Articles

CGWA’s New Guidelines for groundwater regulation Exempts Individual domestic consumers, Agricultural activities, and micro & small enterprises drawing ground water less than 10 cum/day from NOC regime

With several interventions from National Green Tribunal, the Central Ground Water Authority, Department Of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India has finally notified the guidelines to regulate and control groundwater extraction in the country, vide a notification bearing S.O. 3289(E) dated the 24th September, 2020. These guidelines will come into force with immediate effect from the date of Gazette Notification and will supersede all earlier guidelines issued by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), including the one vide S.O. 6140 (E), dated the 12th December 2018. These guidelines will have pan India applicability. Ground water abstraction in States and Union Territories (UTs), which are not regulating ground water abstraction, shall continue to be regulated by Central Ground Water Authority.

The guidelines will help to regulate groundwater extraction for a sustainable management and conservation of the scarce groundwater resources in India. CGWA has been regulating ground water development and management by way of issuing ‘No Objection Certificates’ for ground water extraction to industries or infrastructure projects or Mining Projects etc., and framed guidelines in this connection from time to time applicable in twenty two States, and two Union territories, where ground water development is not being regulated by the State Government and Union territory administration concerned.

The recent guidelines offer exemptions to individual domestic consumers in both rural and urban areas for drinking water and domestic uses from seeking No Objection Certificate, as earlier required in 2018 guidelines. The exemption also extends to agricultural activities and most interestingly micro and small enterprises drawing ground water less than 10 cubic meter of groundwater per day. Besides, rural drinking water supply schemes, Armed Forces Establishments and Central Armed Police Forces establishments in both rural, and urban areas.

There is a special consideration for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) under the industry category, except for the new packaged water industries. In over-exploited assessment units, No Objection Certificate shall not be granted for ground water abstraction to any new industry except those falling in the category of MSMEs. However, No Objection Certificate for drinking/ domestic use for work force, green belt use by these new industries shall be permitted. Expansion of existing industries involving increase in quantum of ground water abstraction in over-exploited assessment units shall not be permitted. No Objection Certificate shall not be granted to new packaged water industries in Overexploited areas, even if they belong to MSME category.

All residential apartments, group housing societies and Government water supply agencies in urban areas shall be required to pay ground water abstraction charges. Industries, mining and infrastructure projects will also have to pay ground water abstraction charges based on quantum of ground water extraction and category of assessment unit as per details given in this guideline. The guidelines has delineated a detailed revenue model. It has been stated that the revenue generated from the proposed water abstraction and restoration charges shall be kept in a separate fund for implementation of site specific suitable demand/ supply side interventions.

With growing concern about groundwater, and willingness among many of the non-complying industrial establishments, these guidelines brought out by CGWA may prove to be remarkably impactful.

Jammu and Kashmir is Heading Towards Irreversible Climate Change

Dr. Ashaq Hussain Khan,

Lecturer in Botany, Government Degree College, Budgam (Jammu & Kashmir)

Climate change is a real burning issue in the world. Different scholars and organizations have defined climate change differently: The climate change has been defined as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity, which alters the composition of the global atmosphere, as well as natural climate variability observed over comparable time period”. It is well accepted that climate change is man-made and caused by the excessive emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Humans have already disturbed green house gas composition in atmosphere, if we stopped emission of green house gas emission; still climate change is long lasting. In recent decades, climate changes have become the most critical environmental problems worldwide and Jammu and Kashmir is no exception. Unpredictable precipitation, unusual drying winter and increasing frequency of droughts are some indicators of climate change in Jammu and Kashmir. Literature reveals that J&K has surpassed the world average temperature rise record in the last 100 years as against the global increase of 0.8 to 0.9, the state has recorded the1.2 degree Celsius rise in temperature. The Jammu and Kashmir state action plan on climate change, in a report warned that Kashmir is heading for a peculiar climate scenario as temperature is increasing rapidly. It has been predicted that Jammu and Kashmir may witness increase in temperature up to 6.9 degree Celsius at the end of century that could result shrinking of glaciers up to 85% if predictions comes true.

The inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir Grapples with climate change. Government data reveals that climate change has already impacted the livelihood sources viz. horticulture, agriculture, saffron, and rapidly changing climate making it more vulnerable. Food deficit in Kashmir valley has reached 40%. Literature reveals that from past few decades, cereal crop production has already started to dip in half. Famous and unique cash crop of Kashmir valley namely saffron production has decrease from last decades.

The unpredictable weather conditions have damaged horticulture and agriculture production that are the main source of livelihood and hence have crushed the hope and socio-economic status of inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir. Unpredictable weather conditions viz. increased temperature and reduction of chill period in winters has affected the apple production (Quality and quantity) either directly or indirectly, Further, Continuously heat waves from last few years have restricted the growth of fodder grasses as they are more prone to drought, and it seems that livestock sector have been worst hit by dry spell. The farmers are struggling to find pasture for their animals.

Research worked carried out by author himself in Kashmir valley observed that all most all respondents were agreed that climate change is taking place, They experienced climate change by erratic rainfall, increasing temperature, heat waves, frequent droughts and drier winters with less chilling period. But there is lack of climate change knowledge and awareness among farmers, as majority of inhabitants in Kashmir valley believed that climate change is due to supernatural forces and human beings have no role in it.

It is clear from above that Jammu and Kashmir is heading towards climate change. Like other parts of planet earth, Jammu and Kashmir is also facing major challenge of climate change that may have significant impact on livelihood and socio-economic status in future, if not checked immediately. Therefore it is suggested that government, non-Government organizations, environmentalist and other groups must have focusing on this critical and catastrophic environmental issue. It is necessary to inculcate the knowledge of burning environmental issues in young minds, who are future voter citizens. Furthermore, it is suggested that awareness programs should be organized regarding the causes, impacts and mitigation of climate change among the inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir.

