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Trane Technologies Advances Climate-Friendly Initiatives in India with Innovative Cooling Cart System

19th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Trane Technologies, a global leader in climate innovation, has recently made notable strides in promoting sustainable and climate-friendly initiatives in India. As part of its 2030 Sustainability Commitments, the company has launched a significant program distributing cooling carts at no cost to street vendors across various regions in India. This initiative follows the development of a groundbreaking prototype cooling cart system in September 2022, designed to protect food from excessive heat, reduce food loss, and enhance the livelihoods of street vendors.

The Cooling Cart system, developed with a focus on affordability and ease of use, employs the latest advancements in passive cooling technology. This innovative solution is aimed at combating food loss while simultaneously improving the lives of small-scale farmers. By enhancing food management practices, particularly during the critical last mile delivery, the cooling cart promises to significantly bolster food security and vendor incomes.

Globally, approximately 30% of food produced is lost or wasted, leaving 1.3 billion people facing food insecurity. In India, up to one-third of food loss occurs among street vendors, primarily due to harsh weather conditions and inadequate cooling facilities. This food wastage severely impacts vendors’ incomes and quality of life, with many earning less than $5 a day as the sole providers for their families. The Cooling Cart, equipped with overnight storage capabilities, extends the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables by at least 1-2 days, enabling vendors to sell more produce rather than discarding it. This enhancement is expected to significantly boost their potential net income.

The Cooling Cart prototype has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness over the past two years, considerably extending the shelf life of perishable foods. Starting with a pilot program in the municipality of Kolar, the initiative has expanded to cover Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mangalore, and Nigeria. A total of 15 carts have been distributed to local street vendors, who have provided positive feedback, underscoring the transformative potential of the Cooling Cart.

Trane Technologies has partnered with academic institutions such as the Cambridge Institute of Technology and the University of Vermont's Grossman School of Business to explore scalable solutions. Additionally, the company is collaborating with members of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to facilitate widespread adoption of the cooling technology. Through a strategic partnership with the Section Infin-8 Foundation, Trane Technologies has launched impactful initiatives in Karnataka, gaining strong support from local MLAs. This support is crucial for facilitating introductions to central government officials, streamlining the company’s progress.

Vishwas Uchila Shishir, Director of the Section Infin-8 Foundation, expressed his gratitude, stating, “We are truly thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with Trane Technologies in bringing this innovative solution to our community. The Cooling Cart initiative will not only enhance the efficiency of street vendors but will also contribute to their overall well-being by enabling them to store and display their products in a more hygienic and convenient manner.”

Wilson Lawrence, Vice President & General Manager of India Engineering & Technology Center at Trane Technologies, highlighted the company’s commitment to scaling up this transformative initiative. “As we continue to enhance the design of the next-generation Cooling Cart to improve its user-friendliness, durability, and cost-effectiveness, we are actively seeking partnerships with organizations like the UNDP and WFP to expand our impact and reach more needy vendors, thereby significantly enhancing local community livelihoods.”

The Cooling Cart initiative is part of Trane Technologies’ Operation Possible, an employee-powered social innovation program designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges, aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Shirin Salis, Vice President of Human Resources at Trane Technologies, emphasized, “Operation Possible is more than just an incubator for transformative ideas; it's a catalyst for collaboratively addressing environmental, social, and economic disparities. With a shared commitment to progress, the Cooling Cart initiative unites diverse and inclusive voices to drive meaningful change. It has fostered a culture of innovation, and we are proud to be recognized among India’s 50 Best Workplaces, building a culture of Innovation by All, according to the Great Place To Work® Institute.”

For decades, Trane Technologies has been at the forefront of climate innovation, consistently challenging what is possible for a sustainable world. The company’s bold 2030 Sustainability Commitments are paving the way for new technological standards that enhance the health and well-being of both people and the planet.

Athletes Sound Alarm Over Intense Heat Risks at Paris Olympics

18th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Leading athletes are voicing serious concerns about the potential dangers posed by the intense heat expected during the Paris Olympics in July-August 2024. With temperatures during the Games' months having increased by 3.1°C since 1924, the last time the Olympics were held in France, there are fears that competitors could collapse, or in worst-case scenarios, die due to the extreme conditions.

A group of 11 Olympians, including winners of five World Championships and six Olympic medals, have joined forces with climate scientists and heat physiologists from the University of Portsmouth. Their joint report, "Rings of Fire," outlines the severe threat that extreme heat poses for athletes.

Katie Rood, a striker for New Zealand’s football team, highlighted the alarming trajectory of climate change. "It's a terrifying prospect when we see the direction things are heading and how rapidly the climate is deteriorating around us," she said.

Jamie Farndale, a rugby 7s player for Great Britain, echoed these concerns. "It is not in an athlete’s DNA to stop, and if the conditions are too dangerous, I do think there is a risk of fatalities," he stated.

Lord Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics and a four-time Olympic medallist, pointed out the varied consequences of extreme heat for athletes. These range from performance-impacting issues like sleep disruption and last-minute changes to event timings to severe health impacts and heat-related injuries. "With global temperatures continuing to rise, climate change should increasingly be viewed as an existential threat to sport," he emphasized.

The Tokyo Games, known as the "hottest in history," saw temperatures exceeding 34°C with nearly 70% humidity, presenting severe health risks for competitors. The Paris Games might surpass these conditions due to ongoing climate change driven by fossil fuel combustion.

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that 2023 was the hottest year on record, with 2024 continuing this trend. April 2024 was warmer globally than any previous April, according to Copernicus experts.

The "Rings of Fire" report also references the deadly 2003 heatwave in France, which claimed over 14,000 lives, and subsequent record-breaking temperatures exceeding 42°C. It underscores the heightened risk of extreme heat during the Paris Olympics, given the significant temperature rise since the last Paris Games a century ago.

The report offers five recommendations for sporting authorities: smart scheduling to avoid heat extremes, better rehydration and cooling plans to keep athletes and fans safe, empowering athletes to speak out on climate change, boosting collaboration between sporting bodies and athletes on climate awareness campaigns, and reassessing fossil fuel sponsorship in sport.

General Jackson Tuwei, President of Athletics Kenya, underscored the gravity of the report's findings. "The challenges of climate-change-induced extreme heat for athletes are extensive and pose risks of devastating outcomes," he said, noting the recent floods in Kenya as a stark reminder of climate change’s impacts.

Pragnya Mohan, the highest-ranking triathlete in Indian history, described the "scary" dangers that can be fatal. "Your body feels like it’s shutting down," she recounted, noting that she can no longer train in her home country due to the heat.

The report also highlights concerns about open water pollution, affecting triathletes and marathon swimmers. There are doubts about the viability of the swimming section of the triathlon at the Paris Games due to fears around water quality impacted by heavy rain. Paris 2024 Olympic Games President Tony Estanguet has even raised the possibility of postponing or canceling the event.

The report underscores the dual threat of extreme heat and pollution. It recalls how dangerously high levels of E.coli led to the cancellation of the marathon swimming test event in the River Seine in 2023, with some teams opting for typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines before racing in open water.

Japanese race walker and 2019 World Champion Yusuke Suzuki shared how heat illness derailed his Tokyo Olympic dreams, impacting his physical and mental health. Similarly, New Zealand tennis player and Olympic bronze medallist Marcus Daniell expressed concerns about the risk of fatal heat conditions during competitions.

American discus thrower Sam Mattis highlighted that athlete fatalities from heatstroke are not new in the US. "As extreme heat events become more commonplace, and the stakes remain unchanged for athletes, it seems likely that it will happen again," he warned.

As athletes and experts call for urgent action, the hope is that these warnings will lead to significant changes in how sporting events are managed in an increasingly warming world.

Not to miss, Google has reported that searches for “why is it so hot” doubled and “heat related illness” is up +150% over the past day. Search for "heat dome" have recently reached an all-time high in the US. This surge in interest coincides with growing concerns about the impact of extreme heat on daily life and significant events. 

Deluxe Recycling Expands with New Plant in Sarigam, Gujarat

18th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Deluxe Recycling, a multi-layered plastics (MLPs) recycling company, has inaugurated a new recycling plant in Sarigam, Gujarat, as part of its strategic expansion efforts. Established in 1999, Deluxe Recycling has been at the forefront of addressing India’s waste management challenges, particularly through the innovative recycling of Used Beverage Cartons (UBCs) and MLPs.

The new facility in Sarigam marks a significant milestone for the company, allowing it to more than double its recycling capacity from 13,000 tons per annum (TPA) to 27,400 TPA across two locations. This expansion solidifies Deluxe Recycling’s position as one of South Asia's largest MLP recyclers. By the fiscal year 2030, the company aims to recycle over 200,000 tons of UBCs and MLPs. The investment in the Sarigam plant is approximately Rs. 50 crore, covering an area of about 1.5 lakh square feet.

According to a 2023 article by the World Economic Forum, India generates approximately 9.4 million tons of plastic waste annually, with only 50% of it being collected. MLP waste, which is notoriously difficult to recycle, often ends up in landfills or is used for fuel, incineration, or co-processing in cement plants. Deluxe Recycling has tackled this issue by developing a scalable ecosystem for the collection and processing of MLP waste. This involves working with a network of aggregators and small material recovery facilities (MRFs) to collect and sort MLP waste, which is then processed using the company’s proprietary technology to manufacture high-demand heavy, rigid products. Notably, Deluxe supplies 90% of the recycled seat boards to the automotive industry, with many rickshaw drivers using seats made from Deluxe-recycled materials.

The expansion has been fueled by funding from Circulate Capital, a prominent circular economy investment management firm. This financial support has been crucial in establishing the new facilities in Sarigam and Bengaluru, increasing Deluxe's capacity from 13,000 MTPA to 27,400 MTPA, with plans to reach 50,000 MTPA in the next 2.5 years. The Sarigam plant alone is expected to create over 150 jobs.

Jignesh Shah, Managing Director of Deluxe Recycling Pvt. Ltd., stated, “Opening the largest MLP recycling plant in India is a pivotal step for us towards translating our vision into reality, and we appreciate the continuous support from Circulate Capital. This facility marks a significant advancement for us towards developing sustainable solutions for the collection, management, and recycling of multi-layered plastic (MLP), driving impactful environmental progress in India. Our goal is to lead the way in building an innovative ecosystem to source MLP waste and give it a new life in high-value applications.”

Rob Kaplan, Founder & CEO of Circulate Capital, added, “We believe that Deluxe Recycling’s innovative market-based solution that incentivizes the collection of typically hard-to-recycle MLPs will drive significant positive environmental and social outcomes, contributing to a circular economy for plastics in India. We are excited to see the transformative change this investment will bring over the coming years.”

Earthraga and Wahter Join Forces in #WinAWeekWithWahter Campaign to Combat Heatwave in New Delhi

18th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Amidst the unrelenting heat of summer, Earthraga, a new-age skincare brand, has announced its collaboration with Wahter, India's prominent advertising and packaged drinking water brand, in the #WinAWeekWithWahter Campaign. This partnership aims to quench the thirst of New Delhi's citizens during the scorching heatwave.

As part of this collaboration, Wahter will distribute 7,000 bottles of water at India Gate, each featuring Earthraga's branding. This initiative not only amplifies Earthraga's brand presence but also highlights its dedication to promoting sustainability and accessibility.

Earthraga, renowned for vegan skincare products, has always been at the forefront of ethical consumerism. This partnership with Wahter represents a fusion of innovative marketing strategies and a shared mission to inspire positive change.

"We are thrilled to partner with Wahter in this meaningful campaign," remarked Ganesh Kamath, Founder & CEO of Earthraga. "This collaboration not only enhances our brand presence but also aligns perfectly with our core values of sustainability and accessibility. By advocating for access to clean water, we aim to foster a deeper connection with our consumers and inspire them towards a greener future."

Wahter is making packaged drinking water accessible to all at an affordable price of just Re. 1 per 250 ml bottle and Rs. 2 per 500 ml bottle. "Congratulations to Earthraga for being a standout brand in the #WinAWeekWithWahter Campaign. Together, we are poised to make a significant impact by hydrating the community and enhancing Earthraga's outreach. Our goal with this campaign is to partner with more like-minded brands looking for an innovative advertising medium to reach their target audience with a positive impact," said Amitt Nenwani, Co-founder of Wahter.

