WTO's annual Public Forum to focus on how trade can contribute to a greener future

30th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The World Trade Organization's (WTO) upcoming annual Public Forum, set to take place from September 12-15, 2023, will focus on how international trade can contribute to a more sustainable future. The theme of this year's forum, "It is Time for Action," will explore the role of the services sector, digitalization, and inclusive trade policies in supporting global environmental goals and addressing the climate crisis.

The event will feature three main topics: "The role of the services sector in sustainable trade," "Inclusive policies for the advancement of green trade," and "Digitalization as a tool for the greening of supply chains." Sessions will be led by representatives from civil society, academia, business, government, and international organizations.

The Public Forum provides a unique platform for interested stakeholders from around the world to discuss the latest developments in global trade and propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. Registration and a call for proposals will open in May 2023. This event is the WTO's largest outreach event and is not to be missed.

NGT orders actions to protect water body in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, including penalty for Hotel Presidency's environmental violations

30th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The National Green Tribunal's Eastern Zone Bench has issued several directives to protect water bodies in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area. The Bench has noted that Nayapali Haza and Natural Drain No.10 have been encroached upon and directed actions to be taken to protect them. The encroachment of water bodies is a serious environmental issue, and the Bench's directives are aimed at safeguarding them.

The Bench has found that Hotel Presidency is in violation of environmental norms, despite having an STP. The State Pollution Control Board has been directed to take concrete steps against the hotel within one month and proceed with the determination of Environmental Compensation. The directive to the State Pollution Control Board is significant as it ensures that the hotel is held accountable for its actions and provides an opportunity to rectify the environmental damage caused.

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Development Authority, and the General Administration and Public Grievance Department have been directed to ensure compliance with previous orders within six months. This is a significant step towards ensuring that government agencies are held accountable for their actions and take concrete steps towards environmental protection.

The Bench has also directed the removal of a Shani Dev Temple, which was allowed to come up on Government land. The directive is significant as it sends a clear message that encroachment of Government land is not permissible, and necessary steps must be taken to remove the temple from the encroached land.

Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd. has been ordered to remove all the dumped garbage at Nayapalli Haza at their own cost within a week. The directive is significant as it ensures that the company takes responsibility for the environmental damage caused and takes necessary steps to rectify it.

The State Pollution Control Board and the State Respondents have been asked to submit a compliance report by 26.09.2023. The matters arev listed as OA No. 123/2022/EZ and I.A. NO. 17/2023/EZ This is significant as it ensures that the directives issued by the Bench are followed, and necessary steps are taken towards environmental protection. Overall, the Bench's directives are significant steps towards ensuring environmental protection and holding responsible parties accountable for their actions. 

$35T investment needed by 2030 for successful 1.5°C climate target energy transition

29th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has warned that the global energy transition is off-track and requires urgent attention. The World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 Preview was introduced by IRENA’s Director-General, Francesco La Camera, at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue. The Preview calls for bold and transformative measures to reflect the urgency of the situation, including investment and comprehensive policies to promote renewable energy and instigate the structural changes required for a predominantly renewables-based energy transition.

While there has been progress in the power sector, with renewables accounting for 40% of installed power globally and contributing to an unprecedented 83% of global power additions in 2022, the scale and extent of change falls far short of the 1.5°C pathway. To keep the 1.5°C target alive, deployment levels must grow from 3,000 GW today to over 10,000 GW in 2030, an average of 1,000 GW annually. However, deployment is limited to certain parts of the world, with China, the European Union, and the United States accounting for two-thirds of all additions in 2022 and leaving developing nations further behind.

La Camera emphasized that a profound and systemic transformation of the global energy system must occur in under 30 years, underscoring the need for a new approach to accelerate the energy transition. The Preview outlines three priority pillars of the energy transition: physical infrastructure, policy and regulatory enablers, and a well-skilled workforce, requiring significant investment and new ways of cooperation. The emphasis must shift from supply to demand to overcome the structural obstacles impeding progress.

Although global investment in energy transition technologies reached a new record of USD 1.3 trillion in 2022, yearly investments must more than quadruple to over USD 5 trillion to stay on the 1.5°C pathway. By 2030, cumulative investments must amount to USD 44 trillion, with transition technologies representing 80% of the total, or USD 35 trillion, prioritizing efficiency, electrification, grid expansion, and flexibility. Any new investment decisions should be carefully assessed to simultaneously drive the transition and reduce the risk of stranded assets.

IRENA’s Preview warns that a lack of progress further increases investment needs and calls for a systematic change in the volume and type of investments to prioritize the energy transition. Around USD 1 trillion of planned annual fossil fuel investment by 2030 must be redirected towards transition technologies and infrastructure to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. Public sector intervention is also required to channel investments towards countries in a more equitable way.

The report shows India's RE share of electricity capacity has reached up to 33.7% in 2022 as against 22.5% in 2013. Among several valuable data, the report depicts India's total RE capacity at 162 963 MW in 2022, as compared to 63 589 MW in 2013. 

