NGT appointed Joint Committee Report suggests drone surveillance in stone quarry

24th July 2021, New Delhi

A Tamil daily newspaper, Dinamalar, on 5th February 2021 reported about a landslide took place in a private quarry near Uthiramerur of Kancheepuram District. The accident occurred at the time when workers were engaged in loading quarried stones from the quarry in the trucks, in which one life was lost. According to the newspaper report, no safety measures were adopted and the lease conditions were not properly complied with, which led to the incident.

On the basis of the newspaper report, the matter was SuoMotu registered by South Zone of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). In its 17th February 2021 Order on the matter registered as O.A. No.69/2021(SZ) Justice K. Ramakrishnan, and Expert member Saibal Dasgupta appointed a Joint Committee comprising of The District Collector, Thiruvallur District, a Senior Scientist from Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board as designated by its Chairman, and a Geologist from the Department of Geology and Mining, Chennai, in order to ascertain the genuineness of the allegations made in the newspaper report, and whether there was any violations of the conditions and lack of any safety measures or the manner in which the quarrying was done in an unscientific manner causing environmental degradation. The committee was also asked to assess the environmental compensation, if there is any violation found and excess mining done and submit a report to the Tribunal. The committee is also directed to consider the question of cost required for restoring the damage caused to the environment and the remedial measures to be taken, while submitting the report.

The Joint Committee inspected the site on 23rd April 2021 and has now submitted a report to the NGT. In its report, the Committee has recommended initiation of penal action for illegal and unlawful quarrying and transportation of 1,704,532 cubic meter rough stone and gravel. The recommendation cites reference to G.O. 170 dated 5th August 2020 of Industries Department penal action and also Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

The Joint Committee has found violation of lease deed, for which they have suggested for a hearing to the lessee, D. Sarathkumar, as per Rules 36(5) (h) of Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

The committee’s recommendations also mentions that further quarrying may be allowed only after taking remedial measures and after getting concurrence from the Director General of Mines Safety and District Collector.

The report also recommends drone surveys by existing and proposed quarries by the expense of lessee, once in year through the empaneled agencies. And the Environmental Compensation worth ₹8,675,000 has been suggested by the 3 membered Joint Committee.

AQI monitored in 137 cities, none in Poor, Very Poor, Severe

24th July 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for over the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that 137 cities were monitored in comparison to 134 of yesterday.

The number of cities where ‘Good’ category AQI prevailed did not vary much from previous day's 59. Good AQI was found in 57 cities. The number of cities with ‘Satisfactory’ AQI also gone up from yesterday's 63 to 69. ‘Moderate’ air quality prevailed in 11 cities.

None of the 137 cities was in Poor, Very Poor, or Severe category of AQI.

Gorakhpur recorded least polluted city status with AQI value 12. CO was found to be the most predominant pollutant in Gorakhpur.

Sonepat, adjacent to Delhi on its North, which hubs many industrial units and also education city, got the highest AQI of 169, which is in moderate category. PM10 was noted to be the most predominant air pollutant in the city.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, air pollution was found to be least in terms of AQI value in Kolkata. Data from 6 monitoring stations in Kolkata shows AQI value of 34 with the impact of Ozone and PM10 air pollutants. With data received from 35 monitoring stations, Delhi AQI shot up to 99 from previous day's 68. On the basis of AQI data from 15 monitoring stations in #Mumbai air quality found to have bettered to 63 from previous day's 54. #Chennai, which got reports from 7 monitoring stations quoted 59 same as previous day's.

All the cities surrounding Delhi were found to have AQI values below 100. Ballabhgarh towards south of Delhi in Faridabad district of Haryana registered the lowest AQI value of 65, while maximum AQI was found to be 169 in Sonepat. There was no data from Manesar which also plays an impactful role in Delhi-NCR AQI.

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

Don't shift Goalposts and bring new benchmarks for global climate ambition: India at G20 Climate Summit

23rd July 2021, New Delhi

On the second and concluding day of the G20 summit, Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change stressed that the G20 must respond to the call of science for urgent global climate action in this decade.

The G20 Energy and Climate Joint Ministerial Meeting held today at, Naples, Italy was attended virtually by the Indian delegation from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Power.

Speaking at different sessions on Climate Change, the Union Environment Minister underlined the need to cut absolute emissions rapidly while taking into account the Paris Agreement which emphasised on respective historical responsibilities, delivery of promised climate finance and technologies at low cost keeping in perspective per capita emissions, differences in per capita GDP and the unfinished agenda for sustainable development.

Yadav stated that India remains steadfast in its commitments to join and lead efforts to combat climate change within the multilaterally agreed convention and its Paris Agreement.

The Minister mentioned about the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi , installing 450 GW (Giga Watt) of RE (Renewable Energy) by 2030, enhanced ambition in bio-fuels, India’s NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and various other initiatives taken by India on Urban Climate Action.

The Minister stressed, common but differentiated responsibilities to combat climate change, as per respective capabilities and national circumstances, lies at the heart of the UNFCCC & its Paris Agreement. “We should not be shifting goalposts and setting new benchmarks for global climate ambition”, said Yadav and informed that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has exhibited exemplary resolve by achieving its pre 2020 voluntary commitment of reducing emission intensity.

“With increase in urbanization, it is important to create and preserve green spaces and protect biodiversity in urban areas” said the Environment Minister and informed that India’s Urban Climate Actions include Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, Climate Center for Cities, Climate Smart Cities Alliance, Climate Practitioners India Network, Urban Forestry, etc.

India also welcomed the G20 works on Sustainable Recovery, Cities, Financial Flows, etc.

Developing Countries need more support than ever before, says Bhupender Yadav in his address to G20 countries

22nd July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav today said that India is committed to work with the G20 countries for a better world leaving no one behind, and stands together in solidarity with the global community in mounting a strong and effective response that secures the health of the planet and its people.

Leading the Indian delegation at the G20 Environment Ministerial the Environment Minister underscored the need for a collective global action to tide over the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and that the Developing Countries need every possible support more than ever before. The G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting held today at, Naples, Italy was attended virtually by the Indian delegation led by Bhupender Yadav.

On ‘Nature Based Solutions’ (NBS) and Sustainable Finance, the Indian Environment Minister said that the contexts and perspectives should be guided by the stage of economic development, national circumstances and priorities, and must not come at the cost of developing countries’ competitiveness, equity and development.

The Minister stressed on that ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns through sustainable natural resource management, waste reduction and promoting resource efficiency has been a priority and is reflected in policies of Ģovernment of India.

For tackling marine litter, the Minister emphasized that India have been taking voluntary regulatory measures on plastic waste management, and also recalled that in the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in 2019, India had separately piloted a resolution No. 4/9 in the 4th UNEA on “Addressing single- use plastic products pollution”.

The Minister also mentioned about the initiatives taken by India on Resource Efficiency (RE) & Circular Economy (CE), and that the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue should also strengthen exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practices on RE & CE and support the transition to sustainable and equitable resource use for a better future.

During the course of the day long meeting, India welcomed global initiatives like UNESCO’s International Environmental Experts Network; protecting at least 30% of global land area and oceans by 2030; Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030; Third Report on the G20 Implementation Framework for actions on Marine Plastic Litter; etc.

India also welcomed the G20 Dialogue on Water but reiterated taking into account national circumstances and priorities, and underlined the need for effective and implementable post 2020 biodiversity framework.

“G20 Environment, Climate and Energy”, Italy’s great ambition: to reconcile environmental protection with progress and human wellbeing, placing the ecological transition at the centre of the political agenda, and promoting a coordinated and global response to pandemics that is based on science.

The key topics of the discussion are combating climate change, accelerating the ecological transition, making financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives, opportunities for sustainable and inclusive recovery enabled by innovative technological solutions of the energy sector, and building smart, resilient and sustainable cities. #G20 #Italy

In Environment Sustainability sector, Infosys remains top CSR Funding company

20th July 2021, New Delhi

During the financial year 2019-20 a total number of 21,349 companies spent ₹21,231 Crore towards CSR funds. EA learnt that the amount spent was across 36 States and Union Territories in India in 30,987 CSR projects. The number of companies decreased by more than 14% from 24,965 during FY 2018-19, while the amount spent has increased by more than 13% from previous data of ₹18,728 Crore.

