Regulators must aptly use ZLD Term
Published in our print edition dated 22nd February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger
On the eve of World Water Day 2023 celebration with the theme 'Accelerating Change' to tackle water and sanitation crisis, the editorial article opines how scientific bodies to lead efforts, but some promote outdated practices like ZLD.
Harvest No Contaminated Rainwater
Published in our print edition dated 22nd February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger
“The single best thing about honesty is that it requires no follow-up”, says Rachel Maddow, a famous TV Personality in the USA. This theorises dishonesty requires follow-ups. Mahesh Chandra Saxena had to follow-up against the Delhi Government on the rainwater contamination matter. He was compelled to file an Execution Application No. 04/2023 with reference to the Original Application No. 147/2021 before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The execution application states that no action has been taken in pursuance of directions of NGT Order dated 10th December 2021. Watch on YouTube
Cow Hugging and Human Wellness
Published in our print edition dated 8th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger
One of the latest news on animals is that 40% of animals in the United States are at risk of extinction, as per a leading conservation research group. The New York Times reported a 26-story building located in Ezhou, central China, is being hailed as the world’s biggest free-standing pig farm. It says the farm stands as a monument to China’s ambition to modernise pork production. But it also reports hog towers exacerbate the biggest risk facing the country’s pork industry disease. Watch on YouTube
Trust Adani’s Pledge on Trees?
Published in our print edition dated 25th Jan 2023 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
Adani group has been posting a message of Gautam Adani, Chairman stating that he has pledged that the Group will plant 100 million trees by 2030. The promotional message is very prominent on the social media platform, Twitter. The message further underlines that the pledge is the most significant one made in Indian history. The quest for a cleaner and greener India is the progress we need, it adds. Recently, there were reports stating that the group has reportedly lost ₹46000 Crore. If that continues to happen, what is going to happen to this pledge, is a different worry.
However, it is interesting to look into some of the post EIA Compliance Reports submitted by the group companies. Adani Pench Power Limited has submitted a report on the status of compliance with Environmental Clearance (EC) vide letter No. J 13012/30/2010-IA-II (T) dated 16th October 2012 with respect to the 1320 (2×660) MW Coal Based Thermal Power Plant, to the Western Regional Office Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), Bhopal for the period from April, 2015 to September, 2015. The EC lays a condition that “green belt consisting of 3 tiers of plantation of native species around the plant and 50 m width shall be raised. The density of trees shall not less than 2500 per Ha with survival rate not less than 80%”. Against this condition, the Adani group company has reported in 2015 “Green Belt provided in the Plant Layout”.
Interestingly, later on, Pench Thermal Energy (MP) Limited has also replied the ditto in Compliance Status report on EC for 1320 (2×660) MW Coal Based Thermal Power Plant Vide letter No. 13012/30/2010-IA-II (T) dated 16th October 2012 and dated 26th December 2019 for the period from April, 2020 to September, 2020 and October, 2020 to March, 2021.
Further, there is a condition that “A sewage treatment plant shall be provided (as applicable) and the treated sewage shall be used for raising greenbelt / plantation.” to which all these reports mentioned “STP proposed. Treated sewage will be used for Plantation/Green Belt development and maintenance.”
There is no data on area of greenbelt, number of trees planted, sapling survival rate, plant species with number.
Similarly, on 30th November 2022 Lucknow International Airport Limited (Formerly known as Adani Lucknow International Airport Ltd), on Adani Group letterhead has submitted a compliance report to the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (C), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Kendriya Bhawan, 5th Floor, Sector "H" Aliganj, Lucknow 226020. It is with regard to the EC for “Proposed terminal building at Amousi Airport” at Lucknow, bearing F.No. 10-18/2007-IA.III dated 23rd May 2012. The EC has specified “The green belt of the adequate width and density preferably with local species along the periphery of the plot shall be raised so as to provide protection against particulates and noise.” And the company has reported “6.37 Hectare of Green Cover has been developed considering contextual and functional requirements, and overall environmental and landscape planning approach.”
Another EC was granted for "Construction of new Integrated terminal building and allied facilities" at Guraura, Aurangabad Zagir and Bhaktikhera Villages, Lucknow bearing F. No. 10-47/2017-IA.III vide letter dated 26th September 2018. It states “As proposed, no tree shall be felled/transplant. The landscape planning should include plantation of native species. The plantation species should be carefully chosen to avoid bird nesting and to improve pollution control and noise control measures. Water intensive and/or invasive species should not be used for landscaping. As proposed, 23.42 Ha area shall be provided for landscaping and green belt development.”
In response to the above EC condition, the Adani Group company has reported “Green cover will be developed over a proposed area of 23.42 Hectare. Green Cover plan was submitted as part of Six-monthly compliance report (October'21 to March'22) vide letter no. LIAUEC/ENV/22-23/0866 dated 31st May 2022.”
First and foremost, the terminology of greenbelt changed with green cover. Considering the legal aspects of an EC condition, the company should have reported. The report has enclosed some photographs of the green cover. However, there is no data for number of trees planted, and sapling survival rate.
