. 325/2015, Lt. Col. Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi v. UOI & Ors. Any individual grievances may be first raised before the appropriate Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM) or by moving the concerned District Magistrate, which may be looked into on merits.

In the Order pertaining to O.A. No. 325/2015 the NGT has directed all States and UTs to designate a nodal agency for restoration of water bodies, if no such agency exists. The designated nodal agency, under the oversight of the Chief Secretaries of the States, UTs should hold meeting before 31st January 2021 to take stock of the situation and plan further steps, including directions to District Authorities for further course of action up to Panchayat levels and to evolve further monitoring mechanism as well as Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM).

The designated nodal agency was also directed to submit periodical reports to the Central Pollution Control Committee (CPCB) and Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India. First such report may be furnished by 28th February 2021.

Prime Minister addresses Nation on World Water Day 2021

22.03.2021, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan-II: Catch the Rain’ campaign on World Water Day 2021 via video conferencing. On this eve, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Union Minister of Jal Shakti and the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to implement the Ken-Betwa Link Project, the first project of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of rivers, in the presence of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also interacted with sarpanches and ward panches in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said on International Water Day, a major step has also been taken for the Ken-Betwa Link Canal along with the introduction of the Catch The Rain campaign. He added this agreement is important to realize Atal ji's dream in the interest of millions of families of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He opined that rapid development is impossible without water security and effective water management. He added that the vision of India's development and India's self-reliance, is dependent on our water sources and our Water Connectivity.

The challenge of the water crisis is increasing equally with India’s development said the Prime Minister. He said it is the responsibility of the present generation of the country to fulfill its responsibility for the generations to come. Highlighting programmes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna, water campaign to every farm - Har Khet ko Paani, 'Per Drop More Crop' campaign, Sahi Fasal and NamamiGange Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission or Atal Bhujal Yojana, Prime Minister Modi asserted that the government has made water governance a priority in its policies and decisions in the last 6 years.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the better India manages rainwater, the lesser the country's dependence on groundwater. Therefore, success of campaigns like 'Catch the Rain' is very important. He noted that both urban and rural areas have been included in the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He called upon to step up water conservation efforts in the days leading up to Monsoon. Emphasizing the importance of sarpanches and DMs/DCs, The Prime Minister said that the ‘Jal Shapath’ which is being organized all over the country should become everybody’s pledge and second nature. He said when our nature changes with respect to water, nature will also support us.

The Prime Minister noted that apart from rain water harvesting, the management of river water in our country has also been discussed for decades. To save the country from a water crisis, it is now necessary to work rapidly in this direction. He said the Ken-Betwa Link Project is also part of this vision. He lauded both the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for making this project a reality.

The Prime Minister said just 1.5 years ago, just 3.5 crore out of 19 crore rural families in our country, got piped drinking water. He expressed happiness that after the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, about 4 crore new families have piped drinking water connections in such a short time. He noted that public participation and local governance model are at the core of the Jal Jeevan Mission.

The Prime Minister remarked that for the first time after independence, a government is working so seriously with regard to water testing. He pointed out that rural sisters and daughters have been made stakeholders in this campaign of water testing. He said during the Corona period itself, about 4.5 lakh women were trained for water testing. Every village is getting at least 5 trained women for water testing. Better results are a certainty with increased participation of women in water governance, the Prime Minister concluded.

By 2030, India to cut emission intensity up to 35%

19.03.2021, New Delhi: As per the report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the average global temperature for 2015-2019 is currently estimated to be 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels. This was informed by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar in the Lok Sabha.

The Minister also said, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the surface air temperature over India has risen by about 0.7°C during 1901–2018 which is accompanied with an increase in atmospheric moisture content. The sea surface temperatures in the tropical Indian Ocean have also increased by about 1°C during 1951–2015. On an average, at present, the sea level along the Indian coast is estimated to be rising at about 1.7 mm/year.

Under the Paris Agreement, India has submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) outlining eight targets for 2021-2030, including (i) to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, (ii) to achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030 with help of the transfer of technology and low-cost international finance, (iii) to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.The other targets pertain to sustainable lifestyles; climate friendly growth path; climate change adaptation; climate change finance; and capacity building and technology. These goals have to be achieved between 2021 and 2030.

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) provides an overarching framework for all climate actions. Implementation of the NAPCC and other measures has led to a reduction in emission intensity of GDP by about 24% between 2005 and 2016. 24.56% of geographic area in the country is under forest and tree cover and carbon sink in India’s forests is increasing. Cumulative electric installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources stands at 38.5%.India is on track to achieve its targets under the Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Programmes to Conserve Waterbodies in India

19.03.2021, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has informed the Lok Sabha that rapid urbanization, developmental activities and anthropogenic pressures do stress water bodies. Though, works related to water resources development, and management are planned, funded, executed as well as maintained by the State Governments themselves as per their own resources and priorities; various departments in the Central Government and the State Governments are engaged in restoration, conservation and preservation of lakes and wetlands.

Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely, National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) for conservation and management of identified wetlands, includes lakes in the country on cost sharing basis between Central Government and respective State Governments. The scheme covers various activities such as interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lake front development, in-situ cleaning i.e. desilting & deweeding, storm water management, bioremediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey & demarcation, biofencing, fisheries development, weed control, biodiversity conservation, education and awareness creation, community participation, etc. Under the NPCA scheme, the central assistance is based on the proposals received from the State Governments, conformity with the guidelines and budget availability.

The Union Minister informed that so far, MoEF&CC has sanctioned projects for conservation of 157 wetlands in the country and released an amount of about Rs. 1039.0 crore as central share.

He further said that in order to supplement the efforts of the State Governments, the Ministry of Jal Shakti provides technical and financial assistance to State Governments to encourage sustainable development and efficient management of water resources through various schemes and programmes such as Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI), Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies Schemes etc. under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) – Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP).

The RRR of Water Bodies scheme mainly aims at expanding cultivable area under assured irrigation by improvement and restoration of water bodies thereby increasing the tank storage capacity and revival of lost irrigation potential along with other objectives like improving water use efficiency, ground water recharge, increased availability of drinking water, improvement of catchment of tank commands etc. water bodies included under the scheme are encroachment free. It covers rural water bodies having minimum water spread area of 5.0 hectare and urban water bodies having water spread area from 2.0 hectare to 10.0 hectare.

Under the RRR of Water Bodies scheme, since 12th plan onwards, 2228 water bodies are covered with an estimated cost of Rs. 1914.86 crore. Central Assistance (CA) of Rs. 433.9 crore has been released to states up to March, 2020. Further, 1465 water bodies have been reported to be-completed up to March, 2020. Target irrigation potential restoration of these schemes is 1.89 L Ha and out of this, 1.319 L Ha is reported to be restored till March, 2020. In the current financial year, Rs. 35.79 crore has been released to RRR of water Bodies schemes till date.

“CDRI must embody the central promise of SDGs”: Prime Minister Modi

17.03.2021, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the opening ceremony of International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) through video conference. Terming the current situation unprecedented, the Prime Minister emphasized on how the once-in-a-hundred-year COVID-19 pandemic reminded the interdependence and interconnection of the world, countries irrespective of economic status and geographical location.

The Prime Minister cautioned that the lessons from the pandemic must not be forgotten. They apply to not only public health disasters but other disasters as well. He said, it will take sustained and concerted efforts to mitigate climate change.

Emphasizing on the dire need of cooperation for ensuring the resilience of the global system, the Prime Minister stressed that countries that are making large investments in infrastructure, such as India, must ensure that this is an investment in resilience, and not in risk. Many infrastructure systems- digital infrastructure, shipping lines, aviation networks- cover the entire world and the effect of disaster in one part of the world can quickly spread across the world.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the year 2021 is a particularly important year. We are approaching the mid-point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris agreement, and the Sendai Framework. The expectations from COP-26, to be hosted by the UK and Italy later this year, are high. This partnership on resilient infrastructure must play its important role in helping meet some of those expectations, he said.

The Prime Minister elaborated on key priority areas. First, CDRI must embody the central promise of the SDGs - "leave no one behind". This means putting concerns of the most vulnerable nations and communities first. Second, stock taking of the performance on key infrastructure sectors, such as; health and digital infrastructure that played a central role during the pandemic. Third, in our quest for resilience, no technological system should be considered too basic or too advanced. The CDRI must maximize the demonstration effect of the application of technology. And finally, the notion of "resilient infrastructure" must become a mass movement galvanizing the energies of not just the experts, and formal institutions.

Prime Ministers from Fiji, Italy, and United Kingdom were also present on the occasion.

Can tiny Bees protect Humans from elephants?

15.03.2021, New Delhi: Can the tiny honey bees protect giant human from another giant species on the earth - elephants? Yes. This is a reality in the forests of Karnataka.

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), on Monday, launched a unique project of creating “bee-fences” to mitigate human – elephant conflicts in the country. The objective of Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant – Human Attacks using Bees) is to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honey bees and thus reducing loss of lives of both, humans as well as elephants. The pilot project was launched at four locations around village Chelur in Kodagu district of Karnataka on 15th March, 2021 by KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena. These spots are located on the periphery of Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve and prone to human-elephant conflicts. The total cost of the RE-HAB project is just Rs. 15 lakh.

Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission under KVIC’s National Honey Mission. While the Honey Mission is a programme to increase the bee population, honey production and beekeepers’ income by setting up apiaries, Project RE-HAB uses bee boxes as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.

KVIC has set up 15-20 interspersed bee boxes at each of the four locationsin the passage ways of elephant-human conflict zones to block the entrance of elephants to human habitations. The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug or pull causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further. Bee boxes have been placed on the ground as well as hung from the trees to block the passage of elephants. High resolution, night vision cameras have been installed at strategic points to record the impact of bees on elephants and their behavior in these zones.

KVIC Chairman Saxena called it a unique initiative and as a sustainable resolution to the human-elephant conflicts that are common in several parts of the country.

Nearly 500 people die every year due to elephant attacks in India. This is nearly 10 times more than the fatalities caused by big cats across the country. From 2015 to 2020, nearly 2500 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks. Out of this, nearly 170 human fatalities have been reported in Karnataka alone. On the contrary, nearly one-fifth of this number, i.e. around 500 elephants have also died in retaliation by humans in the last 5 years.

Earlier, Central Bee Research and Training Institute, Pune, which is a unit of KVIC, had conducted field trials of creating “bee-fences” in Maharashtra to mitigate elephant attacks. However, this is for the first time, KVIC has launched this project in totality. KVIC has roped in the College of Forestry under the University of Agriculture and Horticultural Sciences, Ponnampet, for impact assessment of the project. KVIC Chief Advisor (Strategy & Sustainable Development) Dr R Sudarshana and Dr CG Kushalappa, Dean of the College of Forestry, were present on the occasion.

Moradabad STP to curb pollution in the Ganges

15.03.2021, New Delhi: It may be another good news for Ganga worshippers. Today, a tripartite Concession Agreement was signed in New Delhi, between the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and M/s. GA Infra Private Limted-Lahoti Buildcon Limited for development of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) for Moradabad on Hybrid Annuity PPP mode. The contract was awarded at a total cost of INR 99.68 Crores. Director General, NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra graced the occasion and representatives from UP Jal Nigam and the concessionaire were also present.