Himalayan Policy Needs a Relook

by Farooq Ahmad Bakloo

Research Scholar Department of Political Science SSJ Campus, Almora

The Himalayas is the young mountain chain in the world and is spread across the five countries Bhutan, China, India, Pakistan, and Nepal. This Himalayan range is the dwelling of near about 52.7 million people with heterogeneity in culture and religion. This range is also vibrant in water resources and stores about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. It is the home of well know rivers like the Indus, the Gangas and the Tsangpo- Brahmaputra. In addition to this, the Himalaya comprises approximately 15,000 glaciers, the famous among these Glaciers are Gangatori, Yamunotri, Khumba, Langtang and Zemu.

The Indian Himalayan Region is also very prosperous in the forest cover incorporates thousands of species of diverse plants. These forests are the livelihood sources in the region. The significant number of the natives of the Himalayas depends on agriculture and is the fundamental livelihood option. In the eastern Himalaya, agriculture practised in the form of shifting cultivation (Jhum). This shifting cultivation practise is slowly converting ecologically non-viable due to extreme anthropogenic pressure. However, in the central and western Himalaya, it is affected by the size of settled agricultural land and significant growth in the human population. Because of this first option of livelihood, agriculture has become less fruitful for them. To cite the example of central Himalayas the Kumaun region there is the tremendous pace of migration, one of the leading factor of this migration is less productive agricultural and marginal landholdings.

Another issue is that by declaring more areas to be under protected areas, the problem of livelihood dependency on forest resources of the local people is worsened particularly in central Himalaya.

The Himalayan mountain range is the youngest mountain chain on the green planet is seismically volatile zone and is one of the six most seismically active zones of the globe. Despite this seismically active zone, the people are constructing high rise buildings, and even malls are being built in the highly earthquake active zone. And, this results in tragedy like the ones lately experienced devastations in Uttarakhand. This enigma has also highlighted by the Parliamentary Committee that the vast rush of tourists towards these Himalayan States are matter of concern. According to the Niti Aayog 6.8% tourism is growing annually and in 2025 the flow may be more than double. Rampant unplanned construction activities in the region by carving out mountains brings negative influence on the ecology and biodiversity due to rise in the population, the significant use of non-degradable wastes. Nearly 30% of springs are found to be water scarce and ~50% have reduced the water discharge. Hence, the Parliamentary Committee, (2017-18) suggests that public awareness campaign for sensitizing people about the vulnerability of Himalayan region and need for the Government may undertake sustainable tourism.

The Government of India has formulated a Climate Action Plan in which eight missions, viz: National Solar Mission, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, National Mission for Sustainable Habitat, National Water Mission, National Mission for sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, National Mission for Green India, National Mission for sustainable agriculture, and National Mission on strategic knowledge for climate change. Among these above mentioned missions, the National Mission for supporting the Himalayan ecosystem is focused on the protection of the ecosystem of the Indian Himalayan region. According to the Parliamentary Committee (2018-19) report performance of the National action plan on climate change Under this National Mission for sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem (NMSHE) from 2012-2017 the total allocation of funds were Rs. 150.24 Crore to create the infrastructure for the sustainable development of Indian Himalayan region. Apart from this Centre for Himalayan Glaciology (CHG) at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun was established with a cost of Rs 24 core. The state cells have also been created in the 11 states out of 12 states. In addition to these six thematic task forces have been set up to study the Indian Himalayan region in 11 state centres. The Parliamentary committee in 2018-19 presented the 30th report titled Performance of the National Action Plan on Climate Change on these committees, stating that any mission for gaining detailed knowledge about Himalayan ecosystem should not be confined to just one part of the Himalayan ecosystem. Therefore the committe come up with the recommendation that the Himalayan is the international ecosystem, hence require the collaboration of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Vietnam for the more reliable safety of the ecosystem of the Himalayan region. All these countries should share information and work on the sustainable development of this delicate region of the planet.

No doubt, there are plentiful institutions that are operating for the sustainable development of this Indian Himalayan region. Among these institutions, the G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, Almora is most acclaimed. These institutions are working on a wide range of projects. However, these institutions do not focus on the social dimensions of the area.

There is a necessity to view at all those indicators that influence on the sustainable development process. In the setting of the Indian Himalayan region, that is the nest of a significantly poor people as compared to the people of plain areas of the country. The ratio marginalised population is 13.49% expect the Jammu and Kashmir the scheduled castes and 18.5% of tribal population near about 171 tribes are residing in this Indian Himalayan region (Samal et al. 2000). The policy should be participatory and encompass rural infrastructure, rural health, agro-industry including apple industry, people-friendly land norms, and agriculture resurgence in the hill. Free housing facilities under the programme of green construction and minimum use of cement could be vital. There is also a need to impose ban on bunding and water reservoirs creation in the whole of Himalayas. Also, the Institutes working for the development of the Himalayas should focus on researching the social and economic problems, capacity building for recycling of non-biodegradable wastes. Above all, the Government of India may create a Himalayan Parliamentary Committee that can focus on the issues of the Himalayas and suggest the Government on suitable ideas that will make this region prosperous.

Furthermore, the countries that are situated in the Himalayan region may keep aside the fracas to form a Himalayan Development Bank to fund and promote protection of ecological diversity and human development in the region.

Published in the 02.09.2020 issue of Enviro Annotations Share your view

Draft EIA Notification 2020 Conundrums

@sanjayakmishra

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) dates back to Hitler’s regime. As quoted in Raymond H. Dominick III, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871-1971, Adolf Hitler said "The German countryside must be preserved under all circumstances, for it is and has forever been the source of strength and greatness of our people."

