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The Environment (Protection) (Amendment) Rules, 2024 Draft Notification

21st July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a draft notification for the Environment (Protection) (Amendment) Rules, 2024, under the Gazette of India, G.S.R. 418(E). These amendments introduce new definitions and roles. An Adjudicating Officer is defined as any officer appointed or notified under Section 15C of the Act. The Environment Protection Fund is defined under Section 16 of the Act and will be managed by a Fund Administrator, which will be a National Bank appointed by the Central Government. Presenting Officers, who are officers or their authorized representatives, will handle non-compliance matters and present these to the Adjudicating Officer.

The amendments also address enforcement and compliance. The Central Government can direct the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) to revoke consent under the Air and Water Acts if there is a likelihood of grave injury to the environment. State Governments and Union Territories will appoint officers as ex-officio Adjudicating Officers, and the Central Government can appoint Adjudicating Officers at the central level and additional officers in states/UTs as required. Only matters initiated by Presenting Officers with all relevant documents will be considered by the Adjudicating Officer, who must issue notices within 30 days and conduct hearings where the accused can admit or deny allegations. Detailed procedures for hearings, evidence submission, and inquiry processes are outlined, along with procedures for transferring cases between Adjudicating Officers if jurisdiction issues arise. Notices will be served by registered post, email, or by affixing on the premises if other methods fail.

Penalties for non-compliance will be determined based on factors such as the size and category of the project, type of contravention, health impacts, and undue gains from non-compliance. These penalties are in addition to any compensation payable under other relevant laws. Failure to pay penalties within 90 days can result in imprisonment, additional fines, or both, with SPCBs directed to initiate criminal proceedings. Appeals from orders of Adjudicating Officers will lie with the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The Environment Protection Fund will include penalties under various environmental laws and interest from investments. It will be utilized for environmental monitoring, laboratory development, research, capacity building, and awareness projects. A Project Management Unit (PMU) will be created for fund monitoring, and a governing body at central and state levels will oversee fund utilization and management. A National Bank will be appointed as the Fund Administrator to manage accounts and ensure proper fund disbursement.

Governing bodies will approve fund utilization proposals, review annual reports, resolve inter-state issues, and prepare annual reports. Funds will be invested to ensure liquidity for transfers and utilization, and the Joint Secretary to the Government of India or Secretary to the State Government will be the sanctioning authorities for fund utilization.

Why Vedanta Seeks Amendment in EIA ToR? 

16th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Vedanta Limited (division Cairn Oil & Gas) seeks Amendment in EIA Terms of reference in Onshore Oil & Gas Development & Production in CB-ONHP2017/2 Hydrocarbon Block, Jambusar, Bharuch Dist., Gujarat. 

Vedanta has given several justifications for their proposal:

1) Adhering to the exact geographical surface coordinates of well-pad locations within a 500 m radius is challenging due to site suitability, geological conditions, drilling difficulties, and land availability.

2) Well-pad locations are based on geo-scientific details and seismic surveys. Hydrocarbon reserves may not be found at the exact proposed coordinates and can be moved due to sub-surface uncertainty and geo-scientific variability within 2000m to 3000m.

3) #Land acquisition at the exact coordinates is often impossible due to factors such as land availability, existing habitat, and natural features like rivers and ponds, necessitating nearby shifts.

4) A Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study is being conducted for a 10km radius around the block boundary, preparing an overall Land Use/Land Cover map for the block.

5) #landuse / Land Cover maps will also be prepared for a 2000m radius area around proposed well-pad locations, which require an area of approximately 200m x 200m.

6) All proposed well-pad locations will be within the block.

7) A ‘Well profile’ for each well-pad location will indicate the aerial distance from eco-sensitive areas, water bodies, habitats, roads, highways, and other significant features.

8) Proposed well-pad locations will maintain a safe distance from major human habitats, water bodies, forest boundaries, ESZ boundaries, major roads, and overhead high-tension lines.

The Expert Committee has sought clarification on break up of 51 wells since 22 wells are proposed for development and production. 


The Committee has also sought details of methodology for conducting Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment (CEIA) Study, Exact Scope of Work, number of monitoring stations for conducting Cumulative EIA & EMP visa-vis well/location of other facilities. 

Vedanta has been tasked to clarify whether the area from major human habitant/water body/ forest/ ESZ/ major road and environmental sensitive locations falling within the block area of 317 Sq. Km. coupled with the 10 km area around the block boundary will be a part of CEIA. 

India Launches e-Mobility R&D Roadmap

16th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Since 2015, eMobility, particularly electric vehicles (EVs), has gained significant traction in India among policymakers, industry leaders, and the broader mobility ecosystem. Notable initiatives from both the government and industry have emerged, encompassing policy measures, investments, and awareness campaigns.

Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, unveiled the "e-mobility R&D Roadmap for India" today at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe. This comprehensive roadmap, developed through extensive horizon scanning of the global automotive sector, outlines research projects in four crucial areas: Energy Storage Cells, EV Aggregates, Materials and Recycling, and Charging and Refueling. It aims to achieve self-reliance and global leadership in the e-mobility sector within the next five years.

The hybrid event saw the attendance of government officials, members of the Consultative Group on e-Mobility (CGeM), industry representatives, think tanks, and media. Notable participants included Dr. Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary, Office of the PSA; Dr. Reji Mathai, Director General, ARAI, Pune; and Dr. K. Balasubramanian, Director, NFTDC, Hyderabad.

In his address, Prof. Sood emphasized India's targets: a 45% reduction in emission intensity by 2030, energy independence by 2047, and net-zero emissions by 2070. He highlighted the need for indigenous energy storage systems and renewable energy to support EV infrastructure, aiming to reduce import dependency and enhance domestic R&D capabilities.

Dr. Preeti Banzal, Adviser, Office of PSA, outlined the formation of CGeM in August 2022 to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to electric mobility. Prof. Karthick Athmanathan, PSA Fellow, and Professor at IIT Madras, presented the roadmap's summary, focusing on achieving energy independence, market leadership, and leveraging existing resources.

The roadmap identifies critical research initiatives to position India as a global leader in e-mobility within five to seven years, aiming to bridge gaps in the current R&D framework and prepare for future technological advancements.

Prof. Sood concluded by stressing the importance of aligning the automotive sector's growth with India's Net-Zero vision through a robust culture of R&D and innovation.

India should be leading the global south to a circular transition

16th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration at the G20 showcased India's expanding influence and aspirations to contribute positively to global governance and stability. India's role in the evolving geopolitical landscape is marked by its attempt to balance national interests with global responsibilities, significantly projecting India’s leadership on the global stage. Through the declaration, India emphasized the importance of strengthening multilateral institutions amid growing concerns about unilateralism and protectionism worldwide.

Recent data highlights a 21% decline in global circularity, from 9.1% in 2018 to 7.2% in 2023. There is a pressing need to shift from traditional linear processes to circular processes, ensuring all outputs serve as inputs for other processes. India, with its unique combination of geopolitical significance, age-old sustainable practices, and dynamic diplomatic engagements, is positioned to play a pivotal role in facilitating a global circular transition.

At the third edition of the India Circular Economy Forum (ICEF2024) in New Delhi, Ms. Shalini Goyal Bhalla, Managing Director at the International Council for Circular Economy, highlighted India's potential to promote the circular economy model. She pointed out India’s historic ties with countries in the Global South, cemented through platforms like the Non-Aligned Movement and BRICS, as crucial for fostering sustainable growth, job creation, and environmental preservation.

The two-day ICEF2024 concluded with resounding success, marking a pivotal moment in India's journey towards becoming a global leader in circular economy practices. Insightful discussions, innovative showcases, and strategic collaborations underscored India's potential to lead the Global South in the circular transition.

Key stakeholders emphasized various aspects of circular economy practices:

Mr. Michael Bucki, Head of Department at the EU delegation to India, introduced the Indian concept of "Jugaad" as a driving force for circularity, highlighting its innovative and resourceful nature.

Ms. Rupinder Brar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India, stressed the need for new technologies in carbon capture and storage. She highlighted the ministry’s work in responsibly closing mines and converting 32 out of 39 coal sites into water bodies and tourist sites.

Mr. Rohit Kansal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Govt of India, mentioned the presence of 900 dedicated textile recycling units and emphasized the role of women entrepreneurs in these initiatives.

Mr. Amit Verma, Director at NITI Aayog, highlighted the challenges and opportunities associated with circularity in India, emphasizing the government’s commitment to sustainable approaches under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.

Mr. Kimmo Lahdervita, Ambassador of Finland, emphasized the transformative potential of the circular economy, showcasing Finland’s leadership and ambitious goals for achieving a low-carbon economy by 2035.

The forum saw participation from nearly 500 delegates and over 70 speakers from various industries, successfully setting the stage for strategic collaborations and regulatory frameworks as key drivers of circular practices in India and on the global stage.

Will HSPCB Enforce Environmental Compensation on Illegal Dyeing Units in Haryana?

15th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Allegations against highly polluting "Red category" dyeing units operating illegally in several residential and non-conforming areas across Haryana have sparked significant action. Noted Environmental Activist Varun Gulati brought the issue to light in Original Application No. 750/2023 before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), prompting a rigorous investigation into the environmental violations in Dheeraj Nagar and Surya Vihar of Faridabad, Bajghera, Dhankot, Dhanwapur, and Sector 37 of Gurugram, Village Badsa of Jhajjar, and Friends Colony, Pyau Maniyari, and Ferozpur Bangar of Sonipat.

Varun's application reveals a grim scenario, alleging that about 500 unauthorized dyeing factories are operating in these residential areas without necessary environmental safeguards. These units reportedly lack Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) or any other anti-pollution devices, leading to the discharge of untreated effluents into open areas and drains, which eventually contaminate the Yamuna River.

In response, the Sonipat Regional Office of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) submitted an Action Taken Report. The report notes that, while the original complaint listed 27 locations, inspections by a joint committee revealed 33 locations based on additional information from local residents. Among these, dyeing and jeans washing industries were found operating without the required Consent to Operate from HSPCB at 28 locations, while no plant or machinery was found at the remaining five locations.

The HSPCB has reported closure of 25 industries and the disconnection of their electricity supply in coordination with the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN). Show cause notices for closure have been issued to the remaining three industries, with further closure actions and electricity disconnections pending the expiry of the notice period.

HSPCB has claimed to have complied with the Tribunal's 3rd January 2024 Order. It is still collecting records from various departments, like Electricity Department, Revenue Department, Excise & Taxation, and the Secretary Municipal Committee, Kundli. HSPCB has said that these records such as electricity bills, land ownership records, GST records, and Property ID records of the violating industries are crucial to trace the commencement dates of these units' operations, which will aid in assessing and levying Environmental Compensation, and taking legal action under the Water Act, 1974.

Yamuna Flood Plains Preservation

15th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Ensuring the preservation of the Yamuna flood plains is vital for safeguarding Delhi's environmental health and sustainability. In the ongoing case of EA 22/2023, Jagdev versus the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi & Ors., the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has submitted a detailed compilation of judgments related to the preservation of the Yamuna flood plains to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, New Delhi.

The case, filed by petitioner Jagdev, addresses concerns about the environmental management and preservation of the Yamuna flood plains. The petitioner has sought judicial intervention to ensure that these ecologically sensitive areas are protected from degradation and encroachment.

The compilation includes significant judgments and orders passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, providing a detailed legal framework and precedents regarding the protection of the Yamuna flood plains. Key judgments included cover cases from 2013 to 2024, highlighting the consistent judicial efforts to safeguard these areas.

This comprehensive compilation serves as an essential reference for understanding the legal stance on preserving the Yamuna flood plains. It underscores the judiciary's commitment to environmental conservation and provides a legal basis for future actions and policies.

The NGT will consider these judgments in its proceedings and decisions related to the ongoing case. The preservation of the Yamuna flood plains remains a critical environmental issue, and the tribunal's rulings will be pivotal in ensuring their protection.