La Camera emphasized the need for stronger international collaboration to achieve the energy transition, including collective efforts to channel more funds to developing countries. The forthcoming 2023 edition of IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook (WETO) will contribute to the first Global Stocktake concluding at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates and propose effective ways to accelerate progress over the next five years towards 2030.

IRENA is the lead intergovernmental agency for the global energy transformation with 168 members.

G20 nations renew commitment to combat climate crisis at ECSWG meeting in Gandhinagar

29th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Second G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting concluded in Gandhinagar with shared views on outcomes of priority areas. Constructive deliberations among G20 countries took place on Arresting Land Degradation, Accelerating Ecosystem Restoration and Enriching Biodiversity, Promoting a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Blue Economy and Encouraging Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy. The G20 countries reaffirmed their commitment towards combatting the environment and climate crisis with a renewed sense of urgency.

On Day 1, the Ministry of Jal Shakti led a side event showcasing India’s ancient water management practices. During other sessions, G20 countries presented their best practices in Water Resource Management. The second day included opening remarks by G20 Co-chair for India, Ms. Richa Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The key inputs from the 1st ECSWG, focused group discussions, and member countries' written inputs were the highlight of the session on Biodiversity, Land Degradation, and Ecosystem Restoration.

The draft G20 documents on the sub-themes identified under the Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy formed the key discussion points during the technical session on Circular Economy. The final day of the 2nd ECSWG meeting had a special address by Ms. Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Union Minister of State for Railways and Textiles, Government of India.

The technical session witnessed engaging discussions to outline ways of effectively accelerating the transition to a sustainable and climate resilient Blue Economy. The concluding technical session of the day was on alignment of Global Biodiversity Framework 2022 and its implementation modalities under the priority of biodiversity, land degradation, and ecosystem restoration. The conference ended on a note of collaboration with a goal to refine the proposed outcomes under the G20 India Presidency.

The discussions during this meeting will be taken forward at the 3rd ECSWG meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Mumbai from 21st – 23rd May, 2023.

What is per kg emission cost of air emission?

EAC approves company's RP and NCRAP against EIA regulations violation

28th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

During the 41st meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for the Appraisal of Coal Mining Projects held on March 13-14, 2023, the expansion of Medapalli Opencast Coal Mine from 3 MTPA to 5 MTPA at Ramagundam Area was discussed. The project, which involves a mine lease area of 1145.03 hectares of The Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. in village Medapalli, Pedapalli District in Telangana, was found to be in violation of EIA Regulations. The land area has been categorized as a Quarry Area, External Dump Area, Roads and Infrastructure Area, and Safe Barrier and Embankment, occupying 382.91 hectares, 506.76 hectares, 128.40 hectares, and 126.96 hectares, respectively.

The project violates the EIA Notification, 2006, as per Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), S.O. No. 804 (E) dated 14.03.2017 and its subsequent amendments. The company produced coal beyond the EC capacity of 4.09 MTPA during the five years i.e. 2010-11, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, totaling an excess production of 2.16 MTPA. The company submitted a parameter-wise cost per Kg of emission as 524 for PM2.5, 340 for PM10, 165 for SOx, and 96 for NOx. The total Damage Cost was calculated to be 1,24,48,081/=. The company also submitted a groundwater damage cost of 3,42,191/= and a surface water damage cost of 1,62,591/=. It also considered 2% of profit of ₹118.76 Crores for Remediation Plan as well as Natural and Community Resource Augmentation Plan (NCRAP) 2,37,54,239/=. Thus the Total Remediation Plan as well as Natural and Community Resource Augmentation Plan cost was submitted by the company as to be slightly more than 3.67 Crore.

The company submitted the cost for Remediation Plan, Natural Resource Augmentation Plan, and Community Resource Augmentation Plan based on damage assessment, and the same was found to be adequate. The cost of Remediation Plan is 1.25 Crore, Natural Resources Augmentation Plan is ₹0.76 Crore, and Community Resources Augmentation Plan is 1.67 Crore. The EAC found the same satisfactory and recommended for spending within a span of 2 years.

Currently, the Coal mine life is exhausted, as the extraction of reserves and OB has been accomplished on 01.07.2022. Presently, the project proponent is carrying out the mine closure activities as per the approved mine closure plan. The Committee emphasized the need to rejuvenate the mine pit so that it may be used for the purpose of groundwater recharge as well as the sources of water for the villagers. The project proponent must set up a water treatment plant facility near the mine pit, and after the treatment, the water should be supplied to villagers through a permanent water tank facility having a capacity not less than 500 Kilo litres.