Through this initiative, Earthraga and Wahter are not only addressing the immediate need for hydration during the heatwave but are also setting a precedent for sustainable practices in marketing and community engagement. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in Earthraga's ongoing mission to promote ethical consumerism and environmental responsibility.

From Roots to Riches: Creating Wealth with Plant-Based Ingredients

18th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Asit C. Mehta Investment Interrmediates (ACMIIL), a trusted equity research house with a legacy spanning four decades, has published a comprehensive report titled “From Roots to Riches: Creating Wealth with Plant-Based Ingredients!” This report uncovers the vast, untapped potential of the plant-based ingredients sector and highlights the investment opportunities within this rapidly growing industry. Globally, the market for plant-based ingredients is projected to expand significantly, reaching $120 billion by 2029 from an estimated $60.71 billion in 2022, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.32%. Investors, who previously overlooked this sector considering it a mere commodity, must now recognize its potential for value-added expansion and wealth generation. Governmental push and investor preference to move away from chemicals and unhealthy ingredients present a huge opportunity for plant-based ingredients with healthy compositions.

The report emphasizes that plant-based ingredients extend far beyond the food industry, finding applications in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles, and many other sectors. This widespread usage presents a unique and lucrative investment opportunity. The global shift towards sustainability, ethical consumption, and health consciousness is fueling increased demand for plant-based ingredients. India is emerging as a significant player in this industry, thanks to its diversified ecosystem and shift in consumer preferences. The report highlights several key trends driving this shift. Evolving new products are replacing traditional products, with investment in natural ingredients replacing synthetic chemicals. Innovative packaging strategies, such as Paperboat's "blue ocean strategy," create niche categories by branding traditional Indian drinks with enhanced visual identity and product differentiation. Increasing awareness of organic products with qualitative ingredients is evident, with a preference for cocoa butter/CBE over CBS/palm oil-based products. New-age marketing models, including multi-level marketing (MLM) and e-commerce, are gaining traction. Strengthening food safety norms is also notable, as seen in distinctions between frozen desserts and ice cream, and confectionery items versus chocolates. Additionally, technological and innovative advances, such as natural extracts from turmeric being used to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, are playing a crucial role.

Investors can capitalize on this structural shift, benefiting from the expanding market and premium pricing of plant-based products. The export market for India’s plant-based sector is projected to expand substantially by 2030. Manorama Industries exemplifies the sector's potential, delivering 16x returns since its listing in 2018. Companies focusing on specialty plant-based products can generate substantial wealth while contributing to a more organic and vegan world. Notable companies in this sector include Adani Wilmar Ltd, Sanstar Ltd (proposed IPO), Manorama Industries Ltd, Food & Inn, and Gujarat Ambuja Exports Ltd. Plant-based specialty products and ingredients, derived from plants or agricultural produce like sal seed butter, maize starch, and menthol extract from mint leaves, are becoming preferred choices for consumers. Top brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Stella McCartney, Prada Group, and Givenchy are developing vegan leather products made from plant-based sustainable materials. Additionally, seed-extracted butter is replacing chemical-based cosmetics and foods.

The growth of this sector is supported by progressive Indian government policies, such as the PM Formalisation of Micro-Food-Processing Enterprises Scheme, National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), and the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY). These initiatives aim to create modern infrastructure, enhance supply chain efficiency, formalize the unorganized food-processing business, and reduce agricultural waste, thereby driving sector growth. In today’s health-conscious world, consumers are increasingly shifting from white sugar to plant-based ingredients due to the adverse health effects of white sugar. The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have proposed new guidelines emphasizing stringent limits on sugar content in foods and beverages. This shift is expected to significantly impact the plant-based ingredient sector, boosting demand for alternatives like corn starch, agave syrup, coconut sugar, and fruit pulp.

Devang Shah, Head of Retail Research at ACMIIL, emphasized the potential of the plant-based ingredients market, stating, “The plant-based ingredients market represents a paradigm shift towards vegetarian, vegan, and organic natural products. Investors who recognize and seize this chance will not only benefit from substantial financial returns but also contribute to a more sustainable future. ACMIIL's study outlines strategic recommendations for investors and businesses to leverage these opportunities, emphasizing the importance of innovation, efficient distribution, and government support in propelling market growth.” Mr. Prasanna Pathak, Director at ACMIIL, added, “As the plant-based natural extracts sector expands exponentially, backed by industry innovation and global demand, it promises to deliver substantial returns, making it a compelling addition to any forward-looking investment portfolio. Those who judged this sector as beyond-commodity specialty products have generated wealth while contributing to the development of an organic and vegan world.”

Global Call for Land's Sustainable Future

India's Actions on Desertification and Drought

17th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Siddhesh Sakore, a dedicated farmer and the founder of "Agro Rangers", is at the forefront of addressing soil degradation in agricultural lands. With a deep commitment to empowering small and marginal farmers in his community, Sakore is leveraging innovative agroforestry models to restore soil health and enhance agricultural productivity.

Agroforestry, a land use management system that integrates trees with crops or pasture, is a time-honored practice in India. This sustainable approach contributes significantly to livelihoods, nutrition, energy, and environmental security. India took a pioneering step in February 2014 by launching its national agroforestry policy, becoming the first country to adopt such a framework. This policy has been instrumental in increasing tree cover outside traditional forests, thereby meeting the nation’s growing demand for wood.

Today marks Desertification and Drought Day 2024, a pivotal event in the global fight against land degradation and drought. Hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bonn, this year’s event, themed "United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future," brought together changemakers from around the world. The event coincides with the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the only global agreement dedicated to sustainable land management ratified by 196 countries and the European Union.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the need for collective action: "As the focus of this year’s World Day reminds us, we must be 'United for Land'. Governments, businesses, academics, communities, and more must come together and act. We know what we need to do: it’s set out clearly in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. As we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention, the world must dramatically pick up the pace of implementation; build momentum towards UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh; and ensure young people are heard in the negotiations. Together, let’s sow the seeds for a thriving future – for nature and humanity.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also highlighted the significance of the day: "Today, we are not only commemorating the annual 'Desertification and Drought Day', but we are also celebrating 30 years of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. There is nothing more important, more basic, than good soil, safe food, and clean water. So let’s work together! And let’s bring in young people to make sure that our decisions today ensure their good future tomorrow."

UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw underscored the urgency of the issue: "The future of our land is the future of our planet. By 2050, 10 billion people will depend on this vital resource. Yet we are losing the equivalent of four football fields to land degradation every second.”

State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth added, "Healthy soils form the basis of our future. No matter whether we are talking about climate change, biodiversity loss, or food crises – soil quality plays a central role in meeting these global challenges. Soils retain water and allow trees and plants to grow. We will only be able to feed humankind and deal with the climate crisis and its impacts if we have healthy soils."

Land degradation affects up to 40% of the world's land and nearly half the world's population, disproportionately impacting indigenous communities, rural households, smallholder farmers, and especially youth and women. More than a billion young people in developing countries depend on land and natural resources. Engaging youth in land restoration can create the estimated 600 million jobs needed in the next 15 years, contributing to both economic growth and environmental sustainability.

COP15 President Alain-Richard Donwahi stressed, “For too long, desertification and drought have been seen as problems specific to the South. However, these phenomena are spreading globally and affect us all. The past year has been marked by many events that remind us of the urgency of action. This Desertification and Drought Day and the forthcoming COP16 in December must allow us to organize and fight against desertification and its consequences. There is no time to lose."

At the global observance event, UNCCD announced Ten Land Heroes, young changemakers working to restore land, boost resilience to drought, develop sustainable agricultural businesses, and harness technology to tackle global environmental challenges. “UNCCD recognizes the talents of young people as entrepreneurs and agents of change. They are key to transforming their communities and driving innovation in sustainable land management. From Brazil to Mali, from the Philippines to Moldova, young leaders are committed to restoring land. We need their voices to shape the future of our planet,” Thiaw noted.

A new program to train youth negotiators for future decision-making on land and drought issues was launched, with participants from over 30 countries receiving training ahead of COP16 in Riyadh in December 2024. Additionally, Bonn Mayor Katja Dörner, in cooperation with UNCCD, inaugurated the city's first "land-friendly" school, where students will learn about organic farming through both educational and practical lessons on the school's farmland.

India, with about 32% of its land under degradation and 25% undergoing desertification, has a huge task cut out to ensure sustainable land management as well as food, water and livelihood security by adopting both preventive and curative strategies for moving towards land degradation neutrality in a realistic timeframe. 

India hosted the 14th session of Conference of Parties (COP 14) of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in September 2019. India exhibited its national commitments of Land Degradation Neutrality and restoration of 26 Million hectare of degraded land by 2030 which focus on sustainable and optimum utilisation of land resources.

On 17th June 2021, India released the latest version of "Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India". It was published by Space Application Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad. The Atlas provides state wise area of degraded lands for the time frame 2018-19. It also provides the change analysis for the duration of 15 years, from 2003-05 to 2018-19.

On 17th June 2023, in observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change unveiled the “National Working Plan Code-2023” for the scientific management of forests. The event, organized by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in Dehradun, introduced this code as a guiding principle for State Forest Departments in preparing working plans for various forest divisions. The National Working Plan Code-2023 emphasizes sustainable forest management, addressing the extent and condition of forest and tree cover, biodiversity conservation, forest health, soil and water resource management, forest productivity, and socio-economic benefits. Notably, it mandates continuous data collection and updating in a centralized database for the first time. Included within this code is the “Indian Forest Management Standard,” which accounts for India's diverse forest ecosystems while aiming for management uniformity. These standards, based on extensive scientific forest management experience and aligned with international criteria, will help State Forest Departments evaluate the effectiveness of their management practices.

18th MIFF Promotes Sustainability with 'Mission Life' Eco-Film Package

Documentary "My Mercury" Premieres at 18th MIFF

17th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Aurora was the top trending search topic and “can you see the northern lights tonight”, "eyebrow blindness",  long-exposure photography and “iphone night mode”, “eco friendly wood veneer” are some interesting recent search trends. “steps a day” has a huge significance to everything, including adopting Mission LiFE. 

In a bid to promote sustainable lifestyles and instill a sense of civic responsibility towards environmental protection, the 18th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) is set to showcase a special package titled "Mission Life." This unique collection, presented by CMS Vatavaran, features five meticulously selected films that delve into the intricate and symbiotic relationship between humanity and the Earth. These films serve as poignant reminders of our deep connection to the planet and highlight the urgent need for harmonious coexistence.

Films to be Screened under the Special Package "Mission Life" are SAVING THE DARK, LAKSHMAN-REKHA, THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE, THE JOWAR BALLAD, and PENG YU SAI.

SAVING THE DARK: This film addresses the significant issue of light pollution, which prevents 80% of the world's population from seeing the Milky Way. "SAVING THE DARK" explores the consequences of excessive and improper lighting on our night skies, sleep patterns, and nocturnal habitats. The documentary also showcases advancements in LED technology that allow cities to illuminate their streets safely and efficiently without disrupting the nighttime environment.

LAKSHMAN-REKHA (THE LINES THAT LAKSHMAN DREW): It offers an intimate look at Laxman Singh, a school dropout who transformed a drought-stricken village in the Great Indian Desert. Through voluntary efforts, he changed the fate of 58 villages by promoting water conservation. The film questions whether people take his mission seriously or are simply waiting for a miracle, as it follows his ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the importance of conserving water.

THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE: This documentary takes viewers to the frontlines of the climate crisis, focusing on the most affected regions: the Arctic, Antarctic, Himalayas, and the Oceans. "THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE" documents the significant decline in Arctic Ocean ice cover and rapid thawing in these cryospheric regions. Scientists employ the latest technology to investigate these phenomena, revealing the harsh realities and urgent need for action against climate change.

THE JOWAR BALLAD (JOWAR GATHA): "THE JOWAR BALLAD" highlights the rich traditions and practices surrounding the cultivation of indigenous millet varieties in India's drylands. The film brings to life the diverse cuisine, songs, rituals, and stories associated with millet farming while addressing the decline in its cultivation. The elders' concerns about the health and harvest risks posed by new agricultural cropping varieties are poignantly expressed.

PENG YU SAI: It's an investigative documentary that uncovers the illegal trade of Manta Rays from India's oceans. Wildlife presenter Malaika Vaz follows the trade pipeline from fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean to wildlife trafficking hubs in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China. Along the way, she interacts with fishermen, traffickers, and wildlife trade kingpins to understand the measures needed to protect these majestic ocean giants.