The submission of this compilation by the DDA highlights the importance of legal precedents in environmental conservation efforts and reinforces the judiciary's role in safeguarding ecologically sensitive areas like the Yamuna flood plains, which are vital for maintaining the region's environmental health and sustainability.

India and Bhutan Collaborate on Environment and Renewable Energy

12th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

India and Bhutan held a high-level meeting to address critical environmental issues. The discussions covered air quality, climate change, forests, natural resources, renewable energy, and wildlife.

Bhutan's delegation was led by Mr. Gem Tshering, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. Shri Kirti Vardhan Singh, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, represented India.

Minister Singh thanked Bhutan for joining the International Big Cat Alliance, an Indian initiative. He emphasized the shared geography and democratic values of both nations. Climate change, he noted, is a common concern.

Mr. Tshering shared Bhutan's success in hosting the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscape Conference in Paro in April 2024. He highlighted Bhutan's carbon-negative status and reliance on hydropower for energy.

The two countries agreed to work together on climate change, air quality, forest and wildlife management, and capacity building. India suggested a Joint Working Group Meeting to enhance collaboration.

This meeting marks a step forward in strengthening bilateral ties and promoting sustainable development.

WTO Deputy Director-General Highlights Climate-Smart Connectivity at UN Trade Plenary 

12th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

At the 30th United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Plenary, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Angela Ellard, emphasized the crucial role of climate-smart connectivity and digital trade in fostering sustainable development and global economic integration.

Addressing an audience of international trade experts and policymakers, DDG Ellard underscored the importance of connectivity in maintaining effective supply chains, especially in the face of recent global disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and environmental challenges. She highlighted the WTO’s efforts to promote digital trade corridors, which facilitate efficient and environmentally sustainable movement of goods and services across borders.

“The WTO plays a key role in supporting and enhancing connectivity within global supply chains by setting rules and ensuring their implementation,” said Ellard. She noted that the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which came into force in 2017, is instrumental in streamlining cross-border trade. The TFA reduces paper-based transactions, simplifies border processes, and minimizes waiting times, potentially cutting trade costs by an average of 14.3% and boosting global trade by up to $1 trillion annually, particularly benefiting the poorest countries.

Ellard elaborated on three key points regarding the role of trade facilitation in promoting connectivity and sustainable development:

The WTO is actively engaged in leveraging digital technologies through its Committee on Trade Facilitation and initiatives under the plurilateral Joint Statement Initiative on electronic commerce. Ellard highlighted the need for international standards to ensure the interoperability of digital technologies, mentioning the WTO’s Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement’s role in promoting regulatory coherence.

In conclusion, Ellard called for collaborative efforts to enhance regional and global integration through climate-smart connectivity and digital trade. “The pursuit of climate-smart connectivity and digital trade is not merely an ambition. It is a necessity in addressing the multifaceted challenges we face,” she stated, reaffirming the WTO’s commitment to supporting sustainable development and an inclusive, environmentally conscious global economy.

Indo Count Industries and Shreeram Cotton Launch Regenagri Cotton Project for Sustainable Agriculture

12th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Indo Count Industries Limited, a leading player in home textiles manufacturing, and Shreeram Cotton Industries, renowned for producing premium Sankar-6 cotton and a premier ginning unit based in Gujarat, have joined forces to advance sustainable agriculture through the launch of the Regenagri Cotton Project. This collaboration marks a significant step towards fostering resilient and eco-friendly agricultural practices.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies aims to empower farmers with knowledge and tools essential for thriving in a rapidly evolving agricultural landscape. The Regenagri Cotton Project focuses on integrating holistic farming systems that promote biodiversity, enhance soil health, and improve water and air quality. By leveraging the combined expertise and resources of Indo Count Industries and Shreeram Cotton Industries, the project seeks to drive positive change across the agricultural sector, ensuring sustainability while maintaining economic viability.

"We are pleased to announce this strategic partnership through the signing of the MoU," stated Mr. K K Lalpuria, CEO & Executive Director of Indo Count Industries Limited. "Regenagri exemplifies our shared commitment to advancing sustainable agricultural practices that benefit farmers and the environment alike."

Mr. Natubhai Panchani, Partner at Shreeram Cotton Industries, commented, "Through collaboration, we aim to make substantial strides towards creating a more sustainable future for agriculture. The Regenagri project will harness the strengths of both organizations to develop scalable solutions applicable across diverse agricultural regions."

By promoting collaboration and innovation, the Regenagri Cotton Project sets a precedent for industry-wide adoption of regenerative practices. This partnership signifies a pivotal milestone in advancing towards a sustainable and resilient future for agriculture.

British Council and HSBC India Unveil 'Climate Skills - Seeds for Transition' Project to Empower Indian Youth

12th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The British Council, in partnership with HSBC India, has unveiled the ambitious 'Climate Skills: Seeds for Transition India' project. This initiative aims to empower young people and communities across India with the necessary skills and knowledge to punch above their weight in addressing the imminent challenges of climate change. By equipping youth with climate resilience skills, the project seeks to prepare them to pull out all the stops in navigating the transition to a sustainable, net-zero economy.

Running from July 2024 to February 2026, the project underscores the British Council's commitment to fostering global climate literacy and resilience among marginalized youth. It aims to engage 2,000 young participants directly and train 300 master trainers across India. The programme's comprehensive approach integrates youth-led social action with climate education, emphasizing both urban and rural inclusion.

Scott McDonald, Chief Executive of the British Council, emphasized the importance of preparing the next generation to tackle environmental challenges: 'At the British Council, we are dedicated to empowering young people to punch above their weight in the face of climate change. This initiative, in collaboration with HSBC India, reflects our joint commitment to equip youth with essential skills for a sustainable future.'

HSBC India's CEO, Hitendra Dave, highlighted the strategic partnership's focus on enhancing climate literacy and employability among India's youth: 'Together with the British Council, we aim to support youth in understanding and adapting to climate change challenges. It's about time we invest in empowering the younger generation to lead climate action and drive positive change in their communities.'

The launch event, slated for July 11, 2024, will feature a climate film screening and insights from key stakeholders including Lindy Cameron CB OBE, British High Commissioner to India, and representatives from UNICEF and India Climate Collaborative. The initiative aligns with the British Council's global climate strategy, promoting local interventions with a global impact across five countries.

'Climate Skills: Seeds for Transition India' is set to pave the way for youth-led solutions and alternative climate education approaches, aiming to create a resilient and sustainable future for generations to come.

WTO Deputy Director-General Advocates Insurance Role in Global Green Steel Transition

11th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) addressed the 2024 World Steel Association Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Industrial Chain Collaborative Innovation Development Conference in Jiangyin City, China, emphasizing the critical role of the WTO as an "insurance policy" for investments in green steel decarbonization.

Paugam highlighted steel's substantial global emissions footprint, accounting for 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement's net-zero targets, he stressed the urgent need for the steel industry to transition to sustainable practices to maintain its social license to operate.

Citing recent advancements, Paugam noted significant industry moves towards green steel, including major automakers securing contracts for near-zero emission steel and initiatives by leading iron ore miners to develop green iron products. Notably, China's pioneering efforts in commercial-scale green hydrogen-based direct reduced iron production exemplified progress in sustainable steelmaking technologies.

To achieve net-zero emissions, Paugam outlined three key industry pathways: enhancing efficiency in existing processes, expanding Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steelmaking using scrap metal, and scaling up innovative technologies reliant on renewable energy sources.

Addressing financial and regulatory hurdles, Paugam underscored the importance of robust policies to attract estimated investments ranging from 1.4 trillion to multiple trillions USD across the steel value chain. He cautioned against fragmented climate policies globally and advocated for standardized, transparent emissions measurement methodologies to enhance market confidence.

Paugam positioned the WTO as a critical facilitator of global green steel trade through its role in maintaining a transparent, non-discriminatory, and predictable international trading system. He highlighted ongoing collaboration between the WTO, industry stakeholders, and international bodies to establish common emission standards crucial for fostering trust and reducing investment risks in green steel initiatives.

Highlighting the WTO's role as an "insurance policy" for green steel investments, Paugam emphasized how the organization's framework provides stability and reduces uncertainties for investors in the transition towards sustainable steel production. He called upon the steel industry to champion multilateral cooperation, advocate for harmonized climate policies, and collaborate on defining universally accepted standards for green steel production. With COP29 approaching in November 2024, he reaffirmed the WTO's commitment to supporting global efforts towards sustainable steel production and ensuring a resilient framework for international trade.

India Hosts 4-Day Global Conclave to Tackle Plastic Waste with Sustainable Solutions

9th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

A recent report has revealed alarming statistics regarding India's plastic waste management, estimating that the country mismanaged 7,300,752 tons of plastic waste in 2023. The report also estimates that 330,764 tons of microplastics were released into waterways, underscoring the severe environmental impact of plastic pollution.

The issue of plastic waste management, a global concern requiring cooperation among governments and industry participants, was the focal point of the four-day Global Conclave on Plastic Recycling and Sustainability. Held from July 4 to July 7 at Bharat Mandapam, Pragati Maidan, the event was organized by the All-India Plastics Manufacturers' Association (AIPMA) and the Chemicals & Petrochemicals Manufacturers' Association (CPMA).

Al Mehtab Industries (AMI), known for its commitment to reducing carbon footprints and promoting ecological balance, participated in the event. The conclave served as a crucial platform for discussing innovations and advancements in plastic recycling, bringing together global leaders to share insights on sustainable practices in the plastics industry.

Mr. Ram Inder Singh Kochar, Promoter & Managing Director of Al Mehtab Industries, commented on the event's success: "We are delighted that the four-day event resonated profoundly with audiences both locally and globally. The event was rich in insights, with experts of global repute sharing their invaluable perspectives. India generates approximately 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily, with over 10,000 tonnes remaining uncollected. This uncollected waste has far-reaching impacts, from economic losses to severe threats to human health and the environment. Addressing plastic waste management requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. At Al Mehtab Industries, we are committed to leading the charge in promoting sustainable practices and innovative solutions to combat this pressing issue. Collaboration across the value chain and with government entities is essential to drive meaningful change and create a greener, healthier future for all."

The event emphasized the critical need for recyclers to capitalize on business opportunities within the circular economy, particularly as governments increasingly enforce plastic sustainability throughout the supply chain. Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET), made from repurposed PET waste collected from businesses and consumers, was highlighted as a significant example of these efforts.

Throughout the conclave, industry leaders discussed business opportunities, the latest trends, and cutting-edge innovations in plastic recycling. The exhibition showcased sustainable products, boosted brand visibility, and introduced new offerings to industry professionals, effectively engaging stakeholders across the entire supply chain.

India’s leading players in the plastic recycling market shared their insights and trade secrets, significantly enhancing the event's impact. The occasion was graced by a diverse group of exhibitors, including plastic recyclers, plastic machinery manufacturers, waste management agencies, biodegradable plastics producers, FMCG brand owners, and e-waste recyclers, among others.

The global market for plastic recycling is expected to grow from $42.4 billion in 2024 to $129.5 billion by 2035, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3 percent.

The conference was inaugurated by Chief Guest Smt. Nivedita Shukla Verma, Secretary of the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. Mercy Epao, Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, attended as the Guest of Honor. Other notable attendees included AIPMA President Manish Dedhia and CPMA President Kamal Nanavati.

The report and discussions at the Global Conclave on Plastic Recycling and Sustainability underscore the urgent need for comprehensive and collaborative efforts to address the plastic waste crisis, aiming to create a sustainable and environmentally responsible future.

LAPP India Wins TIMES NOW Sustainable Organisations 2024 Award

9th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

LAPP India, a leading provider of cable and connection solutions, has been awarded the 'Times Now Sustainable Organisations 2024' accolade for its commitment to sustainability at the 3rd edition of the TIMES NOW Global Sustainability Alliance – Sustainable Organisations 2024 Awards.