Someone in the same social media platform has said, pledge or no pledge, it’s foolish and quite naive to think that big corporations will plant trees or help in ecosystem restoration in any possible manner. That too, in India where vague public discussion of corporate responsibility is viewed with suspicion. Time will tell. Let’s wait and watch.
Evolution and Regulations of CETP
Published in our print edition dated 18th Jan 2023 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
Many ancient cities had drainage systems, but they were primarily intended to carry rainwater away from roofs and pavements. According to Britannica, a notable example is the drainage system of ancient Rome. It included many surface conduits that were connected to a large vaulted channel called the Cloaca Maxima (“Great Sewer”), which carried drainage water to the Tiber River. Built of stone and on a grand scale, the Cloaca Maxima is one of the oldest existing monuments of Roman engineering. In earlier days, the commonly followed principle was “the solution to pollution is dilution.” When small amounts of sewage are discharged into a flowing body of water, a natural process of stream self-purification occurs. Read more
Groundwater Regulation Issues
Published in our print edition dated 28th Dec 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
Some packaged water industries falling under Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) have been directed by the Water Resources Department of Madhya Pradesh Government. Some of these units have been running for over five years. Now, the authorities are able to reach out to them with notices based on the notification of the guidelines read more
What R&D CAQM has done yet?
Published in our print edition dated 28th Dec 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) is a body for better co-ordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The CAQM has not shared any research data or findings on its website. What it shares is primarily Advisory and Directions only. So far coordination is concerned, it has marked copies of its latest Order to more than 140 various authorities. The Order for Implementation of Actions under Stage-III (‘Severe’ Air Quality) of revised Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in Delhi-NCR steps to be taken are to be monitored by the same people from the same organizations - State Pollution Control Boards or Delhi Pollution Control Committee, who have been squarely failed and are responsible for today’s air quality concerns. Industries still run with or without approved fuels. There is an online Consent Mechanism being followed by the State Pollution Control Boards and Delhi Pollution Control Committee. Have they identified and revised the Consents? Let the CAQM compile and publish a status report on this.
The storage and transport of construction materials remain all the same as it was before the constitution of CAQM. Regulation of BS-IV diesel and BS-III petrol vehicles is a faulty decision by the CAQM. Instead the CAQM should pursue better connectivity between the Delhi and NCR cities with mass rapid or slow transport systems. A city like Gurugram has not seen the Metro Rail network inching further for the last decade. And wherever it has progressed, people are not using it. Therefore, CAQM should impose a blanket ban on personal car movement in the city’s areas connected with the Metro Rail Network. Banning BS-IV diesel and BS-III petrol vehicles is certainly not convincing, because the CAQM does not have air pollution data of CNG fuelled vehicles. As such, Delhi Chief Minister has recently stated about the system to understand the air pollution sources. Without knowing the sources it is nothing but causing harassment to a section of the common mass. It also slows down productivity of the area. CAQM as well as local leaders should behave maturely and withdraw BS-IV and III ban.
Include IAQ and Tree Counts in School Infra Rating
Published in our print edition dated 14th Dec 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
Recent data showing improvement of air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region brings a great degree of relaxation to people. Apparently the weather has played a key role among several other factors reckoned as the yielding ones. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that barring paddy stubble burning, all other activities contributing towards air pollution, haven’t changed. Further, even if we accept the air quality data without questioning its credibility, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is still far from the Good category. Read more
#school #infra #primary #education #indoor
Hindustan Zinc pays Environmental Compensation and also gets a Good Ranking for the same project?
What’s the credibility of Corporate Sustainability Assessment ranking? Recently, a song of Hindustan Zinc’s green glory was echoing. S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment has ranked Hindustan Zinc 3rd Globally in the metal and mining sector. Of Course, there is a footnote that the ranking is subject to change as 27% of companies invited to S&P ESG Indices await their ESG scores. Meanwhile, the company has certainly tried to garner a positive image with the latest rankings, as the company has stated to have retained its top ranking in the Asia Pacific region for the 4th consecutive year. And, a Press Release states that the ranking is a testimony to Hindustan Zinc’s continuous progress to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining. Provides detailed ESG benchmarking insights to better integrate sustainability and business strategy.
Who is S&P Global? It’s a company that serves corporate majors. As described by S & P Global itself, its findings may be used as a tool by which a company can gauge the financial materiality of their ESG performance and connect ESG with business value drivers. ESG stands for Environment, Social and Governance. But it is widely used as a magnet to attract investors. Read more
Improve Delhi NCR Transport Infra to control air pollution
Published in our print edition dated 2nd Nov 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
“The smell of petrol, it just dominates everything. We live on a planet that is not built for sustainable traveling." was posted in Reuters as the Quote of the Day on 31st October 2022. Charlotte Bruneau’s article “Busking Brit crosses Iraq on his way to COP27 without flying” highlights Dan Hodd leaving Spain a month ago and was cycling through busy Baghdad, with a violin on his back and maps in his bag, as he headed to the COP27 climate talks in Egypt that he firmly intends to reach without flying.