The committee has recommended several measures to rejuvenate a mine pit and make it useful for groundwater recharge and as a water source for villagers. The project proponent must install a water treatment plant near the mine pit and supply treated water to villagers through a permanent water tank with a capacity of at least 500 kiloliters. The pond should be designed to allow for part of it to be used by nearby farmers for cattle in consultation with the Gran Panchayat. In addition to constructing an overhead water tank, the project proponent must construct irrigation tanks for local villagers. The committee also suggests that the project proponent develop solar parks, eco-friendly parks, fish-farming ponds, picnic spots, and sports compounds. The project proponent must engage in wildlife conservation activities and involve wildlife experts to complete them within two years. All exotic species in the mine lease area must be replaced with native species, and proper garland drains and retaining walls should be constructed as needed and maintained regularly.

All recommendations in the National Clean Air Program (NCRAP) must be included in the mine closure activity and completed concurrently. The Coal Controller Organization (CCO) must ensure that these activities are completed along with other mine closure activities before disbursing the escrow amount deposited by the project proponent.

The project proponent must complete tree plantation, particularly fruit-bearing trees, along the village road within two months of receiving the environmental clearance from the MoEF&CC. The plantation must also be done along the mine boundary and mine pit. A detailed report with GIS images must be submitted every three months to justify the adequate tree plantation in the subsequent six-monthly report.

The committee has noted that the project proponent must approach the CCO for approval of the revised mine closure plan for mine closing activities. These activities must be inspected by the Integrated Regional Office, every six months.

India implements programs to tackle climate change and heat waves: Ashwini Kumar Choubey

27th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, has stated that the government of India has taken numerous steps towards environmental sustainability and climate change, cutting across various sectors, and implemented through various programs and schemes of different Union Ministries, Departments, and State/ Union Territory Governments. 

Some of the measures are: to promote environmental sustainability and combat climate change across different sectors through programs and schemes of various Union Ministries, Departments, and State/ Union Territory Governments. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is organizing workshops, exhibitions, campaigns, competitions, and more to raise public awareness on environmental issues. Additionally, the government has launched various initiatives such as Mission LiFE, the Environment Education Programme, and the Water Technology Initiative to promote sustainable practices and conservation. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is also taking steps to increase public awareness of the health impacts of climate change, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is implementing the Per Drop More Crop scheme to enhance water use efficiency at the farm level.

The government has also launched the Startup India initiative to create a supportive ecosystem for innovation and startups in the country. The action plan for Startup India includes government support, schemes, and incentives, including the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme, which provides financial assistance to startups across the country at various stages of development.

Parliamentarians Unite Across Party Lines to Tackle Air Pollution with Comprehensive Plan

26th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In light of the severe impact of air pollution on human health in various parts of India, the Parliamentarians’ Group for Clean Air (PGCA) has launched a compendium to empower its members to monitor factors impacting air pollution levels in their respective constituencies. The group, consisting of 35 Members of Parliament across party lines, aims to seek answers for better implementation of government policies. The compendium was developed by the Swaniti Initiative, the Secretariat to the PGCA.

In addition to launching the compendium, the group discussed a charter of demands that will be presented to the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav and several state governments. The charter highlights the need for the integration of air quality and public health in policy matters, the installation of appropriate infrastructure in rural and urban areas to capture even finer pollutants, and international cooperation to reduce the effects of transboundary air pollution. The group also stresses the importance of partnerships between industries, government, and other stakeholders to adopt clean air initiatives.

Speaking about the workshop, Gaurav Gogoi, MP, Lok Sabha is the Convener of PGCA, said, “We are really encouraged to see the Hon’ble Members of Parliament coming together for the Clean Air workshop. The alarming levels of air pollution have been a growing concern for our country, and it’s time we address it collectively. The workshop facilitated by Swaniti Initiative, under the guidance of the PGCA, has been a significant step towards achieving our goal of Clean Air. We hope to see more initiatives and actions taken to combat air pollution for a healthy future for our citizens.”

The launch took place during a two-day Clean Air workshop in Gurugram, where the MPs discussed the issues and possible solutions around air pollution. The compendium includes a list of all member MPs and their respective constituencies on page 29.

Earth Hour Brings about a Significant Reduction of Over 1.7 Million Electricity Units in NCR City Gurugram 

26th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Earth Hour is an annual event that promotes climate action and sustainability by urging individuals, businesses, and governments to turn off non-essential lights for one hour in their local time zone, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.

The one-hour switch-off movement during Earth Hour in Gurugram was highly successful, resulting in a remarkable saving of 17.05 Lac Units of power. The city's power consumption on March 25, 2023, decreased from 236.57 Lac Units to 219.52 Lac Units, compared to the previous day. Notably, taking into account the average power consumption of Gurugram between March 21-24, 2023, which stood at 237.35 Lac Units, the saving was 17.83 Lac units.

Based on the carbon intensity of electricity in India in the financial year 2020-21, which was approximately 0.82 kg CO2/kWh, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates that the city saved 14.5906 Lac kg CO2 emissions. This commendable effort had a significant positive impact on the environment.

Sanjay Kumar Chugh, the General Secretary of Urja Samiti, expressed his gratitude to the residents of Gurugram for their participation in observing Earth Hour and turning off all non-essential lights during the event. Chugh passionately appealed to all Gurugrammers to continue supporting initiatives promoting sustainability and climate action.