EA also learnt that 2,249 companies, which is nearly 10.5% of the total number of companies, spent in the development sector of Environment, Animal Welfare, Conservation of Resources ₹1,521 Cr during 2019-20, which is slightly above 7% of the total CSR expenditure. Out of the four sub-sectors - agro forestry, animal welfare, conservation of natural resources and environmental sustainability; the last one got the maximum share. If the whole sector is taken in to account, ITC Ltd. was the top most contributor with ₹11,684 Lakh. However, when the sub-sector of Environment Sustainability is considered, the top contributor remains Infosys with an expenditure of ₹8,040 Lakh, as compared to previous year’s ₹14,307 Lakh; followed by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. ₹7,537 lakh.

DG - NMCG inaugurates AGI report on Potetntial of Geospatial Technologies for Water Sector in India

20th July 2021, New Delhi

Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra on Tuesday released a detailed report on the opportunities in the Water sector that can benefit from the use of Geospatial technologies. Outlining key water sector programmes and projects in the country, the report provides an overview of how each of these programmes is currently using geospatial technologies, and how to improve technology adoption in the future. Over 60 water and geospatial technology experts from across the country provided inputs for this report.

As per the report a plethora of Geospatial and Digital technologies, like Satellite based Remote Sensing, Surveying and Mapping, GPS based equipment and sensors, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Spatial Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things, 5G, Robotics and Digital Twin, can be effectively used to combat the water crisis.

With a considerable population density of about 424 people per square kilometer, and agricultural water requirement, India is heavily dependent on groundwater and is one of the worst hit countries as far as the water crisis is concerned. Government is making a lot of efforts to tackle this situation. To support the Government, combat this pervasive challenge and to ensure better water management in the country, the Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI) – a geospatial technology industry body, has prepared this report titled, “Potential of Geospatial Technologies for the Water Sector in India”.

D.P. Mathuria, Executive Director (Technical), NMCG and Peeyush Gupta, Real Time Information Specialist, NMCG were also present. The DG - NMCG expressed happiness to see this initiative and said it is critical for us to use the latest and best digital and spatial technologies to make data-based informed decisions. He explained the various applications of the technologies in the Namami Gange Mission for mapping of different attributes of the Ganga basin. Various other missions such as Jal Jeevan Mission, Atal Bhujal Yojna, also have set up projects using these technologies. Mr. Mishra emphasised on the need for collaborating with stakeholders in the entire ecosystem such as Geospatial organizations, academics, Policy makers, funding agencies etc.

In the introduction, emphasizing the essence of the report it mentions that of the 189 million households in Rural India, only 51 million (26%) have household tap water connection. However, the latest data shows that with the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, the Government has connected nearly 78 million household, which is little over 41% of rural population of India.

Several recommendations have been given in the report to strengthen the adoption of technology to realise better outcomes. As a quick resource meant for the professionals in the water domain, as well as technology enthusiasts, the report has also listed several case studies highlighting the use of geospatial technologies in different contexts related to water problems. It has also shared a list of those openly available. #NMCG #water #agi #GPS #GIS

More than Rs. 1439 Crore released during 2020-21 by Union Govt. to clean Rivers

19th July 2021, New Delhi

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in collaboration with the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) is regularly monitoring the water quality of rivers & other water bodies in the country through a network of monitoring stations. As per CPCB report of September, 2018, 351 polluted river stretches have been identified on 323 rivers based on monitoring results in terms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand(BOD) levels, an indicator of organic pollution.

Cleaning and rejuvenation of rivers is a continuous process and Central Government is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments and Union Territories in addressing the challenges of pollution of rivers by providing financial and technical assistance through schemes like National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and Namami Gange.

For conservation of rivers, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has been supplementing efforts of the States/UTs by providing financial and technical assistance for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country through the Central Sector Scheme of NamamiGange for rivers in Ganga basin, and Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for other rivers. In a reply to Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs, Bishweswar Tuduin informed that during 2020-21 Rs. 1400 Crore was sanctioned, while the total funds released was Rs. 1439.84 Crore.

However, funds are reported to be not optimally utilized for various reasons, including delay in award of works, land acquisition issues, prevailing site conditions, contractual and labour problems, approvals/clearances required from regulatory agencies, etc. leading to delays in project implementation.

According to a Government of India release of 8th March 2021, NRCP had covered polluted stretches of 34 rivers in 77 towns spread over 16 States in the country with a sanctioned cost of Rs.5965.90 crore and sewage treatment capacity of 2522.03 million litres per day (MLD) was created by then. Under Namami Gange programme, a total of 335 projects were sanctioned at a cost of Rs.29,578 crore till that day, of which 142 projects have been completed and made operational. Out of 335 projects, 156 projects were in the sewerage sector for creation of total sewage treatment capacity of 4867mld, and sewerage network of 5066 kms.

In addition, sewerage infrastructure is created under programs like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

As per the Provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution), Act 1974, industrial units are required to install effluent treatment plants (ETPs) and treat their effluents to comply with stipulated environmental standards before discharging into rivers and water bodies. Accordingly, CPCB, SPCBs and PCCs monitor industries with respect to effluent discharge standards and take action for non-compliance under provisions of these Acts.

C N Pandey led EAC finds 18 deficiencies in NABET accredited consultant's EIA Report

17th July 2021, New Delhi

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry Projects (Industry-1 Sector) constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) while appraising the application for proposed expansion in production from 30,000 TPA of MS Ingots to 120,000 TPA of MS Ingots/ Billets from 48,000 TPA to 120,000 TPA of Twisted and ribbed bars by Prime Gold International Ltd. located at Kalugondapalli Village Denkanikotta Taluk, Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu, observed that the Public Hearing was represented by a consultant called Pollucare Engineers while #EIA report is prepared by Pridhvi Envirotech.

Deliberating on the quality of reporting, several technical deficiencies enumerated and non-submission supporting documents alongwith the EC application,, and Public Hearing confusion, the EAC has recommended issuacne of Show Cause Notice to the consultant Pridhvi Envirotech with Accreditation Certificate No. NABET/EIA/1922/RA0132 valid up to 3rd June 2022.

A compliance report with regard to the conditions laid in existing Consent-to-Operate is required to be obtained from Regional Office of State Pollution Control Board, which was not submitted.

EAC also noted tha the recent water withdrawal permission from Gram Panchayat was not been submitted along with the EIA clearance application.

In the EIA Report, the cover page of was found to be not as per August 2009 Office Memorandum. The EIA Report talks about 12 chapters in some part, while EAC found 11 chapters in it. Further, the EAC observed that chapter wise contents are not as per the format given in Appendix III of EIA Notification 2006.

According to August 2009 Office Memorandum issued by the MoEF&CC, a declaration by Project proponent is required to be placed on 2nd Page of the report, which was missing in the EIA Report prepared by Pridhvi Envirotech for Prime Gold International Ltd.. It was also stated that the signature of the team involved in EIA were not original but scanned and fixed type.

The EAC also observed that the Analysis Report of Groundwater as well as Surface water and Soil presented in the Executive Summary was not complete.

There were further deficiencies noted by the EAC on the Public Hearing part. The action plan to address the issues raised during public hearing as per MoEF&CC Office Memorandum dated 30th September 2020 was not furnished.The proceedings of Public Hearing should have been reported under section 7.1, while it was submitted as Annexure.

The EIA report mentions use of bag filters only to control Particulate Matter emissions, and not wet scrubbers, yet the section indicates the wet scrubber diagram. This shows that the EIA report was not prepared with due focus and provided impertinent and irrelvant information.

It was also noted that the interpretation of base line data for physical parameters, environment baseline and socioeconomic environment was not done. The Chapter 4 was a generic text book presentation without any quantification of impacts and mitigation measures. Data from Chapter 2 and 3 was not used to quantify the impacts except the AAQ data used in modelling.

The EIA report also contained flaws in Social Impact Assessment part. Composition of the Environment Cell was found inappropriate. The Corporate Environment Policy was not complied.