According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2022, transportation is the second-largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions globally, contributing 25 per cent of total energy-related CO2 emissions
"In 2019, airlines were responsible for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions," said Dan Rutherford, who directs the International Council on Clean Transportation’s aviation programmes, adding that because of the additional climate impact of aviation, its total warming impact rises to 3.5%.
The top seven emitters (China, the EU27, India, Indonesia, Brazil, the Russian Federation and the United States of America) plus international transport accounted for 55 per cent of global GHG emissions in 2020 (figure ES.1). Collectively, G20 members are responsible for 75 per cent of global GHG emissions. India stands at 3rd position after China and the USA in terms of total GHG emissions of major emitters in 2020, including inventory-based LULUCF. However, in terms of Per capita GHG emissions India is placed at 7th position in the chart led by the USA. India remains far below the world average at 2.4 tCO2e. On average, least developed countries emit 2.3 tCO2e per capita annually.
Coincidently, Delhi Government’s launch of a revamped version of the ‘One Delhi’ app to navigate public transport in Delhi also has also a relevance. Through this app, a traveler can track bus routes, schedule, buy e-ticket or passes, find nearby Electric vehicle chargers, Battery swapping stations, Cost per unit of the EV Chargers. This is definitely user friendly for Boomers to Gen Z. And, a fascinating way to encourage people to use the mass transport system.
The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2022, highlights transformation of the transportation system requires a number of shifts: (1) a shift to low-emitting modes of transport, (2) an acceleration of the move to zero-carbon cars and trucks, and (3) preparation for the move to zero-carbon aviation and shipping. In addition, car and plane use by frequent travelers should be abated. These shifts should be promoted simultaneously, and many actions can address more than one shift.
These points are not attainable. But a lot of finance needs to be allocated towards such transitions. On the contrary, there are plethora of easy to attain mechanisms, which may yield to a greater extent. The National Capital Territory and National Capital Region (NCR), which is striving for clean air, needs to review the gaps in the mass transport system. NCR cities are worsley connected to each other through mass transport, which compels travelers to use private cars and bikes. Much hyped cities like Gurugram have failed to improve the metro rail connectivity over the last 15 years. Also, there are allied problems like grossly inapt feeder vehicle service, parking facility, which ultimately discourages a willing traveler to use such a mass transport system.
Before pondering on an accelerated move to zero-carbon cars and trucks, there is an urgent need to explore road conditions and congestions. The size of the fleet traveling between these NCR cities to support business and industrial activities is enormous. This not only includes traveling of people but also transportation of chain of supply equipment for manufacturing. These are based on fixed schedules. There is a need to create alternative networks - may be a rail network by using established infrastructure. Such steps may cost less, result more.
SPCBs, UTPCCs must review Ops.
Published in our print edition dated 19th Oct 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has changed its Consent Management procedure. The Board has limited the Powers of its Regional Offices in disposing of the Consent Applications filed under Section 25/26 of the Water Act, 1974 and Section 21 of the Air Act, 1981. Now, the Regional Officers of KSPCB are entrusted with disposal of Consent Applications for the industries and projects listed under the Green Category. The Consent Applications filed under the Orange Category shall be taken up by the Regional Senior Environmental Officers. The Consent Applications under Red Category shall be deliberated by the Chairman of the Board. In case of Small and Medium Industries under Red Category the Board’s Chairman shall have his individual decision. However, in the cases of large Scale Industries and projects falling under Red Category of Consent Management, the Chairman shall obtain recommendation from the State Level Enforcement Committee. Read more
Looking at India’s ESG Landscape
Published in our print edition dated 5th Oct 2022 Post your comment on Twitter LinkedIn
Every business enterprise is deeply intertwined with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) matters. The term ESG originated from a study of “Who cares Wins” in 2005. ESG is primarily defined as a triple-bottom-line approach that combines financial gains adhering to social and environmental norms. Though, it is scientifically proven that waste reduction leads to better environmental performance, also profitability thereby, ESG is often viewed as a non-financial performance of an enterprise and builds insight into long-term value. Read more
Green Consumerism, at what cost?
Published in our print edition dated 21st Sept 2022 Post your comment on Twitter Linkedin
Retail has and is evolving. Increasingly, one aspect of this new ‘under the hood’ perspective focuses on ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Environmental Footprint’. Olivia Montgomery, an associate principal analyst at Capterra, has shared a blog on 15th September 2022, which tells that despite rampant inflation and the host of other factors impacting consumer sentiment, Americans want to buy products that are safe and healthy not only for themselves, but also for our planet and society. Her study shows that in 2022, 95% of surveyed consumers consider the sustainability of a product to be important. And more consumers are putting their money where their mouth is: 84% of these consumers have purchased a sustainable product in the past six months, up from 67% in 2021. Tom Morris, a Senior Trends Analyst at GWI, in his blog says “Age plays no role here, with scientists leading the way across every generation.” He also describes “While India is the only exception by country, influence is split quite evenly between friends/family (51%), climate activists (48%), and scientists (46%).” Read more
STP sludge disposal needs a review
Published in our print edition dated 31st August 2022 Post your comment on Twitter Linkedin
Recently, on 19th August, there was an outbreak of E.coli bacteria in the United States. According to a Reuters report, out of 37 sick, 22 people were said to have consumed sandwiches with romaine lettuce in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania in the week before they fell ill. Such infections are not new. There are many reports of E Coli outbreaks sinsyne the scientists first recognized E. coli O157 as a pathogen in 1982.