The project aims to eliminate flow of untreated sewage from Moradabad city into the River Ganga thereby reducing pollution load in the river. NMCG approved the project for construction of the 25 MLD STP, among other works such as developing Interception & Diversion (I&D) structures, I&D network laying, Sewage Pumping Stations including Operation and Maintenance for 15 years etc. for Sewerage Zone II of Moradabad. This project also aims to take care of the existing sewerage problems in the town and the resultant sewage pollution in the Ram Ganga. The lending for these projects is already offered by SBI Capital.

In order to address the pollution from Moradabad, a comprehensive sewerage network and 58 MLD STP Project for Moradabad sewerage zone 1 has already been completed. In addition to this project, NMCG has also approved the project for ‘Pollution Abatement Works for River Ram Ganga at Bareilly’ for construction of STP of 65 MLD which is presently under tender evaluation stage and is expected to be awarded soon.

Moradabad is situated on the banks of the Ram Ganga, a tributary of River Ganga. River Ramganga is a critical polluting tributary of river Ganga. Moradabad and Bareilly are the two major towns located along the river Ramganga.

MoEFCC issues Draft Notification on Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

14th March 2021, New Delhi: Draft version of Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021 notified vide GSR 169 (E) dated 11th March 2021 in furtherance to Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The draft PWM Amendment Rules 2021 proposes expanding the applicability as in Rules 2(1) to brand-owners, plastic waste processor (recycler, co-processor, etc.).

Under Rule 3, 5 new definitions are proposed in the amendment rules.

  1. After (n), (na) Non-woven plastic bag-Non-woven plastic bag is made up of sheet or web structured fabric of entangled fibers or filaments (and by perforating films) bonded together by mechanical or thermal or chemical means. The Non-woven fabric is a flat or tufted porous sheet that is made directly from fibres, molten plastic or plastic films.

  2. After (q), (qa) Plastic Waste Processing - means any process by which plastic waste is handled for the purpose of reuse, recycling, co-processing or transformation into new products.

  3. After (v), (va) Single-use plastic item - is a plastic commodity intended to be used once for the same purpose before being dispose of or recycled. And, (vb) Thermoset plastic- is a plastic which becomes irreversibly rigid when heated, and hence cannot be remoulded into desired shape. And, (vc) Thermoplastic – is a plastic which softens on heating and can be moulded into desired shape.

Carry bag made of virgin or recycled plastic, shall not be less than 120 (previously 50) microns in thickness with effect from 30.9.2021.

Carry bags and commodities made from compostable plastics shall conform to the Indian Standard: IS 17088: 2008 titled as Specifications for Compostable Plastics, and/or commodities, as amended from time to time. The manufacturers or seller of compostable plastic carry bags and/or commodities shall obtain a certificate from the Central Pollution Control Board before marketing or selling.

A new clause shall be inserted in rule 4 (1) as (j) Each sheet of non-woven plastic carry bag shall not be less than 60 (GSM per square meter) or 240 microns in thickness with effect from 30.9.2021.

Under rule 4, two more sub-rules are proposed as follows:

(2) The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic commodities shall be prohibited from 1st January, 2022: Ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration.

And (3) the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of following single-use plastic commodities shall be prohibited from 1st July, 2022: (i) single-use plastic (including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene) items: plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping/packing films around sweet boxes; invitation cards; and cigarette packets, plastic/PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers. (ii) the above provision shall not apply to commodities (including carry bags) made of compostable plastic material.

Rule 5(d) shall be read as "The inert from recycling or processing facilities of plastic waste shall be disposed of in compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 or as amended from time to time".

Under the "Responsibility of local body" in rule 6, sub-rule (2), after clause (a), it is proposed to insert - (a1) Ensuring that provisions pertaining to restrictions/prohibition on single-use plastics are adhered to.

Under the "Responsibility of Gram Panchayat" in rule 7, sub-rule (1), after clause (a), fit is proposed to insert - (a1) Ensuring that provisions pertaining to restrictions/prohibition on single-use plastics are adhered to.

Under the "Responsibility of producers, Importers and Brand Owners" in Rule 9, under sub-rule (1) after the words, ―local body concerned, the words, ―as per guidelines issued from time to time under these Rules is inserted.

In rule 11, which deals with Marking and labelling sub-rule (1). Each plastic carry bag, plastic packaging and multilayered packaging shall have the following information printed in English namely:

a.name, registration number of the manufacturer/producer/ brand-owner and thickness in case of carry bag, plastic packaging used by the brand owner

b. name and registration number of the manufacturer in case of multilayered packaging (excluding multilayered packaging used for imported goods); and

c. name and certificate number of producer [Rule 4(h)] in case of carry bags made from compostable plastic

Under rule 12, which deals with Prescribed authority sub-rule (2) will be changed to "The concerned Secretary-in-charge of Urban Development of the State or a Union Territory shall be the authority for enforcement of the provisions of these rules relating to waste management by waste generator, restriction/prohibition on use of plastic carry bags, plastic sheets or like, covers made of plastic sheets and multilayered packaging".

Rule 12, sub-rule (2) will be read as " The concerned Gram Panchayat shall be the authority for enforcement of the provisions of these rules relating to waste management by the waste generator, restriction/prohibition on use of plastic carry bags, plastic sheets or like, covers made of plastic sheets and multilayered packaging in the rural area of the State or a Union Territory".

Shekhawat launches WQMIS under Jal Jeevan Mission

13th March 2021, New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat stated that ‘Har Ghar Jal’ is not just a one-time infrastructure creating programme. It will go a long way in building the capacity of the frontline workers, empowering women and creating employment in villages. The Union Minister stated this while chairing a webinar with all States and UTs Ministers in-charge of rural water supply. The webinar was to review progress made under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) - a flagship program of the Central Government for providing tap water connection in every rural household by 2024.

Shekhawat also released the ‘Drinking water quality testing, monitoring & surveillance’ framework and also launched the Water Quality Management Information System (WQMIS) of JJM. The WQMIS online portal & mobile app has a full automated data management related to water quality. (Click here to see the framework document)

The Union Budget 2021-22 has witnessed a quantum increase in the budgetary provision for Jal Jeevan Mission, from Rs 11,500 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 50,011 crore in 2021-22. Shekhawat rolled out the roadmap for more efficacious utilization of the nearly five-fold increased JJM’s Budget by States/UTs. Being the 3rd year, 2021-22 is a crucial year for the Mission. He said that this is the time to speed up implementation, strategically create systems and processes for proper operations and maintenance for assured water supply to every household on long-term basis.

Addressing the media after the webinar, Shekhawat said that since the announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission by the Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019, significant progress has been made across the country and so far, more than 3.77 Crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections. In total, more than 7 Crore rural families (36.5%) have now started getting clean water in their homes, i.e. more than 1/3rd of rural household are getting potable water through taps. The Minister further added that every family living in 52 districts, 670 Blocks, 42,100 Panchayats and 81,123 villages are getting assured tap water supply in their homes now.

The Union Minister explained how despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, necessary groundwork for effective and efficient implementation of the mission has been laid. As the whole country is slowing trying to return to normalcy, Jal Jeevan Mission is putting in untiring efforts for ‘provision of safe drinking water in rural areas’ by providing tap connections in rural households.

Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State for Jal Shakti in his address recalled the times when the women of his village in Haryana were subjected to struggles and pain, due to unavailability of potable water sources near homes. he said that he feels proud to be the part of this mission as it is bringing a huge change in the life of rural women & children of country.

Secretary DDWS, Pankaj Kumar; Additional Secretary & Mission Director- Bharat Lal, were also present in the virtual conference.

E3 Certifications for Brick manufacturing Sector

12.03.2021, New Delhi: "Energy Efficiency Enterprise (E3) Certifications Programme for Brick manufacturing Sector" was inaugurated by R K Singh, Minister of State (I/C) for Power and New & Renewable Energy and Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

On this occasion, R K Singh appreciated the responses received from the bricks manufacturing enterprises for availing this certificate. The bricks manufacturing enterprises have agreed to shift from conventional technologies to efficient technologies and product shift towards low density bricks with better thermal insulation.

E3 Certification envisaged to bring multiple benefits in terms of energy savings in brick manufacturing process and improved quality of bricks resulting in cost savings to builders as well as energy savings to occupiers of buildings due to better thermal comfort and improved insulation properties.

The Minister urged brick manufacturers to become E-3 capable in next 2-3 years. The Union government is extending support to these industries for this transition which will not just help in reducing energy emissions but will also benefit them by cost reduction.

India is the second largest producer of bricks in the world. Brick sector contributes nearly 0.7% to the country's GDP, while it employs over 1 crore workers. This sector has a strong influence on other economic sectors such as transportation and construction. At the same time, brick manufacturing industry consumes about 45-50 million tonnes of coal equivalent annually, amounting to 5-15% of the total energy consumption in the country. After steel industry, the brick sector has the second largest potential for energy efficiency amongst the Indian industrial sector. Energy saving of 7 Million Tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE) per year and CO, savings of about 25 Million Tonnes by 2030 are estimated through adoption of E3 Certification by 7500 Bricks manufacturing units. E3 Certification Scheme seeks to accelerate brick sector modernization, using market incentives to create customer demand to fulfil the vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

By availingE3 Certification, the brick units shall shift towards adoption of more efficient technologies for making energy efficient bricks. Such bricks will be useful in complying the requirements of Energy Conservation Buildings Code (ECBC). It is proposed to nudge the agencies/departments in the public sector like CPWD, NBCC, State Public Works Department Railways and Urban local bodies, etc., to create demand for energy efficient/hollow bricks. Besides, Bureau of Energy Efficiency under their awareness generation programme towards building energy efficiency shall also hold consultations with various stakeholders in this sector like builders architects etc. in order to sensitise them about the benefits of energy efficient bricks. The E3 Certificate will be awarded to those enterprises whose specific energy consumption will be 25% lower than the national baseline. The enterprises can qualifyfor E3 through adoption of energy efficient brick manufacturing process and technology and Production of lower density bricks (hollow, perforated or porous bricks).The adoption of the E3 Certification is currently voluntary for the Brick industry. Energy-efficient transformation in brick manufacturing is expected to create an enabling policy environment for promoting manufacturing and utilization of energy efficient Bricks, technologies and practices in India’s construction sector. This will push towards phasing out of inefficient technology in Brick production and enhance awareness and access of energy efficient bricks and technology.

Green Crematoria to reduce air pollution

12.03.2021, New Delhi: Delhi has about 56 traditional cremation grounds where Hindus cremate bodies by burning massive piles (300-400 kg) of firewood) in the open, billowing out clouds of black smoke into the sky. It also generates large quantities of ash which flows into the Yamuna.

To address the high localized toxic emissions from crematoria, CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has developed a technology knowhow to mitigate air pollution from Open Pyre Green Crematoria.

Inaugurating four pyres of the Green Crematoria at Delhi’s Nigam Bodh Ghat Crematorium, today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, called for a comprehensive plan for institutionalised ‘Green Good Deed’ at the venue. He said with such green initiatives, a lot can be achieved in improving the air pollution index in the National Capital and scientists from CSIR-NEERI can play a major role in that. He informed that the Central Government has already been working for improving the air quality index in 120 cities across the country.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted, “Air Pollution has become a grave problem in India with more than 120+ cities falling under non-attainment category as per the National Green Tribunal”. He pointed out, “In the recently announced General Budget 2021, a lot of emphasis has been given to allocate resource to mitigate the growing ambient air pollution related problem in India”.