NABET, in its list of accreditated consultants should also show more information about the consultants, such as the date of first accreditation, scope of accreditation, and contact details as shared by the NABL, which is another QCI organization.

Green Court relentlessly dealing with pollution matters in Indira Gandhi Canal for over last seven years

16th July 2021, New Delhi

Disposing the Original Application No. 167/2021 in the matter of Yuva Mandal Sansthan Mithdiya versus State of Punjab & Ors. the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that the very same issue has been dealt with by the Tribunal for seven years.

The applicant, Yuva Mandal Sansthan Mithdiya, stated that there is pollution of Indira Gandhi Canal (INC) starting from Harike Barrage, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in State of Punjab and it flows through the Ludhiana City. The canal is source of drinking and irrigation water in the north and western Rajasthan but on account of pollution flowing from Sutlej and Beas into the Indira Gandhi Canal, people living around INC have developed various health complications such as skin diseases, gastroenteritis, indigestion, loss of eyesight to name a few. The water in the canal has apparently turned black in color due to the presence of pollutants in it. The toxic water now flows through the 65-kilometer stretch putting the lives of people living around the canal on the verge of serious health perils. Failure to prevent pollution by the States of Rajasthan and Punjab is also violation of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti v. Union of India, 2017 5 SCC 326.

In the hearing on 14th July 2021, the Principal Bench of the Green Court, chaired by Justice Adarsh Kumal Goel stated that the same matter was first taken up by the Tribunal in OA 101/2014, Sobha Singh & Ors. v. State of Punjab & Ors. and thereafter in OA 916/2018 (the new number assigned to the same matter). The NGT has also issued an Order in this regard 24th July 2018 in OA 101/2014.

In the light of previous deliberations, the NGT Bench said the problems already stand identified and directions issued. What survives is continuous monitoring which is primary responsibility of the State Authorities. In its 2nd January 2021 Order, the Tribunal has directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab to take initiative in the matter in coordination with the River Rejuvenation Committee headed by Environment Secretary in continuation of 5th report of the Monitoring Committee. The Tribunal also directed the Chief Secretary to submit quarterly reports to the Central Monitoring Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) in terms of order dated 21st September 2020 in OA 673/2018 which deals with the subject of restoration of 351 polluted river stretches, including the rivers in question.

The Principal Bench of NGT directed Secretary, MoJS to take follow up action in the matter in coordination with the States concerned.

The States concerned were also directed to make available relevant information about the status of compliance of environmental norms and in case of violations, remedial action including requisite operational ETPs meeting with the standards, water quality at interstate border, arrangements for remedying impact in downstream areas, setting up of Real time water quality systems.

Daily AQI: Shillong least polluted, Alwar most polluted

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for over the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that 129 cities were monitored, as against 135 of yesterday. The number of cities where ‘Good’ category AQI prevailed dropped to 53 from previous day's 62, and number of cities with ‘Satisfactory’ AQI remained at 67. In nine cities ‘Moderate’ air quality prevailed.

None was in Poor, Very Poor, or Severe category of AQI.

Shillong quoted the least AQI value of 14 with SO2 as predominant pollutant. AQi was noted to be 18 in Aizawl and Davanagere, while it was 82 in Gadag.

Rajasthan's Alwar was noted to be the worst polluted, though in moderate category AQI value of 158, which was less than yesterday's 166 in Bhwadi. PM10 observed to be the most dominating pollutant in Alwar.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, #Delhi quoted highest value, followed by Chennai and Kolkata, while Mumbai quoted the least AQI. With data from a 37 monitoring stations AQI in Delhi increased from yesterday's 83 to 90 today. AQI in #Mumbai with data from 17 monitoring stations remained unchanged at 42. #Chennai, which has got reports from 7 monitoring stations quoted 48, while AQI in #Kolkata with data from 6 monitoring locations registered AQI value to be 48. Thus in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata AQI was in Good Category.

Out of the cities surrounding Delhi, Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh quoted the lowest AQI 52, while in an industrial township in south west Haryana noted the highest AQI value 130. The most prevalent pollutant in Dharuhera was PM2.5.

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

NMCG approves new projects for rejuvenation of polluted river stretches in UK

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Rajiv Ranjan Mishra on Friday chaired the 36th Executive Committee meeting of #NMCG and approved new projects for rejuvenation of 6 polluted river stretches in Uttarakhand.

The proposals from State Mission, Uttarakhand for these polluted stretches have been under review by NMCG and were finalised and taken up for consideration by the EC today. It has approved the project of “Interception & Diversion (I&D) and STP work of 06 nos. Polluted River Stretches to Rejuvenate Rivers Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Kosi, Nandhore, Pilakhar and Kashipur. Sewerage (I&D) Scheme (Dhela River) Phase-1 of District Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand” under Namami Gange Programme at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 199.36 Crs. The project will ensure tapping of a total of 17 Nalas which will be intercepted and diverted to 9 STPs to be constructed under this project for a total treatment capacity of 30.30 MLD.

The project shall cover the 6 polluted river stretches in the Kumaon region. Out of the rest 3 polluted stretches, project of Ganga at Jagjeetpur, Haridwar has already been commissioned and on the remaining two, Namami Gange projects are already under execution. With this project, all the polluted stretches in the state of Uttarakhand have been covered under pollution abatement projects.An important and progressive feature of the project is comprehensive sludge management arrangements and provision for co-treatment of septage in all these STPs.

The progress of action plan of states for polluted stretches are being reviewed by the central monitoring committee. The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, also recently reviewed these projects and the state government at Ministerial level also made a representation to him.

Sewerage Projects for Ganga Towns in Uttarakhand have already been completed in the state for pollution abatement along the Ganga under the Namami Gange program and the Mission has been focussing on rejuvenation of tributaries of the Ganga with priority on the polluted stretches. As per the report of Central Pollution Control Board identifying polluted stretches of the rivers in the country, there were a total of 9 polluted stretches in Uttarakhand state and 6 of them were in district Udham Singh Nagar on various tributaries or small rivers such as Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Nandor, Pilankha and Kosi and 02 (Two) stretches were on Rispana-Bindal and Suswa, which are being covered in the I&D Rispana_Bindal project which is under execution under the Namami Gange Programme, while 01(One) stretch was on main river Ganga (downstream Jagjeetpur) already covered by the Jagjeetpur STP project.

Union Government Issues two Gazette Notifications for Jurisdiction of Krishna & Godavari River Management Boards

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Jal Shakti through Gazette Notification dated 15th July 2021 has notified the jurisdiction of Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board, which provide the required authority and power to the two Boards in terms of administration, regulation, operation and maintenance of listed projects in Godavari and Krishna rivers in the two States. This step is expected to ensure judicious utilization of water resources in the two states.

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014 (APRA) contains provisions for the effective management of river waters in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Constitution of the Godavari and Krishna River Management Boards and the constitution of an Apex Council for the supervision of the functioning of these Boards, is laid down in this Act.

The Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 85 of the APRA, 2014, constituted the two River Management Boards effective from 2nd June, 2014 for the administration, regulation, maintenance and operation of such projects on Godavari and Krishna rivers, as may be notified by the Central Government.

The long pending issue of notifying the Jurisdiction of the two Boards was addressed in the 2nd meeting of the Apex Council held in October, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. In this meeting, it was decided that the jurisdiction of GRMB and KRMB will be notified by Government of India.

In accordance with the provisions under Section 87 of APRA, 2014, Government of India has issued two gazette notifications, one for the jurisdiction of GRMB and the other for KRMB, for administration, regulation, maintenance and operation of projects in Godavari and Krishna river basins respectively, in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

This decision of the Union Government for notifying the jurisdiction of two Boards would go a long way in enabling the River Boards to discharge their responsibilities to the fullest as mandated in the APRA, 2014 and bring about efficiency in management of water resources in the two States. The Centre expects the wholehearted cooperation and assistance of both the State Governments in the smooth functioning of the two Boards, to ensure equitable benefit to the people of both the states.