The 18th MIFF showcased the international premiere of "My Mercury," a documentary directed by Joelle Chesselet. The film explores the life of Yves Chesselet, a solitary conservationist on Mercury Island off the coast of Namibia, South Africa.

Yves' mission to reclaim the island for endangered species is a captivating tale of sacrifice and triumph. "To live on an island, you need a certain kind of personality," says Chesselet, emphasizing her brother's desire to escape the world's noise and rush. The documentary highlights the decline of seabirds due to the increasing seal population and excessive fishing.

Chesselet describes "My Mercury" as an eco-psychological film, exploring human-nature relationships. Filming posed logistical challenges due to the island's rocky shore. Despite potential controversy over Yves' methods, the film has garnered strong support from the conservation community.

"My Mercury" underscores the need for greater environmental awareness and action, highlighting the profound human connection with nature.

Ambuja Foundation Hosts Event in Nagpur, Calls for Climate Resilience Investment

17th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Ambuja Foundation organized a significant event in Nagpur aimed at promoting investment and awareness in climate resilience across Vidarbha. The event brought together stakeholders including NGOs, corporates, government bodies, development practitioners, academia, and civil society organizations from the region for a crucial dialogue.

Eminent speakers from NITI Aayog, NABARD, ICRISAT, and notable figures like Mr. Popatrao Pawar highlighted the urgent need for integrated water management strategies and collective community action. Mr. Pawar, renowned for his leadership in transforming Hiware Bazaar, stressed the importance of community ownership in sustaining water sources, stating, "Conservation is just the beginning; ownership is key to lasting change."

Panel discussions focused on grassroots-level training, technology adoption, and behavioral shifts to combat water scarcity. Experts emphasized the impact of sustainable water management on agricultural productivity and community resilience to climate variability. Virtual participants underscored the necessity for stakeholder collaboration and integrated approaches to address climate challenges.

Ambuja Foundation's ongoing initiatives in Chandrapur and Nagpur have significantly boosted water availability, increased agricultural productivity, and enhanced the adaptive capacity of local farmers. Key achievements include a rise in water tables, improved crop yields, and heightened agricultural incomes across 1,100 villages.

The event concluded with a call to action for sustained investment and community engagement in advancing climate resilience efforts in Vidarbha.

MPCB Cracks Down on Banned Single-Use Plastics

17th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) recently conducted a targeted enforcement operation at R-Mall, Dhokali, Thane, focusing on curbing the use of banned Single-Use Plastic (SUP) items. Led by the Regional Office Thane team, the operation identified significant violations at Tata Starbucks Pvt Ltd and McDonald's.

During the inspection at Tata Starbucks Pvt Ltd, MPCB inspectors found several banned SUP items in use, including plastic film-coated cups, plastic straws, and plastic dome lids. Notably, none of these items adhered to the mandatory verifiable QR code requirement, indicating a breach of state regulations. The outlet manager at Tata Starbucks Pvt Ltd declined to pay the penalty for the initial offense.

Similarly, MPCB officials examined the McDonald's outlet within R-Mall and discovered banned SUP items being used without the necessary QR code. In response to the violation, McDonald's promptly paid the penalty for the first offense. Subsequently, all confiscated SUP items from both establishments were handed over to the Urban Local Body (ULB) for proper disposal.

Chairperson Siddhesh Ramdas Kadam underscored MPCB's steadfast commitment to enforcing the SUP ban as part of its environmental protection mandate. "Our recent actions demonstrate MPCB's resolve to uphold environmental regulations and ensure compliance from businesses," Kadam stated. "The use of banned single-use plastics poses significant environmental risks, and we will continue to enforce stringent measures against violators. Compliance is not just a choice but a legal and ethical obligation."

MPCB highlighted the prevalence of banned SUP items across various cities, including Mumbai, emphasizing the need for strict adherence to the ban among all businesses and individuals. The board reaffirmed its commitment to ongoing vigilance and pledged to conduct similar enforcement efforts across Maharashtra to promote a cleaner and sustainable environment.

JK Tyre Achieves ISCC Plus Certification for Chennai Plant, a First in Indian Tyre Industry

17th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

JK Tyre & Industries has made history as the first tyre manufacturer in India to achieve the prestigious International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) Plus for its Chennai plant. This certification underscores JK Tyre's commitment to integrating sustainability into its manufacturing processes and fostering an environmentally conscious future.

The ISCC Plus certification is awarded following a rigorous audit process conducted by the Indian counterpart of the certification body based in Kolkata. It necessitates compliance with stringent criteria, including the traceability of raw materials, adherence to environmental regulations, ecosystem preservation, upholding of labor and human rights, and promotion of sustainable economic development.

Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman and Managing Director of JK Tyre, expressed pride in this achievement, stating, "Green manufacturing is at the core of our sustainable development commitment. Through initiatives aimed at reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring efficient resource management, JK Tyre has consistently set benchmarks in the industry. This recognition marks a significant milestone for us and reinforces our dedication to sustainable practices."

The company has set ambitious targets aligned with global sustainability goals, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and reduce carbon intensity by 50% by 2030. These targets have been validated by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), affirming JK Tyre's proactive stance on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Chennai plant, certified as a zero-liquid discharge facility since 2021, has been recognized previously for its energy efficiency and sustainability efforts. It was honored with the "National Energy Leader" title at the 21st National Award for Excellence in Energy Management in 2020 and has received the "Excellent Energy Efficient Unit" award from CII for six consecutive years since 2015. In 2017, the plant was also acknowledged by the International Research Institute for Manufacturing (IRIM) for its green manufacturing techniques.

The ISCC Plus certification, focusing on bio-based and circular (recycled) raw materials, reinforces JK Tyre's commitment to sustainability throughout its supply chain. It ensures transparency and compliance with ISCC standards from the origin of materials to the final product, promoting responsible sourcing and environmental stewardship.

JK Tyre's achievement of ISCC Plus certification for its Chennai plant highlights its leadership in sustainable manufacturing practices within the Indian tyre industry and sets a benchmark for environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility.

IIT Kanpur and NSI Kanpur Sign MoU to Establish Centre of Excellence for Biofuels

16th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In a significant step towards advancing India's biofuel production capabilities, the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) and the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur (NSI Kanpur) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre of Excellence for Biofuels. The signing ceremony was held at NSI Kanpur, graced by the presence of Ashwini Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Sugar), Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India; Prof. Manindra Agrawal, Director, IIT Kanpur; and Dr. Seema Paroha, Director, NSI Kanpur.

This collaboration aims to enhance biofuel production through joint projects focused on cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art technology adoption, with an emphasis on efficiency and sustainability. The biofuels produced are expected to play a pivotal role in reducing India's dependency on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change. The primary research focus areas include the enhancement of Ethanol, Methanol, Bio-CNG, Aviation Fuel, and Green Hydrogen production from biomass, a renewable energy source.

Given Uttar Pradesh's status as an agriculturally dominant state and a leader in sugarcane production, it is an ideal location for biofuel research. This partnership intends to leverage the expertise of both institutions to address India's growing energy needs while promoting environmental conservation.

Prof. Manindra Agrawal, Director of IIT Kanpur, highlighted the strengths of both institutions in his remarks: "NSI Kanpur has been working in this field for over 60 years, understanding the market dynamics and technological requirements well. Parallelly, IIT Kanpur possesses the understanding of fundamental science and technologies in chemical and other related domains. The aim is to combine the strengths of both institutions to create a state-of-the-art center to help India take a leadership position in the area of biofuels.”

Ashwini Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Sugar), Government of India, expressed his best wishes for the joint research endeavor, emphasizing the significance of the National Biofuel Policy, 2018. "The policy allows the production of ethanol from various sugarcane-based feedstocks as well as surplus food grains. Under the Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme, the government has set a target of 20% blending of ethanol with petrol by 2025. To increase ethanol production, the government is promoting maize as a major feedstock and focusing on a Waste to Wealth approach by utilizing sugarcane by-products."

Dr. Seema Paroha, Director of NSI Kanpur, elaborated on the infrastructure plans: “This is a long-term MoU, and a dedicated building with a state-of-the-art laboratory, including all requisite equipment, pilot plants, and instruments, will be established for the CoE at the Institute campus. This will initially be funded by the ministry, and moving forward, industrial tie-ups will also be targeted.”

The MoU represents a significant advancement in the production of advanced, sustainable, high-quality biofuels. By developing innovative technologies, optimizing existing processes, and establishing pilot projects to demonstrate biofuel technology viability, this collaboration aims to secure India's energy supply, protect the climate by minimizing CO2 emissions, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and crude oil imports.

REC Bhubaneswar Asks Reconsideration of Patratu Proposal to Prevent Impact on 12,700 Trees

14th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

 The Regional Empowered Committee (REC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, at its Integrated Regional Office in Bhubaneswar, has deferred several significant proposals involving forest land diversion in Jharkhand. The decisions were taken during a meeting to address the environmental and land use changes submitted by various entities.

One of the major proposals deferred was submitted by Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (PVUNL), seeking the diversion of 19.048 hectares of forest land under the Ramgarh Division. The project aimed to construct an Ash Mound and Ash Corridor System in the villages of Jainagar and Balkudra. The forest area of 19.048 Ha, proposed for diversion towards construction of Ash Mound is having the total number of 12700 enumerated trees.  The REC decided to defer this proposal to explore the possibility of identifying a suitable non-forest area for the construction or to reduce the surface area of the mound to exclude forest land.

In another instance, the REC deferred a proposal by Tata Steel Ltd. to change the land use for establishing a washery and associated infrastructure over 9.8866 hectares of forest land, which was previously diverted for a coal stackyard. The committee decided that this proposal should be returned to the State Government for further necessary action.

However, the REC gave its nod to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the diversion of 5.66 hectares of forest land for the construction of a four-lane highway from Ghazipur to Ballia-U.P./Bihar Border. This project, which is part of the new Greenfield section from Km 0.00 to Km 117.120 of NH-19 (NH-31 new name) and includes the construction of a new Buxar spur connectivity (length: 17.800 km), is under the Saran Forest Division in Bihar. Notably, the REC's decision did not include data on tree cutting or translocation. All the trees in non-forest area that are likely to be affected by the project are not enumerated. But the tree numbers were not declared.

Regarding the diversion of 368.72 hectares of forest land for the construction of the Shivpur to Katautia new BG railway line in Hazaribagh and Chatra districts of Jharkhand, the REC addressed a previous approval condition. Initially approved in 2019 with a compensatory afforestation (CA) directive on 738.44 hectares, the committee found 100 hectares unsuitable for planting due to the development of gregarious vegetation. The REC accepted the State Government’s request to change this 100-hectare area within the approved 738.44 hectares.

The committee also discussed a proposal to re-divert 9.8866 hectares of forest land for the establishment of a washery and associated infrastructure in Ramgarh district, a proposal similar to Tata Steel Ltd.’s. This, too, was deferred and returned to the State Government for further action.

Additionally, the REC recommended granting forest clearance for the diversion of a minimal 0.008 hectares of forest land to the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research. This clearance was for conducting 80 test pits for prospecting rare metals and rare earth elements in Kanyaluka village under the Jamshedpur Forest Division in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.

India’s Fizzling Monsoon Prolongs Northern Heatwave Amid Rising Climate Concerns

14th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

As India grapples with a wavering monsoon season, the repercussions extend beyond just delayed rains. Reuters reports that the weakened monsoon could extend the heatwave in northern India, exacerbating already challenging conditions. This climatic anomaly coincides with a curious spike in online searches for “hot rodent summer,” which surged by an astonishing 3,350%, indicating heightened public interest in extreme summer conditions.

Meanwhile, the eastern state of Sikkim faces a starkly different crisis. Heavy rains and landslides have claimed six lives, highlighting the region's vulnerability to monsoon-related disasters. This tragic event stirs memories of a decade-old catastrophe in Uttarakhand, a region renowned for its spiritual heritage and scenic beauty. In mid-June 2013, Uttarakhand was devastated by an unprecedented cloudburst, leading to catastrophic floods and landslides during an unusually heavy monsoon. The Mandakini River overflowed, ravaging areas including the sacred Kedarnath Valley. Over 6,000 lives were lost, and the economic damage ran into hundreds of millions of dollars.