Delhi has about 56 traditional cremation grounds where Hindus cremate bodies by burning massive piles of firewood in the open, billowing out clouds of black smoke into the sky. The technology installed at VIP Pyre 3,4,5,6 comprises Fume collection and handling, Processing/cleaning, Utilities and Waste Handling systems. The system is designed with an efficient scrubbing system offering reduced emission of smoke, oil/greases, hydrocarbons, and particulates etc., with ease of recycle and disposal of scrubbed liquid and solids.

The Minister pointed out, “Such technology helps to reposition our existing heritage by adopting clear methods for achieving our national and global commitments towards the environment”. He said, “The present emission control system with slight design modifications, can be extended to LPG/CNG and Diesel crematoria to future reduce the emission from these systems”.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Such innovation can also be applied to mitigate dispersed air pollution emitted from unorganized and informal industrial sectors like bakeries, namkeen making, or application areas, where wood is being utilized as a primary source of energy”. He said, “The system like these should be proliferated, under programmes like NCAP, Swachh and Swasth Bharat Initiatives, across the country to reduce the dispersed emissions generated from crematoria thereby impacting the environment and societal health, at large”.

Gadkari says, Govt. committed promotion of RE in especially in MSMEs

12.03.2021, New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nitin Gadkari has again reiterated government focus on expanding renewable energy utilization in MSMEs. While addressing a webinar on “Atmanirbhar Bharat” – “Opportunities in Solar & MSME”, organised by Indian People’s Forum in the United Arab Emirates, the Minister said “the Government is committed to promote renewable energy resources in the country, especially in the MSME sector”.

He said that the MSMEs with good track record are now being encouraged for capital market. He also said that there is a huge opportunity for investment in scrapping policy. He said India has tremendous potential and capacity for electricity generation. He said that the solar power rate in India is Rs.2.40 per unit and commercial rate of power is Rs.11 per unit and the cheap power generated through solar energy can be used for automobiles and other developmental works. He exuded confidence that within five years, India will be top manufacturing hub for automobile in the world. He said, by making solar energy available, we will create big market for electric vehicles.

The Minister invited investors abroad to invest in Indian MSMEs and expressed hope that this will provide a number of opportunities to MSME sector to become the world’s largest manufacturing hub. Terming MSME sector as the backbone of the Indian economy, Sh. Gadkari said that the sector contributes around 30% in the country’s GDP and provides employment to over 10 crore people.

The event was aimed at providing a platform for MSMEs to showcase their strength, highlight their business opportunities, and to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge. Indian renewable energy sector is the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world. India is at fifth position in solar and fourth in renewable power installed capacity. The Government has set an ambitious target for renewable energy and in particular, solar power generation, for this decade. The target for renewable energy installation is 450 GW by year 2030.

LPG coverage reaches 99%

11.03.2021, New Delhi: LPG is considered to be a cleaner fuel. It reduces consumption of wood that ensures trees and forest protection. Driven by the vigorous thrust of the Government on making accessible the clean energy to all Indians, LPG has emerged as the preferred kitchen partner for almost every Indian. According to a release from IndianOil, the LPG penetration in India has improved from 55% in 2014 to more than 99% as on 10 March 2021.

The oil & gas industry, under the aegis of MoP&NG, has provided 8 crore LPG connections to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) beneficiaries at pan-India level with government expenditure of Rs. 12,800 Crores. LPG consumption has improved amongst PMUY customers. A surge of 23.2% in LPG consumption was noted in the initial quarter of this fiscal, which was attributed to the three free LPG refills given to the PMUY beneficiaries.

It is notable that the improvement in the overall LPG consumption has continued for the three-month period December, 2020 to February, 2021 and has registered a growth of 7.3% for all domestic LPG customers that includes both PMUY and non-PMUY. LPG consumption amongst PMUY customers registered a growth of 19.5%, from 8,45,310 MT in the comparable period in the last fiscal to 10,10,054 MT in the current fiscal for the said three-month period. Compared year-on-year, the overall domestic LPG sales have registered a handsome growth of 10.3% during the current fiscal (till Feb'21).

It is noteworthy to mention that we have near universal LPG penetration in India with coverage of more than 99%. This is a sign of positive behavioural change towards better health and cleaner environment. This widespread acceptance of LPG as the preferred kitchen fuel of almost every Indian showcases the surging popularity of LPG as the primary kitchen fuel as compared to other traditional fuels such as firewood. Research has shown that those exposed to air pollution are more susceptible to COVID-19, therefore doing everything to maintain LPG use among the poor is actually a direct health measure.

Beyond the significant health benefits and cost savings, the use of LPG by PMUY beneficiaries has led to saving of enormous amount of time among large sections of the population. The time thus saved from the drudgery of collecting firewood is being used by the beneficiaries to find gainful employment and contribute to a growing economy. The financial savings on account of LPG as fuel, in addition to other benefits such as better health and time saved, make it an enduring choice of every Indian.

Similipal Biosphere Fire under Control

05.03.2021, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said that the fire at Similipal forests is now under control. No loss of life has been reported due to the incident.

A massive wildfire broke out in Simlipal National Park in Odisha. It raged the biosphere for about a week, and now reported to be under control.

The Director General of National Tiger Conservation Authority, S.P. Yadav, told IANS that all the forest fires are recorded as the ground fire in the deciduous Sal forest of Simlipal Tiger Reserve. He further said that the forest fire season in Simlipal Tiger Reserve usually starts in February and continues till May.

Simlipal, a National Park and Tiger Reserve covering 2,750 sq km area, is situated in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. The harbours unique melanistic tigers, rare and endemic orchids, 1,352 species of plants, 55 species of mammals, 361 species of birds, 62 species of reptiles and 21 species of amphibians. Similipal comes under the Deccan Peninsular Biographic zone, Chhotangpur Province, in the Mahanadian region. The forest is a predominantly moist-mixed deciduous forest with tropical semi-evergreen patches in areas with suitable microclimatic conditions and sporadic patches of dry, deciduous forest and grassland.

On 2nd March 2021, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had directed the officials concerned to take immediate steps to control the wildfire. He had issued directions in response to a tweet by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on the issue.

Javadekar has stated "The Similipal forests are invaluable, not just for India but for the entire world. I appreciate the efforts of forest officials to contain the fire". He has sought a report on the forest fire from the concerned authorities.

Construction & Encroachment matters reverberate in NGT

Tribunal’s Order on Air Pollution, remarkable for ambient and human health HSPCB Gurgaon failing to curb air pollution issues in area bordering Delhi

New Delhi: During January 2021, the National green Tribunal (NGT) considered a total of 100 applications on several issues. A maximum number of cases pertains to Uttar Pradesh. Further, the Tribunal dealt with maximum 15% cases related to Construction & Encroachment matters, followed by 9% issues each pertaining to Rivers and Sewage & effluents; 6% on Plastic waste disposal; 5% each on Garbage disposal, air pollution, industry and mining; 4% on Bio-medical waste disposal; 3% each on coastal, ground water, hazardous waste disposal, and tree & forest; 2% of issues concerning each to Industrial cluster, mortality and slaughter house; 1% issues on agriculture, brick kiln, district environmental plan, e-waste disposal , eco-sensitive areas, fly ash disposal, Lakes, ponds & wetlands and SEZ.

One of the most important issues addressed by the Tribunal in air pollution matters is the unscientific manner in which loading and unloading of cement is being undertaken causing air pollution in and around the areas of Rani Bagh, Shakurbasti, Raja Park, Punjabi Bagh, Srinagar and Madipur near Shakurbasti Railway Station, Delhi. The NGT constituted an independent Expert Committee, to study the problem area in terms of ambient air quality, carrying capacity, health impact on the inhabitants and the workers involved in the process and suggest remedial measures and the remedial measures suggested by the DPCC may be adopted by the CRWC and the Railway Administration. NGT Orders in this matter has a wider impact in terms of not only controlling air pollution, but also ameliorating human health, especially the workers handling cement. Though the matter pertains to Delhi, it needs to be implemented throughout the country, by the companies as well as the Pollution Control Bodies.

Matters on air pollution has come down, despite the fact that it has been causing growing distress. Wide range of cases exist in public life in and around Delhi, and other parts of the country. An unorganized industrial area, Daulatabad Road Industrial Area, located merely within 5 km from Delhi border, in the district of Gurugram, the erstwhile Gurgaon, hubs a number of small scale industrial units causing rampant air pollution. Often, the PM10 concentration goes above 1000 µg/m3, which is 10 times higher than the prescribed limits. However, there is no substantial data available. Some nearby residents were compelled to reach out to the local State Pollution Control Board office in Gurugram, North Regional Office with copies to various levels of authorities. To one complaint, the HSPCB deputed a non-technical person in order to review the matter. A nearby resident, Mani Bhushan Shukla, an IT Professional says, the problem has increased after the visit of HSPCB representative.

MoEFCC's New Handbook on Chemicals and Hazardous Waste Management and Handling in India

01.03.2021, New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has come out with a new publication - "The Handbook on Chemicals and Hazardous Waste Management and Handling in India". The publication is an outcome of the research works by the Centre for Environmental Law, Education, Research and Advocacy (CEERA), National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.

Containing six chapters, the Handbook endeavours to give a broad overview of the legislative and regulatory framework governing the chemical sector in India. It is designed to serve as a ready reckoner for stakeholders working in the field of chemicals and hazardous waste, such as members and officers of the Pollution Control Boards, allied institutions of the MoEFCC, other regulatory authorities, officials and employees of hazardous waste management companies and chemical industries, importers and exporters of chemicals and wastes.

Though it is priced Rs. 500/-, the entire soft copy of the handbook is available on the Ministry's website.

"Water" mostly used word in PM's 21st MKB

by Sanjaya K. Mishra

01.03.2021, New Delhi: Oftentimes, water and environment has got importance in various speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Water was taken 34 times by Prime Minister Modi, in his 21st Episode of Mann Ki Baat 2.0. Water as a single word was there 28 times in the address. He said that there must not be a single day in India, when there is no festival connected with water in some corner of the country or the other. The Prime Minister described water as life; faith too and the flow of development as well. He mentioned "In a way, water is more important than PARAS, the philosopher’s stone. It is said that with the touch of a PARAS, iron gets turned into gold. Similarly, the touch of water is necessary for life; imperative for development."

He opined that one reason to associate the month of Magha with water – after this, winters come to an end and summers start knocking. Hence, for the conservation of water, we should begin efforts right away. A few days later, just on the 22nd of the month of March, it’s World Water Day.

In his address, the Prime Minister quoted the name of Aaradhya from Uttar Pradesh in the context of significance of water. He also quoted the name, Sujit of North Dinajpur who described water as Nature's collective gift, hence a collective responsibility for its saving.