In India EIA notification was brought in January 1994 for the first time, and a sea change in it took place in 2006. A third amendment was proposed by the Government of India through a notification vide S.O. 1199(E) dated the 23rd March 2020 in the official gazette on 11th April 2020, widely known as Draft EIA Notification 2020. This notification will be applicable to whole of India including territorial waters. It has faced serious criticisms, initially from activists, and later on from a number of acclaimed politicians. Shri Jairam Ramesh who is former Environment Minister and currently holding the position if Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests & Climate Change, besides being an erudite politician, is the most prominent one to criticize. Maintaining tradition, the Government of India invited suggestions, objections from various Indian citizens within a period of 60 days, which was further enhanced till 11th August 2020 because of COVID-19 scenario and Delhi Court Orders. Before the deadline, on 7th August 2020, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests & Climate Change, in which the officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) made a detailed presentation on the Draft EIA 2020. The meeting was attended by 14 Members of Parliament.

Now, as the last date for submission of suggestions, comments and observations is over, the MoEF&CC has reportedly received nearly 1.8 million objections and suggestions on the draft EIA 2020 notification. A huge number of the response received are centred on the issue of post facto clearances and bigger list of ‘B2’ category industries that are proposed to be exempted from prior environmental clearance. The ex-post facto clearance has remained the focal point of discussion among the former minister Jairam Ramesh and the Union Minister for MoEF&CC, Prakash Javadekar. The minister has stated in his written clarification that Environmental Clearance (EC) will remain prospective in nature and previous actions resulting in violation will be made liable to stringent penal action, as per statutory provisions. The main objective of the ex-post facto clearance is to bring all violators under regulatory regime by imposing heavy penalty. The clarification also cites reference to Office Memorandum 2010, based on which such clearances were accorded earlier by the ministry, and later on ceased due to an order from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It is also stated in the Economic Times of 12th August 2020 that Secretary, MoEF&CC, R P Gupta has said the issue of post facto approval is misunderstood as retrospective approvals and the provisions in the draft are in keeping with orders of the Jharkhand High Court and the Supreme Court. “By post facto, it is not meant that retrospective approvals will be given in any way. There will be heavy fines and penalties for violations and environmental clearances will only apply from the date they were given; not retrospectively.”

To regularize the violators, is it necessary to provide a lifetime legal provision? The matter could be resolved by allowing a specific time period, within which all the projects in violation may be allowed for environmental clearance, subject to various stringent legal provisions. However, a provision on the legal framework may be like providing an opportunity to commit a crime and pay for the same to be legally regularized. This may be an ostensible reason, why builder lobby is not on the same page, as articulated in Akshay Deshmane’s article on Huffington Post.

A major concern of the ex-post facto provision may be linked to the construction projects, where project proponents have frequently sought EC for expansion within very little intervals. This may be due to short-sighted or temporary plans or even some knowingly to use the gaps available in legal framework in order to save time. This definitely costs the nation, as there is no government fee involved in EC process. One of the glaring examples is that of M/s Bamboo Hotel & Global Centre (Delhi) Pvt. Ltd. for the expansion of "Hotel Complex & Convention Centre" at Asset No. 13, Hospitality District, DIAL IGI Airport, New Delhi, amended EC dated 11.11.2010 on 10.11.2016 on the same plot area of 31,163.13 square meter (SQM) to a built up area of 212,732.72 SQM, and further increased to 351,081.49 SQM on 5th March 2019. Two major changes are that in post amended EC the hotel consists of 1020 rooms against the earlier 150 rooms and it will consume 30000 KVA of electricity against originally planned 6000 KVA. This also leads to installation of 14 DG sets of 2000 KVA as against 3 No. initially planned. Similar is the case of DLF Homes Developers Limited for expansion of “Group Housing” at SIEL Complex, Shivaji Marg, New Delhi, where after expansion, the total fresh water requirement could rise above 61% of the total water requirement of the project. The entire fresh water requirement will be met through the ultimate source that is DJB supply. Such a huge capacity expansion certainly poses challenges in traffic management, waste management, water environment, and air pollution scenario, unless there is a sync between project development and city planning. A legal provision of a scope for regularizing violation without any timeline may certainly lead to unprecedented impacts on multiple environmental factors.

Another point that is not given much attention is changing the frequency of compliance reporting. Till date, it is required to submit six-monthly reports regarding the status of compliance with EC conditions. In many cases, it is observed that the compliance reports are not standardized, and many points remain non-complied till the project undergoes and expansion. Therefore, MoEF&CC should provide a generic structure and a list of enclosures required to support the EC compliance reporting. The frequency of compliance reporting should remain unchanged and six-monthly as there are already many guidelines; for example, “Guidelines for Utilisation of Treated Effluent in Irrigation” published by the CPCB, MoEF&CC; which requires half-yearly assessment of groundwater quality as well as soil characteristics. As such this provision should be stringent as it is a kind of self-assessment with regard to compliance with various conditions. Annual compliance reports may weaken the priority. This won’t cause any difficulty in ease of doing business. The penalty clause against defaulters in compliance reporting is a welcome step. The condition regarding the availability of only the latest compliance reports on the project proponents’ (PP) websites needs a reviewed, as government sites are often either found not accessible or don’t provide adequate information. Hence, the compliance reports should be made available at least for 3 years on the PP’s website. This won’t cause any hurdle in their ease of doing business. The compliance reports should also be prepared by professionals with appropriate knowledge and experience, and some onus be taken by official inspection bodies, as well as the consultant who prepares the report in addition to the PPs. This would bring sensible reporting and certainly reduce time, energy, and government’s money due to legal hassles.