As we commemorate ten years since the Uttarakhand disaster, it's vital to reflect on its impact, the lessons learned, and the progress made towards resilience. The calamity underscored the region’s environmental vulnerabilities and the dire consequences of inadequate regulatory frameworks. It also emphasized the necessity for sustainable development practices that align with nature.

The disaster's scale was immense, affecting more than 900,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. The Government of Uttarakhand, supported by national forces including the Indian Army and Air Force, launched one of the largest rescue operations in the country’s history, evacuating over 110,000 individuals. Despite these efforts, the response was hindered by damaged infrastructure and challenging terrain, complicating access to affected areas.

According to SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society), unregulated development exacerbated the disaster’s severity. Ecologically fragile zones were inundated with new constructions, including 427 planned dams on the River Ganga and its tributaries. These developments significantly altered the landscape, increasing vulnerability to natural calamities. Environmental experts have pointed out the lax enforcement of environmental laws in these sensitive areas as a crucial factor in the disaster’s magnitude.

Uttarakhand’s fragility to disasters is well-recognized by organizations like SEEDS . This 30-year-old organization, experienced in addressing disaster-prone communities' needs, swiftly responded to the Kedarnath floods. SEEDS had a long history in Uttarakhand, working since 1994 and conducting awareness and rehabilitation measures.

Following the 2013 floods, SEEDS provided essential services to devastated communities, such as family tents and cooking utensils to the most vulnerable families in Rudraprayag. They also focused on continuing children's education by setting up temporary schools and ensuring mid-day meal provisions despite logistical challenges. Their efforts supported the state's "Palayan Roo Abhiyan," an anti-migration campaign, by rebuilding schools and enhancing income sources for women’s groups.

A decade after the 2013 floods, Uttarakhand has made significant strides in disaster preparedness and community resilience. The anniversary serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance and proactive disaster mitigation measures. Organizations like SEEDS have played a crucial role in this transformation, not only by rebuilding physical infrastructure but also by strengthening community spirit through education and empowerment.

DPP Proposes Focus Areas to Combat Plastics Pollution Ahead of WTO Ministerial Conference

14th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

At a pivotal meeting of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (DPP), co-coordinators Australia, China, Ecuador, and Morocco presented a strategic set of focus areas aimed at delivering concrete and pragmatic outcomes by the 14th Ministerial Conference (MC14). The meeting also welcomed Mongolia and Mozambique as new DPP members, edging the initiative closer to encompassing half of the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership.

The DPP, launched in November 2020 and now comprising 81 co-sponsors representing over 85 percent of global trade in plastics, has entered a new phase of its mission. Coordinators highlighted the robust engagement of members and outlined a detailed work plan for the three core workstreams.

For crosscutting issues, the focus will be on enhancing support for major international processes combating plastics pollution, including the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee’s effort to forge a legally binding instrument on plastics pollution and the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Harmonized System (HS) reform process. Strategies to integrate trade into the solution for plastic pollution will also be explored.

In terms of reduction strategies, efforts will center on compiling an inventory of trade-related plastic measures (TrPMs) implemented by members. The aim is to identify best practices and harmonize TrPMs, with a special emphasis on single-use plastics.

Regarding the promotion of trade, the focus will be on facilitating access to technologies and services, particularly in waste management, and leveling the playing field for non-plastic substitutes by setting relevant standards. Australia, representing all co-coordinators, announced the upcoming circulation of a questionnaire among DPP members to gather feedback. Extensive bilateral consultations are scheduled for July 16-18 to finalize the list of focus items.

Updates were provided on various international processes aimed at reducing plastics pollution, with in-depth discussions on technical elements aligning with the MC13 Ministerial Statement actions. Representatives from numerous organizations contributed insights on addressing the environmental, health, and biodiversity impacts of plastic pollution. The INC Secretariat reported on the outcomes of the recent INC 4 negotiations, noting that trade elements will feature prominently in the final negotiation round (INC 5) later this year. The WCO Secretariat discussed progress on adding new HS codes for specific plastic goods, following DPP’s initiatives. The WTO Secretariat shared details on DPP's engagement in INC meetings.

Participants shared national practices on domestic action against plastic pollution and trade-related measures to mitigate cross-border impacts. Discussions emphasized the need for a domestic inventory of TrPMs and convergence among different national actions. Experiences with waste management mechanisms and whole life-cycle strategies were also discussed, alongside technologies and policies for promoting non-plastic alternatives and the obstacles faced in accessing these technologies.

Participants commended the co-coordinators for identifying focused areas while remaining open to broader topics. The importance of reinforcing collaboration with other international processes was reiterated, with a focus on positive synergies and avoiding overstepping.

In conclusion, Australia, Ecuador, and Morocco thanked participants for the productive discussions and the progress achieved across the three workstreams. They urged members to prepare for the upcoming questionnaire and to continue engaging in the dialogue. The next DPP meeting is scheduled for September 19.

The DPP's ongoing efforts reflect a significant global commitment to addressing plastics pollution through trade-related measures and international cooperation, setting a pragmatic course towards substantial environmental impact by the forthcoming MC14.

IISc Researchers Develop Sustainable Arsenic Removal Process for Groundwater

13th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Researchers at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a patent-pending, three-step process to remove heavy metal contaminants, such as arsenic, from groundwater. This innovative method involves passing contaminated water through a chitosan-based adsorbent bed, separating arsenic via membrane filtration, and converting it to low-toxicity organic arsenic using microbes from cow dung, ensuring environmentally safe disposal. The system, adaptable for fluoride removal, is easy to assemble and has been successfully tested in rural areas, highlighting its potential for widespread community-level implementation.

Ministry Notifies Formation of Additional State Level Expert Appraisal Committees (SEACs) in Rajasthan

13th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a significant notification, S.O. 2241(E), on June 11, 2024, pertaining to the constitution of additional State Level Expert Appraisal Committees (SEACs). This decision follows earlier directives under S.O. 4256(E) dated October 12, 2021, which established the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and SEAC-1 and SEAC-2 to assist the Authority.

Background and Directive from National Green Tribunal:  The notification is in response to a directive from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in O.A. 142 of 2022, related to the matter of Jayant Kumar vs. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The NGT directed SEACs to re-appraise environmental clearances issued by the District Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) for mining projects between January 15, 2016, and September 13, 2018. The SEACs are tasked with granting fresh environmental clearances within one year.

Composition of Additional SEACs:

In accordance with the Government of Rajasthan's request, the Ministry has constituted additional SEACs to facilitate this re-appraisal process:

SEAC-3: Chairman Daya Ram Saharan will oversee the re-appraisal of mining projects in Jodhpur, Sirohi, Pali, Barmer, Jalore, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Shri Ganganagar, Churu, and Hanumangarh.

SEAC-4: Chairman Rahul Bhatnagar will be responsible for re-appraising mining projects in Udaipur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Dungarpur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, and Bhilwara.

Responsibilities of SEAC-1 and SEAC-2

SEAC-1: This committee will appraise all fresh projects and activities statewide, in addition to re-appraising mining projects in Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar, Baran, Karauli, Dholpur, Bharatpur, and Sawai Madhopur.

SEAC-2: Responsible for re-appraising mining projects in Dausa, Alwar, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Tonk, Sikar, Ajmer, and Nagaur, alongside appraising all fresh projects and activities across Rajasthan.

Tenure and Operational Scope

The Chairmen and Members of SEAC-3 and SEAC-4 will serve concurrently with the SEIAA of Rajasthan. 

Wrap-Up | From Delhi's 50°C Heatwave to Kazakhstan's Wild Horse Reintroduction and Bonn's Predictable Politics

13th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

What a fortnight it has been. The Global Strategic Communications Council shared invaluable insights in their Bonn Climate Diplomacy Wrap. These insights bring to mind Delhi's alarming 50°C heatwave, a stark reminder of the faltering leadership under Prime Minister Modi. Speaking of Modi, the realization of Project Cheetah is also noteworthy. In a parallel event, Kazakhstan witnessed the return of Przewalski’s horses to the steppes after nearly 200 years. The first group of seven arrived in early June, marking a significant milestone in the reintroduction of the world's last wild horses to their natural habitat.

On the political front, the far right made significant gains in the EU elections. French President Macron risked his political future in Paris, while in London, Prime Minister Sunak stumbled from one gaffe to another. In South Africa, the ANC fought for its political survival. In contrast to the turbulent political climate, the real climate crisis looms larger. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that we are on track to surpass the 1.5°C threshold before 2030. Scientists from Copernicus projected that 2024 could be the hottest year on record.

At the Bonn conference, climate envoys continued their usual pattern of bickering, boasting, delaying, and dragging out discussions, a reassuringly predictable scenario. During the Oceans Dialogue, Panama highlighted its unprecedented step in relocating an entire island community due to rising sea levels. The dialogue also covered the impacts of climate change on coastal communities, cities, supply chains, and sea level rise. Urgent financial support is needed for National Adaptation Plans, alongside stricter measures to reduce global shipping emissions if countries are to align their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with the 1.5°C target.

Odisha SEIAA Rejects Several Balajee Distillery Projects in Balangir District 

13th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of Odisha has recently announced decisions on several applications for the transfer of environmental clearances (ECs) related to liquor manufacturing units across various villages in Balangir aka Bolangir district of Odisha.

Approved Transfer: SEIAA has approved the proposal for the transfer of environmental clearance for the Sunarijore-B Stone Quarry, covering an area of 2.00 acres in Village Sunarijore under Deogaon Tahasil, Balangir district. This transfer is now sanctioned in the name of Rahul Agrawal located in Balangir, Odisha.

Rejected Transfers: The proposal for the transfer of EC in the name of Sri Balajee for the Bhadra Main Out Still Liquor manufacturing unit at Village Bhadra under Saintala Tahsil has been rejected. SEIAA noted the absence of an approval letter from the competent authority and the lack of a valid excise license in his favor. The EC originally granted under SEIAA letter no. 5414/SEIAA dated July 28, 2018, in favor of the earlier permit holder had also expired.

Similarly, applications for the transfer of ECs for liquor manufacturing units in Bibina, Gurkhapala, SiraJamut, Karamtala, Sarasbahal, Sirabahal, and Tusura NAC villages under various tahsils in Bolangir district have also been rejected. SEIAA cited the same reasons, highlighting the absence of required documents and the expired status of the ECs originally granted.

Deferred Decision: SEIAA deferred a decision on the transfer of EC for the Bindhanpathar Main Out Still Liquor manufacturing unit at Village Pirputa under Saintala Tahsil. Detailed deliberations are underway regarding this specific application.

Rationale Behind Decisions: The authority emphasized that there is no provision for the transfer of an EC that has already expired. SEIAA's decisions are aimed at ensuring strict adherence to environmental norms and regulatory requirements in the transfer of ECs, particularly concerning liquor manufacturing units in rural Bolangir.

Haryana Declares Municipal Solid Waste Exigency in Gurugram, Launches SWEEP Initiative

13th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Haryana Chief Secretary T.V.S.N Prasad, who also chairs the Executive Committee of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), has declared a municipal solid waste exigency in Gurugram. This urgent measure is in response to alarming levels of untreated waste adversely affecting the environment and public health. The declaration, under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, marks a critical step by the State Government to address waste management issues through the launch of the Solid Waste Environment Exigency Program (SWEEP).

A dedicated 24x7 control room has been established in Gurugram. This control room will feature dedicated helpline numbers to facilitate active monitoring and address public grievances effectively.

SWEEP Initiative Overview

The SWEEP program, spearheaded by a high-level committee, aims to overhaul waste management in Gurugram. The committee includes senior officials such as the Divisional Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Municipal Commissioner, Chief Engineer of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Senior Environmental Engineer of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police (HQ).

"The committee is tasked with implementing a comprehensive three-tier system for waste collection, segregation, transportation, processing, and disposal across all 35 wards of Gurugram and GMDA areas," said Chief Secretary Prasad. Additional measures include:

Daily reports will be submitted to the SDMA, and any violations of the order will be met with punitive measures as per relevant laws. The SWEEP initiative will eventually be extended to other municipal areas in Haryana, demonstrating the government's commitment to environmental preservation and public health.

Enforcement and Penalties:

Chief Secretary Prasad emphasized that violations of this order would attract punitive provisions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, and other applicable laws. Offenders may face fines or imprisonment as stipulated by the relevant Acts and regulations. Notably, the statement does not include the Solid Waste Management Rules, under which both Gurugram City and the State of Haryana have previously been penalized by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Legal Context and Impetus:

This decisive move follows the Supreme Court's order on 13th May 2024, and the NGT's observations, which underscored the urgent need for a cleaner environment as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court noted that untreated solid waste severely impacts the environment and infringes on citizens' right to live in a pollution-free environment. Previously, the NGT had described the situation as an environmental emergency, highlighting the necessity for more rigorous management.