An article from healthline.com describes Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a type of bacterium that...
Heading for Water Wars?
Published in our print edition dated 24th August 2022
A very pertinent question at a time when news of drying rivers in several countries are making headlines. Climate Change - I Care, a Linkedin group initiated a poll and discussion on “Are We Heading For Water Wars? As many as 72% said “Yes”, and 17% replied “Not Sure, May be”. This Group with over 30000 members has a purpose to educate individuals on the factors affecting climate change and global warming as well as to influence them to make a contribution to stop its progression through a green and sustainable way of life for the environment.
Water Cooperation issues came up. Pros and cons of desalination deliberated. Some expressed water as a scarce resource, indispensable for life. Serge Znu describes it as a war for resources in the time of a War Cycle. More Free Read
Consider e-waste pricing
Published in our print edition dated 17th August 2022
The Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through a draft notification vide S.O. No. 360(E) dated 19th May 2022 sought public opinion on proposed amendments to E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
The amendment may apply to every manufacturer, producer, of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), refurbisher and recycler involved in manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment, including their components, consumables, parts and spares which make the product operational. Read more
Blind Selling of Blue Gold
Published in our print edition dated 3rd August 2022
In 2010, two Japanese autoanciliaries operating from a notified industrial area in Northern India approached the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) seeking permission for extraction of groundwater. Both of these units were already having bore wells. It’s not that they were wilful violators. But the local body didn’t guide them aptly. It rather gave them some liberty to abstract groundwater, temporarily during the construction phase, against submission of some affidavit. Subscribe to EA
Kovind’s Concerns over Environment
Published in our print edition dated 27th July 2022
In his farewell address to the Nation as President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind expressed concerns over environmental issues. He said "Mother Nature is in deep agony and the climate crisis can endanger the very future of this planet. We must take care of our environment, our land, air and water, for the sake of our children. In our daily lives and routine choices, we must be more careful to protect our trees, rivers, seas and mountains as well as all other living beings. As the first citizen, if I have to give one advice to my fellow citizens, it has to be this." Subscribe and take your copy for further reading.
The new CAQM order and its impact on Paper Mills
Published in our print edition dated 20th July 2022
The new order prohibits any industry in the National Capital Region (NCR) to use coal for generation of steam in boilers both for process heat requirements as well as captive power generation. This has resulted in a critical situation for paper mills in the region.
Presently, coal is being used as fuel for steam generation. Steam provides heat to dry paper as well as in some of the mills to run turbines that generate electricity for the mill requirements. In absence of coal, biomass is an alternate fuel- not available in adequate quantities. Furthermore, the existing boilers which have been designed to run on coal cannot generate steam with desired pressure to run turbines; using biomass as fuel. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Environmental Labs Masking Data
NABL must ensure Data Quality
Published in our print edition dated 13th July 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising quality of life, quality of education, quality of products. In his 2021 Independence Day Speech, the Prime Minister deliberated on even moving a step further than attaining highest quality standards in order to sustain in the global competition. He stated “I want to say emphatically to all the manufacturers of the country, that you should never forget that the product you sell overseas is not just a product made by your company, it is the identity of our nation, India's prestige and the faith of all the citizens of our country.”
Though, Prime Minister didn’t categorically mention Service #Quality, it has an equal importance in everyday life as well. It is an integral part of manufacturing.
On searching, the definition of Quality is described in many ways - “fitness for use,” “customer satisfaction,” “doing things right the first time,” or “zero defects.” Webster’s dictionary defines quality as “a degree of excellence” and “superiority in kind”.
When it comes to the subject of environment, quality of both products and services matter. On one hand, such products may be pollution control devices used in manufacturing plants to treat Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Property Tax linked to Good Environment
Published in our print edition dated 6th July 2022
Environmental issues have always been addressed from the top. In fact, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest was created for the first time, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi himself was in charge of the Ministry.
On 1st July 2022, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi shared a social media message on Twitter “Unseemly Mountains of Garbage surround Delhi. Stinking heaps over 50m high in the Capital are not only grave health hazards but a National Shame!”
The LG sought suggestions and participation from Delhitees in the efforts to take out Delhi of over 28 million MT of waste. There were 159 comments till this write-up was prepared. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Ban all Sachets for good environment
Published in our Print edition dated 29th June 2022
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released a list of single-use plastic items prohibited from 1st July 2022. The list has four categories (1) Plastic Sticks (2) Cutlery Items (3) Packaging / Wrapping Films and (4) Other items. Sachets used for packaging of shampoos, oils, and many other domestic products are not listed anywhere.