The Prime Minister shared the example of Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu, where, local people have been running a campaign for the conservation of their wells. These people are rejuvenating public wells in their vicinity that had been lying unused for years. The endeavour of Babita Rajput of village Agrotha in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh also got place in the Prime Minister's address. Babita Rajput mobilized women of her village and built a canal to bring water to a dying lake, close to her village. Through this canal, rainwater started flowing directly into the lake. Now this lake remains filled with water.

Works by Jagdish Kuniyal of Bageshwar, Uttarakhand also shared by the Prime Minister. He orated how Jagdish Kuniyal solved water crisis by planting thousands of trees over the entire area, along with his fellow villagers and today, the dried up water source at the place is filled to the brim once again.

With these examples, Prime Minister Modi reminded collective responsibilities of People of India with regard to water. He stressed on a 100 day campaign for the sake of cleaning up water sources and conserving rainwater during May - June, when rain starts in most parts of India. He also enlightened on ‘CATCH THE RAIN, WHERE IT FALLS, WHEN IT FALLS’ programme initiated by the National Water Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Mayur, a passionate bird watcher and a nature lover from Gurgaon, Haryana was also named in the Prime Ministers' February MKB. Modi also informed that Kaziranga National Park & ​​Tiger Reserve Authority has been carrying out its Annual Waterfowls Census for some time. This Census reveals the population of water birds and also about their favorite Habitat. Just two-three weeks ago, the survey was conducted again. He stated that the number of water birds has increased by about 175% compared to last year. A total of 112 Species of Birds have been sighted in Kaziranga National Park during this Census. And of these, 58 species happen to be winter migrants from different parts of the world including Europe, Central Asia and East Asia. The most important reason for this is that here, there is better water conservation along with very little human interference. However, in some cases, positive human interference is also very important.

Citing example of wealth creation from agricultural waste, the Prime Minister said Murugesan from Madurai made a machine to make ropes from waste of banana, which could solve the issues of environment and filth too, vis-a-vis increasing additional income for the farmers. He also mentioned about Urugen Futsog of Ladakh, who is growing about 20 crops organically, that too in a cyclic way, that is, he utilises the waste of one crop as manure for the other crop.

Prime Minister Modi highlighted about The Hayagriva Madheb Temple at Hajo, the Nagashankar Temple at Sonitpur and the Ugratara Temple at Guwahati having many ponds in their surroundings, which save near extinct species of turtles. Assam is home to the highest number of species of turtles. The ponds of theses temples can become excellent sites for their conservation and breeding and training about them, he added.

Drain clean up project inaugurated

Yamuna Pollution to go down

27.02.2021, New Delhi: The Waste to Wealth Mission of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, and the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF), launched a pilot technology today to clean the Gaunchi Drain at Sanjay Colony, Faridabad. The Gaunchi Drain is a key arterial drainage system in Faridabad. Gaunchi is amongst the 11 most polluted drains of Haryana that together release 1002 million litres of polluted water in the Yamuna every day. Cleaning the drain will go a long way in reducing the waste burden in the river.

The project has deployed a Research Initiative For Scientific Enhancement (RISE) machine from DESMI EnviRo-CLEAN A/S, a Danish company that specialises in cleaning water bodies. The machine will collect and remove up to 300 Kgs of floating waste and debris from the drain daily. The Waste to Wealth Mission and MCF will jointly monitor and operate this machine and build the evidence to scale up such projects in other water bodies across India. The project will also explore technologies to treat and utilise the waste removed from the drain.

Announcing the project, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India stated, “the Hon’ble Prime Minister strongly advocates local technological approaches that are supported by global science. To solve the country’s waste challenges there is a need for applying innovative technologies that are customised to Indian conditions. Efforts towards making India free of plastic pollution is a driving force for all of us. The PM’s Science Technology and Innovation Council (PMSTIAC) is committed to steering this major science-led mission to tackle India’s waste challenges. This Faridabad pilot is a strong step towards developing and demonstrating solutions that can clean India’s polluted urban drainage systems and water ways. We are pleased to implement this partnership with the State of Haryana and look forward to working closely with the state officials to augment this effort and also to realise the CM’s commitment towards developing model integrated waste management clusters.”

The Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar said “The Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is fulfilling Gandhi’s dream of a clean India through the Swacch Bharat Mission. The Haryana Government and Faridabad Administration are committed to the goals of the mission. The Gaunchi Drain project that has been launched today is a timely step in this direction. I would like to specially thank the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the GoI for their support in setting up this pilot. This project will play a pivotal role in cleaning the drain. For this to be a sustainable solution, the local communities should get involved with the project and work with the local authorities in maximizing the impact of the pilot. I again congratulate the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad on this pilot and encourage them to expand partnership with the Waste to Wealth Mission and deploy more innovative technologies to make Faridabad a model waste management cluster in line with CM’s vision”.

NGT Order dealing with Dera Bassi

27.02.2021, New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given its final judgement on a group of matters relates to remedial action against violation of environmental norms by several industries in Dera Bassi, Punjab. The units were adversely affecting the environment and the public health on account of release of hazardous effluents in the drain, resulting in water, air and soil pollution. Karnail Singh & Ors. versus Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) & Ors., OA 33/2013, was registered with NGT on transfer of a Writ Petition on the file of the Punjab and Haryana High Court being CWP No. 18052/2011, in which eight industries were parties. The applicant sought preventive action and restoration of water and air by the factories near Dhabi nala in Dera Bassi. Wait for justice is finally over with this 25th February NGT Order.

The Order is based on two reports filed by the joint Committee of CPCB and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and two reports by the Monitoring Committee headed by Justice Jasbir Singh, apart from other pertinent reports. Besides addressing OA No. 33/2013, the NGT Order also resolves matters pertaining to I.A. No. 326/2020, OA No. 101/2020 and 164/2020.

It is stated that the Committee broadly found existence of air and water pollution in the area and also examined the emissions and discharge by individual industrial units. The Jasbir Singh Committee has recommended action of maintaining vigilance and conducting further investigation about the level of air and water pollution. Ten industries have been highlighted with specific recommendations. The polluting companies have been into manufacturing of chemicals, pesticides, steel products, automobile parts, electroplated components, and distilleries, and pharmaceuticals.

While dealing with the matter, the Committee found requirement of further relevant data and information for the purpose of Comprehensive environmental pollution index (CEPI) of Dera Bassi area, emissions characterization of VOC, SO2, Hydrocarbons, as per applicability, and so on.

Apart from individual industry-wise recommendations given by Justice Jasbir Singh the overall recommendations of the Monitoring Committee states that the Joint Committee may conduct comprehensive monitoring of ambient air and calculate air quality index of Dera Bassi area along with risks associated. The said air quality index data of the area may be provided within 2 months. At least, 4 ambient air quality stations may be installed at different locations to monitor the ambient air quality. In order to calculate air quality index of Dera Bassi area, ambient air quality of the area needs to be analyzed continuously for at least 21 days in winter and summer seasons.

The recommendation states stack emission samples of the industries located in Dera Bassi area within the radius of 2 Km from the residential colonies may be analyzed by reputed third party agency. It also deliberates on the need to carry out surprise inspections or raids on the industries located in the catchment area of Haibatpura Drain and Dhabi Drain by PPCB. The Board shall identify the villages having significant flow or discharge with high concentration BOD and COD. The department of Rural Development & Panchayat has been directed to provide treatment facilities to treat the wastewater of the villages in time bound manner so that water quality of the drains may be improved.

PPCB has to conduct ground water and soil quality monitoring within one month. Groundwater quality monitoring to be done at 5 different locations for all the parameters as mentioned in IS 10500: 2012 including Faecal Coliform, while soil samples are to be tested from plantation areas and agriculture fields, where, the effluent of the industries is utilized for the parameters organic, inorganic and heavy metals.

NGT order also deliberates on detailed survey of area along the drains to check as to whether there is any illegal disposal of hazardous waste by the industries.

All the rice husk consuming industries shall have to create effective storage system with high walls and covering sheds for the storage of rice husk ash generated by them. PPCB to prescribe Standard Operating Procedure for the safe and environmentally sound management and handling of rice husk ash. The order however, allows the rice husk ash dumping in low lying area in layered manner with mechanism of spreading of one layer of rice husk ash followed by layer of soil and its full compaction and again second layer of rice husk ash and thereafter a layer of soil and so on. It also has a mention of motivating the brick kiln owners to use rice husk ash in their brick kilns for the manufacturing of bricks.

Further, three industries including Nectar Lifesciences Unit-I and Unit – II, and Rajasthan Liquors Ltd. (Distillery Division), at Haripur Village have been asked to jointly get R & D studies from a reputed institute for best use of rice husk ash for its usage in other sectors or recovery of useful constituents.

Adopt RTS: Gadkari to MSMEs

27.02.2021, New Delhi: Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari has invited MSMEs to avail concessional debt finance to install rooftop solar for business efficiency. Addressing a programme promoting awareness about rooftop solar (RTS) among MSMEs on Friday, the Minister said, Rooftop Solar offers an excellent value proposition to MSMEs as it brings down electricity cost, which on an average, is up to Rs. 8/= per unit and nearly 1/5th of operations cost. Hence, by switching to solar MSMEs could attain cost competitiveness.

He further informed that the Ministry is working with the World Bank on a credit guarantee program to make financing accessible to unrated MSMEs. Considering the rates of solar power from large utility power plants have come down to a record Rs. 1.99 per kWh, MSMEs must leverage this opportunity to bring down their energy expenses.

Highlighting the importance of creating an awareness and large-scale adoption of rooftop solar for MSMEs, B. B. Swain, Secretary, said, "MSMEs need low-cost power to optimise production costs, recover COVID pandemic inflicted losses and remain competitive both in national and international markets. The procurement of low-cost solar power and generating solar power as prosumers from rooftop solar are two timely and beneficial options for MSMEs. The Ministry is geared up to facilitate measures to empower the MSMEs to become one of the top priorities for a resilient India.”

It was also deliberated that use of solar energy by MSMEs could further help to decarbonise power consumption in a sustainable manner, besides pushing green economy.

It is noteworthy that the World Bank launched the ‘Solar Rooftop Financing Program’ in 2016, which is being implemented by the State Bank of India (SBI). With a view to addressing the issues on the debt side and to give a fillip to the sector, SBI has availed a $625 million line of credit from World Bank specifically, for financing RTS projects across the country through its identified branches. A countrywide customized financial product has been developed by SBI which covers 75% of the project financing requirement along with other favourable terms such as repayment period, moratorium, and security.

Among G-20 nations, India only on track to meet climate change mitigation commitments: Prakash Javadekar at UNSC

24.02.2021, New Delhi: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an Open Debate on "Addressing climate-related risks to international peace and security" on Tuesday. Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson chaired the digital meeting that included participants such as French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden’s Chief Climate Envoy, John Kerry, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar and many other leaders from various other countries. Attendees focused on climate change risks.

Representing India, Prakash Javadekar stressed that the idea of climate action should not be to move the climate ambition goal post to 2050 and it is important for countries to fulfill their pre-2020 commitments.