According to some city residents, the declaration of a municipal solid waste exigency needs to be more detailed and transparent regarding who will be penalized, as many of the issues are linked to poor governance.

WTO Highlights Challenges and Opportunities in Decarbonizing Global Iron and Steel Inas to dustry 

11th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has underscored the critical importance of investments and policies in the iron and steel industry to achieve global net-zero targets by 2050. In a recent address, the WTO highlighted an estimate by Wood Mackenzie, which places the cost of decarbonizing the global iron and steel sector at $1.4 trillion.

The WTO Secretary-General emphasized the substantial challenges industries face in securing returns on investment in green technologies. Key uncertainties include the identification of winning technologies, the establishment of national and global regulatory frameworks, and the equitable distribution of costs associated with the green transition.

The speech pointed out that 30% of the industry's products are traded globally, making the sector particularly vulnerable to shifting policies and protectionist measures. Despite the rise in protectionism and trade tensions, the WTO reassured that globalization is not receding. Trade has shown resilience, rebounding after the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to grow by 2.6% in 2024 and 3.3% in 2025.

Significant risks include geopolitical tensions, trade conflicts related to green transitions, and the revival of industrial policies. For instance, trade between the United States and China has grown 30% less compared to their trade with the rest of the world. Additionally, trade restrictions on green products now represent a significant portion of global trade.

To support the green transition, the WTO is advocating for coordinated international efforts to avoid fragmented and incompatible trade policies. They propose using trade policies to facilitate the dissemination of green technologies and expand markets for green products, promoting innovation, and reducing costs.

The WTO's "toolkit" for climate action includes measures like improving trade facilitation policies, green procurement, simplifying certification and regulations, and using taxation and carbon pricing effectively. The Secretariat is also working with international organizations like the OECD, IMF, and World Bank on carbon pricing policies.

A noteworthy initiative is the collaboration on "global green steel standards" launched at COP28. The WTO aims to promote interoperability and common approaches to measuring emissions, to prevent disparate standards that could hinder an open trading environment.

The WTO's proactive approach is evident in its engagement with global stakeholders, including China and the United States, the world's largest economies, who have shown interest in further discussions on steel decarbonization at the WTO.

The WTO’s call for intensified efforts and international cooperation aims to ensure the iron and steel industry can meet net-zero targets and contribute to global climate goals, safeguarding the planet for future generations.

Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel's Court Case Emerges After EC Recommendation

11th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has published the Minutes of the 59th Meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for the Industry-1 sector, held on 24th May 2024. The minutes reveal deliberations on several proposals, including the expansion of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India Limited’s (AMNS, formerly Essar Steel India Limited) iron ore pelletization plant in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

The proposal in question involves expanding the pelletization capacity from 7.0 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 11.0 MTPA within the existing 110-acre plant area located on Scindia Road in Vishakhapatnam Urban, Vishakhapatnam district. This proposal was initially considered during the 52nd EAC meeting held from January 23-25, 2024, where it was recommended for environmental clearance.

However, it later emerged that a court case, WP(PIL).No.177 of 2023 titled P L N Rao Vs. The Union of India and Others, is pending against AMNS. This information was not disclosed during the initial appraisal. The Ministry noted that AMNS had previously reported no violations or court cases related to the project under consideration. AMNS claimed that they received notice from the Andhra Pradesh High Court on March 20, 2024, which was after the completion of the EAC meeting and issuance of the minutes, thereby becoming aware of the pending case at that time.

Given the oversight, the proposal was sent back to the processing division for further clarification. Despite this, the EAC reiterated its decision to recommend the proposal for environmental clearance. This recommendation is contingent on AMNS uploading a written submission to the portal under the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006, and adhering to specific and general conditions as stipulated in the 52nd EAC meeting.

The next hearing for the ongoing court case is scheduled for 26th June 2024.

The EAC's decision underscores the importance of transparency and due diligence in the appraisal process for environmental clearances. The Ministry's detailed minutes provide crucial insights into the procedural rigor and the checks and balances in place to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

New report shows climate chaos in 2024 already taking its toll

11th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

As global leaders meet in Bonn for critical climate talks, a new report from Christian Aid highlights that extreme weather events linked to climate change have caused at least $41 billion in damages since COP28. The report underscores the severe economic and human toll of climate-related disasters, emphasizing the need for immediate action and financial support for vulnerable nations.

Christian Aid criticizes the slow progress since COP28, particularly in transitioning away from fossil fuels and aiding lower-income countries. The Bonn talks aim to establish a "Loss and Damage Fund" to address this issue, a contentious point at COP28 due to the reluctance of wealthier nations to commit funds.

The report details four major climate-linked disasters, including deadly floods in Brazil and Asia and devastating heatwaves, underscoring the urgent need for robust climate action. Christian Aid calls for halting new fossil fuel investments, expanding renewable energy, and increasing financial support from rich countries to address the crisis.

“We cannot heal the burns caused by the climate crisis while still throwing fossil fuels on the fire,” said Mariana Paoli, Christian Aid’s Global Advocacy Lead. The report urges rich nations to recognize their historic responsibility and step up funding for climate resilience and equality.

Coal Ministry Hosts Workshop on Environmental and Forest Clearances for Coal Mining

10th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Coal today conducted a comprehensive workshop on Environmental and Forest Clearances for coal mining in New Delhi. The event, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), saw the participation of over 175 officials from various coal and environmental sectors, including Coal India Ltd, SECL, BCCL, ECL, NLCIL, SCCL, NTPC, Coal Controller Organisation, private coal companies, and other experts.

Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Amrit Lal Meena served as the Chief Guest, while Additional Secretary and Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal, M. Nagaraju, was the Guest of Honor.

In his opening remarks, M. Nagaraju highlighted the critical balance between economic growth and environmental protection, emphasizing the necessity of securing clearances to ensure environmental sustainability. Amrit Lal Meena, in his keynote address, reiterated the coal ministry’s dedication to sustainability. He detailed the ministry’s efforts in land restoration and extensive afforestation programs, which often exceed the areas used for mining activities. The inaugural session included presentations of best practices by various coal companies through video showcases.

Experts from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change provided in-depth insights into the regulatory framework, procedural requirements, policy updates, compliance strategies, and best practices for obtaining environmental and forest clearances for coal mining projects. The workshop featured a series of informative sessions and interactive discussions.

Detailed presentations covered topics such as Forest Clearance, Environmental Clearance, Wildlife Clearance, Accredited Compensatory Afforestation (ACA), Green Credits, and Ground Water Clearance, led by officials from MoEF&CC and the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).

The Ministry of Coal addressed the challenges faced in obtaining Environmental and Forest Clearances, showcasing successful strategies for navigating the clearance processes. The interactive Q&A session offered coal companies valuable insights and expert opinions on overcoming clearance challenges. Critical issues, such as balancing development with environmental sustainability, were thoroughly discussed in interactive panels.

The workshop concluded with remarks from senior officials who outlined the key takeaways and future steps to further streamline clearance procedures while maintaining strict environmental safeguards.

Atal Innovation Mission Launches New Initiatives to Foster Innovation and Sustainability

10th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under NITI Aayog has announced two key initiatives aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in India: the ‘AIM – ICDK Water Challenge 4.0’ and the fifth edition of the ‘Innovations for You’ handbook, which highlights SDG entrepreneurs in India.

In partnership with the Innovation Centre Denmark (ICDK) at the Royal Danish Embassy in India, AIM has introduced the fourth edition of the open innovation water challenge. This initiative is a vital part of the Indo-Danish bilateral green strategic partnership and seeks to tackle crucial water-related challenges with innovative solutions. The selected Indian teams will join the global Next Generation Digital Action program, collaborating with young talents from universities and innovation hubs across nine countries, including India, Denmark, Ghana, Kenya, Korea, Tanzania, South Africa, Colombia, and Mexico.

Participants will engage in a hybrid innovation journey that includes group work, boot camp sessions, keynotes, and personalized mentoring. The program emphasizes sustainability, digital solutions, inclusion, and universal design principles, encouraging active participation and knowledge sharing. Selected teams will also showcase their innovations at the Digital Tech Summit in Copenhagen from October 30-31, 2024, with funding from the Danish government.

The challenge has two tracks: one for students and another for young entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Early-stage startups, researchers, and young innovators committed to environmental change are encouraged to apply. The student journey focuses on Digital Action for Societal Impact, emphasizing sustainability and digitization, while the Young Entrepreneurs track provides opportunities for Indian tech startups to accelerate their ideas and form global partnerships.

Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director of AIM, NITI Aayog, expressed enthusiasm for the initiatives, stating, “We are thrilled to announce the launch of AIM – ICDK Water Challenge 4.0 and the fifth edition of Innovations For You – SDG Entrepreneurs of India. These initiatives epitomize our relentless pursuit of innovation and sustainability, propelling India towards a brighter, more resilient future. Through collaborative efforts with partners like ICDK and the Royal Danish Embassy in India, we aim to address pressing challenges and empower young innovators to drive positive change in both countries. We encourage all passionate students along with startups to seize this opportunity."

Soren Norrelund Kannik-Marquardsen, Minister Counsellor and Head of Trade Council in New Delhi, emphasized the importance of the Water Challenge, noting its alignment with the 5 S’s in the Green Strategic Partnership between India and Denmark—Skills, Scale, Scope, Sustainability, and Speed. He highlighted the success and dedication of young innovators in solving global challenges and encouraged young innovators to participate in this opportunity.

Applications open on 10th June 2024, and close on 20th June 2024. Interested applicants can apply here.

In addition to the Water Challenge, AIM also released the fifth edition of ‘Innovations For You,’ a coffee table book series that features 60 entrepreneurs from across India who are making societal impacts through sustainable innovations. These startups focus on recyclable and renewable materials, green energy, inclusive education, and advocacy for underrepresented communities and local artisans.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency Suggests Amendment for Room Air Conditioner Labeling Regulations

10th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under the Ministry of Power, has proposed amendments to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (Particulars and Manner of their Display on Labels of Room Air Conditioners) Regulation, 2017. This notification, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, is issued under the authority of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, specifically under clause (i) of sub-section (2) of section 58 and clause (n) of sub-section (2) of section 13.

Key Details of the Notification:

Amendment Proposal: The draft amendments aim to update the specifications for labels displayed on room air conditioners, ensuring more precise and user-friendly information.

Feedback Invitation: Stakeholders and the general public are invited to submit their suggestions and objections. Feedback must be addressed to the Director-General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency at the Ministry of Power, located at the 4th Floor, Sewa Bhawan, Sector-1, R.K. Puram, New Delhi - 110066. The deadline for submissions is 30 days from the publication date in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary.

Implementation Date: The proposed regulations will come into effect on 1st January 2026.

Proposed Changes:

Label Design: The amendment proposes changes in the particulars to be displayed on the labels, including dimensions, color schemes, and the complete specimen of a printed label.

Specimen Labels: Updates to the specimen labels for room air conditioners in Annexure Form I – (B) and Annexure Form II – (B) are outlined, ensuring clarity and standardization across models.


The proposed amendments are designed to enhance the visibility and comprehension of energy efficiency labels on room air conditioners. This initiative is expected to aid consumers in making informed decisions, thereby promoting energy conservation.

The BEE seeks active participation from all concerned parties to ensure that the final regulations reflect a comprehensive and practical approach to energy efficiency labeling.

Fresh Amendments to EIA Notification 

10th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has amended the EIA Notification 2006. The new rules reclassify all standalone pellet plants as Category B and introduce stricter categories for metallurgical industries based on capacity and type. Exemptions include certain recycling units and specific thermal power plants. This amendment follows an NGT order and aims to enhance regulation and compliance in the metallurgical sector.

SEEDS' 2024 Strategy: Combating Heatwaves with Community Action and Innovation

10th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In May 2024, India faced severe heatwaves, with both maximum and minimum temperatures frequently surpassing critical thresholds. The last week of May, particularly from 26th - 29th May, saw northern and central India endure a spell of extreme heat, culminating in New Delhi reaching a record temperature of 49.1°C.