With the amendments to 1994 EIA notification in 2006, the concept of accreditation of EIA Consultant also evolved. The accreditation service is offered by National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET), a constituent of Quality Council of India (QCI). The scheme was launched in August, 2007 as a voluntary scheme for EIA Consultant Organizations, which was made mandatory by the MoEF&CC through an Office Memorandum dated 2nd December 2009. NABET has described EIAs being complex, site specific and multi-disciplinary studies, it is important that consultants aspiring to carry out such studies have the requisite expertise both in terms of human resource and facilities to be able to do justice to the task. There has been a long felt need for a system of screening of such consultants through a systematic process of evaluation so that the information on such consultants is available with the prospective project proponents and other stakeholders for their reference and engagement. Quality Council of India, the national accreditation body, took the initiative of evolving a process for accreditation of consultants and has come out with a well-defined scheme for accreditation EIA Consultant Organizations in the country. Section 9.3 as stated in the Scheme for Accreditation of EIA Consultant and Organizations, version 3 has a provision for Suspension/ cancellation/ debarment of Accreditation does not clearly specify any condition pertinent to quality of EIA report. However, under section 12.2 it states about the requirement of an undertaking by the consultant or consulting organization. The grievance mechanism is also related to accreditation only and not the quality of EIA reports. Though consultants pass through a very hectic accreditation process, the quality of reporting in case of many projects have not augured well. Reviews of EIA Reports show that there is a huge scope of improvement in technical as well as legal terms. Many reports do not clearly spell project specific impact assessment with regard to hydrology, water requirement and sourcing, hazardous waste identification and management, impact on soil environment, aspects emanating from noise pollution and most importantly – STP sludge disposal issues. The reports are also found to have contradicting statements from chapter to chapter. Hence, this needs a relook. There should be a provision that the EIA Consultant must guarantee the data and information shared in the EIA report. In case of any faulty data and information, there should be provision of penalty. Acclaimed environmentalist Manoj Misra has pointed out that Project Proponent commissioning a Consultant at its own terms & conditions for preparation of an EIA report is an instance of huge 'conflict of interest', which can never ensure the most important document under the law to be without fear or favour. This arrangement has to cease. Moreover, when the Government of India has a body namely, Consultancy Development Centre (CDC), why should it not be made the accreditation and training body for EIA consultants?

Another important issue is that in the new age of money transactions against environmental issues, should MoEF&CC include a fee structure? The validity of EC to projects except Mining, River Valley or Irrigation projects or Nuclear power projects shall be 10 years, which was earlier for 7 years. With the EIA Notification 2006, some projects come back to authorities for expansion/modification of EC within 2 years, or even less time from the date of EC grant, which is much before the expiry of validity. Such projects could be observed as improperly planned. Many such projects have come back with extremely high increases in pollution load. And, sometimes with proposals of lesser greenbelt areas. Obviously, this brings additional workload on the appraising authorities. On the other hand, there is a cost involved in the part of the government to appraise an application seeking EC. But there is no fee involved in the EC process. It is important to impose a significant amount of fee in the cases, which seek expansion/modification within EC validity with a high degree of pollution load. However, projects needing expansion because of national interest may be exempted.

When a project is accorded Consent to Operate (CTO) without prior-EC or prior-EP, the same should come to cease, once it is found to be in violation. Secondly, most of the violation cases practically fall in the B1 and B2 category. Such projects fall under the SEIAA and UTEIAA. As the SPCBs and UTPCCs are now going to be involved in the post EC monitoring, they should be given the responsibility to evaluate the applicability of EIA notification at the time of granting CTO. Further, there should be a provision that the projects under violation should compulsorily undergo public consultation, irrespective of its type and category. Above all, in democracy, public consultation is of utmost importance. And the recent pandemic shows the public is much concerned about national interest.

There is a nationwide movement going on against EIA2020 draft notification. Growing children have been voicing against it for various reasons. It was not so in 2006. Has the government failed to reach its people? Or has it failed to convince the reasons for such major overhauling or re-engineering? Or, is it because people of the Republic of India have become more aware and concerned about the nation’s green assets? Whatever be it, relaxations on environmental norms and regulations may help the aspirational approach but not India's environment. Your feedback

EIA report of Motel project by Anant Raj raises many questions at a time when people whinge on EIA Draft 2020

@sanjayakmishra

Amidst the ongoing ruckus over EIA Draft Notification 2020; EIA data, information and report pertaining to Environmental Clearance (EC) of a Motel project by M/s Anant Raj Limited shows many gaps on technical and factual grounds. The company has submitted an EIA report regarding proposed demolition of an existing Motel building with built-up area 3229.05 SQM and its expansion to 48012.036 SQM, in Shahurpur, Hauz Khas of New Delhi. The EIA report has been prepared by a consultant, Perfact Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

As per Form-1A of the application seeking EC, during the construction phase, 80,000 cubic meter of soil will be excavated for 3 levels of basement and foundation. Top soil will be preserved for landscaping purposes and remaining soil will be reused for backfilling purposes and road construction etc. On the contrary, under the heading of Solid Waste Management at serial No. 11 of the same report it is stated that during construction stage, “soil will be excavated to provide the foundation. This excavated soil will be properly stacked under tarpaulin cover and will be reused for back filling purpose and road construction, etc. The top soil will be preserved separately and will be used for landscaping purposes only. The unused soil shall be sent to landfill site only”. At the point, it does not talk about reuse for soil in backfilling purposes and road construction. This is grossly confusing, and doubtful in respect of what exactly is to be pursued for environmental management. Such confusions are prevalent in many EIA reports. Now, whether so much of excavated earth could be accommodated in backfilling? This could be clarified with a supporting material balancing.