US to impose Carbon Tax on Imports from Polluting Countries

16th July 2021, New Delhi

According to NYT Report, Democrats have agreed to include a tax on imports from nations that lack aggressive climate change policies as part of a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget plan stocked with other provisions aimed at ratcheting down fossil fuel pollution in the United States. The move to tax imports was made public Wednesday, the same day that the European Union outlined its own proposal for a similar carbon border tax , a novel tool that is designed to protect domestic manufacturing while simultaneously pressuring other countries to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet. The two actions in concert suggest that government leaders are turning toward trade policy as a way to attack climate change. Top Democrats called the timing coincidental but said both the United States and Europe must work together to put pressure on China and other heavy polluting countries to reduce emissions.

Will this cause impact in Indian regulations? Lately, India has shown quite a consistent liniency towards industries and businesses. Significant changes were made in consent management rules, groundwater resulations, plastic waste management rules and so on. Also, the EIA Notification is under process for a major overhauling. Will these support India's claim as a less polluting country? Whether, the import fee to be levied on the basis of a specific carbon certification? Time will tell. But one thing is clear that the developed countries are swiftly changings their positions from donors to receivers.

Delhi CM urges Center for Bharat Ratna to Bahuguna

15th July 2021, New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday unveiled a commemorative stone portrait, and took part in a tree plantation drive at the Delhi Legislative Assembly in memory of the revered environmentalist Late Sunderlal Bahuguna, who was famous across the globe for spearheading the Chipko Movement. On the occasion, the CM appealed to the Central Government to honour Bahuguna with the Bharat Ratna award saying that giving this award upon a towering personality like Bahuguna will be an honour for the Bharat Ratna award itself.

Arvind Kejriwal also presented a cheque of Rs. 1 lac to Bahuguna's family in honour of the vast legacy he has left behind. On this occasion Kejriwal said that Bahuguna’s fight will not just be remembered by Uttarakhand and India but the entire world.

The ceremony was held in the presence of the Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly Ram Niwas Goel, Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as well as the family and children of Sunderlal Bahuguna.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “It is an honour for us to have installed the portrait of Sh. Sunder Lal #Bahuguna Ji in the Smriti Gallery as well as to have this opportunity to spend time with his family. Most of us were born during the time when the Chipko Andolan was going on or we must have read about this movement as students. As much as I remember, I read about this movement when I was pursuing journalism. I was always interested and overwhelmed to know more about Bahuguna Ji and his work. Although I could never meet him, I had the privilege of seeing him from afar at an event.”

Ram Niwas Goel, Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly described that words would fall short to express Sunderlal Bahuguna's vast legacy. Goel said "His farsighted vision to take up the cause of environmentalism through the #Chipko Movement that later made huge impact through out globe. He made the entire world realise how essential it is to protect the environment.”

How sustainable is flyash handling at Sasan Power?

15th July 2021, New Delhi

Recently, Sasan Power Ltd. has submitted a 257 page document before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the matter of Hiralas Bais versus Union of India, Original Application No. 148 of 2020. The submission has been uploaded in the website of NGT. The document incorporates a list of concrete action taken or being taken by the company Sasan Power Ltd. for its 6x660 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project. The document shows that the ash content in the coal utilized by the company is 28%. And the total fly ash generated by the company during 2019-20 was 5,244,591 MT, out of which only 2,746,403 MT was utilized. This is little more than 52%, against the requirement of 100% utilization. Interestingly, out of the 2,746,403 MT flyash utilized more than 98% is used in low lying land filling. A mere 1,264 MT was utilized in fly ash bricks, 880 MT in ready mix concrete and 45,280 MT in cement. Is this a concrete step as claimed by the company? Notable that only 1.77% of total flyash generated was utilized during 2013-14.

Another significant point is whether the report submitted by Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi is a conclusive one, based on the scope of study and findings? Whether the emergency preparedness plan requires a review by any expert who has ever been associated with an organization like National Disaster Response Force? This needs serious attention of the authorities and judiciary. Because, this time six lives lost, which was managed very cheaply with a petty amount, though it is highlighted as ₹125.3 Lakh. The one time settlement against the one life lost due to an accident by the project was ₹10 Lakh, at best. It should be ensured that such incidence does not occur again. Because, the loss to environment can’t be accountable by such companies and their reporting. #Sasan #Reliance #Power #Thermal

Increasing Forest Coverage would be a priority: Ashwini Choubey

12th july 2021, New Delhi

Ashwini Kumar Choubey has today assumed his charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India.

The Minister planted a tree sapling at the premises of Environment Ministry in New Delhi today. He also holds the position of Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Speaking with the media on the occasion, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving the responsibility and said that in the last seven years the Environment Ministry has done many unprecedented works and emphasised that increasing the forest cover further would be a priority area.

Jal Jeevan Mission strengthens preventive measures to curb JE-AES spreading in 61 priority districts

11th July 2021, New Delhi

Jal Jeevan Mission has provided tap water supply to more than 97 lakh households in 61 Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) affected priority districts in a short span of 22 months. This is a significant achievement in strengthening the preventive measures to reduce spread of JE-AES by providing clean tap water supply to economically poor households in the affected districts of Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

On 15th August 2019, when Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) was announced, only 8.02 lakh (2.67%) households in 61 JE-AES affected districts across the five States had tap water supply. In the last 22 months, tap water connections have been provided to additional 97.41 lakh households in these districts. Now, 1.05 Crore (35%) household have assured tap water supply in JE-AES affected districts. This32% increase in household tap water connections in JE-AES priority districts is about 12% higher than the national average increase of 23.43% in tap water supply across the country during the same period.

Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) is a serious health hazard. The disease mostly affects children and young adults which can lead to morbidity and mortality. These infections particularly affect malnourished children of poor economic backgrounds. As many as 61 high priority districts in five States are identified for strengthening prevention and control measures through five Union ministries with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as the nodal ministry. Jal Jeevan Mission is a key programme in reducing the burden of disease in these districts.

Among these five States, Bihar has performed well in providing tap water supply to rural households in its 15 JE-AES affected priority districts. On an average 85.53% tap water connection have been provided in these districts. Nalanda with 96% tap water supply connections, followed by Saran and Gopalganj 94%, Vaishali and Siwan 91%, Paschim Champaran 84%, and Purvi Champaran 80% are the leading performers in the State.

Specific funds for JE-AES affected priority districts are allocated on the basis of drinking water sources and the extent of water contamination. 0.5% budget under the Mission is allocated to carry out activities for providing potable drinking water in every rural household of JE-AES affected priority districts. Rs 462.81 Crore has been allocated to these five States as JE-AES component for 2021-22.

Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister on 15thAugust 2019 from the Red Fort is under implementation in partnership with States/ UTs to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household connection in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. At present, 69 districts and more than 98,000 villages have tap water supply connection in every household.

NGT Orders Teva API to pay 10 Crore Environmental Compensation

9th July 2021, New Delhi

The National Green tribunal (NGT) has found violations of environmental norms by Teva API Pvt. Ltd., Chandpur Road, Gajraula in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh, resulting in incidents of gas leak on 7th June 2020 and 10th June 2020.

Teva API is stated to be a global pharmaceutical company and the largest supplier of generic medicines worldwide. The Principal Bench of NGT has said in its 6th July Order that on the basis of the principles for assessment of compensation laid down in M.C. Mehta v. UOI & Ors., Sterlite Industries (India) Limited & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., and Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi v. Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy & Ors., the environmental compensation pegged at Rs. 10 Crores. The amount has to be deposited within one month time, in the office of the District Magistrate, Moradabad, which shall be a separate account to meet the expenses towards restoration of the environment by preparing an action plan for augmentation of the groundwater, afforestation, landscaping, restoration of the drain and offsite emergency plans.

The Tribunal has also directed to prepare an action plan for utiliszation of the compensation amount. The utilization may be ensured within six months.

The Green Court has also ordered the joint Committee of CPCB, UPPCB, and District Magistrate, Moradabad to ensure that requisite measures are adopted by Teva API to avoid violation of safety norms in future.