Over 37 cities across India recorded temperatures exceeding 45°C, prompting widespread heat-related illness warnings. Tragically, at least 24 casualties were reported due to the intense heat. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) highlighted New Delhi's temperature as notably higher compared to other locations, underscoring the capital's unique vulnerability.

In response to the sweltering conditions, New Delhi's power demand soared to an all-time high as residents relied heavily on air conditioning and fans to manage the oppressive heat.

Historical Context and Climate Change

According to Reuters' Sustainable Switch, the summer of 2023 was the hottest in 2,000 years. The frequency and intensity of heatwaves are escalating due to climate change, primarily driven by increased levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. These emissions trap more solar heat, extending the duration and severity of extreme heat events.

Health, Agriculture, and Wildlife at Risk

The rising temperatures pose significant threats to human health, agriculture, and wildlife. Heatwaves, defined as extended periods of excessively high temperatures, are especially perilous in northwest India, where they cause approximately 350 deaths annually. These events result from intricate interactions between marine, atmospheric, and terrestrial factors, particularly during the pre-monsoon season of April and May.

Research and Findings

Recent research indicates a disturbing increase in the frequency and severity of heatwaves in the region. This trend is attributed to rapid ocean warming in the Bay of Bengal, which intensifies tropical cyclones and drives extreme heat across the Indo-Pak area. Nearly 90% of cyclones in this season follow marine heatwaves, exacerbating the impact on vulnerable populations. The last decade was the warmest on record, with 2023 marked as the hottest year since global temperature records began in 1850.

Case Study: Ahmedabad 2010 Heatwave

A severe heatwave struck Ahmedabad in May 2010, with temperatures reaching 47°C. The heatwave, lasting nearly a week from May 19-25, resulted in 310 recorded deaths on May 21 alone. The total deaths for May 2010 exceeded the annual average by 1,344, highlighting the deadly impact of such extreme weather events.

SEEDS Study and Community Resilience

A baseline study by the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), a 30-year-old organization, focused on enhancing community resilience to heatwaves in India’s Core Heatwave Zone, which includes states like Delhi, Haryana, and Bihar. The study identified high-risk areas and engaged local communities in promoting low-cost resilience measures such as cool roofing technologies and water resource restoration.

The SEEDS study found that the elderly, children, and women are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses like heat stress and stroke. Rising temperatures also result in economic losses due to reduced work capacity and increased healthcare costs.

SEEDS has integrated cutting-edge technology with traditional wisdom to bolster community resilience, especially in New Delhi and Nagpur. Supported by Microsoft’s AI for Humanitarian Action grant, SEEDS developed "Sunny Lives," an AI model predicting the impact of hazards including heatwaves. This model creates detailed risk maps, helping to guide targeted interventions.

Vanshika Paswan from Shakarpur in East Delhi exemplifies local innovation. During the intense summer heat, she insulated her family's water tank using polystyrene sheets and jute sacks, inspired by makeshift beverage coolers in her neighborhood. This low-cost solution effectively kept the water cool, demonstrating how community-driven strategies can mitigate heatwave impacts.

A recent statement highlights SEEDS' comprehensive approach to heatwave resilience, integrating technology with traditional practices and community initiatives. SEEDS focuses on raising awareness and enhancing preparedness among vulnerable communities. By continuing to utilize its baseline study and innovative strategies, SEEDS aims to strengthen preparedness, reduce heat-related risks, and protect lives from the increasing threat of extreme heat.

SECI issues RfS for selection of Green Ammonia Producers under SIGHT

9th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Reuters Sustainable Switch, Climate Focus reports that this week concludes with a positive outlook as global investment in clean energy technology and infrastructure is projected to reach $2 trillion this year, twice the amount allocated to fossil fuels. This significant milestone was highlighted in a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report underscores that China is poised to lead clean energy investment in 2024, with an estimated expenditure of $675 billion. Europe and the United States are expected to follow, with investments of $370 billion and $315 billion respectively. Notably, despite India's large and growing market for renewable energy, the report did not provide specific data for the country.

A significant portion of this investment will be directed towards solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, which is expected to see an investment surge to $500 billion in 2024, driven by the declining prices of solar modules.

India Advances Green Hydrogen Initiatives: In a pivotal move towards fostering the demand for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a Request for Selection (RfS) for the production of Green Ammonia. This initiative is part of the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) Programme under the National Green Hydrogen Mission, administered by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The RfS outlines the bidding process for a total available capacity of 539,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) per annum of Green Ammonia, which will be supplied to fertilizer companies. The bidding will be conducted through an e-bidding process followed by an e-Reverse Auction. The full details of the RfS can be accessed here.

Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT): Earlier, MNRE issued guidelines for implementing the SIGHT Programme’s Component II, which focuses on incentivizing the procurement of Green Ammonia production under Mode 2A. SECI has been designated as the implementing agency for this scheme. To date, MNRE has allocated 412,000 MT per annum of Green Hydrogen production capacity and 1.5 GW per annum of Electrolyzer manufacturing capacity under the SIGHT Programme.

National Green Hydrogen Mission: Launched on 4th January 2023, with an outlay of ₹19,744 crores extending up to FY 2029-30, the National Green Hydrogen Mission aims to propel India towards self-reliance in clean energy. This mission is expected to significantly decarbonize the economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports, and establish India as a global leader in Green Hydrogen technology and markets.

The combined global and national efforts in clean energy investment and green hydrogen production signal a transformative shift towards sustainable energy practices, promising substantial environmental and economic benefits. “Bharatiya Janata Party” and “Indian general election results” were the top trending searches globally. India and Mexico led the world in searching for election-related content. With the recent swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a historic third term, the National Green Hydrogen Mission is anticipated to receive a significant boost, potentially transforming the energy market.

World Ocean Day 2024 

9th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

June 8th, 2024 marked World Ocean Day, a global event dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action for the protection of our oceans. Initially declared on June 8th, 1992, at the Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro, this day serves as a reminder of the critical role oceans play in sustaining life on Earth.

The journey to establish World Ocean Day began with an event organized by the Oceans Institute of Canada, supported by the Canadian Government, known as "Oceans Day at Global Forum – The Blue Planet." In 2008, following increased global recognition, the United Nations designated June 8th as World Oceans Day, led by Canada.

This year, the theme "Awaken New Depths" underscores the urgency for innovative solutions and collective action to safeguard marine ecosystems. In a video message, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala emphasized the importance of curtailing harmful fishing subsidies and accelerating the implementation of global agreements for ocean sustainability.

Earlier this week, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a State of the Ocean Report 2024, urging policymakers to contemplate "the ocean we need for the future we want."

The report highlighted various threats to the ocean and trends that could help identify the drivers of change. Among its findings, it warned that the rate of ocean warming has doubled over the past 20 years and that coastal species are suffocating due to decreased oxygen levels in the ocean, among other pressing issues.

While the Indian government has not issued any official statements, ibis Hotels across India have stepped up with impactful initiatives to contribute to ocean conservation efforts. Recognizing the dire need for action, ibis Hotels are launching a series of initiatives aimed at protecting oceans through beach clean-up drives and conservation activities.

According to ibis Hotel press statement, with an estimated 75 to 199 million tons of plastic waste currently in our oceans, the need for action is more pressing than ever. Ibis Hotels are taking concrete steps to address this issue by partnering with local NGOs for beach clean-ups and conducting educational programs to raise awareness about ocean conservation.

In Mumbai, Chennai, Goa, and Kochi, ibis Hotels are collaborating with local communities, NGOs, and government bodies to organize beach clean-up drives and educational programs. These initiatives not only contribute to immediate environmental conservation but also foster long-term sustainability practices.

NGT Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava Calls for Urgent Land Restoration Efforts on World Environment Day

5th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Millions of people worldwide are participated in today's World Environment Day, an event held annually on June 5th since 1973. This year's theme is #GenerationRestoration. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), established on 18th October 2010, for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources, also organized the event. On the eve of World Environment Day 2024, NGT Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava highlighted the significance of the theme "Land Restoration, Stopping Desertification, and Building Drought Resilience."

Justice Shrivastava emphasized that land degradation and desertification pose serious threats to ecosystems, food security, and livelihoods, especially amid climate change and increasing human interference. He noted that the quality of land is compromised by mismanaged waste disposal, deforestation leading to desertification, and the over-extraction of groundwater causing droughts and other environmental consequences. Restoring degraded land, enhancing soil fertility, and fostering biodiversity are crucial to addressing these challenges and improving agricultural productivity. Sustainable land use practices, reforestation, and effective water management are essential to halt desertification, while building resilience against droughts requires water conservation, drought-resistant crops, and improved early warning systems.

Justice Shrivastava also stressed the importance of enforcing environmental laws and regulations effectively. He called for a collective commitment to planting more trees, reducing water consumption, and supporting environmental protection practices. By doing so, he believes we can restore land quality, protect the environment, and build a sustainable future for generations to come.

Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, along with NGT officials, participated in the plantation programme in New Delhi.

Global Warming Accelerates: Human Impact at Record High, IGCC 2023 Reveals

5th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Human-induced global warming is increasing at 0.26°C per decade, the highest rate since records began, according to this year’s Indicators of Global Climate Change (IGCC), led by the University of Leeds. IGCC, started in 2023, provides annual, peer-reviewed updates of key climate indicators, similar to those used by IPCC reports. These updates fill the information gap left between IPCC Assessment cycles. This year’s study involved 57 scientists from 42 institutions across 15 countries, including IPCC Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, and Chapter Scientists. Key findings have been shared with us by Climate Trends.

The study reports record high average annual GHG emissions for 2013-2022 at 53 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, consistent with last year’s estimate for 2012-2021. Since the 1970s, average decadal GHG emissions have regularly increased across all major GHG groups, primarily due to growing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and industry, and rising methane and nitrous oxide emissions. In 2022, 70% of global GHG emissions were from fossil fuels. Emissions of ozone-depleting gases, regulated under the Montreal Protocol, have significantly decreased since the 1990s. Emissions of non-methane short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs) increased in 2023 compared to 2019, mainly due to an anomalous biomass burning year, notably from the unprecedented 2023 Canadian fires.

Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide increased to 419.3 ppm, 1922.5 ppb, and 336.9 ppb, respectively, in 2023. Total anthropogenic effective radiative forcing (ERF) increased to 2.79 watts per square meter in 2023 relative to 1750. This year's estimate is lower than the 2022 estimate of 2.91 watts per square meter due to biomass burning aerosols from Canadian wildfires, which have a cooling effect, offsetting the ERF increase from reduced sulfur emissions from shipping.

Earth energy imbalance (EEI) has increased over time, rising from 0.79 watts per square meter during 2006–2018 to 0.96 watts per square meter during 2011–2023. EEI is crucial for monitoring global warming as it measures accumulated surplus energy in the climate system. The ocean plays a significant role in EEI, with global ocean heat content (OHC) changes accounting for about 90% of global heating since the 1970s. This impacts sea level rise, ocean warming, ice loss, atmospheric temperature and water vapor, and changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation, negatively affecting ecosystems and humans.

Two recent studies show that since 1960, the world ocean has been warming faster than land, cryosphere, and atmosphere. The global surface temperature in 2023 was 1.43°C above the 1850-1900 average. The increase is due to both human and natural influences, with a notable rise from 2022 to 2023, the third-largest annual increase in the instrumental record, partly due to the transition from La Niña to El Niño conditions.

Human-induced warming was estimated at 1.31°C in 2023, slightly below the observed global mean surface temperature of 1.43°C, indicating a significant role for internal variability like El Niño. The average human-induced warming for 2014–2023 was 1.19°C, 0.12°C above the IPCC AR6 assessment for 2010–2019. The rate of human-induced warming for the 2014-2023 decade was estimated at 0.26°C per decade.

At the start of 2024, the remaining carbon budget for a 50% chance of staying below 1.5°C stood at 100 to 450 billion tonnes of CO2, with a central estimate of 200. This budget is decreasing fast due to continuing high global carbon dioxide emissions. Updated remaining carbon budget estimates for 1.5, 1.7, and 2.0°C of global warming are smaller than AR6 estimates, with larger relative uncertainties. Land average annual maximum temperatures for 2014-2023 were estimated at 1.74°C, indicating intensified climate extremes due to climate change.