However, CPCB has stated that as per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. This is a good work, half done. The #sachets are widely associated with ketchup to cosmetics, from laundry detergent to seasoning and snacks. These sachets pose a greater threat to the environment. Not only the plastic wastes cause environmental concerns. Also, the left away residue inside the sachets add to the fury of plastic waste by degrading soil and water quality.
According to Reuters, London-listed Unilever plc (ULVR.L), a pioneer in selling sachets, has privately fought to derail bans on the problematic packaging despite saying publicly it wants to get rid of them. Unilever's India Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Climate, Water and Amrit Sarovars
Published in our Print edition dated 22nd June 2022
Earlier, in April this year, there were reports that India recorded its warmest March on record, with an average maximum temperature of 33.1 ºC, or 1.86 °C above the long-term average. The reports also depicted Pakistan recording its warmest March for at least the past 60 years, with a number of stations breaking March records. It was further reported that in the pre-monsoon period, both India and Pakistan regularly experience excessively high temperatures, especially during May. However, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) categorically mentioned that it’s premature to attribute the extreme heat in India and Pakistan solely to climate change. Nevertheless, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its recent Sixth Assessment Report, said that heatwaves and humid heat stress would be more intense and frequent in South Asia this century. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading #climate #amrit #sarovar #pond
NABET, Attention Please
Published in our Print edition dated 15th June 2022
World Accreditation Day (WAD) is observed on 9th June. WAD was jointly initiated by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) with an aim to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.
Accreditation is the action or process of officially recognizing someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity. Accreditation is based on self and peer assessment. Its purpose is the improvement of product and service quality and public accountability. It is a part of the Quality Infrastructure that helps businesses of all sizes and sectors to reduce costs, limit their environmental impact, improve quality, access new market opportunities, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Thus, it involves People, Planet and Prosperity - three pillars chosen to group the Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Soil: The Chemical, Physical & Biological Powerhouse
Published in our Print Edition of 25th May 2022
Soil is a finite natural resource. It’s non-renewable. Soil is a thin layer of earth’s crust that serves as a natural medium for the growth of plants. It is the unconsolidated mineral matter that has been subjected to, and influenced by genetic and environmental factors – parent material, climate, organisms and topography all acting over a period of time. Top soil consists of organic carbon that helps in soil aggregation and also improves water holding capacity of the soil that in turn helps in slowing down the flow of water through the soil. Adequate amounts of basic inorganic nutrients present in the soil are required for healthy growth of vegetation. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading #savesoil
Why so much silence?
People rarely discussing Biological Diversity, Wildlife Protection Amendment Bills
Published in our Print Edition of 18th May 2022
Recently, the Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has been in the news for two important things, besides his Gujarat visit. And, ofcourse, after negating the non-environmental issues. The Member of Parliament to Rajya Sabha, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests & Climate Change in April 2022 submitted the Standing Committee's report on The Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to the Chairman, Rajya Sabha. The submission was 3 days before the deadline 24th April 2022, which was appreciated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha. Subscribe and take your copy for further reading
Noise Pollution Insights
PCBs influencing Environmental Justice
Published in our Print Edition of 11th May 2022
The ongoing noise pollution ruckus has drawn attention of all the sections of the society. It’s well known that prayers are not the only source of noise pollution. Also, this is not the first time that noise pollution issues have surfaced. Many Indians must have seen Rajinikanth- a great actor Subscribe and take your copy for further reading #noise
Resizing Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
Published in our 4th May 2022 Print Edition
Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary located in Kalahandi district and a popular tourist attraction of an eastern Indian state, Odisha. Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is about 15 km from Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi district.
Major plant communities include mixed deciduous forests and scrublands. The sanctuary is home to many wildlife species like tiger, leopard, sambar, nilgai, barking deer, mouse deer, a wide variety of birds like green munia, an et al. The sanctuary was often in the news due to a series of elephant deaths in 2021.The area of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, as notified in the year 1992, was 147.66 sq. km. After geo-referencing cadastral maps of villages around the Sanctuary, the area comes to 184.63 sq. km.
The Government of Odisha has sent a proposal for exclusion of an area of 4.32 sq. km. from the sanctuary. It has also been proposed to include 13.688 sq. km. in the Sanctuary. And, after the reduction and inclusion, the revised final area of sanctuary will be 193.998 sq. km., which is 9.368 sq. km more than the notified area. The proposal was discussed in the 67th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) on 25th March 2022 under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
Earlier, the Standing Committee in its 65th meeting decided that the proposal shall be examined by a site inspection committee, which would submit its report by 15th October 2021. Accordingly MoEF&CC constituted a committee that submitted the desired report on 6th December 2021.
The committee has accepted the need for rationalisation of the boundary of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in view of the past discrepancies in notified area versus actual area, and the observations of the committee during the site visit. However, the committee has recommended two courses of action prior to rationalisation - (1) The current proposed rationalised boundary requires a reworking in a manner that ensures no impact of any future mining development on the Sanctuary. (2) Any future permissions given for mining of the bauxite deposits outside the Sanctuary have to ensure that the mining operations do not impact the Sanctuary.