The award ceremony, held in the last week of June 2024, celebrates businesses taking concrete steps to address climate change and promote environmental responsibility. LAPP India's recognition highlights its dedication to integrating sustainability practices throughout its operations, including environmentally friendly raw material sourcing, energy-efficient manufacturing processes, waste minimization initiatives, and eco-conscious product design.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from TIMES NOW,” said Marc Jarrault, Managing Director, LAPP India. “At LAPP, sustainability is more than just a responsibility; it's at the core of who we are. We are committed to creating a greener future by developing innovative solutions that minimize environmental impact. From developing the world’s first lead-free cable glands to optimizing our global production for efficiency, we are constantly striving to make a difference. This award is a testament to our belief that sustainability is part of our DNA.”

LAPP India's win at the TIMES NOW Global Sustainability Alliance awards is a significant achievement demonstrating the company's leadership in sustainability. Dr. Shiv Venkatramani, Head of Operations at LAPP India, and Mahesh N Hegde, Senior Manager of Manufacturing Engineering LOS, accepted the honor on behalf of LAPP India. The award was presented by Ms. Poonam Pramod Mahajan, Former MP of Mumbai North Central Constituency.

Dr. Shiv Venkatramani emphasized, "LAPP, as a family-run company, strongly believes in leaving behind a healthy planet for the next generation. We take sustainability seriously by evaluating the entire production process and focusing on cleaner energy solutions. Our focus on sustainable business is firmly anchored in our DNA, motivating us to keep driving innovation that minimizes environmental impact.”

Climate Change Report Warns of Escalating Human-Induced Warming

9th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Amidst concerns that 2024 could become the hottest year on record, a new report from the University of Leeds provides alarming insights into global climate trends. The second annual Indicators of Global Climate Change report, led by Professor Piers Forster, reveals that human-induced warming has escalated to 1.19°C over the past decade (2014-2023), up from 1.14°C in the previous decade. In 2023 alone, human activity contributed to a warming of 1.3°C, influenced in part by natural climate variations such as El Niño.

The report underscores a critical concern: the remaining carbon budget, which represents how much carbon dioxide can be emitted before locking in 1.5°C of global warming, is rapidly depleting. Currently estimated at approximately 200 gigatonnes, this budget equates to just five years' worth of current emissions. This figure has significantly decreased from earlier IPCC estimates, reflecting ongoing increases in CO2 emissions and global warming trends.

Professor Forster emphasized the urgent need for accelerated climate action, stating, "Despite efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures are rising faster than ever. Our analysis indicates a sustained upward trend driven by human activities, compounded by short-term natural variations." He highlighted that recent record-breaking temperatures in 2023 were exacerbated by these natural factors, contributing approximately 10% to the overall warming trend.

The release of this report coincides with international climate discussions in Bonn, preparing groundwork for the COP29 conference scheduled for November in Baku, Azerbaijan. While the IPCC remains the authoritative source on climate science, the report fills a crucial "information gap" with its updated climate indicators and data accessible via the Climate Change Tracker's dashboard.

Additionally, the report examines the impact of reduced sulphur emissions from global shipping, traditionally mitigating climate warming by reflecting sunlight and promoting cloud formation. However, these cooling effects have diminished due to ongoing reductions in sulphur emissions, compounded by aerosol emissions from events like the Canadian wildfires.

Looking forward, the report stresses the need for robust Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC, urging nations to enhance emission reduction targets and bolster resilience against climate impacts. Professor Forster concluded, "To mitigate the devastating effects of wildfires, droughts, floods, and heatwaves witnessed in 2023, global efforts must swiftly transition towards net-zero emissions and build climate-resilient societies."

As nations gear up to revise their climate plans by 2025, informed by reports like this, the global community faces a critical juncture in combating climate change and safeguarding the planet's future.

PHDCCI Leads Steel Industry in Call for Government Support for Green Transition Initiatives

8th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

At the recent Conclave on Green Steel: India's Journey towards Low Carbon Steel Manufacturing, organized by PHDCCI on 5th July 2024, industry leaders called for government support in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) and subsidies for green steel production. These measures are deemed essential for achieving India's net zero target by 2070. 

Green steel is a promising method to achieve these environmental targets, which involves manufacturing steel without using fossil fuels. This process utilizes low-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen, coal gasification, or electricity, replacing traditional carbon-intensive methods.

Mr. Ashwini Kumar, Economic Adviser at the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, highlighted India's strong position in the global steel industry, being the fastest-growing major economy in the world. He noted that while other countries face challenges of excess capacity, India is focused on expanding its steel capacity, with consumption projected to grow by 10% annually.

Mr. Kumar also discussed constraints such as gas availability and criticized the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), emphasizing that India's net zero target is set for 2070, whereas the EU aims for 2050. He pointed out the scarcity of scrap materials, largely imported from the EU due to waste shipment regulations. Furthermore, he stressed the need for enhanced monitoring of emissions and accredited professionals to oversee steel plants across the country.

He underscored the importance of technological availability and accessibility, with a significant portion of technology currently reliant on imports. Mr. Kumar emphasized the potential of Green Hydrogen (Green H2) and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) in achieving decarbonization goals. He mentioned the high cost of transition, estimated at 8.5 trillion rupees, and the need for innovative financing mechanisms involving multilateral development banks.

Mr. Anil K. Chaudhary, Chairman of Minerals & Metals Committee, PHDCCI, and Former Chairman, SAIL, in his Theme Address, said that the Steel Industry with a capacity of ~178 MT and production of ~138 MT has been one of the largest emitters of GreenHouse Gases (GHS) in the Country. The Industry alone is responsible for ~350 MT of CO2 emissions, accounting for 12% of the overall emissions. He exhorted the Industry to achieve the greening across the value chain starting from the mine head and ending with the consumption of steel. Keeping in view the very high quantum of emissions vis-a the World’s average, it is high time to take substantial measures towards reduction in CO2 emissions in a phased manner to achieve a net zero position much before 2070, Mr. Chaudhary added.

While praising the efforts made by the Ministry of Steel, GoI, and major steel companies in the public as well as private sector, he emphasized the need for policy and regulatory interventions continuously. He stated that measures like defining Green Steel and setting standards for Green Products, more generation and use of scrap in steel making, creating demand for green steel including mandating the use of Green Steel for public infra, Carbon Trading Mechanism, advance breakthrough technologies and solutions like Green H2, Coal Gasification, and CCUS through research and development, etc. will go a long way in decarbonizing the India’s Steel Sector. To begin with, the CO2 emissions which are currently at 2.50 t/TCS must come down to 2.25 by 2030, 1.60 by 2040, and 1.00 by 2050.

He highlighted that Green Financing would require innovative financing frameworks and mechanisms including blended finance, technical assistance grants, guarantees, risk insurance, and concessional capital. He further requested Viability Gap Funding (VGF) from the Government to take care of the very high initial capital cost for transition.


Mr. Clemens Antretter, Advisor at the Indo-German Energy Forum, discussed global decarbonization efforts and opportunities for green iron manufacturing in India. He emphasized the importance of energy efficiency, steel scrapping, and certifying zero-emission materials in public construction by 2030. Mr. Antretter highlighted the green steel policy as a significant business opportunity for India, particularly for exports.


Dr. Ranjeet Mehta, Executive Director, PHDCCI, graced the Conclave. The conclave featured other prominent speakers, including Mr. Naveen Ahlawat, Head of Green Steel & Green Hydrogen at Jindal Steel & Power Ltd; Ms. Aparajita Agarwal, Senior Area Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Tata Steel Ltd; and Mr. Praveen Mishra, Joint Managing Director at LSI Engineering & Consultants. Discussions covered innovative decarbonization technologies, the use of green hydrogen in steel manufacturing, and green steel production through coal-based DRI and blast furnace routes.

Haryana's Pension Scheme for Trees

8th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

As part of a special publicity campaign, the Information, Public Relations, and Language Department staged an environmental awareness play in Sampani Nangli village. The event, held at Kundawala Temple and attended by Forest, Environment, and Sports Minister Sanjay Singh, aimed to inspire villagers to utilize Forest Department schemes for tree planting.

The play emphasized the importance of preserving old trees, highlighting Haryana's pension scheme for trees over 75 years old, which offers an annual stipend of Rs. 2,700 for their care. It also stressed avoiding tree cutting during construction to protect valuable natural resources.

Minister Sanjay Singh praised the initiative, stating, “The trees we plant today will provide shade and clean air for our future generations. If the Earth's temperature keeps rising, living conditions will become increasingly difficult. Every citizen must actively participate in tree planting campaigns.”

The Haryana government has introduced several green initiatives under Chief Minister Naib Singh, including the ‘Van Mitra’ scheme, which offers financial incentives for tree care. A pension of Rs. 3,200 will be provided for maintaining trees over 75 years old.

Additionally, Minister Singh inaugurated the “Ek Ped Maa Ke Naam” campaign by planting a sapling at Kundawala Temple. He encouraged citizens to plant trees in their mother's name, serving both personal and environmental purposes.

Plans for a wildlife sanctuary in the Aravalli forest area were also announced, alongside the intention to plant 350,000 saplings in Gurugram district. The Minister urged municipal cooperation in building a paved road from the village to Kundawala Temple, pending land acquisition from the Forest Department.

The event concluded with remarks from Additional Chief Conservator of Forests Anant Prakash on climate change impacts and the importance of tree planting. DFO Rajeev Tejayan encouraged participation in the “One Tree for Mother” campaign via the ‘merilife.nic.in’ website.

1M1B Green Skills Academy Sends 5 Telangana Innovators to UN Summit in New York

8th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The United Nations accredited, 1M1B (One Million for One Billion) announced the selection of five young innovators from Telangana’s 1M1B Green Skills Academy who will step into the limelight and attend the prestigious 8th annual 1M1B Activate Impact Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this December. The winners were unveiled at the Grand Finale of the Green Skills Academy - Leveraging AI held in Hyderabad.

After five months of rigorous leadership training and problem-solving exercises, these innovators were cherry-picked from a competitive pool of 200 finalists from Telangana. The winners are Meeth Kumar Shah (Age 22) for his project ApnAInterview CRACKER from Vignana Bharathi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad; Narayanam Bhavya (Age 20) for her project Manifesting Manholes from Malla Reddy College of Engineering for Women, Hyderabad; Manal Muneer (Age 21) for Intellnexa from Deeksha Degree College, Nirmal; Pemmasani Likhitha Chowdary (Age 18) for Tech Vasaliu from Malla Reddy College of Engineering for Women, Hyderabad; and Satyavathi Kolapalli (Age 19) for her project Nurture Sapling from Malla Reddy College of Engineering for Women, Hyderabad.

Earlier this year, the Department of Information Technology, Electronics, and Communications Telangana, in partnership with 1M1B, launched India’s first 1M1B Green Skills Academy. This initiative aims to fast-track the adoption of green skills among college youth in Telangana through ecosystem partners such as the Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK), T-Hub, and T-Works. The program is designed to bridge the existing skill gap among young adults aged 18–22, providing them with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in green skills, sustainability, and AI. By leveraging the 1M1B Green Skills learning path, the Academy aims to empower young people with essential green skills and create vital linkages to green economy employment opportunities. The partnership's ambitious goal is to train 1 million youth from Telangana by 2030.

The Grand Finale, held at T-Hub, Madhapur, Hyderabad, featured pitches and presentations from the shortlisted students showcasing their innovative solutions and ideas to accelerate the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Honorable guests at the event included IT Minister Shri Sridhar Babu, Government of Telangana; Shri Jayesh Ranjan, Special Chief Secretary of Information Technology, Telangana Government; Rama Devi Lanka, Director Officer on Special Duty, Emerging Technologies, Government of Telangana; Vivek Abraham, Senior Director, Policy, Salesforce; Manav Subodh, Founder of 1M1B; Shrikant Sinha, CEO of Telangana Academy for Skills and Knowledge (TASK); Mahankali Srinivas Rao (MSR), CEO of T-Hub, Hyderabad; and Joginder Tanikella, CEO of T-Works.