UltraTech Achieves 100+ Million Cubic Meters of Water Conservation in FY24, Becomes 5 Times Water Positive

5th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

On the eve of World Environment Day, UltraTech Cement Limited, India’s largest cement and ready-mix concrete (RMC) company, announced that it has conserved 105 million cubic meters of water in FY24, making it five times water positive in line with its stated ambition.

UltraTech’s water management efforts encompass areas within the unit premises as well as beyond the fence, extending to the communities in which the company operates. The 105 million cubic meters of water conserved include water that has been reused, recycled, harvested, and recharged both within its unit premises and through community interventions. This marks an increase of over 20 million cubic meters of water conserved compared to FY23.

UltraTech’s water conservation initiatives are based on the belief in the criticality of water as a shared resource essential for business operations, community wellbeing, and biodiversity. The company has proactively installed rainwater harvesting systems across its site locations. Additionally, UltraTech has set up Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) plants at several manufacturing units to enable the reuse of 100% treated water within the units.

Through its watershed management approaches and community-driven initiatives, UltraTech focuses not only on water conservation but also on enriching lives and livelihoods. UltraTech’s watershed management projects involve holistic planning based on the rainfall pattern in a given area and aim to harvest a percentage of the rainfall alongside other water conservation activities. The watershed projects focus on delivering four main objectives:

Through its community watershed projects, UltraTech has so far constructed 191 check dams and 97 rainwater harvesting structures, soak pits, and large ponds. Over 35,218 farmers have benefitted from UltraTech’s community water conservation initiatives. UltraTech’s efforts towards the protection and conservation of water resources underline its commitment to building a sustainable future.

Sustainability Progress in FY24

UltraTech has taken a holistic approach to embedding sustainability across its value chain, integrating a low-carbon strategy into its business conduct. It is scaling up investments in developing environment-friendly products, improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of renewable energy, nurturing biodiversity, and scaling up the use of industrial and municipal waste in its manufacturing operations to drive circularity.


UltraTech’s net CO2 emission intensity decreased to 556 kg/tonne of cementitious products in FY24 compared to 632 kg/tonne in 2017, aligning with its target of a 27% reduction in carbon intensity by 2032. The company has also stated its intent to not invest further in thermal power capacity as part of its expansion projects, thus reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the use of green energy.

Energy Transition:

UltraTech has accomplished its EP100 commitment ahead of the target year of 2035 by successfully doubling its energy productivity from the base year 2010. As part of its RE100 commitment, UltraTech has significantly increased its renewable energy capacity by 77% and Waste Heat Recovery Systems (WHRS) capacity by 32% from FY23. The current capacity as of FY24 stands at 612 MW of renewable energy and 278 MW of WHRS. UltraTech achieved 23.6% electricity substitution by green power mix in FY24 and plans to increase the overall share of green energy in its total energy mix to 85% by 2030.

Circular Economy:

UltraTech has scaled up the use of alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) in its cement manufacturing operations, enhancing circular economy and minimizing the utilisation of natural resources. UltraTech successfully utilised over 33 million tonnes of recycled and alternative raw materials in cement production in FY24. Additionally, over 1.5 million tonnes of alternative fuels were utilised by the company in FY24. These efforts have allowed UltraTech to become 3.26 times plastic negative in FY24.


UltraTech is committed to achieving ‘No Net Loss’ to biodiversity. The company has completed biodiversity assessments for 14 of its integrated units and plans to complete assessments for all units by December 2024. UltraTech has adopted the Miyawaki afforestation method to increase green cover at its manufacturing sites, planting over 34,000 trees in just five units. Many of the plant species were chosen to provide economic benefits to local villagers, such as fodder, fuel, fruits, and flowers, in addition to maximising the forest’s carbon sequestration potential and recreating habitats for biodiversity and wildlife.

Diageo India Reports Significant Progress in Sustainability and Community Initiatives

5th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Diageo India has announced that it has taken significant steps towards environmental stewardship and community empowerment, aligning with the World Environment Day 2024 theme of Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience.

Diageo India has reported to have achieved a 25% overachievement in water replenishment by June 2023, replenishing 10 lakh cubic meters of water ahead of its 2026 target. The Alwar distillery became Asia’s first AWS-certified facility. The company's water projects include reforestation, rainwater harvesting, and wetland restoration. Additionally, water-use efficiency improved by 48% in distilleries and 31% in packaging.

The company reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 84%, achieved zero coal status in distilleries, and used 98.6% renewable energy. Solar energy capacity doubled to 2.6 MW, and 300,000 trees were planted. A mangrove initiative in Puri, Orissa, involved 31,500 seedlings.

Community well-being initiatives include the WASH Program improving life in over 30 villages, and a regenerative agriculture program benefiting 5,000 farmers in Punjab and Haryana. A micro-enterprise initiative supports 100 women farmers in Nashik.

In packaging sustainability, 99% of Diageo India’s materials are recyclable, with over 50% made from recycled content. The company is phasing out 95% of mono cartons and introducing recyclable PET containers. Its EPR commitment ensures the collection of 100% of plastic waste.

Biodiversity efforts include conserving the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard in Rajasthan. Proceeds from its Indian Single Malt Whiskey Godawan aid in conservation efforts.

Diageo India’s sustainability efforts are deeply integrated into its operations, advancing its agenda for a healthier planet.

IIT Madras Researchers Break New Ground with Nanoparticle Formation from Minerals Using Water Microdroplets

3rd June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Researchers from IIT Madras have discovered that water microdroplets can break down common minerals into nanoparticles, a finding published in the prestigious Science journal. This study, led by Prof. Thalappil Pradeep and Ms. B. K. Spoorthi, reveals that charged atmospheric droplets can disintegrate minerals, potentially playing a crucial role in soil formation and the origin of life. This breakthrough offers significant implications for environmental sustainability and agricultural advancement.

MoEF&CC Amends 2017 ESZ Notification

1st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has issued a notification, S.O. 2143(E) that marks an important amendment to the previously issued notification S.O. 891(E) dated 20th March 2017.

Monitoring Committee Composition: The newly formed Monitoring Committee includes 

Functions of the Monitoring Committee: The committee's responsibilities include:

The committee has been tasked to scrutinize activities within the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZ) based on site-specific conditions, focusing on those listed in the 2006 notification (S.O. 1533(E)) and excluding those prohibited under paragraph 4 of the notification. These activities will be referred to the Central Government or the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for prior environmental clearances. Activities not covered in the schedule but within the ESZ will be scrutinized and referred to relevant regulatory authorities. The Member-Secretary, Collector, or Deputy Conservator of Forests can file complaints against violators under section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The committee can invite representatives or experts from concerned departments, industry associations, or other stakeholders to assist in deliberations on a case-to-case basis. An annual action-taken report, detailing activities up to March 31, is to be submitted by June 30 each year to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State. This amendment underscores the Central Government's dedication to strengthening environmental governance and ensuring the sustainable management of Eco-sensitive Zones by reconstituting the Monitoring Committee with a diverse and expert membership to bolster the scrutiny and regulation of activities impacting these critical areas.

Heatwaves in India: The Silent Crisis Impacting Our Children

1st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

As India faces increasingly severe heatwaves, the nation's children are among the most vulnerable to the resulting health and developmental risks. Bal Raksha Bharat, a leading child rights organization, has emphasized the urgent need to tackle these extreme weather conditions, which are being exacerbated by the global climate crisis.

This year, India has experienced unprecedented heatwaves, with temperatures reaching up to 50°C in several regions of North India. Such extreme heat poses severe risks to children, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Prolonged exposure to these high temperatures can also lead to long-term health issues, affecting children's physical and cognitive development.

"As we confront these unprecedented sweltering weather conditions, our community's resilience is being tested like never before. Though summer conditions have never required a humanitarian response, we are continuously monitoring data and the situation and may need to treat this like a disaster. Across our project locations in affected regions, we are ensuring children at our Multi Activity Centres have access to clean drinking water and umbrellas, and we are committed to helping the community navigate this challenging time,” said Sudarshan Suchi, CEO of Bal Raksha Bharat.

Children are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses due to their higher body surface area relative to their weight and their slower acclimatization to temperature changes. The increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India are alarming and demand immediate action. "Protecting our children from the adverse effects of climate change is not just a moral imperative but a necessity for sustainable development," added Suchi. "We must act now to safeguard the future of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens."

The consequences of heatwaves extend beyond immediate health concerns. Rising temperatures exacerbate the spread of diseases and increase issues related to nutrition. Children from marginalized communities, who often lack access to adequate shelter, clean water, and healthcare, are disproportionately affected.

These extreme weather patterns are directly linked to the broader global climate crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including heatwaves, will continue to rise unless immediate and concerted global action is taken.

Bal Raksha Bharat calls upon the government, civil society, and the international community to take urgent and comprehensive measures to mitigate the impact of heatwaves on children. Enhancing early warning systems to implement advanced heatwave prediction and alert systems is essential to prepare and protect vulnerable populations. Improving access to healthcare by strengthening infrastructure to address heat-related illnesses, especially in rural and underserved areas, is crucial. Investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, including building and upgrading structures to withstand extreme weather conditions like heat-resistant school buildings and community centers, is necessary. Promoting climate education to raise awareness about the impact of climate change and encourage sustainable practices among children and communities is vital. Finally, global cooperation is needed to advocate for stronger international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries.

In conclusion, the protection of children from the devastating effects of heatwaves and climate change requires immediate and sustained action. Bal Raksha Bharat's appeal for comprehensive measures underscores the critical need for a united effort to ensure the health and safety of the country's youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

EcoRatings and PHD Chamber of Commerce Host Seminar on Transparency in Sustainability

31st May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

EcoRatings, a Gen AI company, in collaboration with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI), organized a seminar titled “Introducing Transparency in Sustainability” at PHD House, New Delhi. The Thursday event attracted an impressive gathering of over 200 participants from diverse backgrounds, including scientists, environmentalists, sustainability enthusiasts, small and medium business owners, and representatives from sustainability-focused NGOs.

The seminar aimed to foster dialogue on the benefits of transparent sustainable initiatives for both companies and consumers. It emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in driving grassroots change and explored the role of Gen AI tools and platforms in accurately tracking and measuring impact across industries to enhance transparency.

Dr. JP Gupta, Chairman of the Environment and Climate Committee at PHDCCI, opened the seminar with a keynote address. He emphasized the significance of transparency in sustainable initiatives and advocated for a goal-focused approach moving forward. Dr. Gupta also highlighted the necessity of wide-scale transparency, supported by audits, and the role of individuals in fostering sustainability efforts.

Mr. Mahendra Rustagi, Co-Chair of the Environment and Climate Committee at PHDCCI, spoke on the importance of advancing on the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) front. He pointed out the potential benefits for companies seeking investments from private investors or borrowing from lenders when they prioritize sustainability.

A panel discussion, moderated by Ms. Aditi Balbir, CEO and Co-founder of EcoRatings, featured insights from notable panelists, including Dr.  Mahesh Kumar, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR; Mr. Mahendra Rustagi, Co-Chair of the Environment and Climate Committee at PHDCCI; Mr. Pranav Sinha, DGM of Green Climate Finance Vertical at SIDBI; Ms. Rachna Swarup, Founder and CEO of B77 TechStyles; and Ms. Paridhi Mantri, Head of Consumer Insights at Sooth Healthcare.

Ms. Balbir commenced the panel discussion by highlighting how Gen AI can facilitate real-time decision-making and the need to transition from consulting models to a more transparent ecosystem. The panel emphasized that data is critical for taking initial steps towards sustainability and that companies must be transparent even in the absence of mandatory compliance.

Dr. Mahesh Kumar, Senior Principal Scientist at CSIR, highlighted that CSIR is actively promoting scientific research and innovation across various fields. He emphasized that in today's rapidly changing global landscape, collaboration between industry, academia, and other stakeholders is essential. Dr. Kumar noted that as the world moves towards a sustainable future, a transparent system is crucial. He stressed the importance of supporting MSMEs to enable sustainable development and achieve sustainable development goals. Additionally, he elaborated that the industry should focus on manufacturing high-quality and sustainable products.

Mr. Pranav Sinha addressed the pivotal role of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in advancing sustainability. He advocated for simplified processes that MSMEs can easily understand and implement. During his deliberations, he illustrated compelling examples of SIDBI's efforts in improving environmental and public health by providing finance for cleaner technology to MSMEs in Moradabad, which had previously been using coal-based furnaces.  