Disposing the Original Application No. 89/2020, I.A. No. 171/2020, and I.A. No. 429/2020, the NGT has directed Shalabh Mathur, DIG, Muradabad to submit a factual report to the Oversight Committee with regard to death of one Mohit Ranjan on account of gas leakage on 7th December 2020. If death is found to be attributable to the activities of the unit, the unit may ensure payment of requisite compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 within one month, failing which the District Magistrate, Moradabad may ensure payment of compensation of atleast Rs. 20 lacs to the next of the kin of the deceased, which amount may be recovered from the unit. If the unit is aggrieved by the report of DIG Moradabad on this aspect, it will be open to it to move this Tribunal in the matter by way of an interim application. The statutory authorities may maintain strict vigil to prevent such occurrences.

Union Cabinet Minister Bhupender Yadav takes charge of MoEF&CC

8th july 2021, New Delhi

New Cabinet Minister, Bhupender Yadav, has today assumed his charge as Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Speaking with the media on the occasion, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving him an opportunity to work for the Government. The Minister said he would make all efforts to deliver on the responsibilities given to him by the Prime Minister.

Before assuming charge, the Minister planted a tree sapling at the premises of Environment Ministry in New Delhi today. The Minister was welcomed by Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Secretary EF&CC along with other senior officials of the Ministry.

The 51-year-old Yadav, serving his second term as a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, was sworn in as Union Minister on Wednesday.

Union Cabinet Minister R. K. Singh takes charge of MoP and MNRE

Bhagwant Khuba assumes as MoS, MNRE

8th July 2021, New Delhi

Raj Kumar Singh assumed charge as Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement for the Period 2021-2030 envisage reduction of the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level; to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from Non-fossil fuel based and energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international nuance.

Considering this, both the Ministries have significant roles in attainment of climate goals.

In his brief interaction with media after assuming charge , The Minister further added that we have achieved targets of electrification set by the Prime Minister well before the schedule and will strive to ensure that the benefits of power and energy sector reach the common man.

Bhagwanth Khuba took over as Minister of State for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

#RE #renewable

Women can drive Renewable Energy and Sustainability

8th July 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in collaboration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), organized a webinar on “Women in Renewable Energy and Sustainability” on 7th July. Delivering the welcome address, Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, Secretary, MNRE said Renewable Energy(RE) has a special significance for improving the status of women. He opined greater participation of women in RE sector can bring more positive outcomes. He also highlighted various aspects of the interrelationship between RE sector and the empowerment of women. He assured that the government will seriously and sincerely look into the outcome of the event.

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance also deliberated on how women can play pivotal role in RE sector through leadership, entrepreneurship and consumerism.

The webinar featured two panel discussions. The theme for the first panel was “Women Leadership in Renewables: Envisioning a New World” and it saw the participation of Ms. Gauri Singh, Deputy Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Ms. Mahua Acharya, CEO, EESL Convergence, Ms. Sullajja Firodia Motwani, Kinetic Green and Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The theme for the second panel was “Women Entrepreneurs in RE: A gateway to innovation and economic growth” and the panelists included Ms. Reema Nanavaty, Secretary General, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ms. Meagan Fallone, Barefoot college, Ms. Ajaita Shah, CEO, Frontier Markets, Ms. Cecile Martin Phipps, Director Communication and Strategy, ISA, Ms. Suhela Khan, UN-Women and Mr. Praveen Saxena, CEO, Skill Council for Green Jobs.

The webinar was joined by audiences from around the world. This was an opportunity to open a consequential dialogue towards bringing more and more women to the forefront and in leading positions in the Renewable Energy sector as well as making entrepreneurial opportunities available to them. The webinar was also a part of India’s global advocacy efforts in the role of a Global Theme Champion for the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy which is set to take place in September 2021.

India gets one more Tiger Sanctuary

5th July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar sanctioned one more tiger Sanctuary, Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary in Rajasthan. The Minister said it will link Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in the Northeast and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve on the southern side. He further mentioned that "Increasing numbers of Tigers and other apex predators certify our robust biodiversity."

Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary acts like a buffer for Ranthambore National Park, one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in India. It is located almost 45 kilometers on Bundi-Nainwa Road and covers an area of 252 square kilometers approx. It is rich in biodiversity and is home to various kinds of wild animals. Ranthambhore – Ramgarh Vishdhari – Mukundra hills, is one of the three corridors of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, which was in need of restoration.

Daily AQI:Gadag least polluted for 3rd day in a row, Nandesari most polluted among 126 cities

5th July 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that Gadag in the state of Karnataka is least polluted for third day in a row, among the various cities monitored. Alike the previous day's impact CO remained as the most impactful pollutant in Gadag.

‘Good’ category AQI prevailed in 30 cities, while in 50 cities AQI was ‘Satisfactory’. The number of cities where ‘Moderate’ air quality prevails increased from yesterday' 32 to 42 today.

AQI was reported to be in Poor category in four cities, viz - Greater Noida, Mandi Gobindgarh, Moradabad, and Nandesari. With AQI value 231, Nandesari stood the worst polluted city in the last more than 24 hours. The most polluting parameter was PM2.5. Nandesari has a large notified industrial area consisting of large amount of chemical factories. It is said to home Gujarat's first GIDC with concrete roads and storm water drains.

None of the 126 cities monitored was in Very Poor of Severe category of AQI.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, #Delhi with 35 monitoring stations recorded to have 149, the worst AQI, due to multiple polluting parameters - PM2.5, Ozone, PM10. #Mumbai with 21 monitoring stations registered 64, which is in satisfactory category of AQI. Major pollutants in Mumbai were SO2 and PM10. #Chennai, which has 8 monitoring stations quoted 51, while #Kolkata which has 7 monitoring locations recorded to have 52. So, in none of the metro cities, AQI was in Good category. There were multiple predominant air pollutants affecting air quality in all the four cities.

In cities adjacent to Delhi, Greater Noida with AQI 209 was found to be Poor, attributed to Ozone as the major pollutant. In all other cities it was in moderate category. Except, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Gurugram, in all other cities the air pollution was attributed to PM10. In #Faridabad PM2.5 and Ozone also contributed to the AQI, while in #Gurugram, PM2.5 in addition to PM10 contributed to the air quality.

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

Land of Agriculture to Highway Culture

4th July 2021, New Delhi

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, New Delhi, has issued a notification dated 2nd July, 2021 vide S.O. 2685(E) with regard to land acquisition for National Highway No. 149B.

In the brief description the notification shows that 10.902 hectare of land to be acquired, with or without structure, falling within the stretch of land from 12.000 Km to 38.200 Km. in the Champa-Korba-Chhuri-Katghora section, Package-I of the National Highway No. 149B in the Chhattisgarh.

Out of the 10.902 hectare of land, 10.321 is stated to be agricultural land.

Haryana and Rajasthan to undertake first of its kind Aquifer Mapping

GMDA's GIS Technology to be deployed in Heliborne Survey

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat appreciated the use of GIS Technology by Gurugram Mahanagar Development Authority (GMDA). He said this technology will be used for a High Resolution Aquifer Mapping of Haryana and Rajasthan states. This kind of survey will be conducted for the first time in the country, to map water aquifer up to 400 meters below the ground level. This Heliborne survey will be completed in a year.

Shekhawat said that GIS can provide a platform to all stakeholders working in the field of water. He lauded the efforts put in by the GIS division of GMDA in creating a data of available state wide components like ground water, surface water, drainage, ponds etc. which will be useful for the ‘National Water Informatics Centre’ (NWIC), an organisation made by the Union Government similar to that of National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Ratan Lal Kataria during his visit to the GIS Division at GMDA also interacted with the officials about the potential of GIS technology in water resource management.

The Chief Executive Officer of GMDA Sudhir Rajpal while welcoming the Chief Guest briefed about the GIS Infrastructure setup and informed how GIS and Satellite technologies are helping the Authority in better planning and management of projects at GMDA. He also briefed about various works being carried out by GMDA.