Flow Meters on Underground Reservoirs to Ensure Clean Water Access for All Delhitees 

25th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a recent review meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the installation of flow meters on all Underground Reservoirs (UGRs) across the state to combat water wastage and ensure access to clean water for all residents. 

The government aims to closely monitor water usage and detect leaks or other issues that may lead to wastage. Additionally, wherever the groundwater level is higher, the government plans to install industrial Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems to provide clean and pure water to people's homes. The article details the government's efforts to tackle challenges related to land acquisition for installing tube wells and the installation of flow meters on every tapping. 

The government's plan to create a sustainable water supply system in the city is discussed in detail. 

Delhi plans Ammonia Removal Plant for polluted Yamuna water from Haryana

25th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Delhi government plans to set up an ammonia removal plant to treat polluted Yamuna water coming from Haryana, which has been obstructing the functioning of Delhi's water treatment plants. The plant will be developed at Wazirabad WTP, and the treated water will be purified in the WTP. DJB officials have completed the technical feasibility work of the project and are preparing a technical report. The government aims to get rid of the problem within 6 months. The Chief Minister is personally monitoring the project and is committed to providing clean water to the people of Delhi. 

Successful Conclusion of First Fish Week: WTO Members Engage in Illuminating Discussions on Fisheries Subsidies Negotiating Objectives 

25th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

During the first of a series of “Fish Weeks” held on 20-24 March, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) voiced their views on the outcomes they would like to see from the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations. The meetings served as a foundation for deeper discussions next month on the best approaches to curbing subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. The chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, expressed satisfaction with the positive spirit with which members engaged in discussions, and hopes to reach an agreement by the 13th Ministerial Conference scheduled for February 2024.

Members of the WTO agreed that ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks is a shared objective, and noted the importance of all three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. There is a widely held view that disciplines concerning overcapacity and overfishing should focus on the most harmful subsidies, particularly those provided to large-scale industrial fishing. Members also debated the relevance of concepts such as the Polluter Pays Principle and the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility.

Acknowledging that special and differential treatment (SDT) is an integral part of the negotiations, members called for the safeguarding of the livelihood and food security of small-scale and artisanal fishers. Some members see SDT as a means to help developing and least developed countries (LDCs) comply with substantive disciplines, while others believe that SDT should provide such members with policy space to develop their fishing sectors. Many members stated that they do not seek policy space to pursue subsidies that undermine sustainability.

The chair also consulted with members on setting up the Committee on Fisheries Subsidies, with delegations stressing the importance of starting technical work early to ensure that members are well-prepared when the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, adopted at MC12 in June 2022, enters into force. The chair will continue to reflect on the appropriate modalities for this work. Formal acceptances from two-thirds of WTO members are needed for the Agreement to come into effect.

Altigreen's neEV Tez delivers a milestone: 200 vehicles in a single day

24th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

India's leading commercial electric vehicle manufacturer, Altigreen, has achieved a significant milestone by delivering 200 of its neEV Tez vehicles to B2B and B2C customers in a single day. The customers, including businesses such as Buy 2 Coffee, Fyn Mobility, DCO, Motherhood Foods, and Go One, received their new vehicles at a specially organized event at Altigreen's Retail Experience Centre in Bengaluru through Magnum Ventures. Prior to the delivery, a rally featuring Altigreen's vehicles was held in the vicinity of the dealership. 

Altigreen's CEO, Dr Amitabh Saran, expressed pride in the overwhelming response from customers and the role that the company is playing in helping businesses in India transition to electric mobility.

The neEV Tez is an extremely cost-efficient, solid workhorse that finds use in various applications, including retail, cold storage, FMCG distribution, grocery, couriers, and fertilizers. It is the world's fastest charging 3-wheeler, featuring Exponent's 3-in-one connector, which allows users to choose between slow, fast, and superfast charging options. The neEV Tez takes just 15 minutes for a full charge at Exponent's E pump, 3.5 hours for slow charging with a 220V/16 A socket, and up to 1 hour at the Bharat DCOO1 charging station.

Altigreen's neEV Tez solves several issues that EV fleets currently face, such as long vehicle-charging time, inconsistent charging experience, and the need for 3PL players to set up their own hubs to solve both charging and parking. The neEV Tez offers 1-hour charging on the DC001 network and a 15-minute full charge at an e^pump, compared to the industry average of about 4 hours. The battery comes with a 3000-cycle life warranty with 100% rapid charging, compared to the industry average of around 1000 cycle life. With the neEV Tez, customers can use the same vehicle to complete two shifts, increasing productivity and profits. Additionally, with a public e^pump network, customers don't have to install charging hubs, further boosting profits.