Ms. Paridhi Mantri from Sooth Healthcare emphasized that ESG initiatives are most effective when they are deeply embedded in a company's core values rather than merely complying with government regulations. She pointed out that financial institutions are more inclined to provide funding to companies that demonstrate a genuine commitment to regulations and sustainability.

Ms. Rachna Swarup of B77 TechStyles highlighted that the apparel industry is the second-largest polluter. She called for changes extending beyond major companies to include smaller organizations and end consumers. She noted that B77 TechStyles is an early adopter of Gen AI solutions, working towards sustainability on a voluntary basis.

Ms. Kanchan Zutshi, Director of PHDCCI, moderated the program. She provided valuable insights into various government schemes and programs that benefit industries and entrepreneurs, encouraging participants to take advantage of these opportunities. Ms. Zutshi also highlighted the role of PHDCCI in supporting deserving industries and business establishments.

The seminar concluded with a consensus that sustainability and transparency are interdependent. The discussions underscored the crucial role of Gen AI in enhancing transparency to drive broader change, marking a significant step forward in the journey towards a sustainable future.

Big Data Reveals True Climate Impact of Global Air Travel

30th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Google Trends has reported “52.3 c to f” and “wet bulb temperature” are breakout searches with Delhi over the past day. Delhi, and several Indian cities are reeling under a severe heat wave. 

Coinciding the time, the World Economic Forum Strategic Intelligence recently posted a Science Daily publication of 30th April 2024 "Big data reveals true climate impact of worldwide air travel".  According to the publication, researchers used big data to calculate greenhouse gas emissions from aviation for 197 countries, filling critical gaps in reporting, especially for middle and lower-income nations. The study, led by Jan Klenner from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, revealed that China, which did not report its 2019 aviation emissions, was the second-largest emitter after the United States. Utilizing the AviTeam model, the researchers calculated not only CO2 emissions but also other pollutants, providing crucial data for better-informed climate policies and negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Subscribe for a detailed report. 

Massive Earth Foundation and UNEP Launch Fourth Edition of Climate Tech Accelerator, Low Carbon. Earth '24

29th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Massive Earth Foundation (MEF), in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), unveiled the fourth edition of the Low Carbon Earth Accelerator (LCE) program, titled Low Carbon. Earth '24. The initiative aims to empower climate tech startups across the Asia-Pacific region to address the pressing challenges of climate change, nature loss, and pollution. The launch coincided with a series of events focused on Unlocking and Future-Proofing Air Quality Management in Asia.

The LCE program for 2024 is inviting applications from startups operating in various sectors, including clean air, agri-food, sustainable mobility, digital innovation, renewable energy, and plastic pollution. Notably, there is a strong emphasis on encouraging applications from women-led startups and those focused on benefiting underserved communities.

Shailesh Vickram Singh, Founder of Massive Earth Foundation, emphasized the unique opportunities offered by the Low Carbon Earth Accelerator program: "The LCE program provides early-stage entrepreneurs with access to resources such as internal expertise, strategic relationships, financial support, and mentorship. It facilitates connections between new startups and established firms working on climate change actions, fostering innovation and the expansion of sustainable business models."

The program equips startups with the necessary tools and connections to scale their innovative solutions. It includes online training workshops, virtual bootcamps, mentorship sessions, networking events, and seminars. Finalists will have the chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors and receive personalized mentorship from industry leaders during a demonstration-day finale.

The 2023 edition of LCE witnessed the participation of 67 startups, with 14 reaching the finale, including seven women founders. The LCE program is a collaborative effort involving four UNEP initiatives: the GO4SDGs initiative, EmPower: Women for Climate-Resilient Societies Programme (EmPower), the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership, and the Mekong Plastics Project.

Adriana Zacarias Farah, Head and Global Coordinator of the GO4SDGs initiative, highlighted the potential impact of investing in climate tech innovations: "By supporting climate tech innovations, we can stimulate economic growth and create new job opportunities, ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon and circular economy. The 2024 Low Carbon Earth Accelerator program aligns with our efforts in promoting the regional implementation of the Green Jobs for Youth Pact, empowering young people through employment, entrepreneurship, education, and engagement."

About Massive Earth Foundation: The Massive Earth Foundation (MEF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a climate tech ecosystem by bringing together investors, venture capitalists, founders, startups, policymakers, and institutions. MEF aims to accelerate the growth of climate technology and investments to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss, and pollution.

The launch of the Low Carbon Earth Accelerator program underscores the commitment of both MEF and UNEP to drive innovation and collaboration in tackling climate-related challenges, fostering sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

NGT Committee Finalizes Hospital Environment Management Plan

28th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted joint Committee has finalized a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for an Environment Management Plan (EMP) for hospitals. The plan discusses air and noise pollution, congestion, waste management, and green cover. It mandates compliance with emission norms for diesel generators and suggests exploring new pollution-reducing technologies. Though the document repeats several regulatory provisions, it misses certain important aspects. The EMP also requires Radiation Safety Officers and adherence to guidelines for radioactive waste management. Hospitals must employ environmental engineers to implement these plans.

World Trade Congress on Gender 2025 Opens Call for Papers on 'Gender Equality and Innovation — Keys to Sustainable Trade

28th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The call for research papers is now open for the second World Trade Congress on Gender, scheduled for 24-27 June 2025 at the WTO headquarters under the theme "Gender Equality and Innovation — the Keys to Sustainable Trade." Organized by the WTO, the WTO Gender Research Hub, and UN Women, the Congress seeks to explore the interconnections between gender equality, innovation, and trade, emphasizing the role of women's empowerment in driving innovation and the impact of trade policies on promoting gender equality. Researchers are invited to submit detailed abstracts on various subthemes, including digitalization, artificial intelligence, green growth, health, and innovative financing. The Congress Steering Committee will oversee the selection process, with selected applicants notified by 23 October 2024. This initiative builds upon the inaugural Congress in 2022, focusing on “Gender Equality for Sustainable Trade and Recovery,” and underscores the ongoing efforts of the WTO Gender Research Hub to deepen understanding of the trade and gender nexus and foster research partnerships. Interested researchers can visit the official Congress website for more information and to submit abstracts by the deadline of 17 July 2024.

CSIR-CMERI Unveils Electric Tiller for Small Farmers

26th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Director General of CSIR, introduced the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute’s (CMERI) Electric Tiller. Designed for small and marginal farmers, this tiller reduces operational costs by up to 85%, operates quietly, and produces zero emissions. It supports AC and Solar DC charging and is compatible with various agricultural attachments, enhancing productivity and sustainability in Indian farming.

SEBI Issues Consultation Paper to Simplify Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting

22nd May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

This year, according to Google Trends, search interest for “budgeting” reached a 15-year high and with “loud budgeting” increasing +4,550% as well. In line with the Union Budget for FY 2023-24's emphasis on simplifying, easing, and reducing compliance costs, SEBI has initiated a comprehensive review of regulations. An Expert Committee, chaired by S.K. Mohanty, was established to review the Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) and Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements (ICDR) Regulations. Following SEBI's October 2023 call for public suggestions, the committee has submitted recommendations on the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR), reviewed by SEBI and its ESG Advisory Committee. Key proposals include redefining value chain partners, introducing voluntary ESG disclosure reporting for FY 2024-25, adding Green Credits as a new indicator, and substituting "assurance" with "assessment" in LODR regulations. SEBI invites public comments on these recommendations by 12th June 2024.

International Day for Biological Diversity 2024: Addressing Biodiversity Loss

22nd May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The "environmental issues" was in top trending close to the IDBD. On 22nd May, the world will observe the International Day for Biological Diversity, highlighting the urgent need to tackle biodiversity loss. A recent report from the United Nations University (UNU) underscores the alarming decline of species like the gopher tortoise, crucial for maintaining ecosystem balance. Human activities such as land-use changes, overexploitation, and pollution are accelerating extinction rates. Nearly one million species are at risk. Zita Sebesvari of UNU calls for urgent action to address these root causes and protect entire ecosystems, emphasizing that human survival is deeply connected to the natural world. 

IIT Jodhpur Publishes Groundbreaking Research on Air Pollution and Health Effects in Northern India

22nd May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn 

Air pollution remains a critical global challenge, with severe health implications for millions of people worldwide. In a significant step towards addressing this issue, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur have published groundbreaking research in the journal Nature Communications, shedding light on the sources and composition of particulate matter (PM) in Northern India that are harmful to human health.

Contrary to the common belief that reducing overall PM mass would alleviate health impacts, this comprehensive study highlights the importance of addressing local inefficient combustion processes, such as biomass and fossil fuel burning, including traffic exhaust, in effectively reducing PM-related health exposure and their associated impacts in Northern India. Dr. Deepika Bhattu, Associate Professor and lead author of the article, emphasizes this crucial finding.

The study addresses three critical scientific questions essential for Indian policymakers in devising data-driven, effective mitigation strategies under the ongoing National Clean Air Programme (NCAP):

Fine PM (PM2.5) Source Identification and Contribution: The study provides unprecedented clarity in distinguishing between the local and regional geographical origins of PM2.5 sources.

Distinction Between Directly Emitted PM and Secondary PM: For the first time, a comprehensive distinction has been made between directly emitted PM and those formed in the atmosphere over a large spatial and temporal scale.

Harmfulness of PM: The research determines the harmfulness of PM by correlating its oxidative potential with local and regional sources within the study region.

Using advanced aerosol mass spectrometry techniques and data analytics, the study was conducted at five sites in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, both within and outside Delhi. The findings reveal that although uniformly high PM concentrations are present across the region, the chemical composition varies considerably as local emission sources and formation processes dominate the PM pollution. In Delhi, ammonium chloride and organic aerosols from traffic exhaust, residential heating, and the oxidation products of fossil fuel emissions are the primary pollutants. Outside Delhi, ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate, and secondary organic aerosols from biomass burning vapors dominate.

The study highlights that regardless of location, organic aerosols from incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels, including traffic emissions, are key contributors to the PM oxidative potential, which drives PM-associated health effects in this region.

Comparing the oxidative potential of Indian PM2.5 with countries across the Asia-Pacific and European regions reveals alarming findings. The oxidative potential of Indian PM surpasses that of Chinese and European cities by up to fivefold, marking it as one of the highest observed globally.

Dr. Deepika Bhattu emphasizes the need for collaboration among local communities and stakeholders, as well as societal changes, especially in densely populated urban areas like Delhi. Moving forward, concerted sustainable efforts are needed to promote cleaner energy sources, improve combustion efficiency, reduce emissions from transportation—particularly from outdated, overloaded, and inefficient vehicle fleets—and remove unauthorized jugaad vehicles.

"Our study provides valuable insights for evidence-based policies and interventions aimed at safeguarding public health and the environment for future generations. Prioritizing mitigation strategies based on the most significant health impacts, particularly targeting local inefficient combustion processes, is essential in Northern India," Dr. Bhattu concludes.

This research offers a critical framework for developing targeted, effective policies to combat air pollution and its detrimental health effects, potentially leading to significant improvements in air quality and public health in Northern India.

Government Notifies New Eco-Sensitive Zone in Jammu and Kashmir

21st May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

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

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

18th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry Notifies SEIAA and SEAC Formation for Andhra Pradesh 

14th May 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

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

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

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

29th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Samar Pratap

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

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

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

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

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

Innovative Pipe Composting Revolutionizes Waste Management in Assam 

28th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indore Ranks First in Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023

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

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

In the first category (million-plus population):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NGT Questions PCB's Procedures in Environmental Violation Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3rd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

SEIAA UP gets new Chairperson 

2nd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Govt's Initiatives in Boosting Cultivation of Medicinal Plants

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

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

Government Initiatives:

Rise in Cultivation:

2018-19 : 627000 Hac

2019-20 : 641000 Hac

2020-21 : 653000 Hac

2021-22 : 668000 Hac

2022-23 :  671000 Hac

Assistance to Farmers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

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

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

19th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utilization of Crop Residue by Thermal Power Plants Regulated

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry Amends CRZ Clearance Provisions on Validity, Transfer and Split

4th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Concentration in Boiler Emission?

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revised CPHEEO Manual on Water Supply and Treatment under finalization

20th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

Farmers liable to pay environmental compensation on stubble burning

29th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EC Splitting Provision in EIA Notification

26th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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


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

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


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

Emaar MGF withdraws EC expansion application as SEIAA seeks site inspection  

25th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

First ever Census shows 2.42 Million Water Bodies 

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

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

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

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

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

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

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