The Union Minister said that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement negotiated under the Framework are the central mechanisms for climate action in a nationally determined manner based on certain fundamental agreed principles, the foremost amongst which is “Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities”

Citing the 2019 IPCC Special Report “Climate Change and Land” which says that extreme weather and climate or slow-onset events may lead to increased displacement, disrupted food chains, threatened livelihoods, and could contribute to exacerbated stresses for conflict, Javadekar put forward the point that even the best science available claims that Climate Change only exacerbates conflict and is not a reason for conflict and does not threaten peace and security and therefore it is important, said the Minister, to ensure that no parallel tracks for climate negotiations are created brushing aside the fundamentally agreed principles.

“While climate change does not directly or inherently cause violent conflict, its interaction with other social, political and economic factors can, nonetheless, exacerbate drivers of conflict and fragility and have negative impacts on peace, stability and security; and therefore it is for precisely this reason that developing country’s’ Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement included information on adaptation activities, and the need for finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building, and transparency.”, said the Union Environment Minister.

Javadekar again reiterated that the commitment by developed countries to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action in developing countries has not been realized and also stated that there is an urgent need to promote and support the meaningful participation of women and marginalized groups in national-level climate change policy and planning processes.

On India’s Climate Actions Javadekar stated that India is the only country on track among the G20 nations to meet its climate change mitigation commitments. We are not only meeting our Paris Agreement targets but will also exceed them. The Minister highlighted the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilience Infrastructure (CDRI), the two initiatives by India that have been launched to addressing challenges of climate change and adaptation.

Commenting on post COVID-19 recovery, Prakash Javadekar highlighted that India believes that there is a significant opportunity for countries to integrate low-carbon development in their COVID-19 rescue and recovery measures and long-term mitigation strategies that are scheduled to be announced for the reconvened 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in 2021.

The United Kingdom is holding the Presidency of the UNSC for the month of February 2021 and one of their Presidency events is organizing the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on "Addressing climate-related risks to international peace and security".

Jal Jeevan Mission Special Campaign extended till 31st March, 2021

20.02.2021, New Delhi: The Union Government has extended the special campaign under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide potable piped water in schools, anganwadi centres (AWC), and Ashramshalas till 31st March 2021. According to a statement, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has stated that the 100-day special campaign has received a very good response from the States and Union Territories (UTs) with several States reporting 100% saturation in all schools and AWCs. Some States and UTs have indicated that they need some more time to complete the task and sustain the efforts being undertaken for the noble mission. Considering the good response and the need to sustain the efforts, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has extended the campaign till 31st March, 2021.

During the 100 days period, States like Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Telangana have reported provision of tap water in all schools and AWCs, and Punjab has reported provision of piped water supply in all schools. Concerted efforts are being made to make provision of potable piped water supply to anganwadi centres (AWCs), schools and ashramshalas under the campaign. So far, 1.82 lakh grey water management structure, 1.42 lakh rain water harvesting structures have been constructed in schools and anganwadi centres. In total so far, 5.21 lakh schools & 4.71 lakh anganwadi centres have been provided with piped water supply. Further, around 8.24 lakh assets in these schools and anganwadi centres have also been geo-tagged.

Acknowledging the need of ‘potable piped water’ to children as they are more susceptible to water-borne diseases and need for repeated hand washing to prevent CoVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi exhorted launching of ‘100 days campaign’ on 2nd October, 2020 on occasion of Gandhi Jayanti to ensure piped safe water in schools, ashramshalas and anganwadi centres across the country. He also appealed to the States to make best use of this campaign to ensure provision of potable piped water supply in these public institutions for drinking and cooking of mid-day meals, for handwashing and use in toilets.

Under the guidance and visionary leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, with the noble endeavor of providing clean and safe drinking water to children across the nation, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had launched a special mission mode campaign on 2nd October, 2020 to provide potable piped water supply in all Schools, Anganwadi Centres and Ashramshalas across the nation which has now been extended till 31st March, 2021 to ensure that no School, AWC or Ashramshala is left without a tap connection.

NGT asks for creation of District, State & National Level Data Grids

Bill Gates shows 51 Billion to Zero is the only way to sustainability

17.02.2021, New Delhi: American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist, Bill Gates has come out with a book, "How To Avoid A Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have And The Breakthroughs We Need ". Global media, FORTUNE cites that the “how to” part is anything but easy. But the clarity of Gates’s plan—and the reason for absolute urgency—may well turn millions of readers into overnight activists.

In an excerpt of the book is made available at Gates Notes, Bill Gates writes, "I came to focus on climate change in an indirect way—through the problem of energy poverty". He has shared while traveling to carious parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, he could see darkness and thought, Where are all the lights I’d see if this were New York, Paris, or Beijing?

Gradually, he learned that about a billion people didn’t have reliable access to electricity and that half of them lived in sub-Saharan Africa. He further shares how he understood the connection of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to climate change. How GHGs escalate temperature. And finally he describes it is enough to deliver cheap, reliable energy for the poor - it has to be clean.

Gates emphasized, setting a goal to only reduce our emissions—but not eliminate them—won’t do it. He wants you to know two numbers: 51 billion and Zero. The former is the number of tons of greenhouse gases typically added to the atmosphere each year as a result of human activities. The latter is the number of tons we need to get to by 2050 in order to avert a climate crisis. Why zero? The First Chapter of his book explains more about why we need to get to zero, about how rising temperatures will affect people around the world.

Getting zero is obviously not a cakewalk. The book suggests a way forward, a series of steps we can take to give ourselves the best chance to avoid a climate disaster. It has four more parts. In chapter 2 he has described on considering the challenges we’re up against. In chapter 3, he has discussed on cutting some of the confusing statistics, and shared questions about climate change for deep deliberations. Subscribe to read more

One Crore Vehicle will go for Scrapping, initially: Nitin Gadkari

Scrapping to bring cheaper Al, Cu, Rubber, Steel and other products

11.02.2021, New Delhi: Under the new vehicle scrapping policy, initially, one crore vehicles will go for scrapping. This could result in the availability of cheaper aluminium, copper, rubber, steel and other products. This was stated by Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari, in his address to a meeting on developing indigenous fuel cells in the field of electric vehicles. In his address on 10th February 2021, the Minister further said, the scrapping will have the potential to reduce the price of battery components.

Gadkari indicated towards the growing pace of the automobile industry, which is set to reach Rs. 10 lakh crore from current turnover of Rs 4.5 lakh crore. Informing that with nearly 81% of Li-ion battery components available locally, India stands a very good chance for value addition at lower costs, and resultant employment generation at large scales.

Nitin Gadkari has called for adopting an integrated approach for developing indigenous fuel cells in the field of electric vehicles. He said, India today stands at the cusp of becoming a world leader in this field. The Minister urged scientists, academia, and industry to harness hydrogen-based energy, it is a cost effective and easily available mode in the country. He indicated the lowering costs of solar power in India, which can help energise other modes of fuels.

He said the next generation batteries will not only minimise vehicular pollution in India but make India a global supplier of EVs.

NITI Ayog CEO, Amitabh Kant stressed upon concentrating on lithium-ion alternative batteries and supported the idea of mining companies exploring opportunities abroad for acquiring assets in this regard. He said NITI Ayog has collaborated with four IITs including Guwahati and Delhi for research in aluminium-ion batteries.

Prime Minister inaugurates World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

10.02.2021, New Delhi: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated World Sustainable Development Summit 2021 via video conferencing on 10th February 2021. The theme of the Summit is ‘Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’.

Addressing the event, the Prime Minister congratulated TERI for sustaining this momentum and said that Global platforms like this are important for our present and future. He said that two things will define how the progress journey of humanity will unfold in the times to come. First is the health of our people. Second is the health of our planet, both are inter-linked.

Encouraging the youngsters to take charge, Prime Minister said that conventional approaches can’t fix the problems pertaining to the planet’s health as the scale of the challenge is very high. He said it is time to think out of the box and work towards sustainable development.

The Prime Minister emphasized on climate justice for fighting against climate change. Climate justice is inspired by a vision of trusteeship- where growth comes with greater compassion to the poorest. Climate justice also means giving the developing countries enough space to grow. When each and every one of us understands our individual and/ collective duties, climate justice will be achieved.

On this eve Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change emphasized on how India leading the world in climate change action and is fulfilling its climate commitments and targets well before time. For further readings subscribe

Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti briefs media on budgetary allocations, latest initiatives and future goals, strategies

08.02.2021, New Delhi: The Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR) and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Pankaj Kumar chaired a press briefing here today. Additional Secretary, Bharat Lal in-charge of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Additional Secretary in charge of SBM-G, Arun Baroka and Additional Secretary, DoWR, RD & GR Debashree Mukherjee and other senior officials also attended the briefing.

In his inaugural address, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) discussed the Budget allocation made in Union Budget 2021-22 and shared information on latest initiatives, progress & achievements on the ongoing projects undertaken by the two departments i.e. DoWR, RD & GR and DDWS and the roadmap for future achievements. Thereafter, Additional Secretaries made detailed presentations on behalf of their respective responsibilities.

The budget outlay for the DoWR, RD & GR has been increased to ₹ 9,022 crore in FY 2021-22 from ₹7,262 crore (RE) in FY 2020-21. In addition, ₹ 5,130 crores is to be provided through EBR route for critical irrigation projects.

In FY 2021-22, an amount of ₹ 330 crores has been kept Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL). The programme was launched in December 2019 with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioral changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management.

Under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) additional irrigation potential of 34.63 lakh hectare created through 99 prioritized projects and 7 phases, using surface water. Its main features include Central Assistance (CA) and State Share through NABARD under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF).

Har Khet Ko Paani (HKKP) scheme focuses on Command Area Development (CAD), Repair, Renovation & Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies, Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI) schemes, and Ground Water Development.

With success of Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBM-G) Phase-1 in achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) India in 2019, Phase-2 of the SBM (G) was launched in early 2020. It aims at ODF Plus and hence focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) focusing on comprehensive cleanliness in villages. SLWM focuses on key initiatives like Plastic Waste Management through collection, storage at Material Recovery Facilities for further processing, Gobardhan scheme for managing organic waste into resources like compost and Biogas, Grey Water Management and Faecal Sludge Management.

The budgetary allocation for SBMG in the present FY stands at ₹ 9994.10 crore. Further, 15th Finance Commission grants to Rural Local Bodies for sanitation is ₹ 13,470 crore for FY 2021-22.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), another important flagship programme of DDWS aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024. Safe access to potable water in household premises under JJM will improve the lives of rural people especially removing ‘drudgery’ of women and girls. Launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 15th August, 2019, JJM has reached over 3.41 crore families living in rural areas with tap water connection in their homes increasing the coverage of rural households with tap water connections from 17% in the launch year to more than 1/3rd (34.63%) i.e. 6.64 Crore rural families presently, improving their quality of life and enhancing their 'ease of living'.

JJM has launched a nationwide 100 day campaign on 2nd October 2020 to provide assured tap water supply to every anganwadi centre, residential tribal school (ashramshala) and schools aiming to reduce vulnerability of children from water-borne diseases and prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign has received a great response and so far, more than 5.14 lakh schools and 4.62 lakh anganwadi centres have started getting potable piped water supply. Appreciating the progress made so far, this campaign has been extended up to 31st March 2021. Also, efforts are being made to ensure safe drinking water to all quality-affected villages especially Arsenic and Fluoride affected rural habitations under JJM. The budgetary allocation for JJM has increased significantly to approx. ₹ 50,011 crore in the FY 2021-22 along with 15th Finance Commission tied grants of ₹ 36,022 crore, available to PRIs for ‘water and sanitation’ in 2021–22.