Dr. R. Sukumar, Member, NBWL, who was a part of the Committee formed as per decision taken in the 65th meeting, said that the boundaries of the sanctuary have not been properly demarcated and there is a need for rationalisation of the boundaries. He mentioned that the committee observed that there are bauxite deposits nearby and the proposed boundary is a straight line which gives the impression that the change in the boundary has been proposed in order to allow bauxite mining in the future. The committee also observed that the mining site should not extend into the denotified area.
Notable that on 22 September 2021 Odisha Bytes reported that the auction of Karlapat iron ore and bauxite block was put on hold, in compliance with an interim order of the Orissa High court. Karlapat was among the 11 mineral blocks put up for auction by the Odisha government. Incidentally, Karlapat bauxite block lies near the Karlapat Sanctuary, a designated elephant corridor in the Kalahandi district, and is considered ecologically very sensitive. It is also important to note that Vedanta’s aluminium company is not very far from the area, and it is in the same district.
Environmentalists believe that mining of the Karlapat bauxite block would dry up 300 large and small streams in the sanctuary.
Though the decision is yet not finalised, it won’t be impossible on the part of the Odisha Government to get the Ministry’s approval. Now, the MoEF&CC has to ensure sustainability. Moreover, it is a place in the same State from which Climate Activist Archana Soreng belongs to. Soreng says Indigenous communities like hers make up only 5% of the world’s population. But they protect more than 20% of our planet’s land and 80% of its biodiversity. Will Soreng respond to this also?
Boost C&D Wastes Recycling to curb Sand Mining
Published in our 27th April 2022 Print Edition
Sand plays an indispensable part in human life. It has a major role in construction. Though the required quantity is too less, it also has a place in rituals. Even then, it’s too difficult to define sand on a scientific line. Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles between 150 micron to 4.75 mm in diameter (Indian Standard Specification IS 383-1970). Sand is formed due to weathering of rocks due to mechanical forces. In the process the weathered rocks form gravel and then sand. Read more free of cost
World Heritage Forests, Carbon Sinks
Published in our 20th April 2022 Print Edition
Since 1982, International Day for Monuments and Sites has been observed on 18th April. This year’s theme is Heritage and Climate. The theme has wider relevance as climate change is one of the defining issues of current time, and among the greatest threats facing cultural and natural.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) One in three natural sites and one in six cultural heritage sites are currently threatened by climate change. In recent years, the world, including India, has witnessed several cultural and natural heritage sites threatened by wildfires, floods, storms and mass-bleaching events. Some of these wildfires originated from industrial sources, human activities and some occurred from nature’s wrath. Indian Forest is fire prone in a highly to extreme category. The number of large forest fires reported during November 2020 and June 2021 was maximum 3044 in Odisha, followed by Madhya Pradesh (2970), Maharashtra (2201) and Chhattisgarh (2057).
UNESCO’s report, World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure, reveals that a staggering 60% of World Heritage forests are threatened by climate change-related events. Marine sites are equally under pressure, with two-thirds of these vital carbon stores – home to 15% of global blue carbon assets – currently experiencing high risks of degradation.
Researchers at UNESCO, the World Resources Institute and the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) have assessed the gross and net carbon absorbed and emitted by 257 UNESCO World Heritage forests between 2001 and 2020. They found that these 257 sites stored approximately 13 billion tonnes of carbon in vegetation and soils. This exceeds the amount of carbon in Kuwait’s 101 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The majority of the World Heritage forest carbon is stored in tropical sites. If all this stored carbon were to be released into the atmosphere as CO2, it would be akin to emitting 1.3 times the world’s total annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
The researchers have found that 10 of 257 forests emitted more carbon than they captured between 2001 and 2020 due to different anthropogenic disturbances and pressures.
On International Day for Monuments and Sites 2022 UNESCO has brought a report “World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure”, a report that provides the first global scientific assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration by forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites.
It reveals that despite substantial carbon stored and absorbed by forests across UNESCO’s World Heritage network, the climate benefits of even some of the world’s most iconic and protected forests are under pressure from land use and climate change. For example, over the past 20 years, World Heritage sites lost 3.5 million hectares of forest (an area larger than Belgium) and forests in 10 World Heritage sites emitted more carbon than they absorbed. Continued reliance on these forests’ carbon sinks and storage depends on improved forest protection.
The reasons for emissions to be greater than sequestration included clearance of land for agriculture, the increasing scale and severity of wildfires due to drought, as well as extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes.
India’s Sundarbans National Park is among five sites that have the highest blue carbon stocks globally. Blue carbon is an organic carbon that is mainly obtained from decaying plant leaves, wood, roots and animals. It is captured and stored by coastal and marine ecosystems.
The #UNESCO report suggests three distinct pathways to secure these forests as carbon sinks for future generations against severe weather events and land-use pressures. (1) Rapid and effective responses can help prevent devastation from climate-related events, (2) Support mechanisms that maximise intactness and connectivity of forests and (3) Integrate World Heritage sites into climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development agendas. However, while dealing with forests in many parts of India, it is indispensable to include the forest dwellers and understand their lifestyle.