According to a Press Release, Altigreen, which recently completed ten years of formation, is constantly ramping up its capabilities through innovation and has aggressive expansion plans to widen its pan-India presence and cater to the rising demand. The company's commercial electric 3W offering, neEV, recently achieved the feat of completing a 150+ km intercity drive between two iconic places of Karnataka on a single charge in about six hours. Altigreen's product offering stands on four strong pillars: longest range, largest volumetric capacity, highest ground clearance, and greatest torque. The company has received several global awards from organizations such as WorldWide Fund for Nature, Niti Aayog, ARAI, and Economic Times. Recently, Altigreen raised a Rs 300 Cr investment from Sixth Sense, Xponentia, Reliance New Energy, Accurant, and Momentum.

Ministry's Expert Committee questions export of Green Ammonia proposal, opines hazards for green ammonia may not be greener 

22nd March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Deliberating on an application seeking clarification of applicability of EIA Notification 2006 on Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia Projects, an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has stated that there are several issues which need to be carefully considered when assessing the environmental impact of green hydrogen and green ammonia projects. Some points to note are:

Hazards of Green Ammonia: The EAC has cautioned that the hazards associated with green ammonia may not be significantly different from those of black or grey ammonia. Therefore, it is important to carefully assess the risks associated with the production and handling of green ammonia.

Ammonia as a Fertilizer: The EAC has also remarked that it is incorrect to state that ammonia is not a fertilizer. Ammonia is also a fertilizer, except that its use requires adequate precautions due to its toxic nature. 

Exporting Green Ammonia: The EAC has raised concerns about the carbon footprint associated with the export of green ammonia. It suggests that it may be more environmentally friendly to produce green ammonia locally and use it within the country rather than exporting it to distant locations.

Technological Limitations: There are several technological limitations to the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia that need to be carefully considered. For example, the availability of solar or wind power may be limited by weather conditions, and grid power from TPP may be required as a backup. Additionally, there is currently no indigenous capability for making electrolysers, and membranes used in electrolysers are patented items.

Proper Assessment Required: To properly assess the environmental impact of green hydrogen and green ammonia projects, it is important to conduct a detailed analysis of various aspects such as techno-economic feasibility, raw materials, material balance, water balance, energy consumption, possible environmental and hazard issues, and carbon footprint.

The statement of the EAC of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change highlights the importance of carefully assessing the environmental impact of green hydrogen and green ammonia projects, taking into account various technological, economic, and environmental factors.

WTO Members Push Forward on Environmental Issues in Specific Sectors 

21st March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

World Trade Organization (WTO) members taking part in the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) advanced work in four informal working groups covering climate measures, subsidies, environmental goods and services, and the circular economy at their first meeting of the year on 16-17 March. Stakeholders from the private sector, civil society and international organizations also contributed to the discussions. 

In the Working Group on Trade-related Climate Measures, members reviewed carbon measurement standards and decarbonization measures in the iron and steel sector. The WTO Secretariat briefed on the 9 March event "Trade Forum for Decarbonization Standards," which aimed to promote coherence and transparency in the steel sector. The Secretariat also presented on decarbonization standards in the iron and steel sector and the role of WTO in supporting coherence based on a recent information brief.

The discussion provided an opportunity for members to share their perspectives and discuss ways to work together towards reducing carbon emissions in the iron and steel sector. The session also included an exchange among members on their experiences with the development and implementation processes of trade-related climate measures, supported by a briefing by the Secretariat on the Thematic Session on regulatory cooperation on climate change, which was held on 7 March 2023.

The Working Group on Subsidies focused on agricultural subsidies in its meeting. Members discussed the environmental effects of agricultural subsidies and the transparency of these measures as well as their experiences with the design of subsidies. 

In the Working Group on Environmental Goods and Services, members discussed the role of trade in promoting renewable energy, in particular solar energy, providing concrete examples and insights on key goods and services in the sector, bottlenecks that hinder their dissemination, challenges faced by developing countries, and opportunities and approaches to promote trade. The Secretariat reported on renewable energy services and related services that support the sector, while the United Kingdom illustrated how value chain analysis can be useful in building an evidence base on the role of environmental goods and services and related policies in promoting renewables. LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd. highlighted trade-related challenges and opportunities in the solar energy sector. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) briefed members on its activities in promoting access to and deployment of solar energy technology in developing countries.

In the Working Group on Circular Economy - Circularity, members discussed the trade aspects of batteries as a key component for the renewable energy sector. The Secretariat reported on mapping measures related to the circular economy in the WTO, with a focus on measures relating to batteries. Glencore, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) presented on their activities regarding circularity of batteries and trade-related challenges and opportunities, while the social enterprise Closing the Loop presented on trade-related challenges in developing countries regarding battery recycling.

Launched in November 2020, TESSD seeks to advance members' discussions at the intersection of trade and environment and complement the work of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment. The initiative, which is open to all WTO members, is currently co-sponsored by 74 members representing all regions and all levels of development.

Green Carpet: a global platform for Enterprises to monitor and manage business travel emissions

21st March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The alarming consequences of global warming have compelled nations across the globe to adopt strict measures to mitigate the damage and protect our planet for future generations. India has emerged as a front-runner in this vital initiative, demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability. 