Further, as Hauz Khas area is quite populated, whether there is enough space to store construction and demolition wastes, including excavated soil? How long it needs to be stored? Whether the locals are taken into confidence? And, whether our landfills are supposed to accommodate so much of excavated soil from different projects? Another pertinent question could be whether it requires any approvals from urban local bodies for such disposal at landfill site? Instead of a suo-moto statement, had the report address these points, the environmental impact assessment could have been easily understood and convincing.

The EC application also states that “approximately 7 KLD of the waste water will be generated from laborers, which will be discharged to septic tank that will be cleaned regularly.” It is not clear whether the consultant has assessed any possibility of impact on groundwater environment due to such disposal method. This becomes important due to the fact that the area is populous and people in the area may be extracting groundwater for various domestic usages.

Similarly, source of water to be taken from tankers supply from nearby STP should be elaborated with availability, and assurance from suppliers, and a scientific statement regarding impact on fresh water environment in the surrounding. The report mentions that “ultimate source of water in the existing building is Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the same will be the source after proposed development." Whether DJB has taken such prior estimations to accommodate a project that expands almost by 15 times than its existing capacity? In such case, what could be impact on the population of the project area?

It is also stated at 2.3 under the heading of Water Environment that “In case Delhi Jal Board is not made or the supply is inadequate then the water will be arranged through tankers complying IS0:10500 (Indian Drinking Water Standards)”. There should be an impact assessment on the groundwater environment taking into consideration both the volume of rainwater to be harvested and water supply through tankers, as envisaged in worst case. Further, IS0:10500 does not provide Indian Drinking Water Standards, it seems to be IS: 10500, 2012. It is also important in the part of the NABET accredited consultant to mention the impact and management of the wastewater in the process of purification of tanker water to the level of drinking water quality.

At a time, when the entire nation and Delhi in particular is crying for an emergency situation due to wrath of air pollution, and utilization of solar energy is being given thrust, this project still has proposed to install 4 Diesel Generator sets for power back up of combined capacity 3520 kVA. There is facility of PNG in New Delhi. Whether the project has taken into account various options and calculated the environmental impacts on air quality? Furthermore, the report does not state anything about energy auditing.

Hazardous wastes (as per Hazardous Waste Management Rules) 36 lit/month used oil generated from diesel generators will be carefully stored in HDPE drums in isolated covered facilities.

Under hazardous waste management, the report has deliberated on 36 liter per month of used oil expected to be generated from diesel generators. It does not specify any thing on other related to used oil filters, air filters and oil soaked materials, and any other used oil including spent oil, gear oil, hydraulic oil, turbine oil, compressor oil, industrial gear oil, heat transfer oil, transformer oil and their tank bottom sludges, if any. The disposal of used oil has no reference of Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s prevailing regulation but states “will be sold to vendors authorized by the Central Pollution Control Board for the treatment of the same. Also, prior permission will be taken from the pollution board for the storage of any hazardous material if required. The quantity will be within prescribed limits.” Suitable care will be taken so that spills/leaks of used oil from storage could be avoided. The remedial action and management plan should also be cited if such a contamination takes place.

According to the report about 15 kg/day of dried sludge, which 5475 kg/year will be generated from sewage treatment plant (STP) within the motel building during the operation phase and the wet sludge will be passed through filter press where it will be dewatered/ dried to form a cake and then will be used as manure in green areas. The unused sludge will be given to farmers or nurseries. It has failed deliberate on quality control of manure as required by CEEPHO guidelines. In case, the sludge is found to be hazardous it needs to be treated as hazardous waste and disposed under the Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016. The green area, as per the report, will be 1773.63 SQM, a mere 16.3 % of the net plot area. The report also states that 95 tonne per year of organic solid waste will be processed through Organic Waste Convertor to get converted into manure. There is a need to create material balancing. As the area is not close to any farmers’ hub, a detail plan may be stated or manure distribution could be attained through the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, which is mandated by the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 to create market. This approach could be realistic. Otherwise, there is a huge possibility of such wastes being dumped in low-lying area, which is practically happening in many places.

With NABET coming into picture since EIA Notification 2006, the EIA reporting was expected to be of high standard. When the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has been recalibrating its own standards and guidelines in the EIA process, there are many factors need to be considered and not overlooked in order to attain a valuable outcome of the entire EIA exercise.

Environment First in every business

@sanjayakmishra

Recently, Apple has said to have reduced their carbon footprint by 35% from the peak in 2015. By 2030, Apple will be 100% carbon neutral. Their comprehensive carbon footprint will net to zero - a standard worth emulating for the corporate world. Earlier, Procter & Gamble had also announced plans to go beyond their existing science-based target of reducing emissions from operations 50% by 2030 to have global operations become carbon neutral for the next decade. The consumer goods corporation wants to get there by investing in a portfolio of “natural climate solutions.”

Morgan Stanley to Become First US Bank to Publicly Disclose How Much Its Loans and Investments Contribute to Climate Change. As per definition; Central Government or State Government Departments, public sector undertakings, banks, educational institutions, multinational organisations, international agencies, partnership and public or private companies that are registered under the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948) and the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) and health care facilities which have turnover of more than one crore or have more than twenty employees; are bulk consumers under the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016. It is time that Indian banks, both public and private sector, should also disclose their own attainments first.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, began funding Dutch startup CuRe Technology, which is developing a process for transforming difficult-to-recycle plastic polyester waste into high-quality recycled PET. Results will show the reality. UN Environment has reported 300 million tonnes of plastic waste produced each year, out of which 8 million tonnes end up in the ocean. Remaining pose mammoth challenges to human life - flooding being a common. In India, it is high time for corporates like Coca Cola, Pepsi, Amazon and Flipkart to demonstrate their commitment towards zero single-use plastics.