For sustaining the JJM, Village Water Sanitation Committee/ Pani Samiti are being constituted for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining in-village water supply system. Key Resource Centres (KRCs) will be constituted to impart training to the local people for regular operation & maintenance of water supply systems, to ensure water quality through field test kits (FTKs), to reorient Public Health Engineers and village level functionaries for public utilities.

Sensor based IoT solutions are being developed/will be developed to measure and monitor water supply in villages. To ensure tap water quality, labs to be NABL accredited for getting water samples tested at nominal rates. Smart Portable Device are being developed with the help of Commerce and Industry for water testing at village level or even at households.

Yamuna River Issues surfaced in Lok Sabha Question Hour

04.02.2021, New Delhi: Monitoring of River Yamuna was carried out during April, 2020 within Delhi stretch by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at 3 monitoring locations viz. Palla, Nizamuddin bridge and Okhla U/S to assess the impact of lockdown on water quality.

Water Quality of River Yamuna within the Delhi stretch at Palla, was complying with respect to Primary water quality criteria for bathing viz. pH, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), whereas, the water quality at Nizamuddin bridge and Okhla Up Stream (U/S) was not complying with respect to Primary water quality criteria for bathing in terms of DO and BOD. The assessment of water quality of river Yamuna in April 2020 during lockdown period, as compared to pre-lockdown period i.e. March, 2020, at Palla, improvement in terms of BOD was observed and at locations Nizamuddin bridge and Okhla U/S, improvement in terms of both DO and BOD was observed.

The improvement in water quality could be attributed to the release of fresh water from Wazirabad Barrage and availability of dilution in river Yamuna; stoppage of industrial effluent discharge (about 35.9 MLD) due to lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic; good penetration of solar radiation in water body due to washing out of bottom sediments; settleable and colloidal form of pollutants in river Yamuna due to discharge of fresh water from Wazirabad barrage; and absence of human activities such as throwing of garbage, bathing, washing of clothes etc. due to lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic.

Lower Yamuna Division, Central Water Commission (CWC) monitors the hydrological observations including cross-section of river Yamuna in Agra (Poiyaghat Station). As per available data, no significant change in the Yamuna river bed has been observed in last 5 years.

U.P. Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) monitors the water quality of river Yamuna in Agra city at 5 places including upstream (U/S) of Agra city (Kailash Ghat) and downstream (D/S) of Agra city (Near Taj). As per latest water quality report of December 2020, BOD of river Yamuna at U/S is 12 mg/lit and at D/S is 16.8 mg/lit.

Further, Water Quality of Yamuna River is being regularly monitored at Poiyaghat Station. Agra under Lower Yamuna Division, Central Water Commission. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has sanctioned a project “Agra Sewerage Scheme (I&D works) and construction of 10 Decentralized STPs” for creation of additional 178.60 MLD STP capacity at the estimated cost of Rs. 842.25 crore to cater to the sewage treatment demand till the year 2035.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Rattan Lal Kataria in Lok Sabha today.

India implements framework for Ecosystem Accounting

New Delhi: India is a diverse country with abundance of natural resources with different ecosystem prevailing with them. To combat environmental degradation and stimulate sustainability, India is implementing a new national statistical framework that measures the services that natural ecosystems provide. This reflects a global shift away from treating natural resources as free and unlimited, to measuring and valuing nature’s contribution to our economies.

The System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) provides policy makers and decision-makers with information that accounts for the value nature contributes to our economies. India is one of 90 countries that have successfully adopted the system including the new framework for SEEA - Ecosystem Accounting.

Ecosystem assets are measured in terms of their extent, conditions and flows of ecosystem services. At the national level, ecosystem accounting area covers all terrestrial, fresh water and marine ecosystems with boundary set by country’s border with other countries and its exclusive economic zone.

India’s efforts, led by the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation were supported by the European Union funded project “Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services” (NCAVES), which is implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Statistics Division and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). NCAVES was launched in 2017.

The three major crises facing our planet: the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution and waste crisis, are fueled by decades of unsustainable production, consumption and disposal of waste. Quantifying and valuing the contribution natural assets – known as natural capital – can help countries track over-exploitation and invest in protecting and restoring ecosystems.

India’s implementation of the framework is timely in light of the upcoming launch of The Economics of Biodiversity: the Dasgupta Review in February 2021. Led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, the independent global review could pave the way for a new approach to valuing biodiversity and its implications for policy and natural capital finance.

India’s progress on the new framework was highlighted during the NCAVES forum, held in January 20201, organized by the Government of India, the United Nations and the European Union. The NCAVES initiative has also advanced natural capital accounting globally, particularly, in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

At the forum, UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris remarked that the new framework is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: “We need an integrated information system that covers all pillars of sustainability - economic, social and environmental. The SEEA allows us to measure these interconnections.”

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, highlighted how the Government of India is guiding the country on the path of sustainable development and looks forward to developing a comprehensive view of the natural resources and ecosystems.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division has stated that “India has shown us that it does not take decades to break down information silos and that the System of Environmental Economic Accounting can be implemented in a short period of time”.

India gets its First Wetland Conservation & Management Center

02.02.2021, New Delhi: On the occasion of the World Wetland Day and as a part of its commitment towards conservation, restoration and management of India’s wetlands, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM), as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, an institution under the Ministry. The event was attended virtually by NCSCM, State Wetland Authorities and the knowledge partners of the Wetland Division.

Speaking at the launch the Minister of State for Environment highlighted the importance of wetlands in providing various ecosystem services. “The dedicated Centre which is launched today would address specific research needs and knowledge gaps and will aid in the application of integrated approaches for conservation, management and wise use of the wetlands.” said the Minister.

India has nearly 4.6% of its land as wetlands, covering an area of 15.26 million hectares and has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1.08 million hectares. The year 2021 also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, celebrated annually as World Wetlands Day.

The Centre will help in building partnership and networks with relevant national and international agencies. WCM would serve as a knowledge hub and enable exchange between State/ UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. The Centre would also assist the national and State/ UT Governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for its conservation.

The Minister also released publications relating to Faunal Diversity of all the Ramsar sites in the country and a brochure on Designation of Ramsar sites.

Six pillars of Budget 2021, lay a strong foundation for a Resurgent and AtmaNirbhar Bharat: Rattan Lal Kataria

01.02.2021, New Delhi: Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria has lauded the Budget 2021 tabled in the Parliament. Speaking to the journalists, he termed the budget as Symbolic of hopes and aspirations of AtmaNirbhar Bharat. He termed the Budget as one capturing the pulse of the Nation. The Minister added that “ The six pillars namely - Health, Physical & Financial capital & Infrastructure, Inclusive Development, Human Capital, Innovation and R&D, Governance seeks to lay a strong foundation for a resilient and resurgent India. It aims to position India as a global leader in the Post COVID world order.”

Kataria welcomed the announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) which shall cover 4,378 Urban local bodies across the nation. It aims at covering 2.86 Crore Households with an outlay of 2.87 lac crores. He mentioned that the Jal Jeevan Mission has made an unprecedented progress in the very first year of its launch, by providing piped water connections to more than 3 Crore rural households as against 3.23 Cr connections provided to rural households till 2019 - since Independence. The mission provides preference to SCs/STs habitats and has ensured ‘ease of living’ and ‘ dignity of life’ to these households.

The Minister also welcomed the whopping increase of over 130% in the budgetary outlay for health sector as compared to last year. The Budget proposes an increased allocation of 2.23 lac crore as against .94 lac crore in the year 2020-21. It includes an outlay of 35,000 Crore for COViD vaccine for FY 2021-22. Emphasis shall be laid on strengthening existing healthcare institutes at primary,secondary and tertiary level and on setting up new institutes. For this purpose, Government made an announcement on launching a new PM AtmaNirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana with an outlay of 64,180 Crore. Government seeks to beef up health facilities at major entry ports both at sea as well as land. Setting up of integrated public health labs in all districts and 4 new National level virology centres at different regions to prepare the country to tackle any such pandemic in future. He termed these measures as visionary that shall transform the country’s health sector in near future.

With respect to the agriculture sector, Kataria highlighted that the Government has computed MSP at 1.5 times of the cost of production across all commodities. Drawing a sharp contrast to the total payments made to the farmers on account of procurement, he informed that for wheat, a payment of 33,874 Crore was made to farmers for FY 2013-14, however, Rs 62,802 Crores were paid in FY 2019-20 which increased to Rs 75,060 Crores in 2020-21. For paddy, where Government paid Rs 63,928 Crores to farmers in FY 2013-14, a sum of Rs 1,41,930 Crores were paid in FY 19-20 and Rs 1,72,750 Crores for FY 2020-2021. He termed that the present Government is, and shall always remain pro-farmers.

The Minister summed up by saying that a fine balance has been maintained between expenditure on social sector as well as capital expenditure.

All except some East Indian States bettered the Bare Necessities Index

30.01.2021, New Delhi: Apart from eastern states like Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tripura, all other parts in India have bettered in the Bare Necessities Index (BNI). The BNI in the Economic Survey 2020-21, summarises 26 indicators on five dimensions viz., water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities. The BNI has been created for all States for 2012 and 2018 using data from two NSO rounds viz., 69th and 76th on Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition in India.

India creating Social Stock Exchange to fund social objectives

29.01.2021, New Delhi: The Economic Survey for the FY 2020-21, presented in Parliament today by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, lays emphasis on the Sustainable Development approach and asks for achieving equity not just across nations and within the nations but also across and within the generations, thereby countering the iniquitous impact of COVID-19 pandemic too.

It is notable that the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development that integrates the social, economic and environmental dimensions, comprises of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

India and the SDGs: The Survey states that India has taken several proactive steps to mainstream the SDGs into the policies, schemes and programmes of the Government. It mentions about (1) the Voluntary National Review (VNR) presented to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development provides for review and follow-up of the SDGs through continuous engagement and feedback. This process also provides an avenue for active participation of private sector as seen in the Corporate Social Responsibility spending.

It also talks about Localisation of SDGs, whereby, the States and UTs have created discrete institutional structures for implementation of SDGs in their own specific contexts. Few states have also created nodal mechanisms within every department and at the district levels to make coordination, convergence and data management more precise and predictable.

Climate Change: The Economic Survey shows that India has been taking several proactive climate actions to fulfill its obligations as per the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and equity. It mentions some of the prominent government initiatives on mitigation and adaptation actions such as India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change and implementation of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicle in India (FAME India) scheme.

The year 2020 was supposed to be the year by which developed country Parties were to fulfill the goal of jointly mobilizing US$ 100 billion a year for climate finance, an essential component of the commitments made by the developed countries, which has remained elusive. The postponement of COP26 to 2021 also gives less time for negotiations and other evidence-based work to inform the post-2025 goal. But it is clear that issue of achieving consensus on the definition of climate finance, transparency mechanism, common time frames and a long-term climate finance will continue to remain top priority in COP 26.

The Economic Survey highlights few steps taken by Indian for sustainable financing, such as - National Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Financing, was finalized in 2015, RBI included lending to social infrastructure and small renewable energy projects within the priority sector targets, Voluntary Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility were issued in 2009 to mainstream the concept of business responsibility and a Committee was constituted to review and update the Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR) formats for listed as well as unlisted companies.