The selected young innovators come from diverse backgrounds, illustrating how the United Nations SDGs can be localized to create indigenous solutions for achieving the UN SDGs by 2030. The five selected young innovators presented their solutions addressing issues such as creating sustainable cities and villages, solving problems related to open manholes, tackling youth unemployment, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring quality education, protecting India’s rich cultural heritage, addressing water problems, and more.

IT Minister Sridhar Babu remarked, "As we inaugurate the 1M1B Green Skills Academy and witness its profound impact on our youth, I am pleased to reaffirm Telangana's commitment to fostering sustainable development through innovative initiatives like this. The establishment of the academy's center in our state marks a significant milestone in our journey towards equipping our youth with essential green skills. We believe this collaboration will not only empower our youth but also strengthen our position as pioneers in sustainable technology and practices."

Manav Subodh, Founder and Chief Mentor of 1M1B, expressed his enthusiasm: "We are motivated by the number of participants in the first edition of the 1M1B Green Skill Academy Program. The youth from Telangana have worked hard over the past few months and presented amazing projects. We have shortlisted the top five students for now and will be selecting another set of five students in the coming months. I believe the 1M1B Green Skills Academy is a significant opportunity and a platform for the youth of Telangana to get skilled and join India’s green workforce. We are proud that 1M1B has become the flag bearer of green skilling in India."

Special Chief Secretary Jayesh Ranjan added, "As we culminate the first edition of the 1M1B Green Skills Academy with this Grand Finale, we celebrate the remarkable achievements of our youth in embracing green skills and sustainable practices. This event not only showcases their ingenuity but also highlights their potential to drive meaningful change in our society. I commend all participants for their dedication and innovative spirit, which are crucial in shaping a sustainable future for Telangana and beyond."

Mahankali Srinivas Rao (MSR), CEO of T-Hub, noted, "We are thrilled to witness the incredible innovation and commitment of these young talents showcased at the 1M1B Green Skills Academy Grand Finale. This event not only highlights their potential to drive sustainable solutions but also reinforces the importance of nurturing entrepreneurship and impactful initiatives in Telangana."

Recently, 1M1B announced its collaboration with Salesforce to set up the first physical center of the 1M1B Green Skills Academy in Hyderabad.

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Joins Mega Plantation Drive in Indore Amid Concerns Over Malhar Ashram Tree Felling

7th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, participated in a massive plantation drive, “Ek Pedh Maa Ke Naam,” in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Chief Minister Dr. Mohan Yadav, along with other state ministers and senior officers, were also present at the event.

Addressing the program, Bhupender Yadav highlighted a nationwide campaign to plant 140 crore trees. He emphasized the duty to respect the mother who gives us life and to fulfill the resolution of giving a green earth out of respect for Mother Nature. Mr. Yadav lauded Madhya Pradesh's efforts in the tree plantation initiative, commending the campaign by Indore residents to make the city green along with Clean Indore.

According to the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Dr. Mohan Yadav stated that since ancient times, Indore and Ujjain have had a special relationship with the importance of the environment. Maa Kshipra originates from Indore, which is the place of origin for seven rivers. He emphasized that Indore has a unique identity in the country and the world and will definitely become the number one green city along with being a clean city.

State Urban Development and Housing Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that the green coverage of Indore will be increased. He mentioned that along with planting 51 lakh trees, special efforts will be made for their conservation, with various societies and organizations taking responsibility for planting and protecting trees.

However, it is important to mention the ongoing people's movement to save trees in Malhar Ashram. In the 4th July 2024 edition of Hindi publication Swatantra Samay, Jitendra Srivastava writes "The Threat to Greenery at Malhar Ashram."

According to the newspaper article, in the heart of Indore city, the historic educational institution Malhar Ashram, known for its lush greenery, is witnessing the felling of old dense trees. Environmental enthusiasts have expressed significant concern and initiated a campaign to save these trees. They believe that without halting the tree cutting, the purpose of the sapling plantation campaign will be lost, as it takes 10 to 15 years for a sapling to grow into a tree. The city is gearing up for a world record in sapling plantation under the "One Tree for Mother" campaign. While preparations are in full swing, another picture presents a worrying and dangerous scenario for Indore. In the name of development, the sacrifice of large, shady trees, which need the most preservation, continues unabated.

The newspaper article quotes Sachikant Birtharia, an environmental conservationist, and environmentalists Swapnil Vyas and Arvind Porwal, expressing concern that the city's greenery is being destroyed under the guise of physical development. Malhar Ashram School, located in the city's central area, acts as an oxygen plant benefiting not only the surrounding residential areas but also thousands of people who regularly come here for morning and evening walks or exercise. The cutting down of old, shady trees is detrimental to the city's health.

There was also a movement on X/Twitter. Eminent Journalist Abhilash Khandekar, Roving Editor at Lokmat, invoked people with a message: "Let more trees not be felled. #Indore is passing through tough times. Be there for environment conservation. Save trees all over the city."

New Amendment Empowers Local Voices in Shimla Wildlife Sanctuary Monitoring Committee

6th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has notified an amendment to the Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh. The amendment dated 5th July 2024, vide S.O. 2629(E), modifies paragraph 5 under S.O. 1858(E), dated 8th June 2017, pertaining to the constitution of the Monitoring Committee. The Deputy Commissioner of Shimla will continue as Chairman, while the Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife), Shimla will now serve as the Member Secretary, ex officio, replacing the Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial), Shimla.

A significant change involves the representative of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working in the field of Environment, now expanded to include "Wildlife." This representative will be nominated by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh instead of the Government of India. The revised requirement reads: "One representative of a Non-Governmental Organisation working in the field of Environment/Wildlife (including heritage conservation) nominated by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh from time to time every three years." Additionally, the expert in ecology and environment must be from a reputed Institution or University, nominated by the State Government of Himachal Pradesh.

The amendment also redefines the "Terms of Reference" to "Functions of the Monitoring Committee." The committee is tasked with scrutinizing activities in the Eco-Sensitive Zone based on actual site-specific conditions, referring them to the Central Government or the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for prior environmental clearances. For activities not covered in the specified schedule, the committee will scrutinize them based on site-specific conditions and refer them to the appropriate regulatory authorities.

The Member-Secretary, the concerned Deputy Commissioner, or the Deputy Conservator of Forests can file complaints under section 19 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, against any person violating the provisions of this notification. The committee may also invite representatives or experts from relevant departments, industry associations, or stakeholders to assist in its deliberations on a case-by-case basis.

The Monitoring Committee is required to submit an annual action taken report by 30th June each year, covering activities up to 31st March, to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State in the specified proforma. The Central Government retains the authority to issue written directions to the Monitoring Committee for the effective discharge of its functions.

Ministry Amends ESZ Rules for Jaldapara National Park and Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary

6th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has introduced amendments to strengthen regulations governing Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) surrounding Jaldapara National Park in West Bengal and Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra.

Jaldapara National Park, West Bengal:

Published in the Gazette of India under S.O. 2734(E), dated 22nd August 2017, the revised rules for Jaldapara National Park's ESZ now include provisions for an NGO representative specializing in "Environment or Wildlife (including heritage conservation)" within the Monitoring Committee. This committee is mandated to scrutinize activities listed in the 2006 notification Schedule within the ESZ, facilitating environmental clearances through the Central Government or State Environment Impact Assessment Authority. Additionally, the Member-Secretary, concerned Collector, or Deputy Conservator of Forests can file complaints under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The committee is obligated to submit an annual action report by 30th June to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State.

Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra:

On 3rd July 2024, under S.O. 2579(E), the Ministry amended Notification S.O. 1367(E) dated 28th April 2017, published in the Gazette of India. This declaration establishes the Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary as an ESZ covering 361.71 sq. km in Maharashtra. Notable for its rich biodiversity within the Western Ghats, the sanctuary hosts diverse flora like Teak, Ain, and Hirda, and fauna including Leopards, Giant Squirrels, and numerous avian species. This ESZ is crucial for its ecological and agricultural significance, safeguarding 24 agricultural villages and key rivers essential to regional ecology against developmental impacts.

UNESCO Announces New Biosphere Reserve Designations Amid Biodiversity Crisis

6th July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

UNESCO has announced new biosphere reserve designations in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Gambia, Italy, Mongolia, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Spain. Additionally, for the first time, the list includes two transboundary reserves, one spanning Belgium and the Netherlands, and the other Italy and Slovenia.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, emphasized the critical timing of these designations, stating that humanity is currently grappling with a biodiversity crisis and climate disruption. She remarked that these new biosphere reserves play an essential role in sustainably preserving biodiversity, improving the living conditions of local populations and indigenous peoples, and fostering scientific research.

Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the States where they are located. They are designated by UNESCO following an intergovernmental designation process under the Man and Biodiversity (MAB) Programme. These reserves protect larger areas of natural habitat than typical national parks or animal sanctuaries and often encompass multiple national parks or reserves along with buffer zones that allow for some economic uses. Protection extends not only to the flora and fauna but also to the human communities residing in these regions and their traditional ways of life.

The programme of Biosphere Reserve was initiated under the 'Man & Biosphere' (MAB) programme by UNESCO in 1971. The purpose of the formation of the biosphere reserve is to conserve in situ all forms of life, along with its support system, in its totality, so that it could serve as a referral system for monitoring and evaluating changes in natural ecosystems. The first biosphere reserve of the world was established in 1979, since then the network of biosphere reserves has increased to 425 in 95 countries across the world. 

UNESCO highlighted the scientific significance of biosphere reserves, which serve as sites for research and monitoring, providing valuable data and insights that inform environmental management and policy decisions. These reserves contribute to achieving global development targets, such as those set by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to protect and restore significant portions of the Earth's ecosystems by 2030. In addition to safeguarding biodiversity and combating climate change, biosphere reserves promote unique local sustainable development ideas.

The new designations bring the total number of sites in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves to 759, spanning 136 countries and covering approximately 7,442,000 square kilometers (about 2,870,000 square miles), an area nearly the size of Australia. Around 275 million people reside within these biosphere reserves globally, which cover all major representative natural and semi-natural ecosystems.

How many biosphere reserves are there in India? There are 18 biosphere reserves in India, with 13 of them being part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, as recognized by UNESCO’s MAB Programme. India has established several biosphere reserves across the country to preserve the natural habitat and biodiversity. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of 5,520.00 sq.km., was established on 1st September 1986 and spans Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, located in Uttaranchal, was established on 18th January 1988 and covers 5,860.69 sq.km. Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, in Meghalaya, was set up on 1st January 1988 and covers an area of 80.00 sq.km. The Great Nicobar Islands Biosphere Reserve, established on 6th January 1989, encompasses 885.00 sq.km. in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in Tamil Nadu, established on 18th February 1989, covers 10,500.00 sq.km. The Manas Biosphere Reserve, located in Assam, was established on 14th March 1989 and covers 2,837.00 sq.km. The Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, set up on 29th March 1989, covers 9,630.00 sq.km. Simlipal Biosphere Reserve in Orissa, established on 22nd June 1994, covers an area of 4,374.00 sq.km. The Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve, located in Assam, was established on 28th July 1997 and covers 765.00 sq.km. Dehang-Debang Biosphere Reserve, in Arunachal Pradesh, was established on 2nd September 1998 and spans 5,111.50 sq.km. The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, in Madhya Pradesh, was set up on 3rd March 1999 and covers 4,926.00 sq.km. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Sikkim, established on 7th February 2000, spans 2,619.92 sq.km. Lastly, the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve in Kerala, established on 12th November 2001, covers an area of 1,701.00 sq.km. The total area covered by these biosphere reserves is 60,810.11 sq.km.