Purity of Solar Energy needs to be protected with befitting Policy

India generated 3230 kt of e-waste in 2019, and the per capita generation of e-waste was 2.4 kg, against the world average of 7.3 kg per capita: Global E-waste Monitor 2020

Tata Motors drives Urban Forests to protect environment

In Warje Urban Forest overall oxygen production going up to 7 lakh kg and sequestration of 3 lakh kg of carbon, annually, besides reducing soil erosion by 130%.

@SunitaM25130525 Published in Enviro Annotations of 1st July 2020 issue

Tata Motors, a leading global automobile manufacturer of cars, utility vehicles, pick-ups, trucks and buses, a part of the Tata group has been consistently exhibiting its working towards environmental protection. On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2020 celebration, which was based on the theme Nagar Van (Urban Forests), the Warje Urban Forest is model was presented. Tata Motors piloted the concept of Urban Forestry in Warje near Pune, few years back, in collaboration with Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for the Environment (TERRE) Policy Centre, an international environmental organisation. In a span of just 3 years, a project that started on a 40-acre barren plot witnessed immense success and was scaled up to 100-acres, transformed into a lush greenspace, becoming a micro-habitat and a recreational attraction to the local communities.

Emphasizing on the Indian culture, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated “India is probably the only country where trees are worshiped, where animals, birds and reptiles are worshiped, which demonstrates enormous respect the Indian society carries for the environment. We had a very important tradition of village forest since ages, now this new scheme of urban forest will fill up the gap because urban areas have Gardens but very rarely forests. With this activity of creating urban forest we will also create additional carbon sink.”

Research is increasingly supporting the thesis that urban forests and urban trees are good for our physical and mental health and that it provides a range of benefits to local communities. According to a 29th June 2020 press release, Tata Motors has stated that since 2015, more than 2000 company volunteers have planted over 50,000 indigenous saplings (with 98% survival rate) at Warje. With 40% canopy cover, Warje Urban Forestry is rich in biodiversity hosting 10 species of animals and reptile, 50 avian species, 200 species of insects and 15 species of vegetation. The increased green cover has provided the city with fresh clean air with the overall oxygen production going up to 7 lakh kg and sequestration of 3 lakh kg of carbon, annually. Additionally, the project also focused on reducing soil erosion by 130%.

Tata Motors has stated that Warje Urban Forestry project today stands as the grand success among Tata Motors’ CSR activities. Expressing joy, Vinod Kulkarni, CSR – Head, Tata Motors said “For the last several years, we at Tata Motors has been contributing to the green cover, as a part of our consistent tree plantation drive, which started on June 5, 2009, World Environment Day. We firmly believe in actively assessing the improvement of the quality of life of the people in the communities, giving preference to local areas around our business operations. With the Urban Forestry project, the local communities were made its custodian and they were offered an honorarium to ensure the upkeep of the forest, thereby creating a more aware group of citizens towards environmental protection and have demonstrated a high degree of ownership.”

Tree plantation and soil moisture conservation works as a core strategy for biodiversity conservation in the country. He emphasized on the need to address the problems of silting, soil degradation, and reduced water flow in the river basins. This could be better attained through a collective work by everyone.

Vizag Gas Leak reminds compliance status of Public Liability Insurance (PLI) Act, 1991

@sanjayakmishra

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is circulating a letter regarding implementation of Public Liability Insurance (PLI) Act, 1991 and Public Liability Insurance Rules. The Ministry has developed a web based portal Public Liability Insurance Policy Management System (PLIPMS) to monitor the compliance. MoEF&CC is asking industries, which don’t possess valid PLI Policy, to procure and comply with the regulations. The Ministry has also asked SPCBs/UTPCCs to refuse Consent-to-Operate under Water and Air Acts in case the defaulting units fail to renew the expired PLI policies or fail to comply with regulations.

The MoEF&CC has issued directions under section 18 (1) (a) of the Water Act and the Air Act to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to ensure better implementation of PLI Act, and Rules. The PLI Act, 1991 provides immediate relief to the person(s) affected by accident occurring during handling any hazardous substances, vicarious liability of the every industries to protect physical harm or death of employees during the course of employment and adequate compensate for injury or death of employees this burden of compensate of industries shifted toward the insurance company by giving premium or remuneration, so that to sake of welfare of the employees and guarantees to safe guard the compensate the government of India implemented this act.

Some definitions for better understanding of this act are:

Accident: Sec. 2(a) of the act mentions that an accident involving a fortuitous or sudden or unintended occurrence while handling of hazardous substance resulting continue or intermittent or repeated, exposure to death or injury to any person or damage to any property

Owner:

Sec.2 (g) of the act specifies that Owner means a person who owns or has control over handling any hazardous substance at the time of accident and includes:

(i) In the case of Firm, any of its partner

(ii) In the case of an association any of its members

(iii) In case of company, any of its directors, secretary, manager, or other officers who is directly charge of and is responsible to the company for the conduct of business of the company.

Hazardous substance: Sec.2 (d) of the act states that Hazardous substance means which is defined in Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and exceeding such quantity

Duty of owner of industries or company: Section 4 of the act states Duty of owner is first to safe guard the life of member of the company who engage in the handling of hazardous substance and life insurance

(1) Owner of any hazardous company shall take out insurance policy as soon as commencement of this act

(2) It renew the policy before expiry of the policy or within period of limitation

(3) The face value of the insurance policy may be paid-up-capital for the unit or Rs 50 (fifty) Crore, whichever is less. The amount of policy(ies) is decided on the basis of the assessment of damage estimated by the maximum credible loss analysed and paid up capital of the industry. Amount of insurance not less then the paid up capital of the company and not more that fifty crore rupees.