Differentiate CER from CSR to make it effective
15th April 2022
The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, widely known as CSR is not new in India. If we look back, there were several towns and villages, temples, educational institutions, hospitals created by the Tatas, Birlas, and probably by many other industry and business houses. All these have huge significance, even today. Now, CSR has a legal binding. However, according to the latest available data for the fiscal ending 31st March 2021, which was worst hit by the pandemic, a mere 0.24% of the total number of registered companies participated in CSR. The concept of CSR is provided under the Companies Act, 2013 and Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules 2014.
At the same time, there are provisions made under the Corporate Environment Responsibility (CER) activity. As per the Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 1st May 2018, a maximum of 2% in case of Greenfield projects with capital investment or capital expenditure (CAPEX) of less than or equal to 100 Crore, and 1% of Additional CAPEX in case of Brownfield projects; was to be kept reserved for CER activities. There were five slabs upto above 10,000 Crore CAPEX 0.25% and 0.125%, for greenfield and brownfield projects, respectively. However this has changed now as per OM vide Subscribe to read more
Green Governance must for Good Health
6th April 2022
Theme of World Health Day this year is Our Planet, Our Health. Very justified, and judicious. The corona pandemic is not yet over. The planet is becoming increasingly polluted day by day. Diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, et al are on the rise. In such a situation, on World Health Day 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is focussing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
At such a challenging time, one should ponder upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s One-Word Movement. The One-Word, LIFE, in the context of climate that can become the basic foundation of One World. L, I, F, E, which means Lifestyle For Environment.
Nevertheless, in today’s India, responsible governance is even important to create a 360 degree behavioural change in the entire nation. Skipping important decisions; overlooking non-compliances by all types of industries - micro, small, medium and even large; diluting criminal activities as per laws are on the rise. To read full article Subscrbe to our print edition.
States, UTs ignoring importance of CBWTD?
Published in our Print Edition on 30th March 2022
Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal issue has been raised in Lok Sabha, twice, during the ongoing Parliament Session. Two MPs questioned on 14th March, while six MPs asked on 21st March 2022. According to the replies of the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, only 208 Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility (CBWTD) with an installed capacity of 1167.4 Tonnes per Day are operating throughout the country. The information furnished in the Lok Sabha was as per reports submitted by the Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees in 2020. Maharashtra has the maximum 30 facilities, followed by 25 in Karnataka and 21 in Uttar Pradesh. There are no operational CBWTFs in 9 States and Union Territories.
At the same time, according to 2019 data shared by statista.com, 18,99,230 beds were available in India. It’s also sourced from Reserve Bank of India data that till 2019 considering the number of only government hospitals, Tamil Nadu was on Advertise/Subscribe to read more
Controlling Air Pollution Data
Published in our Print Edition on 16th March 2022
Top Indians leaders have been reiterating India’s commitment towards environmental conservation. Basic environmental awareness has increased in several parts of the country. Weak areas are successfully identified by activists and media. Now, environmental issues are often discussed in both the Houses of Parliament. In spite of so much focus from everyone, authentic and valid environmental data has remained a major concern. On 14th March 2022, while replying to questions raised by Ashok Kumar Rawat, Member of Parliament, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav mentioned that there is no established mechanism for ranking the cities in terms of pollution. It also requires authentic data and proper peer review. Several private institutions and universities rank cities by adopting different methodologies, different sets of data and using different weightage to parameters. The Union Minister also stated that the data used for ranking is extracted primarily from satellite imageries, which are not validated by proper ground truthing. And, easy access to similar unreliable data affects perception and beliefs of common mass. Advertise/ Subscribe to read more
Something About Hydroinformatics
Water security is a major – and growing – challenge for many countries today. The global population is spiralling, and estimates show that with current practices, the world will face a 40% shortfall between forecasted demand and available supply of water by 2030. Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 would require a 60% increase in agricultural production, which consumes 70% of water resources today, and a 15% increase in water withdrawals. More free reading
Basics of Fuel Hydrogen
From our Print Issue 2nd March 2022
Hydrogen is widely considered to be a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications. It takes energy to produce molecular hydrogen. The source of energy and the production method used to make molecular hydrogen determines whether it’s classified as grey hydrogen, blue hydrogen or green hydrogen. More free reading
Are Solar Projects Really Environment-friendly?
23rd February 2022
There has been a visible impact of solar energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last few years. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India's land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy, if captured effectively, can meet the entire country's power requirements. And, the government has been aggressively working towards it.
Erik Solheim, an eminent environmentalist, quoted Bhadla Solar Park in Jodhpur District of Rajasthan in a social media platform. Besides being the President of Green Belt and Road Institute, Erik has many feathers on his cap. In his message, More Free Reading
Quit Cigarette for Climate
16th February 2022
In a move to fight against microplastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are ...
It generates 55 Mt wastewater. The sector’s annual climate change impact at 84 Mt CO2 eq is comparable to entire countries’ emissions and 0.2% of the global ..
Why HSPCB displayed a trader’s product to Union Ministers?