Head GIS at GMDA cum Principal Scientist HARSAC Dr Sultan Singh demonstrated the GIS Database and Applications developed by GIS Division related to available water infrastructure including ground water, surface water, drainage, canal network, ponds, water harvesting structure created at the State level. This data of water has been collected from Satellite using GIS technology, which is now made available on ‘One Map Portal’. He also informed that the available information about all types of water is very useful for various stakeholders like Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Haryana Pond Authority, bodies and organizations working as per the Haryana Water Resources (Conservation, Regulation and Management) Authority Act 2020. This Water Resource Information can be used for creating a facility, a combined solution for the water resource management in the state of Haryana.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Haryana covers above 95% rural households

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Haryana is one of the most progressive states in India. Recently, The glorious land has a rich history of social justice, Mahabharata, in which a bow from the great warrior Arjun brought sprinkle of drinking water for one of the most disciplined hero Bhishma. Those were different days. Now, no Arjuna is needed. The Haryana government has made remarkable contribution towards the success of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Till the latest report, it has completed above 95% of rural household with tap water supply. After attainment of “Har Ghar Jal” status for districts Bhiwani, Sonipat and Charkhi Dadri, 12 out of 22 districts in the State have achieved the target under JJM.

The remaining nine districts, which have already achieved the “Har Ghar Jal” target are Ambala, Faridabad, Gurugram, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panchkula, Panipat and Rohtak. Apart from this, 6 out of the remaining 10 districts have also achieved more than 98 percent of the target and these 6 districts are expected to declare themselves as “Har Ghar Jal” districts shortly.

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, who hails from Haryana, expressed pleasure on achievement 100% target in Bhiwani, Sonipat and Charkhi Dadri districts of Haryana. He mentioned his hopefulness about 100% target achievement, in all the districts of the state, much before the deadline - 2024. He lauded the efforts put in by the officials of Ministry of Jal Shakti for closely monitoring the progress of the scheme in all the states.

Notable that 38.15% household have been provided tap water since the beginning of the JJM.

The “Jal Jeevan Mission” was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the eve of 15th August 2019. Under this scheme, every rural household of the country is targeted to get 55 liters per capita per day drinking water through functional tap water connection by 2024. At the time of launch of this scheme, out of total 18.94 crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 crore households had access to tapped water connections. It has now reached to 7.63 crore rural households that means additional 4.40 crore rural households have been provided with pure drinking water in the desired quantity as well as quality, in a short period of less than two years. So far, 100% target has been achieved in Goa, Telangana, Andaman Nicobar and Puducherry. Total 67 districts of the country have also been fully covered till date under this scheme.

Plastic Bag Free Day: Can Municipal Bodies come out with plastic wastes data & disposal info?

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Plastic Bag Free Day is an annual international awareness campaign held on 3rd July. This global initiative aims to eliminate the use of single-use plastic (SUP) bags. On July 3 each year, people all over the world are encouraged to not use plastic bags and to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution.

Globally, million plastic bags used every minute, most of which goes to trash after about 25 minutes of use. Depending on the type of plastic, it takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade. A thought provoking study by academics from the University of California and Santa Barbara and others has put together the world’s first material balance of plastics. They estimate that the world has produced some 8.3 billion metric tonnes (bmt) of plastic from 1950 — when large-scale production began — to 2015. Of this 6.3 bmt, or 80%, is plastic waste. Of the 6.3 bmt of plastic waste generated in the world, as little as 9% has been recycled, out of which a mere 10% has been recycled more than once; 12% of the waste has been incinerated. The rest, as much as 79% of the plastic manufactured in the world, is in landfills or in the environment — our oceans and waterbodies.

In India, despite the existence of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 for nearly 5 years, we still need credible data on plastic waste. However, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Annual Report for FY 2018-19) shows that Maharashtra produces maximum plastic waste. But Goa has the maximum per capita plastic waste generation 61.2 grams per day, followed by Delhi 36.7 grams per day. India started a movement to shun SUP by 2022. Recently, reiterating government’s commitment to phase out SUP items, though identified ones only, and not all, which have low utility and high adverse environmental impact, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that plastic was a useful innovation of 20th century, which has emerged as a serious threat to the environment of today, if not managed properly. Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call to phase out single use plastics by 2022, Javadekar said that considering the adverse impacts of littered SUP items on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the government has taken effective measures to manage plastic waste.

Since then, plastic waste is again on high. Committees are being formed. Discussions to go on. But is there a target? On the eve of Plastic Bag Free Day whether the Municipal bodies in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and other places have stopped plastic bag production for a day? Whether milk selling companies like Amul and Mother Dairy formulated any special campaign for those who procure milk packed in SUP?

Building narratives to influence personal contribution will not work so soon, unless plastic production is lowered, and rule implementation agencies do not display diligent working. Some municipal bodies are showing up data that some amount of plastic waste collected and handed over to an agency linked with UNDP. Where is the disclosure of disposal? And what is the impact of that further processing on the environment. People have the right no know these things.

Govt. focused on Combating Pollution & Indigenous Technological Innovations for EVs, Nitin Gadkari

1st July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Nitin Gadkari has said that the government's priority is to combat pollution and develop Indian technology and innovation towards e-vehicles. Addressing the India Global forum 2021 on ‘Climate Action; Electric Mobility Now’, the Minister said Indian research is working aggressively towards pursuing green hydrogen.

Gadkari said that the government is trying its best to convert all construction material to greener options. He said warm response is being received from the public on the adoption of Electric Vehicles. He also informed he himself and many other ministers use electric car(s).

The Minister said futuristic development is very important. He said two-wheelers and autorickshaws are very popular and through the FAME II government scheme there are many incentives on offer for them to convert to electric.

Gadkari said in the road sector has great opportunities for FDI. He said there is a huge domestic market potential available in India. The Minister said India will be an example to the world as far as e-vehicles are concerned. #EV #MoRTH #FDI #road #pollution

REC Dehradun observes violation in Felling of 9884 Trees, 372 Saplings in Highway project

1st July 2021, New Delhi by Sunita Mishra

The Regional Empowered Committee (REC) at Dehradun Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has found felling of 9884 trees and 372 saplings in NH-21 road project without prior approval. In a proposal, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been seeking diversion of 69.9761 hac forest land for widening and strengthening of existing 2 lane shoulder to 4 lane with paved shoulder Kiratpur to Nerchowk NH21 road in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh.

The total number of tree to be chopped is 11,114 besides 15,546 saplings. While discussing the matter in a meeting held on 11th June, under the Chairmanship of Pankaj Agrawal, Addl. PCCF, it was found that there has been illegal muck disposal in 0.6877 hac area, besides violation in 0.3602 hac area of the surrendered land. The REC also noted that there was a change in alignment without prior approval of the Government of India.

The REC also discussed another proposal regarding diversion of 16.36 hac of forest land for the construction of College of Horticulture and Centre of Excellence for Horticulture Research and Extension in Thunag, Mandi district. The proposal involves felling of 113 out of 3047 trees. The tree felling is sought to establish Seed Production Areas (SPAs) in those patches of land, which has good vegetation of Deodar and Oak trees. The REC is however not convinced on the proposal, as the land does not possess horticultural species, and the SPAs for forestry species are identified by the Forest department, on technical grounds.

The REC advised the forest department to divide the proposed are in grids of 1 hac each and prepare separate tree enumeration list. This should further reviewed for the justification of utility of the patches for the proposed Horticulture University. The REC also suggested for alternative lands from private and non-forest land sources within 5 km as per ICAR norms.

Unavoidable tree felling is undoubtedly acceptable based on justified clearance procedures. Why violations? After all, Forest Conservation Act is not new that one does not know about it. Failure in compliance with government rules and regulations of one department by other government departments is certainly discouraging. Does not set example of good governance. Oftentimes, the existing rules are diluted to support speedy accomplishment of projects, sidelining various scientific, logical and legal aspects. This is completely unjustified. Rules, especially pertaining to the scientific and technical works, institutionalized by the governments are made on certain basis. Violation and dilution of these rules are certainly not going to ensure sustainable development of the nation. Felling trees and clearing forest land also means huge impact on wildlife species, besides direct income loss. Impact on wildlife species should also be enumerated and discussed on the line of human rehabilitation and resettlement provisions.