With SEBI mandating that the top 1,000 listed companies in India adhere to the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) from FY23, Thomas Cook (India) Limited and its affiliate, SOTC Travel, have partnered with LTIMindtree, a global technology consulting and digital solutions leader, to launch "Green Carpet." This innovative platform represents a major milestone in the travel industry, offering an effective tool to monitor and manage business travel emissions on a global scale and promoting sustainable practices for the betterment of our planet.

Green Carpet is built on the combined prowess of Thomas Cook and SOTC’s deep expertise in the travel industry, LTIMindtree’s ESG consulting and digital solutions capabilities and also leverages the global expertise of Fairfax Digital Services (a Fairfax company).

A SaaS-based platform, “Green Carpet” is designed to address specific concerns faced by organizations, helping them capture, monitor, analyze and reduce their carbon emissions from business travel. It offers real-time insights related to Scope 3 emissions and helps organizations to significantly reduce their ESG reporting costs.

According to a media communication, “Green Carpet” enables:

1. Simplified data capture and analysis of travel emissions with real time dashboards

2. Adherence to BRSR and aligned to global audit requirements

3. Swift and easy integration with current business travel platforms of corporates

4. Advanced AI and ML to provide analytics and recommendations

5. Decision making to drive enterprise net zero goals

Madhavan Menon, Chairman and Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “Under its G20 Presidency, India has set ambitious ESG goals, and India Inc. has been called on to implement SEBI’s BRSR mandate starting FY23. The need for a trustworthy partner to provide accuracy and speed in reporting is hence an imperative. At Thomas Cook and SOTC, our leadership in the travel sector formed the basis of our partnership with LTIMindtree – a leading technology solutions provider. Green Carpet, therefore, not only embodies this potent partnership of leaders, but also leverages the global expertise of Fairfax Digital Services to collectively empower enterprises with the ability to seamlessly monitor and manage business travel emissions and drive their net zero goals.”

EAC approves IOCL Assam project to source River water in stead of sea water, previously mandated in Feb 2021 EC

15th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, for the appraisal of Industry 2 sector projects, in its 13th March 2023 meeting recommended all but 2 projects for the grant of #EIA clearance. 

The proposal of Prayagraj Impex LLP for Distillation Facility for 12000 KL/Annum of Petroleum Waste oil and Mixture of Hydrocarbons (Solvent & Hydrocarbon Recovery System) at Sugarpur Village in Nuh District (Mewat), Haryana was returned for the lack of Certificate from District Magistrate regarding applicability of Aaravali, SPCB's confirmation on no violation of EIA Notification, 2006,  NOC from irrigation department as a Canal is located at a distance of 766m from the project site. Apart from these, the EAC has also sought background concentration of VOC and hydrocarbons. 

Application of Hampi Sugars Pvt. Ltd. seeking EC for 400 KLPD Grain based Distillery (fuel to be used) at Jambunathanahalli Village, Hospet Taluk in Vijayanagara District of Karnataka State was also returned by the EACon account of pending land allotment.

However, the most important revelation is about the EC Amendment approved to Indian Oil Corporation Limited project Located at Noonmati Village, Guwahati Taluk, Kamrup District, Assam. In the EC dated 15th February 2021 for the project proposed Naphtha Hydro Treatment Unit (NHDT) and 90 KTPA Semi Regenerative Type Catalytic Reforming Unit (CRU), there was a specific condition "The treated effluent of 4.2 KLPH shall be sent for deep sea discharge through diffuser recommended by NIO." Similarly, there was another condition - "Total fresh water requirement for the  proposed project shall not exceed 162 KLPH to be met from Sea water. Necessary permission in this regard shall be obtained from the concerned regulatory authority."

Both these conditions are redundant as there is no sea in Assam.  Moreover, the project has been approved now to withdraw additional 162 KL/hr water from River Brahmaputra.  

Above all the project of Indian Oil Corporation Limited also sought and approved an exemption from CER activities. However, it was not clarifiedby the EAC, why so much of mistakes were there in the 2021 EC.

IQAir report shows Chad air worst polluted among 131 countries and territories

14th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: Only 13 of the world’s countries and territories had “healthy” air quality last year, according to a new report.

The report by IQAir, a company that tracks air quality worldwide, found that average annual air pollution in roughly 90% of the countries and territories analyzed exceeded the World Health Organization’s air quality guidelines, which are designed to help governments craft regulations to protect public health.

Out of 131 countries and territories, analyzed by IQAir average air quality in just six countries — Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand — and seven territories in the Pacific and Caribbean, including Guam and Puerto Rico, fell within the WHO air quality guidelines, which call for an average air pollution level of 5 micrograms per cubic meter or less.

Seven countries – Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kuwait and India – had poor air quality that far exceeded the WHO guidelines with average air pollution over 50 micrograms per cubic meter.

Glory Dolphin Hammes, CEO of IQAir North America said, Climate change-fueled wildfires play a significant role in worsening air quality, especially in the US. The report notes that wildfires in recent years have been rapidly erasing air quality improvements that the US has made over the past decade.