NTPC's Talcher Thermal Plant Expansion Gets Approval for Forest Land Diversion, 958 Trees to Perish 

3rd July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Regional Empowered Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, at its Integrated Regional Offices in Bhubaneswar, recently approved NTPC Ltd.'s proposal for diverting 6.0459 hectares of forest land. The proposal pertains to the Talcher Thermal Power Project (TTPS) located near Talcher Town in Angul District, Odisha, which had a capacity of 460 MW before its closure on 31st March 2021. The project, initially implemented by OSEB, was transferred to NTPC on 3rd June 1995. The current proposal involves expanding TTPS by adding two 660 MW units, using benefits from the XII plan period.

The project requires 39 cusec water per hour for cooling the boiler system and plant consumption, which will be sourced from the Samal Barrage of the Brahmani River and pumped to a raw water reservoir located 26 km away. The Energy Department, Government of Odisha, sanctioned administrative approval on 16th July 2021, and the Water Resource Department permitted the laying of the pipeline along the irrigation canal on 4th June 2018.

The project involves constructing a make-up water pump house upstream of the Samal Barrage to supply water to the NTPC reservoir near Talcher Thermal Plant. The pump house will have a structural superstructure with steel cladding and will use MS pipes to pump water to the plant area. The pipeline, extending over 31.4165 hectares, includes 6.0459 hectares of forest land and 25.3706 hectares of non-forest land, spanning 25.372 km with varying widths in forest and non-forest areas. Route-1 has been selected for the pipeline due to its minimal impact on revenue forest area compared to Routes 2 and 3.

The project encompasses 31.4165 hectares, divided into 6.0459 hectares of revenue forest land (4.9138 hectares of Revenue Forest and 1.1321 hectares of DLC Forest) and 25.3706 hectares of non-forest land (13.8027 hectares of Government non-forest land and 11.5679 hectares of private non-forest land). A detailed survey and the authenticated land schedule were provided with the proposal.

The project will require felling 958 trees on the forest land and 1905 trees on the non-forest land, with compensation measures including planting ten times the number of felled trees along the pipeline and canals. The area is prone to sheet and gully erosion, necessitating stabilization measures such as stone pitching and vegetative cover.

According to the REC, the site, located 8 km from the Kanheijena RF, does not overlap with any protected areas, though a 2 km stretch near Samal Barrage poses a barrier to elephant movement, requiring structural adjustments for safe passage. No rare or endangered species were found in the project area, which includes common forest species and wildlife. The necessity of the forest land for the project has been confirmed, with no reported violations of the Forest (Conservation) Act. The State Government recommended that NTPC contribute to the Regional Wildlife Management Plan and implement a Site Specific Wildlife Conservation Plan at project cost.

Unraveling Climate Mysteries: BSIP Study Links CO2 and Rainfall Patterns

3rd July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In a study that breaks new ground, researchers at the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (BSIP), backed by the Department of Science and Technology, have uncovered crucial insights into ancient climate dynamics and their implications for future biodiversity hotspots.

The research focuses on the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (ETM-2), a pivotal period 54 million years ago marked by intense global warming and elevated carbon dioxide levels—reminiscent of present-day projections. Leveraging fossil pollen and carbon isotopes from this era, BSIP scientists meticulously reconstructed the terrestrial hydrological cycle, shedding light on past climatic shifts near the equator.

The study’s significance lies in its pioneering exploration of equatorial regions, historically underrepresented in ancient climate studies. Positioned near the equator during ETM-2, the Indian subcontinent provided a unique natural laboratory. Researchers conducted their analysis at the Panandhro Lignite Mine in Gujarat, where fossil pollen samples provided a window into vegetation responses under extreme CO2 scenarios.

Findings from the study underscore a striking correlation: as atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeded 1000 parts per million by volume (ppmv), rainfall in equatorial regions experienced significant decline. This ecological shift precipitated the transformation of lush, evergreen rainforests—typical of India’s Western Ghats, northeastern states, and the Andaman Islands—into deciduous habitats, raising profound concerns for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience.

Lead researcher Dr. Ananya Sharma highlighted the study’s implications for contemporary climate challenges. "Our findings underscore the vulnerability of equatorial rainforests to escalating CO2 levels," Dr. Sharma emphasized. "The transition from evergreen to deciduous forests during ETM-2 serves as a stark warning for current biodiversity hotspots."

Published amid heightened global concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and their environmental impacts, the BSIP study bridges ancient climate records with modern climate projections. By drawing parallels between past climate extremes and contemporary challenges, the study provokes critical reflection on the future of tropical rainforests and global biodiversity.

"This research not only enriches our understanding of Earth’s climatic history but also informs proactive conservation strategies," Dr. Sharma remarked. "By elucidating the complex interplay between CO2 levels and the hydrological cycle, we aim to guide sustainable conservation practices for Earth’s most biologically diverse regions."

FLAME University and IUBS Team Up to Make Climate Education Accessible

2nd July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In an era where trending topics dominate conversations, India has seen a remarkable surge in interest in "Climate Education." Between April 21-27, 2024, this term reached the peak of search trends over the past year, with Chandigarh leading the curiosity race, followed by Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Kerala. As the world grapples with the severe impacts of climate change, FLAME University emerges as a beacon, spearheading the mission to elevate climate education.

FLAME University's Centre for Sustainability, Environment, and Climate Change (CSECC) is partnering with the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), Paris, to champion the Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding (TROP ICSU) project. This ambitious initiative by IUBS aims to integrate vital climate change resources into the global education system, equipping future generations with the knowledge and skills to tackle this pressing global challenge.

The collaboration underscores FLAME University's leadership in environmental education, striving to provide students and educators worldwide with a robust climate literacy framework. This initiative is particularly timely as the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020) emphasizes the critical importance of environmental education within the curriculum. The TROP ICSU platform, free and accessible to all, is pivotal in creating a global network of environmentally conscious educators.

The TROP ICSU platform boasts over 800 scientifically vetted resources for teachers and students globally. It offers a comprehensive repository of 370+ lesson plans and 530+ teaching tools across ten disciplines: Humanities, Chemistry, Geography, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, Economics, Mathematics, and Statistics. These resources are crafted with culturally appropriate pedagogy, ensuring they are accessible and relevant to educators worldwide, fostering climate awareness through a locally rooted yet globally pertinent approach.

FLAME University's CSECC has conducted numerous TROP ICSU workshops, reaching a broad audience and promoting environmental awareness and education through these extensive resources.

Prof. Dishan Kamdar, Vice-Chancellor of FLAME University, highlighted the significance of this partnership: “With NEP-2020 integrating environmental education, this collaboration further encourages environmental awareness and sustainable development. We are proud to partner with IUBS for TROP ICSU, as FLAME University aims to advance this initiative through its Centre for Sustainability, Environment, and Climate Change. Our campus is committed to sustainability through our infrastructure and research projects focused on environmental issues.”

Dr. Rahul Chopra, Director of the Centre for Sustainability, Environment, and Climate Change at FLAME University and Director of Project TROP ICSU, emphasized the milestone nature of this partnership: “Our collaboration with IUBS for the TROP ICSU project marks a significant step in our mission to promote climate awareness and sustainability through education. By providing educators with high-quality, free, ready-to-use resources, we empower them to teach the next generation about the critical issue of climate change.”

As FLAME University and IUBS join forces for the TROP ICSU project, their primary goal is to educate teachers and students about the importance of preserving our planet. This remarkable partnership is dedicated to making the world a greener, better place.

Established in 1919, the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) has been a catalyst for international collaboration and scientific progress in biology. For over 105 years, IUBS has facilitated partnerships between scientists, institutions, and organizations worldwide, with a presence within United Nations organizations, the International Science Council, international scientific societies, national focal points, and ad hoc networks.

In a world increasingly aware of its environmental impact, initiatives like TROP ICSU and the partnerships that sustain them are vital. They ensure that the next generation is not only aware of the challenges posed by climate change but is also equipped to meet them head-on, fostering a future where sustainability and environmental stewardship are paramount.

India Unveils Steel Slag Guidelines for Sustainable Road Construction

2nd July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Amid growing environmental pressure to reduce waste and contamination, and the depletion of locally accessible resources, the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) has developed an innovative Steel Slag Road Technology. This breakthrough is in collaboration with the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, and major steel manufacturers: ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, JSW Steel, Tata Steel, and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. The technology promises to utilize approximately 19 million tonnes of steel slag generated annually, effectively addressing waste disposal challenges. It has been successfully tested in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Arunachal Pradesh.

In a significant stride towards sustainable infrastructure, Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member (Science) of Niti Aayog, today unveiled the "Guidelines for Utilization and Processing of Steel Slag as Processed Steel Slag Aggregates in Road Construction" at the First International Conference on Steel Slag Road. Jointly organized by CSIR-CRRI and PHDCCI, the event highlighted the importance of transforming industrial waste into valuable resources.

Dr. Saraswat emphasized the crucial role of sustainable development and efficient use of industrial waste, specifically steel slag, in infrastructure projects. He highlighted that adopting these guidelines for road construction and maintenance would yield numerous benefits, including cost savings, reduced environmental impact, and improved road performance. He praised CSIR-CRRI's Steel Slag Road Technology for contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Waste to Wealth" vision.

Nagendra Nath Sinha, IAS, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Steel, affirmed the ministry's commitment to maximizing the use of materials from steel industries, including scrap, slag, and heat. He outlined a major R&D project sponsored by the Ministry of Steel to CSIR-CRRI aimed at large-scale utilization of steel slag as a substitute for natural aggregates in road construction. This initiative is expected to help preserve ecosystems by reducing unsustainable quarrying and mining practices.

Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR, praised the steel slag road between Mumbai and Goa on NH 66, noting its role as a benchmark for both cities. She acknowledged the enhanced visibility and popularity of CSIR's Waste to Wealth mission and revealed that the Steel Slag Road Technology has gained international attention, with a request from the United States for technological support, showcasing global confidence in this innovative approach.

Dr. Manoranjan Parida, Director of CSIR-CRRI, highlighted CRRI's 75-year-long contributions to India's highway network development through various technological initiatives. He congratulated Dr. Saraswat and the CRRI team for their exemplary work in developing and implementing steel slag road technology across India.

Ranjan Dhar, Director and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, shared insights on India's first steel slag road built in Hazira, Surat, using 100,000 tonnes of processed EAF steel slag aggregates. This sustainable road project received national and international recognition, including entries in the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records. Dhar emphasized the project's role in reducing greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, aligning with the Clean India Mission.

V.R. Sharma, Vice Chairman of JSP Group Advisory Services and Former Managing Director of Jindal Steel and Power Limited, spoke on the transformative potential of steel slag in road construction and its impact on sustainable infrastructure development in India.

This landmark initiative is set to revolutionize road construction in India by promoting the use of steel slag, thus fostering environmental sustainability and cost efficiency in the infrastructure sector.

Power Challenges in Haryana Spark Introduction of Agricultural Voluntary Disclosure Scheme

1st July 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Recently, during peak summer, Haryana faced substantial challenges due to electricity supply disruptions. Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has now introduced the Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) for agricultural consumers to regularize unauthorized load on tubewell connections without penalties. Announced by DHBVN Managing Director PC Meena, the scheme will be effective from 1st July to 15th July 2024, providing an opportunity for farmers to declare additional load on their tubewell motors through the DHBVN portal.

The scheme allows agricultural consumers to declare their extended load without incurring service connection charges. The declared load will be considered regular from the application date, provided the consumer submits the required Advance Consumption Deposit (ACD) at a rate of Rs 100 per kilowatt for the additional load. The corporation will upgrade necessary equipment, such as transformers, and provide service cables at its expense.

To participate in the scheme, consumers must clear all dues before applying and can optionally disclose the star rating efficiency of their motors. The application process requires a self-declaration form instead of a test report for the extended load.