It is also stated that India is moving in the direction of creating a Social Stock Exchange (SSE), under the regulatory ambit of SEBI for raising capital by Social Enterprises working for the realization of a social welfare objective.

The Survey mentions India being the second largest green bond market among the emerging markets after China. In 2017, to give push to Green Bonds issuances in India, SEBI issued guidelines on green bonds including listing of green bonds on the Indian stock exchanges. As of 24th December, 2020, eight ESG mutual funds have been launched in India.

The report further states, apart from national level initiatives, India has taken successful initiatives at the international stage to foster the sustainable model of development and have disaster resilient infrastructure at the disposal of citizens. International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) are two burning examples of India's has international initiatives. ISA recently launched two new initiatives – a ‘World Solar Bank’ and ‘One Sun One World One Grid Initiative’ - of global import to bring about solar energy revolution globally. The ISA Secretariat has recently launched a ‘Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action’ comprising of global public and private corporates. It has also organized First World Solar Technology Summit (WSTS) in September 2020 with an objective of showcasing to Member Countries the state of the art and next-generation solar technologies.

CDRI functions as an inclusive multi-stakeholder platform led and managed by national governments, where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster resilience of infrastructure. CDRI is working on enhancing the resilience of power and transport sector and also plans on expanding its membership to include countries from all the continents and at varied level of development and risk.

2021: Year of Indo-French alliance towards a Greener Planet

28.01.2021, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar and the French Minister for Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili launched the Indo-French Year of the Environment in New Delhi today. The aim is to strengthen Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development, increase the effectiveness of actions in favor of global environment protection and give them greater visibility.

Welcoming Barbara Pompili on her maiden visit to India, Prakash Javadekar emphasised on the significance of India-France alliance in working towards climate change. He stated “We are the two main pillars of the International Solar Alliance launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This revolutionary step has changed into a successful experiment. This partnership towards global environment protection will set an example for the rest of the world to work more effectively and efficiently towards sustainable development.

“India has made significant progress towards climate change action & has already achieved 26% of reduction of emission intensity. As of 2020 the renewable capacity in India stands at 90 GW which includes 36 GW of solar energy & 38 GW of wind energy. “, informed Javadekar.

He further added that India looks forward to strengthen the Indo-French cooperation in sustainable development, increase the effectiveness of actions in favor of the global environment protection and give them greater visibility.

French Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili reiterated the importance of the Indo-French partnership towards climate change and environment protection and said that through this partnership, France and India look forward to setting an example for the rest of the world. “India can motivate many many countries in the field of sustainable development”, said the French Minister.

The Indo-French Year of the Environment over the period 2021-22 would be based on five main themes: environmental protection, climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainable urban development, and the development of renewable energies and energy efficiency. It is also a platform for engaging in discussions on critical areas of collaboration relating to environment and allied areas.

From the French side, it will be held under the aegis of the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs with the support of the Embassy of France in Delhi and its partners. From the Indian side, it will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) along with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and other concerned Ministries/Departments/Organisations. A joint screening committee will also be set up to finalise the calendar of the events for the Indo-French Year of the Environment.

Prior to the launch, a bilateral Meeting was also held between the French delegation and their Indian counterpart at the Environment Ministry wherein both the sides deliberated on issues relating to climate change, bio-diversity, blue economy, international solar alliance, cooperation in the field of single-use plastic etc.

CSIR - CMERI product treats wastewater for reuse in agriculture

24.01.2021, New Delhi: Agriculture in India, consumes maximum of water. Use of aptly treated wastewater in agriculture could be a solution to meet the water demand. CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur unveiled the first-ever Wastewater Treatment Technology Model by which the treated wastewater could be used for irrigation and farming purposes. Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI inaugurated the ‘Aqua Rejuv’.

During his inaugural speech Prof. Hirani said that he wanted the solution for the society from Carbon Dioxide, frequent blockage of the drainage system and the discharge of sewage water through application of basic sciences. He also referred to different studies where it has been outlined that the COVID virus have the potential to survive up to 34 days in the sewage water. Keeping in mind these societal aspects, he envisioned this technology following the norms of the National Green Tribunal which is the statutory body for handling the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues in our country.

Aqua Rejuvenation Plant (ARP) is an Integrated Wastewater Rejuvenation Model that has Six-Stage purification profile for comprehensive treatment of wastewater, based upon diverse purification parameters. The ARP can treat approx. 24,000 litres of wastewater that will be sufficient for almost 4 acres of agricultural land (barring seasonal variations in water requirements). The used filtration media have been specially developed to handle Indian Sewage Water Parameters and based upon Geographical Variations they may be modified. The filter media is said to be possible to source locally, so as to ensure that there would not be any stress in the Supply Chain for scaled-up Manufacturing of ARP. The system has dual benefit as while the treated water is being used for irrigation purpose, the filtered sludge generated is also utilized as manure / fertilizer. The bio char prepared from dry leaves falling in autumn season is also used for mixing in soil as it reduces the water requirement for irrigation thus saving precious water. The Institute was earlier also using alternate technologies like sprinkle system and others for reduced water requirement for such purpose.

The treated water which is now being used for irrigation can be used even for drinking purpose also when little more time is given for settling.

Prof. Hirani urged the different stake holders of the Society, Civic bodies, Governmental authorities, NGOs to come forward and work with the scientific community.

CAQM setting up a state-of-art support system to ameliorate Delhi air quality

Top Technical Institutions play pivotal roles

22.01.2021, New Delhi: The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas, is in the process of setting up a Decision Support System (DSS). The system will be facilitated with a web, GIS, and multi-model based operational and planning decision support tool.

This tool is going to help in capturing both the static and dynamic features of the emissions from various sources. It will have an integrated framework to handle both primary and secondary pollutants using a chemical transport model. The system will also be able to handle the source specific interventions with the framework to estimate benefits of interventions and focus on presenting results in a comprehensive, yet simple and user-friendly format for different users.

CAQM has entrusted the task to expert groups from reputed knowledge institutions of the country such as - Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune; The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi; National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune. IMD Delhi and IIM Pune will take care of the chemistry component. TERI has the role of development and upgradation of fine resolution emission inventory in Delhi and NCR. IIT Delhi and NEERI will play a role in forecasting air quality by using various models and will work as a bridge between various groups. C-DAC, Pune will integrate the physical, chemical, and engineering components at a common platform and further disseminate group output in a simple form.

The sources covered will include industries, transport, power plants, residential, Diesel Generator sets, road dust, agricultural burning, refuse burning, dust emanating from construction and demolition works, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, landfill etc. For instance, municipalities, industrial associations, industrial development authorities etc. would be the stake holders for identifying interventions related to waste burning, industrial source pollution, respectively.

Upon identification of feasible interventions, the artificial intelligence based expert system which has a hierarchical data base of simulated scenarios, potentially assessing the impact of the identified feasible intervention which would be implemented by the regulatory organization such as CPCB and state PCBs. The on-field implementation is monitored by credible citizen watch groups and professional NGOs independently. Finally, air quality data collected in the vicinity of the area where intervention is implemented will be analysed to understand the real-world benefits of such intervention.

Hyundai supports IIT Delhi in research on new-age mobility

22.01.2021, New Delhi: Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) - IIT Delhi and donated a KONA Electric for NVH and battery technology research for students of IIT Delhi to study alternate energy powered vehicles and emerging technologies to innovate new-age mobility solutions.

The MoU was exchanged between Prof. V Ramgopal Rao, Director IIT Delhi, Dr. Anil Wali MD, FITT - IIT Delhi, and S S Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. at IIT Campus, New Delhi.

CART, (formerly known as ITMMEC) has been established in May 2019 with a vision to promote interdisciplinary research in Electric Vehicles (EV) and related areas such as energy storage and tribology & associated interdisciplinary fields.

NITI Aayog brings India Innovation Index 2020

Unlike Global Innovation Index, India Innovation Index 2020 does not give a separate environmental performance index.”

20.01.2021, New Delhi: NITI Aayog, along with the Institute for Competitiveness, today released the second edition of the India Innovation Index (III). The III 2020 report examines the innovation capabilities and performance of the states and union territories. The first edition of the index was launched in October 2019. In III 2020, the framework is updated to include globally considered parameters for measuring innovation, such as the percentage of GDP spent on research and development, while keeping them specific to the Indian economy.

The report broadly consists of four thematic sections—the first talks about innovation and its ability to drive economic growth; the crucial role it plays in not only facilitating the country’s recovery but also sustaining competitiveness during these times. The third section of III 2020 provides learnings and recommendations at the national and state level for policymakers to ponder on.

In the Major States category, Karnataka continued to occupy the top position, while Maharashtra leapfrogged Tamil Nadu to reach second place. Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab completed the top ten in that order. Karnataka’s rank is attributable to its substantive number of venture capital deals, registered geographical indicators, and information and communications technology exports. Karnataka’s high Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow has also enhanced the innovation capabilities of the state. Four southern states—Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Kerala—occupied the top five spots under the ‘Major States’ category this year.

Overall, Delhi retained its first rank, while Chandigarh made a big leap since 2019 and landed in second place this year. Delhi tops ranking in Innovation, Performance, and Work Output. Under the ‘North-Eastern/Hill States’ category, Himachal Pradesh moved up from the second position to emerge as the top ranker this year, while 2019’s top performer (in this category), Sikkim, slipped down to the fourth position.

The innovation inputs were measured through five enabler parameters and the output through two performance parameters. While ‘Human Capital’, ‘Investment’, ‘Knowledge Workers’, ‘Business Environment’, ‘Safety and Legal Environment’ were identified as enabler parameters; ‘Knowledge Output’ and ‘Knowledge Diffusion’ were chosen as the performance parameters.

India breaking into the top 50 nations of the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020, with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) declaring India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019-20 in the central and southern Asian region. Unlike GII 2020, III 2020 does not give a separate environmental performance index. However, in terms of expenditure on Science, Technology and Environment Arunachal lead with the best case followed by Manipur and Mizoram.

Integrated Waste to Energy Facilities at Ranikhera in Narela

20.01.2021, New Delhi: In a major initiative, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for development of integrated waste-to-energy facilities at NDMC's landfill site at Ranikhera in Narela, New Delhi. The MoU was signed on January 19, 2021 in the august presence of Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan; Lt. Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal; Mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Jai Prakash; Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Tarun Kapoor; Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Gyanesh Bharti; and Chairman, Indian Oil, S M Vaidya.

IndianOil shall facilitate NDMC for identification of a concessionaire for setting up of an Integrated Waste to Energy Plant at Ranikhera in Narela. The plant would process Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and organic waste of NDMC for producing Compressed Biogas (CBG), recycling plastics, Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for producing plastic or syngas and its downstream products. plastics recycling, etc.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said that Commissioning of this landmark project will also help in generating energy in various forms and in reducing dependence on crude imports as well as in achieving other national objectives. "Petroleum and Natural gas Ministry is committed to establish more such plants in Delhi for a sustainable future. The signing of this MoU is in line with Hon'ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision of carving a greener and energy-efficient future for India and also towards achieving self-reliance in energy by adopting innovative green solutions."