Hammes said countries must learn from each other, noting that the countries with best air quality, for example, are the ones taking on specific actions to transition away from polluting industries and into greener forms of energy, such as solar and wind.

NGT seeks factual report on Mitsui Kinzoku violating groundwater regulations  

7th March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has a sought a factual report in the matter illegal abstraction of groundwater by Mitsui Kinzoku Components India Pvt. Ltd. Hearing on the Original Application No. 138/2023 filed by Sanjaya Kumar Mishra against Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and the company; the Principal Bench of NGT, on Monday, Ordered formation of a joint Committee of CGWA, Central Pollution Control Board, HSPCB and District Magistrate, Rewari. The Committee has to report within 2 months.

Mitsui Kinzoku Components India Pvt. Ltd. is running a manufacturing unit in the industrial area, in Bawal, District Rewari, Haryana. Net groundwater availability in Bawal, as reported by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) was 7265 Ham. on 31.03.2009, which has declined to 4428.35 Ham. CGWB has categorized the area as ‘Over Exploited’. 

The company has not complied with the Conditions laid down in NOC dated 28th August 2011 issued by CGWA to the tune that it stands cancelled. at least from August 2012. 

Notable that Haryana State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation also served notice to the company on 23rd January 2009 regarding illegal abstraction of groundwater. It would be interesting to see how aptly the HSPCB acts. 

IFPRI-RIS Collaboration on Agriculture in BIMSTEC 

3rd March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration in research, policy advocacy and capacity building in agriculture especially agricultural trade in the BIMSTEC region. The collaboration aims to build on the RIS existing work on regional economic integration in the BIMSTEC region and as the Nodal Point for India for the BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks (BNPTT).


The specific objectives of the collaboration are to: Assess the potential of expanding regional exports of agricultural goods, particularly food processing sector; Address critical gaps in collection, compilation and standardisation of agriculture trade data; and build capacity among students, young scientists and practitioners on agriculture data, empirical techniques and analytical writing skills.


Both the institutions have organised several activities to disseminate the findings of the various research activities, such as two capacity-building programmes on BIMSTEC Regional Agriculture Trade Analysis at Chandigarh in September 2022 and Puducherry in February 2023; one virtual seminar on “Exploring Cooperation in Sustainable Agriculture and Value Addition in BIMSTEC Region” in October 2021; and conducted a study on Developments in Agriculture Trade in the BIMSTEC region lunched by the BIMSTEC Secretary General on August 24, 2022 at New Delhi.


During Indian Presidency of G20 in 2023, the collaboration could find new dimensions. Besides the overall thrust on sustainability, climate change, digital public infrastructure, financial inclusion, data for development, agriculture assumes importance as a priority sector. In particular, the following areas, that India has focussed on for G20, could be equally critical to strengthen cooperation in agriculture in the BIMSTEC region, such as food and nutritional security; climate-friendly agriculture; inclusive agri-value chains; and digital agriculture.


RIS is the official Knowledge Partner for the Agricultural Working Group (AWG) of G20 for the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.  Most importantly, RIS leads two very important task forces of Think 20 (T20), which are centred on LiFE and SDGs. Agriculture and allied activities are key to both the task forces. The IFPRI-RIS collaboration for BIMSTEC would draw upon the deliberations in the AWG and the two T20 task forces and perhaps identify the new areas of in-depth research and capacity building.

NGT Principal Bench stresses upon intervention to mitigate microplastics menace

3rd March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: Based on a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), dated 13th February 2023, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has acknowledged that Microplastics - both primary and secondary - pollute drinking water sources primarily through discharge of sewage/wastewater treatment plant effluent and surface runoff. As the sewage/wastewater treatment plants are not equipped for the complete removal of microplastics, the effluent released from these plants contains substantial quantity of microplastics. Upon mixing of this effluent with the freshwater sources, microplastics becomes part of the fresh/drinking water supply chain. Components of water treatment plants and water distribution system are usually made up of plastic materials such as high density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene etc. These further contribute towards microplastics generation in the water they carry. The treated bottled water is also reported to contain microplastics

In the air, suspended microplastics particles have been isolated from various places such as urbanized city centres, indoor households and remote outdoor regions. As there is wide range of microplastics size, it is highly likely that these particles are inhaled by the humans. 

The NGT Principal Bench, headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, has further deliberated that soil can get affected from plastics through various means such as plastic mulch films, municipal waste, sewage sludge, fertilizers coated with plastics. A significant positive correlation has been seen between the rate of sludge applied onto the soil and concentration of microplastics particles in the soil. microplastics concentrations have been detected in the air at dumpsites in India. Microplastics is also being reported in human saliva, blood, placenta, colon, stool and lungs. 

The NGT Principal Bench has observed the need for further remedial action for enforcing the ‘Sustainable Development’ and ‘Precautionary’ principles by way of preventive and remedial measures to neutralize anticipated harm to environment and public health.