In cases where the original consumer has passed away, the current user of the connection can apply for load extension by submitting an affidavit confirming the purpose of the A&A form. Proof of land ownership is not required for declaring an unauthorized load under this scheme.

Additionally, DHBVN is expediting the issuance of new tubewell connections. Managing Director PC Meena highlighted that 7433 approved tubewell connections, including 1191 LT and 6242 HT connections, will be issued soon. An investment of Rs 25 crore has been allocated for these connections across various circles, including Faridabad, Palwal, Gurugram, Narnaul, Rewari, Bhiwani, Hisar, Fatehabad, Sirsa, and Jind.

There is a pertinent question of whether, parallel schemes are to be introduced for industrial and commercial consumers?

When electricity is under discussion, it important to cite that the Union Power Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced plans for green coal plants in Haryana to manage solid waste sustainably. These plants, which convert waste into bio-coal, will initially be set up in Gurugram-Manesar and Faridabad, with potential expansion to other cities. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will soon be signed between NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVNL) and the Haryana Government.

NVVNL has already demonstrated success with a similar plant in Varanasi, which converts 600 tonnes of waste into 200 tonnes of green coal daily. This initiative aims to reduce solid waste and boost energy production, providing a long-term solution to Haryana's waste management challenges.

During a meeting with senior officials in New Delhi on 30th June, Khattar discussed detailed plans for the green coal projects, emphasizing the urgency and significance of these initiatives. The Municipal Corporations of Gurugram and Faridabad are actively collaborating with NVVNL to identify suitable sites and expedite the setup of these plants.

JSW Plans $110 Million Modernization of Baytown, TX Facility

30th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

JSW Steel USA, Inc., a subsidiary of India’s leading steel company JSW Steel Ltd. and the flagship business of the $24 billion JSW Group, has announced a significant $110 million investment in its Baytown, Texas manufacturing facilities. The investment aims to modernize the steel plate mill with sustainable technology and state-of-the-art equipment to produce monopile steel plates.

JSW Steel USA is reportedly dedicated to supporting the U.S. Administration's ambitious goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes with clean energy.

According to a news report published by Environment + Energy Leader on 26th June 2024, the Baytown mill is one of the widest in North America, providing hot-rolled plate and Double Submerged Arc Welded (DSAW) pipe. It services a variety of industries, including shipyards, oilfield fabricators, heavy equipment producers, wind towers, railcars, and storage tanks. The JSW plate division produces hot-rolled plates up to 156 inches wide and 6 inches thick. The pipe mill uses high-quality plates to produce DSAW pipe, including large diameter pipes (24 to 48 inches) for energy and petrochemical markets, onshore and offshore use, heavy-duty casing, and piling. The pipe division also offers OD and ID coating services.

Commenting on the new investments, Mr. Parth Jindal, Director of JSW Steel USA, highlighted the company’s dedication to sustainability and innovation. “The new investments at our Baytown, Texas facility reinforce JSW USA’s commitment to a sustainable and green future. The upgrades support our long-term ESG initiative and contribute to the decarbonization of the energy sector in the United States. These investments will enable us to progressively deliver high-quality steel products while further defining our niche markets through a Made in America specialty steel portfolio. They have the potential to significantly reduce U.S. import reliance in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors.”

India Launches Comprehensive Faunal Checklist, Leading Global Biodiversity Documentation

30th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Bhupender Yadav, announced that India has become the first country to compile a complete checklist of its fauna, covering 104,561 species. This significant achievement was unveiled during the 109th Foundation Day of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), reinforcing India’s leadership in biodiversity conservation.

Fauna of India Checklist Portal Launched

Mr. Yadav introduced the Fauna of India Checklist Portal, a detailed document listing all reported faunal species in India. This resource is invaluable for taxonomists, researchers, conservation managers, and policymakers. The checklist spans 121 taxonomic categories across 36 phyla, including endemic, threatened, and scheduled species.

Conservation Initiatives and Achievements

Highlighting India's commitment to biodiversity, Mr. Yadav cited initiatives such as the International Big Cat Alliance and the successful relocation of cheetahs to India. He emphasized that India's cultural values inherently support nature conservation.

Animal Taxonomy Summit-2024

The Animal Taxonomy Summit-2024, organized by ZSI, marks ZSI's 109 years of dedication to faunal biodiversity. The summit features discussions on taxonomy, systematics, evolution, ecology, animal behavior, and biodiversity conservation, with 350 delegates from four countries, including experts from the Natural History Museum in London. The event will present 21 plenary/lead lectures and 142 oral/poster presentations.

Significant Publications and Collaborations

Mr. Yadav released key publications, including ‘Animal Discoveries–2023’ and ‘Plant Discoveries–2023’, documenting 641 new animal species and 339 new plant species. Other releases included the ‘Fauna of India–109 barcodes’, ‘Catalogue of Hoverflies’, ‘Catalogue of Muscidae’, and the ‘Flora of India Series’. The first ‘Barcode Atlas of Indian Fishes’ and the book ‘ROAR - Celebrating 50 years of Project Tiger’ were also unveiled.

International Society of Zoology (ISZ) Launched

Director General of Forests and Special Secretary of MoEFCC, Jitendra Kumar, launched the International Society of Zoology (ISZ) to enhance global contributions to biodiversity understanding and protection.

Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) Exchanged

ZSI exchanged 10 MoUs with various universities and national institutes, including Vidyasagar University, Berhampur University, Madurai Kamraj University, Himalayan University, Ferguson College, Kongunadu Arts & Science College, ICAR-NBFGR, ICAR-NBAIR, ICAR-CIFA, and BITS Pilani. These collaborations aim to improve coordination and extend benefits to the broader community.

Earlier, ZSI Director Dr. Dhriti Banerjee delivered the welcome address. 

Study Confirms PLA Bioplastic Fully Biodegrades Without Microplastic Residue

30th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

A comprehensive study by HYDRA Marine Sciences, commissioned by Holland Bioplastics, has confirmed that polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic, fully breaks down in water or humid conditions, leaving no lasting microplastics. The research, which reviewed over 30,000 reports, highlights PLA’s ability to hydrolyze and biodegrade completely.

PLA, made from fermented plant sugars, predominantly degrades through hydrolysis, driven by moisture. This process reduces PLA objects into smaller molecules like lactic acid, which microorganisms then convert into biomass, water, and carbon dioxide. While the degradation time varies from months to decades depending on environmental conditions, PLA ultimately mineralizes completely.

Though PLA microplastics are rarely found in the environment, their presence may increase with rising PLA usage. However, specific microbes can hydrolyze PLA in controlled settings, and PLA particles eventually break down fully in natural environments. The study indicates minimal harm from neat PLA to algae, plants, and animals, though commercial PLA products mixed with other materials may have more complex impacts.

Researchers at IISc Develop Innovative Enzymatic Platform for Efficient Biofuel Production

29th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

A team of researchers at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry (IPC), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), has successfully developed an enzymatic platform that transforms naturally abundant and inexpensive fatty acids into valuable hydrocarbons called 1-alkenes. These hydrocarbons are considered promising biofuels due to their potential as sustainable and efficient energy sources.

The development comes as a response to the finite availability and polluting nature of fossil fuels. Scientists globally are exploring sustainable fuel pathways involving hydrocarbons, which can be blended with existing fuels and utilized within current infrastructure. These hydrocarbons also have significant applications in the polymer, detergent, and lubricant industries.

In a previous study, the IISc team purified and characterized an enzyme known as UndB, found bound to the membranes of certain bacteria. UndB has the capability to convert fatty acids to 1-alkenes at the fastest rate currently possible. However, the process faced efficiency issues due to the enzyme becoming inactive after a few cycles, caused by the production of H2O2 as a byproduct.

The breakthrough, detailed in the recent publication in Science Advances, involved the introduction of another enzyme, catalase, into the reaction mix. "The catalase degrades the H2O2 that is produced," explains Tabish Iqbal, the study's first author and a PhD student at IPC. This addition enhanced the activity of UndB by 19-fold, increasing turnovers from 14 to 265.

To further improve efficiency, the team created an artificial fusion protein by combining UndB with catalase. Using carriers called plasmids, this genetic code was introduced into E. coli bacteria, creating a "whole cell biocatalyst" capable of converting fatty acids into 1-alkenes.

Challenges included working with UndB, a membrane protein that can be toxic to bacterial cells beyond certain concentrations and is not soluble in water. The team improved the efficiency of their chimeric protein by testing various "redox partner" proteins that shuttle electrons to UndB during the conversion process. They found that ferredoxin and ferredoxin reductase, along with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), supplied electrons most efficiently. Incorporating these into the genetically modified E. coli increased conversion efficiency to 95%.

A significant advantage of this biocatalyst is its specificity, producing only pure 1-alkene without any unwanted side products. "1-alkenes can directly be used as biofuels," says Debasis Das, Assistant Professor at IPC and corresponding author.

The biocatalyst demonstrated the ability to convert a wide range of fatty acids with different carbon chain types to 1-alkene. Additionally, it can produce styrene, an important commodity in the chemical and polymer industries.

The team has applied for a patent for their engineered protein and whole cell biocatalyst and is seeking industry collaborators to scale up the platform for mass production. "Our platform can be efficiently used to generate a large number of 1-alkenes that are valuable in biotechnology and polymer industries," says Das.

Global Cold Chain Leaders Unite Under Move to -15°C, Pledge to Slash Carbon Emissions in Frozen Food Supply 

27th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Move to -15°C, a sustainability initiative focused on reducing carbon emissions in the frozen food supply chain, has experienced a significant surge in membership since its launch at COP28. This initiative aims to revolutionize the industry by advocating for a minor yet impactful adjustment in frozen food storage temperatures.

The standard frozen food temperature of -18°C was established nearly a century ago with limited scientific backing. However, advancements in logistics technology and recent academic research suggest that a slight increase to -15°C could yield substantial environmental benefits without compromising food safety.

Studies indicate that this three-degree change can lead to significant environmental and economic advantages. A report reveals that moving from -18°C to -15°C could prevent the emission of 17.7 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and save approximately 25 terawatt-hours of energy. Additionally, businesses could see a reduction in supply chain costs by at least 5%, with potential savings reaching up to 12%.

Recognizing the need for industry-wide collaboration, the Move to -15°C has garnered support from key players such as Nomad Foods, Europe's leading frozen food manufacturer. Nomad Foods' year-long study confirmed that maintaining a storage temperature of -15°C can reduce freezer energy consumption by 10-11% without affecting product safety, texture, taste, or nutritional value.

Other notable supporters include Danish Crown, an international Danish food company, and the American Frozen Food Institute, which represents many of America’s frozen food and beverage producers.

The initiative has also seen growing support from the global transport and logistics industry. Recent members include Indicold, a leading provider of cold storage and logistics solutions in India, Blue Water Shipping, a global transport and logistics provider, and Constellation Cold Logistics, Europe’s second-largest cold logistics operator. Additionally, Seacube Container Leasing, Orbcomm, and Seafrigo have joined the coalition, bringing their expertise in refrigerated container leasing and IoT technology.

Thomas Eskesen, Chairman of the Move to -15°C Coalition, emphasized the importance of collaboration for the initiative’s success. He highlighted the growing geographic footprint and increasing membership across the frozen food supply chain. Eskesen reiterated the coalition’s commitment to redefining temperature set points to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of global supply chains.

On June 25th, Thomas Eskesen participated in the panel discussion ‘Revolutionising Food Sustainability and Supply Chains’ at Reset Connect. Alongside industry experts, he addressed current challenges in the food industry and explored solutions like the Move to -15°C that are paving the way for a more sustainable future.

IIT Madras and University of Leeds Establish Joint Virtual Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Development

26th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and the University of Leeds, UK, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a Joint Virtual Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Development (VCoE-SD). This collaboration aims to significantly enhance and broaden the ongoing cooperation between the two institutions, advancing their commitment to innovation and knowledge in critical areas related to sustainable development.