Joint Committee Report incomplete in the matter of Omaxe's ravages in Sisvan River: Applicant

29th June 2021, New Delhi

In the matter of Harminder Singh & Anr. Versus Union of India & Ors., Original Application (OA) No. 980/2019 (I.A. No. 63/2021) before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Applicant has raised objections to the Joint Committee Report. It is claimed by the applicant that the report prepared by the Joint Committee comprising of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) fails to take into consideration of the illegal acts by Omaxe Ltd. in village Kansala. It is also said that may be due to paucity of time or Covid challenges, the Joint Committee could not visit Kansala, which is unavoidable part of the entire matter.

The applicant has raised substantial questions pertaining to environment and man made damages to natural flow of river Sisvan by a building construction company in the name of Omaxe Ltd. The builder allegedly has filling-up and closing a part of the river in village Bharounjian and diverting it at another nearby place in village Kansala in SAS Nagar, Mohali. The application further alleges that builder company, #Omaxe Ltd. has thrown all cautions and rule of law to winds for its group housing project "The Lake", which has caused massive environmental damage besides severe flooding in the area damaging crops and village properties.

As the next hearing is scheduled on 2nd July 2021, the applicant has presented Objection before the NGT seeking the Green Court's direction to Monitoring Committee to visit Kansala village and examine the actual situation on the ground, before final Judgement by the #NGT.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA dumping MEG in India?

29th June 2021, New Delhi

India Glycols Ltd. (IGL) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) have alleged dumping of Mono Ethylene Glycols (MEG) originating from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA. They have raised concern of the consequent injury to the domestic industry, hence, requested the Government of India for imposition of the anti-dumping duties.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a notification on 28th June 2021 regarding initiation of anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of MEG from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA.

Both IGL and RIL have claimed that the goods produced by the domestic industry are like articles to the imported MEG from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA. The companies have claimed that the two are not of significant difference, and technically as well as commercially substitutable. IGL and RIL have also stated that they have not imported MEG from the countries concerned, and are not related to any exporter of the alleged dumped goods or any importer in India.

MEG is primarily used as chemical intermediate in the production of polyester fibres, polyester films, and resins such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is converted into plastic bottles which are used globally. Further, MEG is also used in the fibre treatment of textiles, the paper industry, and in adhesives, inks, and cellophane. It is also a used as a dehydration agent in natural gas pipelines where it inhibits the formation of natural gas clathrates before being recovered from the gas and reused.

The period of investigation shall be from 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020. The injury period under investigation will, however, cover the periods of three fiscal 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and the period of investigation. #MEG #dumping

Andhav, Ufrainkhal village water conservation model in Prime Minister's 78th MKB

27th June 2021, New Delhi

Oftentimes, water and environment has got importance in various speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his 21st Episode of Mann Ki Baat (MKB) 2.0, he told water 34 times. Water as a single word was there 28 times in the address. In his 78th signature programme, the Prime Minister said called the nation to adopt Rainwater Harvesting. He said, rain water collected during monsoon replenishes the underground water level. The Prime Minister emphasized deeds on Satchidanand Bharti, a teacher from Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. He said that due to hard work of Bharti, the huge water crisis in the Ufrainkhal area of ​​Pauri Garhwal has come to an end, where people used to pine for water, today there is continuous supply of water throughout the year.

The Prime Minister further elaborated about Chalkhal, a traditional methods of water conservation in the hills. It involves digging a big pit to collect water. Mr. Modi said "Bharti ji also added some new methods to this tradition. He regularly got small and big ponds dug. Due to this, not only the hills of Ufrainkhal turned green, but the problem of drinking water of the people was also solved. You will be surprised to know that Bharti ji has got more than 30 thousand such water tanks constructed. 30 thousand! This monumental work of his continues even today and is inspiring many people".

Mr. Modi also shared achievements the people of Andhav village in #Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, where the campaign – 'Khet ka pani khet mein, gaon ka pani gaon mein' was the principle. Under this campaign, high bunds have been raised in several hundred bighas of fields of the village. As a result rain water started collecting in the field, and started percolating into the ground. The Prime Minister also informed that the people of Andhav village are now planning to plant trees on the bunds of the fields. That is, now farmers will get all three - water, trees and money!

The Prime Minister stressed on taking inspiration from efforts of people from #Andhav and #Ufrainkhal, and conserve water, throughout the nation, whatever way possible. Mr. Modi said "We must not to miss this crucial period of the monsoon season."

Orating about the plants on earth, the Prime Minister highlighted about the miraculous medicinal properties of Giloy and many other plants, which got people's attention only after the outbreak of Corona. He shared example of Ramlotan Kushwaha from Satna of Madhya Pradesh, who has built a museum of indigenous plants in his farm. In the museum, he has collected hundreds of medicinal plants and seeds. And he has brought them here from far flung regions.

Pursuing Sustainability NTPC targets 60 GW of RE capacity installation by 2032

27th June 2021, New Delhi

NTPC Limited has become first company in energy domain in India to declare its Energy Compact goals as part of UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE). India’s largest energy conglomerate under the Ministry of Power with roots planted way back in 1975. From fossil fuels it has forayed into generating electricity via hydro, nuclear and renewable energy sources. This foray will play a major role in lowering its carbon footprint by reducing green house gas emissions. To strengthen its core business, the corporation has diversified into the fields of consultancy, power trading, training of power professionals, rural electrification, ash utilisation and coal mining as well.

NTPC has set a target to install 60 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032. India’s largest power producer is also aiming at 10% reduction in net energy intensity by 2032. NTPC, which is ranked No. 2 Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company rankings, is among the few organisations globally to declare its Energy Compact goals.

Further, NTPC has declared that it will form at least 2 international alliances/groups to facilitate clean energy research and promote sustainability in energy value chain by 2025.

The targets were unveiled in the recently held ‘Ministerial Thematic Forums for the HDLE’ event. The commitment from NTPC has been made public on UN’s website as well.

United Nations is set to convene a high-level dialogue in September, 2021 to promote the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

NTPC has been taking various steps in increasing its green energy portfolio by adding significant capacities of Renewable Energy (RE) Sources. The Company had earlier planned to have a minimum of 32 GW capacity through RE sources constituting nearly 25% of its overall power generation capacity by 2032. This development will prove to be huge boost for nation’s largest energy producer that will catapult its position in the green energy map of the country. #NTPC #sustainability

Union Environment Minister releases DPR of LiDAR based forest survey

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a popular remote sensing technique to be used in 10 States now, 16 more in future

25th June 2021, New Delhi

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today released the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of LiDAR based survey of forest areas in 10 states. The states are - Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura.

On the eve of virtual launch, Mr. Javadekar informed that the project which was awarded to WAPCOS, a PSU under the aegis of Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Government of India is a first of its kind and a unique experiment using LiDAR technology.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a popular remote sensing technique used for measuring the exact distance of an object from the Earth’s surface. LiDAR technology will help augment water and fodder in jungles areas thereby reducing human-animal conflict, help in groundwater recharge, help local communities and also asked state forest departments to use CAMPA funds towards implementation of these projects in right earnest and in accordance with the ‘Ridge to Valley’ approach of watershed management.

WAPCOS has prepared these DPR’s using LiDAR technology in which the 3-D (three dimensional) DEM (Digital Elevation Model), imagery and layers of the project areas are used for recommending different types of Soil and Water conservation structures such as Anicut, Gabion, Gully Plug, Mini percolation tank, Percolation Tank, Field bund, Sunken pond, Farm pond etc. These structures will help in catching the rain water and prevent stream run off, which will help in recharging of Ground water.

WAPCOS with the participation of State Forest Departments identified one major ridge inside a forest block in these states with average area of 10,000 ha selected in each State for preparation of Detailed Project Reports for planning and identifying locations and structures for construction of appropriate and feasible micro soil and water conservation structures consistent with site specific geography, topography and soil characteristics.

States/UTs identified one major ridge inside a forest block with the criteria that area selected should have average rainfall of the state, and the area requires assisted natural generation which means the density of forests should be less than 0.4 or below, but should have reasonable potential to regenerate with the ANR interventions.