(4) Liability of insurance under on insurance shall not exceed the amount specified in terms of contract of insurance policy.

Section 1 of the act has provisions to issue directions like (a) Stoppage or regulation of handling of hazardous substance (b) Stoppage or regulation of water, electricity or any other services.

Penalty:

Section 14 of the act has provisions of penalty for contravention of section 4 and section 12 of this act. Punishment shall be imprisonment of terms not less than one year and not exceed six year or fine up to one lakh rupees or both.

Under section 15 of the act provisions are made for penalty for failure to comply with the direction under section 9 to section 11. For abstraction any person of discharging of above section, he shall be punishment with imprisonment which may extent to three month or fine up to 20 thousand rupees.

The provided the classification of the offences on the basis of the private and Government owned industries or company

A) Offences by company (sec.16)

(1) If offences under this Act, has been committed by companies, every person at the time the offence was committed directly in charge of and was responsible to the company for conduct of business

(2) If Act done with the Consent of the Company, Director, Manager or other officer are deemed to be liable.

B) This act has special provision for the Government department handling of hazardous work. Act done by Government department then head of the department is liable except act done without intention. Cognizance of offence of the act when taken: Court make complaint cognizable only when as

a) Complaint made by central government or his authority appoint

b) 60 day notice by any person to central government

Obligations

  1. Liability to give relief in case of death / injury to any person or damage to property

  2. Responsibility to take insurance policies against liability

  3. Provide Information to Central Government / empowered Agencies

  4. Allow entry and inspection to Central Government Officials

  5. Comply with Directions

Industry To Know

  1. Hearing by District Collector before making award of relief

  2. File objections against proposed directions

  3. Central govt. to record reasons in writing in case not providing above opportunity

  4. Cognizance of Offence

The Public Liability Insurance (PLI) Act, 1991 makes it obligatory upon the user industries handling 179 types of chemicals and compounds and other classes of flammable substances to subscribe a special insurance policy to cover the liabilities likely to arise on account of any chemical (industrial) disaster/accident and payable to those affected people who are not the workers on ‘no fault basis’/ ‘absolute liability’. The Act establishes an Environment Relief Fund (ERF), which is subscribed by all such user industries by an amount equal to the annual premium amount of such insurance policies.

PLI insurance policies are sold by General Insurance Companies. It does not cost too much to procure a PLI Policy. As per some company documents, the annual cost of procurement of PLI Policy with an indemnity limit of Rs. 5 Crore in respect of any accident and not exceeding 3 times thereof in the aggregate during the policy period could be around Rs. 11,000/=. The buyer must ensure that the policy is bought under PLI Act, 1991 and should review the exclusions.

Multiple Benefits of Medbandi - Making of Ridges by Dr. N. K. Bajpa

JAKHNI – The First Water Village (Jal Gram) of India

Chinar Tree “The number is decreasing in Kashmir Valley”

Women and Waste Management: The New Paradigm

Environmental Degradation in Kashmir

Henna Gull

M. Tech. (Environmental Science and Engineering), Department of Civil Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi-110025 (Published on 27th May 2020 issue)

Over the last three to four decades, Kashmir has witnessed huge environmental degradation either naturally or as a result of anthropogenic activities. The State has suffered heavily on account of natural disasters like floods, drought, wildfires, and landslides and still, the vulnerabilities are increasing. The environmental destruction by humans has been deliberate and intentional purely for material greed. The forests are shrinking due to deforestation, though officially licensed wood is available. A black market of timber smuggling has risen as the smuggling industry involves a lot of corrupt bureaucrats, kiths and kins of ministers, and wealthy merchants. In South Kashmir, the area under dense forests around the tourist resort of Pahalgam has fallen by 191 square km from 1961 to 2010 with an average annual loss of 3.9 square km, largely due to illegal construction hotels and houses over forested areas. Once dense forests, the stripped forest areas such as Krala Sangri, Ramunhar, Pareezapan, Zam Pathar, and Baerbal Damdam have now become denuded areas. In the last two decades of Kashmir conflict, security forces had allegedly cleared vast tracts of forestland to target militants taking cover. They also used forests as an artillery firing range, converting them into a military garrison.

Kashmir used to be famous for wildlife. The history of biodiversity degradation is as old as its conflict which is over 70 years. When Indian and Pakistani armies were deployed in the state, it reportedly led to large-scale poaching of rare species like Ibex, Blue Sheep, Snow Leopard, and Urian—the big-horned sheep. While these species were initially killed for food, later they were slaughtered for valuable furs and skins. The Dachigam National Park boasted of over 800 Hangul or Kashmir Stag, but according to some reports now the number had gone down to 150 or so. The wetlands which provided a home to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds seem to have gone too. Similar is the case with trout fish in the mountain streams and high-altitude lakes. It has been reported that during the disturbed period, the trout in the wild streams was freely poached.