The VCoE-SD will act as a dynamic platform to foster multidisciplinary teams capable of leading research and innovation to address global challenges. It is designed to consolidate existing academic links between Leeds and other Indian universities, promoting a robust network of scholars dedicated to sustainable development.

The MoU includes the development of joint research projects addressing global sustainability issues, organizing academic activities such as courses, conferences, seminars, symposia, and lectures, and promoting faculty and student exchanges to foster an environment of shared learning and research excellence. Additionally, it facilitates the exchange of publications and educational materials to support mutual academic interests.

IISER Tirupati Researchers Develop Efficient Hydrogen Generation Method

26th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In a groundbreaking development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Tirupati have unveiled a novel synthetic method for producing hydrogen gas from a mixture of methanol and paraformaldehyde under mild conditions. This innovative technique, spearheaded by Prof. Ekambaram Balaraman, promises significant advancements in chemical synthesis and sustainable energy solutions, marking a pivotal step towards a 'Hydrogen Economy'.

The rapid depletion of fossil fuels has catalyzed the search for sustainable and renewable energy resources. Hydrogen gas stands out for its potential to supplant fossil fuels in energy storage, transportation, and various industrial processes. Methanol and paraformaldehyde, due to their large-scale production and availability, have emerged as promising hydrogen carriers. Their utilization for hydrogen storage and transportation offers a significant advantage over free hydrogen, which is often challenging to handle and store.

The research team at IISER Tirupati has developed an efficient catalytic system employing commercially available nickel catalysts to generate hydrogen from methanol and paraformaldehyde. Remarkably, this process does not require bases or activators, operating efficiently under neutral and mild conditions. The generated hydrogen has been effectively used in the chemo- and stereo-selective partial transfer hydrogenation of alkynes, facilitating access to bioactive molecules with enhanced synthetic value.

This research represents a significant achievement in developing new catalytic protocols for clean and COx-free hydrogen generation from fundamental feedstocks. The nickel-catalyzed dihydrogen generation from the methanol-paraformaldehyde mixture operates under base-free and activator-free conditions. The dihydrogen generation process integrates with hydrogen transfer reactions, such as chemo- and stereoselective hydrogenation of alkynes, in a tandem manner. This unprecedented strategy yields diverse, highly stereoselective olefins while tolerating a wide range of reducible functional groups, including ether, silyl ether, aldehyde, keto, ester, nitrile, halides (bromo and iodo groups), and heteroarenes.

The research team has also demonstrated the catalytic stereo-interconversion of alkenes under benign conditions. This method allows for the affordable gram-scale synthesis of important pharmaceutical bioactive molecules, significantly enhancing their synthetic value. The process's efficiency and scalability make it a promising candidate for broader industrial applications.

This pioneering research has been accepted for publication in the prestigious journal Catalysis Science & Technology. The development of COx-free hydrogen generation from methanol and paraformaldehyde marks a significant milestone in advancing the hydrogen economy. By harnessing these substances as hydrogen carriers, the researchers have opened new avenues for addressing the challenges posed by increasing global energy demands. This innovation represents a significant step towards achieving sustainable energy solutions and underscores IISER Tirupati's commitment to advancing scientific research for global benefit.

The research received support from the Advanced Research Fund (ANRF), formerly known as the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

CAQM Sets Ambitious Plantation Drive for NCR 

26th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Amidst the unbearable heat blow, air pollution even in clear summer days, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has laid out a comprehensive plan for large-scale plantation across the National Capital Region (NCR) during the financial year 2024-25. This initiative aims to significantly improve air quality and combat dust pollution, a major concern in the region.

Key Highlights

Focus Areas and Techniques

Collaboration and Monitoring

Building on Previous Success

The CAQM has said that land availability for plantation activities is low in urban areas and, filling of gaps in the areas with plants, where conventional plantation has been done, may be undertaken to achieve dense plantation. The need for a denser tree and forest cover is evident, but the current approach raises concerns about past planning and the potential impact on plant survival due to dense plantation methods. 

This initiative by CAQM signifies a major push towards creating a greener and healthier NCR. The collective effort of all stakeholders is crucial for achieving the set targets and combating air pollution effectively. It is important to note that Delhi tree census data is still not available. 

Aranyakaa Farms Offers Hope Amidst Water Crisis

26th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Major Indian cities grapple with water crisis as mismanagement and overuse strain resources. While major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru face water cuts and scarcity, Aranyakaa Farms is emerging as a beacon of hope with their innovative water management project.

Aranyakaa Farms' ambitious project, "Code Name #H2o Handle with Care," aims to create self-sufficient farmlands within a decade. This innovative initiative relies solely on rainwater harvesting and a network of lakes, offering a sustainable solution to the water crisis. Their commitment is evident in projects like Vrindavan, which boasts a massive 45 lakh litre artificial lake, showcasing the project's effectiveness.

The benefits of Aranyakaa Farms' approach extend far beyond water conservation. They promote sustainable food systems through increased agricultural yields, fostering a thriving environment teeming with diverse plant and animal life. They also instill a culture of water consciousness within their communities, ensuring a responsible approach to this precious resource.

"At Aranyakaa Farms, responsible water management is not just a practice, it's a core value," emphasizes Amit Porwal, Director of the company. "Our innovative water solutions ensure the long-term viability of our projects and contribute to a healthier environment for future generations."

Aranyakaa Farms' leadership in sustainable real estate is undeniable. In just three years, they've completed nine successful projects, acquiring over 600 acres of land. Their commitment to water conservation sets them apart, offering a much-needed model for others to follow. This multifaceted approach goes beyond rainwater harvesting.

Real-time water monitoring powered by IoT devices empowers residents to make informed decisions about their water usage. The stunning man-made lakes not only enhance the aesthetics but also act as natural reservoirs, promoting biodiversity and replenishing groundwater levels.

Coal Min Initiates India’s First Ever Pilot Project for Underground Coal Gasification in Jharkhand 

24th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Under the strategic aegis of the Ministry of Coal, Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) has embarked on an innovative pilot project for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) at the Kasta coal block in Jamtara District, Jharkhand. This initiative underscores the Ministry’s proactive diversification efforts within the coal sector. This unprecedented groundbreaking venture aims to revolutionize the coal industry by employing in-situ coal gasification to convert it into valuable gases such as methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. These gases can be harnessed to produce synthetic natural gas, chemical feedstocks for fuels, fertilizers, explosives, and other industrial applications. The Ministry of Coal remains resolutely committed to advancing coal gasification projects, recognizing their potential to metamorphose coal into a myriad of high-value chemical products.

Underground Coal Gasification offers a significant advantage by providing access to coal resources that are economically unviable through traditional mining methods. This pilot project represents a landmark achievement for Coal India Limited (CIL) and its subsidiaries, positioning India as a vanguard in adopting advanced coal gasification technologies.

In December 2015, the Ministry of Coal sanctioned a comprehensive policy framework for UCG in coal and lignite-bearing areas. In consonance with this policy, Coal India selected the Kasta coal block to implement UCG technology tailored to Indian geo-mining conditions. Managed by ECL in collaboration with CMPDI Ranchi and Ergo Exergy Technologies Inc. (EETI) from Canada, this project spans two years and comprises two phases.

The first phase, which commenced on June 22, 2024, involves preparing a Technical Feasibility Report through borehole drilling and core testing. The second phase will focus on coal gasification at a pilot scale. This ambitious R&D project, funded by the CIL R&D Board, epitomizes collaboration between Eastern Coalfields Ltd and Ergo Exergy as sub-implementing agencies. The successful execution of this pilot project is expected to create transformative opportunities for India's energy sector, showcasing the sustainable and efficient use of the country's coal resources.

The Ministry of Coal pledges unwavering support for the successful implementation of this pioneering initiative and eagerly anticipates its positive impact on India's energy landscape. This strategic initiative led by Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) represents a significant advancement in coal gasification technology, enhancing energy security and promoting sustainable development. As the pilot project progresses, it aims to establish new benchmarks in coal resource utilization, contributing to India's odyssey towards energy self-reliance. The Ministry remains dedicated to fostering innovation and efficiency in the coal sector, paving the way for a resilient and environmentally sustainable energy future for the nation.

By putting their shoulder to the wheel, the Ministry of Coal and Eastern Coalfields Limited are poised to blaze a trail in the realm of coal gasification, turning a new leaf for the Indian energy sector.

Survey Reveals Strong Indian Support for Climate Action and Progressive Policies

24th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

A new survey of adult citizens across 18 of the world’s largest economies has unveiled significant support for tax reforms and broader political and economic changes. Conducted by Ipsos, the survey indicates a clear mandate for wealth taxes and other progressive economic policies to address pressing global challenges. 

Around two-thirds (68%) of citizens in 17 G20 countries surveyed back a wealth tax on the wealthy to fund major changes in the economy and lifestyle, with only 11% opposed. Additionally, 70% support higher income tax rates on the wealthy, and 69% favor increased tax rates on large businesses.

A staggering 68% of Indians believe that urgent and substantial action is imperative within the next decade across all sectors of the economy, including electricity generation, transport, buildings, industry, and food production. This viewpoint is aligned with global sentiments but reflects a particularly urgent call to action among Indian respondents.

Support for a wealth tax is notably high in Indonesia (86%), Turkey (78%), the UK (77%), and India (74%). Even in countries with the lowest support, such as Saudi Arabia (54%) and Argentina (54%), more than half of the respondents are in favor. In the United States, France, and Germany, approximately two in three respondents support a wealth tax (67%, 67%, and 68% respectively).

The survey also reveals a strong consensus on the need for immediate action on climate change and nature protection. Seventy-one percent of citizens in 18 G20 countries believe urgent measures are needed within a decade to reduce carbon emissions from electricity, transport, food, industry, and buildings. Furthermore, there is strong advocacy for a "polluter pays" approach, exemplified by a carbon tax coupled with income redistribution, garnering 77% support. Interestingly, the survey found that the wealthiest individuals surveyed were most likely to endorse these proposals. This belief is particularly strong in Mexico (91%), South Africa (83%), and Brazil (81%). Even in countries with the lowest urgency, such as Saudi Arabia (52%) and Japan (53%), over half of the respondents still recognize the need for swift action.

These findings come as finance ministers from G20 countries, including the United States, China, and India, prepare to meet in Brazil this July. For the first time, the agenda includes discussions on a wealth tax as these nations deliberate on strategies to address economic and environmental challenges.

India emerges as a leader among G20 nations in advocating for a Universal Basic Income, with 71% of respondents voicing their approval. Moreover, 74% strongly advocate for policies promoting healthy diets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Indians also express strong support for initiatives ensuring equal gender representation in government and business leadership roles (72%) and policies promoting a better work-life balance (76%), surpassing the G20 average.

A resounding 75% of respondents emphasize the importance of strengthening workers' rights to protect jobs and facilitate adequate retraining, mirroring sentiments across other G20 countries.

A notable 75% of Indians support the idea of granting legal rights to future generations, while 64% endorse legal rights for nature within Indian law. Moreover, an overwhelming 81% advocate for transitioning to "wellbeing economies" that prioritize health and environmental sustainability over narrow economic growth objectives.

While 86% affirm the benefits of a democratic political system, 71% also express openness to governance by a strong leader without the constraints of elections or parliamentary processes. This nuanced perspective underscores the complexity of political preferences among Indian citizens.

Despite these nuanced views, Indians exhibit strong optimism about their personal future (80%), the future of their country (76%), and the future of the world (73%). A significant majority (73%) believes that social unrest will decrease in the future, reflecting a hopeful outlook amidst global uncertainties. 