9th February 2022
Amidst the reigning, though diminishing fear of Corona, on the eve of World Wetlands Day 2022, a national level programme was organised at Sultanpur National Park, which falls within the ambit of Haryana’s Gurugram District administration. Quite close to New Delhi. The Chief Minister of Haryana presided over the function. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav as Chief Guest, and the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwani Kumar Choubey as Special Guest, graced the special occasion. It was a limited, but meaningful gathering. Children from school also participated. A few stalls of exhibition were also there. Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and Hero MotoCorp were on the most prominent spots from the entry point. Haryana State Biodiversity Board, Haryana Pond and Wastewater Management Authority, Maharashtra Bamboo Development Board from Nagpur were among others. Subscribe to read more
2nd February 2022
According to a 2019 UN report, sand and gravel resources are the second-largest resource extracted and traded by volume after water. The UN had expressed concern over the growing trend of untenable and illegal extraction in marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems. Unsustainable sand extraction does not only impact the environment but can also have far-reaching social implications. Matter of Original Application No. 33/2020/EZ in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has paramount significance, in which the Applicant alleged illegalities and violations of pollution norms by sand mining operators in the Subarnarekha River in Odisha. And, the Applicant’s accusations were said to be justified as per report of a Joint Committee constituted by the NGT. Use of machines was not allowed to the sand miners. They were permitted only for manual mining.
One of the major aspects of the complaint was about the excess mining beyond the permissible limit and throughout day and night. Also, mining beyond the designated lease area. The NGT also observed in its order dated 2nd December 2020 that the most glaring illegality was to grant Consent to Operate (CTO) by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Subscribe to read more
Tribute to India’s Iconic Tigress
19th January 2022
India is home to more than 70% of the world's tigers. As per latest estimates, tiger population in India stood at 2,967. Madhya Pradesh is house to maximum 526 tigers, followed by Karnataka’s 524. Tiger is our national and culture heritage and therefore revered by many Nationals as its National Animal.
Looking at the mortality rate of tigers, the number also stands maximum 202 in Madhya Pradesh between 2012 and 2020. Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh had lost 17 during the same period. But the loss of a tigress, last weekend, was enormous when one of the most famous tigers of our country, Collarwali, breathed her last in Pench Reserve. She had featured in BBC Wildlife documentary “Spy in the Jungle”.
On her demise, thousands of messages expressing profound grief surfaced in social media, including those from the Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan. BBC describes her as India's "Super Mom" tigress was no ordinary big cat. Legendary Tigress leaves a set incredible records. 2005 born Collarwali, in her 16+ years, played pivotal role in changing the fortunes of the Pench Tiger Reserve in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The same forests that are believed to have inspired Rudyard Kipling's classic - The Jungle Book. Collarwali is acclaimed for her contribution towards Tiger population in India. In May 2008, she delivered three cubs, her first litter. But none survived. Reportedly due to pneumonia. In 2010, Collarwali surprised everyone by delivering five cubs in a litter. She instantly gained popularity for this incredible record.
She gave birth to 29 cubs in 8 litters, out of which 25 survived, which is also reckoned as a world record. This glorifies Collarwali, also named as T-15, with her exceptional motherhood and caring.
Collarwali was born to T-1, also known as Charger, and T-7 alias Badi Mata, another famous tigress of Pench. She was the first-born of four cubs, and all of them were featured, along with the mother. According to some, Collarwali name came after she being first to be tied with a radio collar in 2008. It’s also said that her radio collar was replaced in 2010 after which she was known by the name Collarwali. Whatever be it, after establishing her own territory, Collarwali in the prime area of her mother's range, she rarely stepped out of it, and reigned there until her death. Survival and killing skills are highly important for any mother Tigress to raise her cubs properly, which T-15 had inherited from her mother. Many times she was spotted preying on Sambhar deer, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and heavy herbivorous like Indian Gaur. The tigress was also famous for her Two-kills-a-day. Such master skills must have helped her to raise such a good number of cubs.
Apart of being a good killer, Collarwali was also a great mentor. She was reportedly seen teaching her cubs on making-a-kill techniques like sharpening of claws, patience, position to attack, when to attach and how to attack.
Collarwali was also popular for her boldness. It is said that before she was born, tiger sightings were rare at Pench. Wildlife Experts orates her to be so bold that she rarely disappointed Pench tourists and visitors. Every year, thousands of tourists head to the 51 tiger reserves dotted across India, hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic animal. And Queen Collarwali never hesitated to walk out on the kaccha road when she heard jeeps coming, as if she wanted to be seen. Hence, she was also called her a tourist lover. Even on the day of her demise, more than 40 safaris were in Pench Reserve.
Colossal Tigress - in size, in fame, fondness and even fear, Collarwali was cremated with honour on Sunday in an open ground in Karamjhiri range of Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Pench National Park at the hands of Shanta Bai, a local tribal leader. Forest staff, naturalists and local villagers offered flowers and prayers. Important to note, most of the tiger deaths reported during 2012 – 2020 happened in December and January.
Though Collarwali passed away, she will continue to live in many hearts. As Mirae Assets mentions in their condolence message, “Her roars will always resonate in the forests of India. May her Tiger tribe continue to grow and flourish.”