The project was awarded to WAPCOS in July 2020 at a cost of Rs.18.38 Crore for implementation in 26 states covering over 261,897 hectare. The DPRs for the remaining 16 states will also be released shortly. #lidar #wapcos #forestsurvey #forest #javadekar

ARCI develops Cost-effective Catalyst for metal-air batteries

New dynamics envisaged in EVs & Renewable Energy Storage

25th June 2021, New Delhi

Batteries are an indispensable part of mobile age people. Mobility is not limited to mobile phones. It is also about transportation. A new non-precious metal-based bi-functional electrocatalyst (capable of catalyzing two different types of reactions) can decrease cost and increase the efficiency of metal air batteries. Bifunctional oxygen/air electrodes are used in electrically rechargeable metal–air batteries. They are also relevant in the so-called regenerative fuel cells.

With growing demand for different energy sources, worldwide efforts are being made to develop various types of energy devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, redox flow batteries, lithium-air batteries, zinc-air batteries, etc. sodium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and super capacitors. Metal-air batteries are the most promising high energy density batteries. They are electrochemical cells that use metal as anode and ambient air as a cathode with aqueous electrolyte. Some of the most common metal-air batteries include lithium-air, sodium-air, magnesium-air and zinc-air batteries.

Zn-air batteries have drawn significant attention among all varieties, because of low cost and high energy density. They are compact power sources for portable electronics and electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage devices to manage energy flow among renewable energy generators, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, electric grids, and end-users. However, a major challenge for such batteries is catalyst development. A bi-functional catalyst works for oxygen reduction while discharging the battery and the same catalyst helps in oxygen evolution reaction during the charging cycle. Most of the conventional catalysts available consist of noble metals in their composition, making the batteries costly.

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, has developed the cost-effective electrocatalyst by anchoring transition metal ions into the sulfur-doped carbon framework via carbonization of a polymer called sPEEK (sulphonated polyether ether ketone). This catalyst synthesis method can also be used to recycle used ionomers (polymer composed of both neutral repeating units and ionized units).

The scientists have used an ion-exchange strategy that positions the metal ions in the carbon framework homogeneously, limits the particle size and offers control on composition and size at a very low loading of transition metal. Cost-effectiveness is thus achieved by low loading of transition metal, high activity, and high cycling stability compared to many of the catalysts earlier reported in the literature.

The catalyst also leads to reduced voltage polarization, enabling higher energy efficiency and a stable charge-discharge characteristic. The results obtained were comparable to that of conventionally used noble metal-based catalysts with metal loading of 20% or higher. The research has been published in ACS Applied Energy Materials. #EV #Battery #energy

E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Taxonomy

23.June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

MoEFCC has extended the last date of receiving nominations till 31st July 2021. Detailed information about eligibility with application formats is available on the Ministry’s site moef.gov.in. #Taxonomy

BRICS Green Hydrogen Summit

23rd June 2021, New Delhi

To attain net zero carbon emission it is essential to bring down the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from all sectors such as; transport, heating, manufacturing and refining, farming and land use, shipping and aviation; as close to zero as possible. Green hydrogen is of great topical interest to all the countries including BRICS as it has a great amount of potential to ensure sustainable energy supply, increase the level of energy availability and minimize the negative impact on the environment.

NTPC Ltd, India’s largest energy integrated company under Ministry of Power anchored a two day workshop on Green Hydrogen, one of the most popular and demanding fields in the current times and considered to be the next carrier of energy.

Many leading experts from the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) countries shared insights and professional views on the subject as well as the latest developments going on in their countries in the area of green hydrogen.

Alok Kumar, Secretary Ministry of Power, in his key note address said that Government and industry must work together to ensure existing regulations are not an unnecessary barrier to investment. Trade will benefit from common international standards for the safety of transporting and storing large volumes of hydrogen and having appropriate certificate of origin. BRICS countries could work together on these aspects.

He further said that India has launched an ambitious National Hydrogen Mission to introduce hydrogen purchase obligations for fertilizers, refineries involving private sector in transparent and competitive manner to produce green hydrogen.

During the welcome remarks, Gurdeep Singh, CMD, NTPC said that BRICS countries share a common vision of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. Strengthening energy cooperation and ensuring affordable, reliable, accessible and secure energy for all, has always been a strategic area of importance in the agenda of BRICS countries.

He added that for India, the transition to a hydrogen economy will not only reduce India’s import dependency on hydrocarbon fuels but also provide clean air to its citizens, reduce GHG emissions in absolute terms and fulfil India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. #hydrogen

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

18th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India & Bhutan agree to cooperate on environment

18th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

EIA Notification 2006 amended to boost Ethanol Blending Programme

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

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

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

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

Prime Minister Modi addresses Opening Segment of UNCCD meeting

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

14th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G7 to end international funding for coal projects by 2022

14th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PM participates in G-7 Summit first outreach session

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

13th June 2021, New Delhi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noted Environmentalist & Educationist Prof. Radhamohan passes away

11th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

Consultants Consortium of Chennai Celebrates WAD 2021, deliberates Sustainable Business

9th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAT needs a pat as it saves 87 million ton CO2

9th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

Useful in 20th Century, Useless Now

8th June 2021, New Delhi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MoEF&CC rescinds 2019 Draft Amendment for fly ash utilization

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

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

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

Boom Boom Bandhavgarh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turtle considered extinct for 100 years, resurfaces

27th May 2021

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

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

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

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

Source: Reuters

NGT expresses concern over Construction Projects dealt by Maharashtra SEIAA

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

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

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

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

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

TDB National Award 2021 to Carbon Recycling Tech Startup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, World Bee Day

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

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

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

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

NABL mandates QR Code for accredited laboratories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gas Cylinder Rules, 2016 relaxed amid Medical Oxygen Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Number of filling points.

  • Number of cylinders to be stored at site

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

  • Well ventilated location with adequate illumination.

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

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

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

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

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

Manufacturing of zero pollution paper sizing products needs EC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to comment on fly ash utilization draft notification?

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

Two Tiger Cubs die in Bhandara, Maharashtra

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

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

Union cabinet extends PLI Scheme to ACC Battery Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IREDA gets Green Urja Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NGT vigilant on Industrial Accidents

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

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Assam Girl develops Biodegradable Yoga Mat

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

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Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil

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

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

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Asiatic Lions tested positive for SARS-CoV2, recovering

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2021 Air Quality Index

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

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Good News on Medical Oxygen Supply

Industries producing Medical Oxygen by Converting Nitrogen Plants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rail Double-tracking in Goa seems iffy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MoEFCC brings back CAQM through fresh Ordinance

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

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

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

Earth Day 2021: Restore Our Earth

Pervez Ahmad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jharkhand most vulnerable to climate

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

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

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

Global Pact on Food Tech Regulation needs attention

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

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

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

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

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

Havells India: A Water Positive Co.

Sustainability Report Fails to impress without e-waste compliance data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Scientists find solution to sewer problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MoEFCC extends last date for Medini Puraskar 2020-21 Application

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hydrogen Roundtable on 15th April

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

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

3000 participants expected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India's One Year of CMS COP Presidency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jal Jeevan Mission issues widely deliberated in last Parliament Session

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

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

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

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

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

Javadekar urges States to aptly utilize FAME Fund

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

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

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

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

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

Clean Energy Transition Measures

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

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

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

CSIR - CMERI develops products for better environment

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

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

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

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

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

Where to raise voice to protect waterbody in your area?

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

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

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

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

Prime Minister addresses Nation on World Water Day 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Programmes to Conserve Waterbodies in India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can tiny Bees protect Humans from elephants?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moradabad STP to curb pollution in the Ganges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shekhawat launches WQMIS under Jal Jeevan Mission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E3 Certifications for Brick manufacturing Sector

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Crematoria to reduce air pollution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LPG coverage reaches 99%

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

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

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

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

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

Similipal Biosphere Fire under Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

Construction & Encroachment matters reverberate in NGT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Sanjaya K. Mishra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Minister Modi highlighted about The Hayagriva Madheb Temple at Hajo, the Nagashankar Temple at Sonitpur and the Ugratara Temple at Guwahati having many ponds in their surroundings, which save near extinct species of turtles. Assam is home to the highest number of species of turtles. The ponds of theses temples can becom