Appreciating IndianOil and North DMC for coming together for setting up the project, he called for a quick expansion and replication of such pilot projects across India. The Union Minister said that such CBG Plants in the capital will not only solve the problem of solid waste in the national capital but also help in reducing the pollution and our oil dependence. He called for putting up more such plants to take care of solid waste in other areas of Delhi, including in New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment. He assured 100% offtake of gas produced from such plants by Oil PSUs.

Pradhan said that the Government will enable connecting the gas produced from such plants with the PNG, CNG pipelines. He said we should find an end to end solution in a time bound and transparent manner so that 14000 to 15000 tonnes of solid waste produced in the city every day is disposed of in a safe and healthy manner. He also assured that PSUs will provide the technological help, wherever required. The Minister called for expediting the process so that the results can be seen in next couple of years. Shri Pradhan said that the Central Government is already working with Haryana to take care of the Agri wastes which will help not only reducing the pollution but also ensure additional income to the farmers for their residues.

Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi mentioned about the benefits of the project for the people of National Capital. He went on to add that the city has the capacity to process only half of its waste and the commissioning of waste-to-energy Plants will not only provide a clean & environment-friendly way to handle solid wastes, but also generate energy, CBG, city compost, etc.

Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, MoP&NG in his address mentioned that it is important to manage MSW in a scientific manner and convert it into energy. This shall fulfil the energy needs of India as well as mitigate the waste and related landfill emission problem. He said that 15 of the 5000 plants envisaged under the SATAT scheme have become operational, and there is a good demand of the gas produced in such plants due to its high quality.

S M Vaidya, Chairman, IndianOil during his address stressed on the problem of waste management in Delhi. He informed that the proposed Plant shall provide a sustainable and replicable solution for waste management. Setting up of an MSW-to-energy plant shall provide multiple benefits and is also in alignment with Government initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India. It shall also provide an impetus to creation of jobs across the value chain, from collection of waste to sale of energy.

The integrated plant will process approx. 2500 million tonne of municipal solid waste collected by NDMC, recycle plastics and produce compressed bio-gas CBG, ethanol, syngas and other value-added downstream products.

MoJS supported Prototypes Development for “Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System” in progress

13.01.2021, New Delhi: ICT Grand Challenge, for development of a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ was launched on 15th September 2020, by the National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Ministry of Jal Shakti in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

Total 218 applications were received, from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc. A Jury comprising of experts from academia, industry, Jal Jeevan Mission, C-DAC, STPI, COEs, MeitY, etc. came out with the results, which was announced on 20th November 2020. 10 applicants were selected for ideation to prototype stage and each are being supported with Rs. 7.50 Lakhs.

Currently, the prototypes are being developed which are going to be evaluated during the last week of January, 2021 by the jury. A water test bed is set up in C-DAC Bangalore Electronics City Campus for these evaluations. Best four techno-economically viable prototypes shall be selected for product development and each team will receive Rs. 25 Lakh to build their solution as per the need of the user agency.

This would be followed by field trial, testing & deployment and demonstration at about 25 locations across the country as identified by NJJM. Based on evaluation, one winner and two runner-ups will be selected and supported by 50 Lakh (winner) and 20 Lakh each (runner-ups). The grand challenge is being carried out with funding support from MeitY and National Jal Jeevan Mission.

Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024. Announced by Prime Minister on 15th August 2019, the Mission so far has provided 3.13 crore household tap connections in rural areas.

Union Environment Minister releases Report on Management Effectiveness Evaluation of 146 National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries

12.01.2021, New Delhi: There are 238,563 terrestrial and inland water protected areas recorded in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), covering almost 7% of the global ocean and terrestrial protected areas covering just under 15% of global land and spread in 245 countries and territories. At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country. Improving the management of protected areas has become a priority globally. Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) has emerged as a key instrument for Protected Area and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country. In order to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness is needed.

Speaking at the event the Union Minister said that what other countries could not achieve, India has achieved and today has a thriving biodiversity. “70% of the global tiger population, 70% of asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards population in India is a certificate of India's thriving biodiversity ,as these big cats sit at the top of food chain and their growing numbers shows the well being of the whole ecosystem.”, said Javadekar.

The Minister also announced that from this year onwards 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.

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AQI improves in Lucknow, deteriorates in Delhi & most NCR cities

07.01.2021, New Delhi: Delhi AQI further deteriorated on 7th January 2021. The 24-hour average AQI in Delhi, as reported this evening by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was found to be 255, which falls under "poor" category, as against 226 and 140 on the previous days.

In the adjoining city Gurgaon, the AQI jumped to 204 from 175 and 83 in previous two days; while in Faridabad it was 240 from 203, Greater Noida 288 from 239, Noida 236 from 200, and Ghaziabad 294 from 234. Thus, air quality in the entire NCR, except Sonepat and Bahadurgarh was in poor category. Sonepat with AQI 131 and Bahadurgarh with 181 fall in moderate category.

128 cities were monitored during the last 24 hours as against 130 stations in the previous day. None out of 128 cities fell in severe category. Maximum AQI was found to be 336 in Vapi, where PM2.5 was a primary air pollutant. Lucknow found to be in moderate category with 173, where the AQI got improved from 361.

Out of 128 cities monitored, 19% were found with "Good" category of AQI, while 23% in "Satisfactory", 30% "Moderate", 21% "Poor" and 7% in "Very poor" category.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered "good", 51 and 100 "satisfactory", 101 and 200 "moderate", 201 and 300 "poor", 301 and 400 "very poor", and 401 and 500 "severe".

The predominant surface wind is likely to be coming from North East and North West direction of Delhi with wind speed up to 5-8 kmph, partly cloudy sky, moderate to dense fog in the morning and possibility of very light rain/drizzle towards night on 8th January. .

Predicted maximum mixing depth over Delhi is likely to be around 450 m on 8th January and 550 m on January. Ventilation index is likely to be nearly 2500 m2/s during the period. It is noteworthy that ventilation index lower than 6000 m2/s with average wind speed less than 10 kmph is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.

145 Laboratories participate in Analytical Quality Control Programme initiated by CPCB

07.01.2021, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi has organized the 33rd Analytical Quality Control (AQC) exercise for trace metal parameters for Environmental Laboratories of Central and State Pollution Control Boards, Pollution Control Committees, and EPA Recognized Private Labs. The exercise aims a continuous monitor of the accuracy and reliability of the analytical data generated by these laboratories, to help to improve the infrastructure of laboratories and the quality of data.

The AQC exercise will help evaluate the performance of participating laboratories in terms of analytical activities, the robustness of instruments used for sample analysis and the expertise of manpower engaged in the laboratory. It will also help to ensure the reliability of the analyzed data, for an informed and conclusive decision for the prevention and control of pollution.

145 laboratories including all the Central and State Board laboratories, Pollution Control Committees and EPA approved laboratories are participating in the 33rd AQC program. The exercise is being conducted with in-house expertise and following the international norms with utmost care.

The laboratories would analyse AQC samples, and communicate the test results on or before the due date. The performance of each laboratory would be evaluated based on scores and the scorecards would be sent by the end of 31st March 2021.

The metals included in the 33rd AQC exercise are Total Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Total Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb) and Zinc (Zn) for the assessment of pollution in air and water.

CPCB should also initiate AQC programmes on Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the range of <3 ppm, which may be useful for river quality monitoring.

Human-Wildlife Conflict Management across the country: Govt. approves Advisory

06.01.2021, New Delhi: Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is an increasingly common phenomenon in many parts of India. Killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala by using explosives in food items, in June last year is one of the recent happening. According to reports, conflict with wild animals, mostly elephants and tigers, has killed more than 1,100 people across India between 2014 and 2017.

The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held on 05th January has approved the advisory for management of HWC in the country. The advisory makes important prescriptions for the States/ Union Territories for dealing with Human-Wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.Utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC and augmenting fodder and water sources within the forest areas are some key steps envisaged to reduce HWC. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.

The advisory also envisages prescribing inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis, Identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal etc.

Some of the other important approvals took place during the meeting are, inclusion of Caracal, a medium size wild cat found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, into the list of critically endangered species for taking up conservation efforts with financial support under Centrally sponsored Scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat. Now, there are 22 wildlife species under recovery programme for critically endangered species.

During the meeting, the Standing Committee also recommended the construction of causeway across Jampannavagu to Muthapur of Govindaraopet and between Jampannavagu to Motlagudem in Mulugu District of Telengana with certain mitigation measures. It also recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of South Western Railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

The other decisions taken at the meeting are construction of a bridge and canal with an aim to augment the water supply and irrigation facilities in villages Madharwa, Thakurapur, Jamdhara and Sugaon in Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh under the National SaryuNaharPariyojna with certain mitigation measures and the construction of Integrated Bus Terminus cum Commercial complex in Vashi, Navi Mumbai in Thane district with certain mitigation measures. The redeveloped facility will pave way for 17 bus bays and approximately 3,300 bus trips shall be operational, which will greatly benefit in transportation of people in and around Mumbai.

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA). The Standing Committee of NBWL considers proposals after a series of levels of scrutiny and have recommendations of the State Chief Wildlife Warden, State Government and the State Board for Wildlife. During the meetings of SC-NBWL, the views of the expert members are taken into consideration before arriving at decisions.

Earnings apart, Construction Projects pay hefty Penalty for non-compliance of C&D Waste Rules

05.01.2021, New Delhi: On the wake of air pollution in Delhi and NCR, a number of measures were taken to abate dust and related air pollution. Construction and Demolition (C&D) wastes are considered to be one of the biggest sources of air pollution. According to the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi NCR and adjoining areas, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and the State Pollution Control Boards of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh along with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee constituted 227 special teams and launched inspection drives in the premises, processes and transportation of materials related to C&D activities in the NCR.

These teams carried out surprise checks and inspections at more than 3000 sites from 24.12.2020 to 31.12.2020, out of which about 386 sites were found to be non-compliant with the various C&D Waste Management Rules, pertinent Guidelines and dust mitigation measures stipulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the CPCB. Therefore, the teams penalized the non-compliant project sites. Thus, a staggering amount of nearly Rs. 1.59 Crore was collected as environment compensation against the defaulting agencies besides orders for stoppage of work at 12 locations.

Compliance with respect to transportation of materials related to C&D activities was also seen by the inspecting teams. About 325 vehicles, not in conformance with guidelines related to transportation of C&D materials, were levied environment compensation charges of approximately Rs. 1.17 crore.

Such fortnightly drives are planned to be continued to enforce compliance of the C&D waste management rules and related guidelines to abate dust pollution from C&D sector, which contributes significantly to poor air quality in the region.

The noncompliance is not new. In October 2020, Delhi Govt. carried out several surprise inspections and found a number of sites as non-compliers with C&D Waste Management Rules 2016. According to a report, between 1st November to 11th November 2020, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram also had collected penalties of Rs. 2.67 lakh from 55 defaulters for dumping C&D waste illegally.

It is important to cite here that the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 were notified on 29th March 2016 vide GSR 371(E). Earlier, the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 had also defined "demolition and construction waste” as wastes from building materials debris and rubble resulting from construction, re-modelling, repair and demolition operation. Thus, even after 20 years, the value of C&D waste is n