Kashmir’s world-famous Dal Lake is virtually at the point of extinction. It looks as it has been converted into an oversized septic tank in which tons of raw sewage and untreated waste is being disposed and dumped, respectively from over 2,000 house-boats and dozens of hotels on its banks. The aquatic life has been badly disturbed. All these years the greedy people have been constructing colonies of permanent houses on islands in the very heart of the lake hidden by a thick cover of vegetation. One of the disasters was the construction of Hotel Centaur and the Convention Centre into the lake by Government itself. Not only Dal Lake, but water bodies like Wular, Manasbal, River Jehlum, and the River Indus are equally polluted and under constant threat. After Lake Baikal of Russia, Wular Lake is supposed to be the second-largest sweet water lake in this part of the world. But after the muck it has been absorbing for decades, one is not sure whether the water is still sweet. The size of the lake has considerably shrunken and has become shallow due to the deposition of silt. The story of Manasbal is no different from the others. It is also getting choked by the abundant weed growth accelerated by inputs from villages around it including Kondabal and Jarogbal. Limekilns of Kondabal are the worst culprits. River Jehlum used to be dredged periodically and the silt was taken out of it during the time of Maharaja. But no such operation has been undertaken for decades now. On the contrary, the entire muck from the City and other habitations on its bank is being dumped constantly into it without any treatment. The Kolhai glacier, which feeds the River Jhelum, has reduced down to 11.4 square kilometers, from 13 square kilometers, meaning it has shrunk by 18 percent. Also, in Sonamarg, the waste and sewage generated by thousands of tourists are thrown and disposed of in the Indus river without proper management or treatment as there are no landfill or sewage treatment plant in the area.

Another cause for environmental concern is air pollution. The quality of air of the valley was once famous for its purity, freshness, and rejuvenation. But the situation is now just the opposite particularly in Srinagar. The quality is reduced and has become just like any other state of India. The air pollution, which comes mostly from vehicle exhaust, the burning of fossil fuels in smaller industrial units, and the mismanagement of solid and liquid waste in Srinagar is a major concern. The lack of a proper public transport system has been driving up car sales, resulting in more emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere. While Kashmir has more than 150,000 vehicles and more than 55 percent of Kashmir’s vehicles do not conform to pollution norms set by the board. Adulterated fuel – kerosene mixed in with diesel for higher profit also results in more black carbon being pushed into the atmosphere. Illegal brick kilns and stone crushers are other sources. In a recent survey, it was found that there were only 59 authorized brick kilns, out of a total of 374. Similarly, only 83 out of the total 204 stone-crushers surveyed had permission from the Pollution Control Board.

After forests, biodiversity, water bodies and air, the fate of mountains is no different. The stone quarries of Pandh Chok show the brutality done to the beautiful Mountains at the entrance of Srinagar. The incessant blasting must be shaking the whole Mountain and one fine day it is going to disappear as it was never there. Not only Pandh Chok but right from this spot to Dara along the Zabarwan Range, there are many quarry sites where the same cruelty is being repeated. Not even the molehills in the middle of the valley have been spared. The laying of a trans-valley railway line has eaten away dozens of small hills and mounds which have disappeared by providing earth filling for the track.

I believe the protection and conservation of the environment are only possible if all responsible citizens come together with one motive “Ann Poshi Teli Yeli Wan Poshi” (food will last as long as forests last). Also, electronic as well as print media both need to rise above commercial gains and start campaigning to enlighten people about environmental concerns and continuously laud efforts to save it.

(The views and opinions expressed are of the Author.)

Coronavirus Pandemic, Climate Change and Environment

by Dr. Ashaq Hussain Khan, Lecturer in Botany, Govt. Degree College, Bhaderwah (Jammu & Kashmir)

Climate change is a burning issue and is a real threat in the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed in several reports climate change is man-made and caused by the excessive emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Nowadays the accumulation of green house gases has reached dangerous levels threatening climate change and global warming beyond the limits of human tolerance. The UN calls for push to cut green house gases level to avoid climate chaos. But what has been observed that there is lack of seriousness in world leaders towards urgency of situation.

“The threat from corona virus is temporary,

But threat from climate change will remains with us for years”

Our interactions with environment have brought more wild life diseases to our homes. Research reveals that all viral diseases such as Corona, AIDS, Zika, Ebola and other viruses spreads because of human interference with nature.

When you harm the nature, nature will harm you back

And Interference with nature brings disasters”

On 31st December, 2019 China alerted world health organization to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan. Wuhan went to lockdown on 31st January, 2020. Like fire the corona virus spread worldwide and finally the corona virus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by world health organization. While the whole world grapples with the corona virus pandemic, the slowdown in anthropogenic activity has shown positive impact on mother earth. To combat the rapidly spreading of virus, many global countries have put a complete lockdown resulting in limited travel and industrial activities. Due to this pandemic lockdown green house gases emissions are falling sharply as its has restricted the fossil fuel consumption. The literature reveals that in china carbon dioxide emission were down an estimated 18% between early February and mid March due to fall in coal consumption and industrial output. Meanwhile, in the European Union, decline in power demand and depressed manufacturing allowed green house gas emission to fall by nearly 400 million metric tons this year, a figure that represents about 9% percent of the European cumulative 2020 emission target.

Therefore it is clear that corona virus pandemic lockdown is having positive impact on climate change. Though the Green house gases emission is sharply declining due this pandemic lockdown and mother earth is healing rapidly, but this planetary breather is nothing to celebrate, as it is a deadly virus that will prove major catastrophe, if not checked immediately.

(This article has been published in Enviro Annotations, 29th April 2020 issue)

Ecological Rejuvenation of Mowa Lake, Raipur

Madhukar Swayambhu

Water needs to be cured Ecologically

Madhukar Swayambhu

Sustainability Report of Havells India

Sanjaya Kumar Mishra

Scope of Vertical Farming in India

Henna Gull, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Sustainable Transport in the Quest of More Cars & Less Emissions

Sunita Mishra

I Can Be a Change Maker

Inaayat Passi

Student, Grade 10, Vasant Valley School, Resident of Sunder Nagar, New Delhi

I was on my way to Delhi from Ghaziabad and I crossed a huge landfill, almost the height of the Qutub Minar. It was so disturbing to pass by and see children of my age handling and separating wastes with their bare hands. Read more