Courtesy: Climate Trends

SNG & Partners Joins Forces with Snowkap to Enhance ESG Solutions 

24th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

SNG & Partners, a prominent full-service law firm with a global presence, has announced a strategic alliance with Snowkap, a Singapore-based ESG firm active in the Middle East and India. This partnership aims to integrate legal expertise with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) excellence, offering comprehensive ESG+L (ESG and Legal) services and solutions.

The collaboration seeks to equip organizations with a thorough understanding of ESG baselines, risks, and opportunities, including legal implications. By blending SNG & Partners' deep knowledge of Indian laws with Snowkap's advanced ESG analytics, the alliance has developed a robust platform. This platform is designed to assist global organizations in navigating their sustainability journeys effectively.

Rajesh Gupta, Chairman of SNG & Partners, emphasized the transformative impact of this synergy: "Our collaboration with Snowkap marks a significant milestone in promoting sustainable business practices. By combining legal acumen with Snowkap's technological solutions, we are poised to offer unparalleled support to organizations striving to achieve their ESG goals. This partnership will set new benchmarks for innovation and accountability in the ESG sector, positioning companies as leaders in global sustainability."

Rajesh Patel, Co-founder & CEO, and Giri Krishnaswamy, Co-founder of Snowkap, echoed this sentiment: "Partnering with SNG & Partners expands Snowkap's influence in the ESG landscape. Together, we will revolutionize traditional approaches with cutting-edge tools and strategies that enhance transparency and sustainability. This alliance represents a transformative force, reshaping how businesses approach and fulfill their ESG commitments across diverse industries."

The alliance will focus on delivering sector-agnostic services tailored for Manufacturing & Consumer Businesses and Financial Institutions. These services will leverage technology-driven products and managed solutions, including Carbon Accounting, Supply Chain GHG Analysis, Product Carbon Footprint, ESG Reports, Supply Chain ESG Analysis, Pre-Deal Assessments, and Post-Deal ESG Monitoring.

WTO Committee on Trade and Environment Advances Preparations for Trade and Environment Week

21st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

In a significant step towards deepening the intersection of global commerce and sustainability, members of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) agreed to focus their upcoming thematic sessions on critical issues such as trade-related climate measures, technology transfer, and sustainable agriculture. This decision was made during the committee's meeting on 19 June, setting the stage for a robust agenda during the Trade and Environment Week scheduled for 7-11 October.

Ambassador Erwin Bollinger of Switzerland, the newly appointed chair of the committee, confirmed the dates for Trade and Environment Week. He emphasized that the topics for the thematic sessions were selected based on extensive consultations with members, indicating that additional issues raised by members could also be considered in future discussions.

Thematic Sessions and Key Discussions: The thematic session on trade-related climate measures, slated for 10 October, will be a focal point of the Trade and Environment Week. Members plan to elaborate further on this issue, ensuring a comprehensive framework is established for meaningful dialogue.

In addition to the thematic sessions, Trade and Environment Week will feature a high-level panel discussion and various events organized by interested delegations. A formal meeting of the CTE is also scheduled during this week, providing a platform for members to advance their collective environmental and trade agendas.

New Proposals and Ongoing Initiatives: The meeting introduced two pivotal proposals. China’s proposal, “Advancing Multilateral Discussions on Trade-Related Climate Measures (TrCMs),” aims to enhance transparency and consistency of TrCMs, receiving broad support from members. The African Group proposed “Policy Space for Industrial Development,” intending to present a detailed work programme at the General Council meeting in July. India reiterated its request to discuss the role of technology transfer in environmental solutions, emphasizing its importance for addressing environmental challenges.

Updates on Trade and Environment Initiatives: Several coordinators from the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (DPP), namely Australia, Barbados, and Ecuador, briefed the committee on the outcomes of their second pre-plenary meeting held on 13 June. They welcomed new co-sponsors Brazil, Montenegro, and Mozambique, bringing the total DPP membership to 82.

The committee also received updates from the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) Secretariat on the negotiation process, and from the WTO Secretariat on preparations for the WTO's participation in COP29 later this year. Moreover, the recently launched Action on Climate and Trade (ACT) initiative, a collaborative effort by the World Bank, World Economic Forum, and WTO Secretariat, was discussed. This initiative aims to foster international cooperation and capacity building to help developing economies leverage trade for climate action. The efforts for COP29 and the ACT initiative were particularly welcomed by the members.

Next Steps: The next CTE meeting is scheduled for 11 October, following the conclusion of Trade and Environment Week. This meeting is expected to build on the progress made during the thematic sessions and continue the momentum towards integrating trade and environmental sustainability.

This convergence of trade and environmental discussions at the WTO highlights the increasing recognition of the need for sustainable development practices within global trade frameworks. The initiatives and proposals discussed set a promising foundation for enhanced cooperation and meaningful action in addressing the complex challenges at the nexus of trade and the environment.

Grownet Launches Carbon Credit Options to Foster Sustainability

21st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Grownet, a leading player in the polymer industry, is taking a giant leap towards sustainability with the introduction of Carbon Credit options. This initiative aims to mitigate environmental impacts and address social challenges, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

In today's world, where environmental consciousness is at an all-time high, Grownet is stepping up to the plate. They are excited to announce the Environment Credit Exchange, a pioneering platform for the buying and selling of carbon, green, plastic, and EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) credits. This centralized marketplace allows industries to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainability, promoting a culture of environmental accountability.

"In an era marked by heightened environmental consciousness, Grownet recognizes the urgent need for proactive measures to combat climate change. Therefore, we are thrilled to unveil our Environment Credit Exchange, a groundbreaking platform facilitating the buying and selling of carbon, green, plastic, and EPR credits. By providing a centralized marketplace, we empower industries to invest in sustainability initiatives while fostering a culture of environmental accountability," said Dhanish Goyal, Founder & CEO of Grownet.

Grownet is also committed to reducing the carbon footprint from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). By thinking outside the box and working hand in hand with various stakeholders, they aim to implement sustainable waste management practices that minimize environmental degradation and promote resource conservation.

In line with their mission to champion sustainability in the polymer industry, Grownet is launching a comprehensive program to cut carbon emissions. By leveraging their expertise and industry partnerships, they plan to roll out cutting-edge technologies and best practices, ensuring a greener future for all stakeholders.

As Grownet embarks on these transformative journeys, they are steadfast in their commitment to driving positive change. By harnessing innovation, collaboration, and social responsibility, they aim to build a more sustainable and inclusive future. Join them as they embark on this remarkable journey towards a greener, more equitable world, proving that every cloud has a silver lining.

AARC Webinar Highlights Recycled Plastic in Food & Beverage Packaging

21st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) recently held a pivotal webinar titled "Use of Recycled Plastic Content in Food & Beverage Packaging." The event brought together industry leaders, regulatory bodies, sustainability experts, and environmental enthusiasts from multiple countries, focusing on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Guidelines that mandate recycled plastic content in packaging.

Distinguished speakers included Surojit Bose (Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages), Aditi Ramola (International Solid Waste Association), K D Bhardwaj (National Productivity Council), José Manuel Moller (Algramo, Chile), Nikhil Patkar (Tetra Pak South Asia), Valeria Branca (Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance, Brussels), Levent Akici (Zero Waste Foundation, Turkey), and Dr. Praveen Aggarwal (AARC).

The webinar, in collaboration with UNCRD, UN Global Compact Network India, IAESPH, and 3R WASTE Foundation, aimed to discuss recyclability in plastic packaging and the use of recycled plastics to reduce overall plastic usage. The panel shared best practices, innovative recycling methods, and cutting-edge solutions.

Moderated by Dr. Kulwant Singh (3R Waste Foundation) and Dr. N B Mazumdar (IAESPH), the discussion covered global strategies for integrating recycled content into packaging, challenges in sourcing and utilizing recycled materials, and the necessity of chemical recycling processes and mass balance approaches.

Mr. Nikhil Patkar explained the chemical recycling process, converting recycled material into pyrolysis oil, which is then used to produce polyethylene granules. Ms. Valeria Branca highlighted EU regulations mandating recyclable packaging and minimum recycled content by 2030 and 2040.

Dr. Praveen Aggarwal emphasized the importance of managing plastic waste in compliance with FSSAI regulations and consulting the value chain before setting standards. He extended gratitude to participants for their involvement, highlighting the webinar's success in advancing discussions on recycled plastic in packaging and fostering a collective commitment to sustainability.

SPJIMR Recognized for Social Impact and Sustainability at UN PRME Global Forum 

21st June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR) has been honored for its social impact and sustainability efforts in the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) at the UN PRME Global Forum. Among 77 business schools from 30 countries, SPJIMR achieved Level 5, the highest rating, for the fourth consecutive year. Level 5 signifies “unique sustainable leadership in all impact dimensions,” with scores between 8.8 and 10.

The PIR, a student-led assessment, evaluates schools on Governance, Culture, Programs, Learning Methods, Student Support, Institution as a Role Model, and Public Engagement. This year, 122 SPJIMR students participated.

“The PIR journey allowed us to engage with peers and gather ideas on enhancing our sustainability commitment,” said participant Bharatkumar Suthar, PGDM 2023-25. “It highlighted the importance of student feedback for continuous improvement.”

Prof. Chandrika Parmar noted, “The PIR captures the students’ perspective on social impact initiatives. This consistent recognition reflects our commitment to sustainable practices and the value we place on student input.”

Dean Varun Nagaraj added, “This recognition is a testament to our efforts in integrating sustainability into our core values and preparing students to tackle global challenges.”

The PIR is supported by global NGOs like WWF, Oxfam, and the UN Global Compact, and partners with international student associations oikos, AIESEC, and Net Impact.

Amendment in final notification of ESZ around Okhla Bird Sanctuary

20th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced an amendment to the notification concerning the declaration of the Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Okhla Bird Sanctuary, located in the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the State of Uttar Pradesh. The updated notification underscores the government’s commitment to preserving this important ecological zone while promoting sustainable development practices. The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, a vital habitat for numerous bird species, plays a crucial role in the region’s biodiversity. Subscribe for insights

Researchers Unveil New Diatom Genus in Eastern Ghats and Innovative Energy Materials

20th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Researchers at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) in Pune have identified a new genus of the Gomphonemoid diatom in the clean waters of the Eastern Ghats. Named Indiconema, this genus showcases unique features in valve symmetry and other characteristics, setting it apart from other diatoms in the Gomphonemoid group. The discovery highlights India's diverse diatom species and their ecological significance.

In another pioneering study, scientists led by Professor Umesh Waghmare from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru have revealed groundbreaking insights into a new class of materials known as incipient metals with metavalent bonding (MVB). These materials demonstrate exceptional properties for energy harvesting and power generation. The research explores their unique electronic behaviors and potential applications in future technologies. Subscribe for insights

Tree Plantation Drive at Asola-Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary Leaves Delhi's Tree Census

20th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn

Today, a significant tree plantation drive was organized at Asola-Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary, New Delhi. The event was a follow-up of the Prime Minister's saplings plantation campaign ‘Ek Ped Maa Ke Naam’ initiated on World Environment Day, 5th June 2024. 

The event, a joint effort by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, and the Department of Forest and Wildlife, Government of NCT of Delhi, aimed to catalyze a mass movement for environmental sustainability. 

During the event, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, emphasized India's leadership in global environmental initiatives and underscored the significance of biodiversity conservation. Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kirtivardhan Singh, quoted the Matsya Purana, equating one tree to ten children. However, despite the severe heat wave in Delhi, there was no discussion on tree census in the city that was to be conducted by the Department of Forest and Wildlife, Government of NCT of Delhi

The event saw the planting of 1000 indigenous saplings over 1 hectare of degraded land, including species like Sita Ashok, Peepal, Neem, Jamun, and Moulshree. All saplings are geo-tagged, ensuring monitoring and survival. The ceremony concluded with a pledge to continue efforts to enhance green cover and foster environmental awareness nationwide.

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.

CSIR-CMERI Unveils Electric Tiller for Small Farmers

26th May 2024 YouTube X</