The Green Court has stated that interventions need to be immediately introduced as short-term measures in future designing and manufacturing of products which are potential threat for generating MP like Textiles, Tyres, and Complementary Products, such as - laundry detergents, road surfaces, and vehicles; manufacture and sale of certain personal care and cosmetic products containing microplastics, household, commercial, or industrial washing machines. 

The NGT Order dated 1st March 2023 has stressed upon interventions be introduced at the earliest, preferably within four months from the date of Order by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in consultation with CPCB, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET), The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), and any other expert institutions as required. Any objections on the CPCB report may be raised before the Tribunal. 

Private Land Owners are also liable to pay EDC for illegal mining

1st March 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: In case of illegal mining in private land owners who have allowed such mining activities in their land are jointly liable for action. Hence, the environmental compensation for such land will be recovered from the mining company as well as from the land owners. District Magistrate has to recover the environmental compensation charges. The amount generated by way of environmental compensation shall be used for environmental restoration, which includes plantation, under the supervision of designated officers. 

The National Green Tribunal Eastern Zone Branch, comprising of Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Prof. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member, has stated in an Order while dealing with Original Application No.110/2020/EZ.

Tube wells to Taps thru RO, CM for daily QC Check, 77265 Km Indian Highways to cut 32.15 million tonnes of CO2 annually, EAC Ind 1 asks ultratech Nathdwara cement to balance groundwater 

Enviro Annotations 22nd February 2023 (209) issue covers:

+ Tube wells to Taps thru RO, CM for daily QC Check.

+ On Border Road issues Forest Advisory Committee asks for Law Ministry Advice

+ WSDS 2023 Instruments to facilitate long-term lending critical to facilitate green transition: Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa

+ NGT takes Haryana to task on vacant posts, Delhi Next? Damage in Doda Dist.

#editorial Harvest No Contaminated Rainwater

#biomedical waste management: Gaurav Garg’s Rejoinder raises doubts on UPPCB’s clean chit to Envirad Medicare

#Ocean Biodiversity: India urges for dedicated conservation and preservation of the oceans and its #biodiversity #sustainable eco development, coastal people under the UNCLOS

+Piyush Goyal calls for more investments in EVs, to boost electric mobility

+77265 Km Indian Highways to cut 32.15 million tonnes of CO2 annually

+Government working on reuse of Fertilizer waste in highway construction

+NMCG approves 9 projects worth ₹1278 Crore for Pollution Abatement in Ganga Basin, Drone Surveillance of Shahdara Drain

+CGWA allows change in withdrawal Quantity with Groundwater NOC Revival

+Delhi Government’s Tree Plantation Drive targets 5.2 Million trees

+State approves more STPs, Sewerage Management Projects as measure towards Yamuna Clean-up

+Book Launching Geopolitics Redefined: Punctured Truths and Glamourized Lies

+Budget 2023 to boost India’s Green Goals, Circular Economy - Piyush Goyal

+EAC Ind 1 asks #ultratechcement #ultratech Nathdwara #cement to balance groundwater

Cement Industry extracts 31 lac 85 thousand litres water from ground, per day

MCM penalises Hyatt on improper solid and liquid waste management, disposal practices  

23rd February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: Municipal Corporation Manesar (MCM) has been quite aggressively working towards implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016. The Corporation has been organizing several awareness capaigns. At the same time, conducting raids against bulk waste generators (BWGs). BWGs include both the residential complexes as well as commercial units. 

Continuing the action, the sanitary team of Municipal Corporation Manesar on Thursday conducted a raid on Hotel Hyatt. The team comprising Yatender Singh, SDO SBM and Zenith Chaudhary, Advisor SBM and other team members conducted a surprise check on the solid waste management and sewage disposal of the hotel. The 5-Star hotel falls in Red Category of Consent Management.

According to Ms. Chaudhary, Advisor SBM, the team found Hyatt Hotel STP not fully operational and a video showing the untreated wastewater being pumped out from the hotel premises to outside land. Further, the Organic Waste Composter found not operational for so many days that, cobwebs developed on it. According to the MCM team, unsegregated mixed waste goes out of the hotel.

The MCM has Team has reportedt- that they have issued challans of Rs. 1,50,000/-. Rs. 1,00,000/- was levied against improper sewage treatment/disposal and Rs. 50,000/- towards failure in complying with solid waste management rules.  

Earlier, MCM Officials have issued challans to more than 20 bulk waste generators in the year 2023. It is ironical that many bulk waste generators prefer paying the penalty amount rather than managing their waste effectively and following the proper guidelines. MCM Commissioner Mohammed Imran Raza has issued strict instructions to go strict on such BWGs and the corporation also plans to put boards and hoardings in front of these units to publicly ashame them.

According to Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, any unit generating more than 50 kilograms of waste in a day comes under the bulk waste generator category. Such units have to manage their waste in their compound only. The wet waste should be used for composting while the dry waste should be recycled through proper channels.

Make energy efficiency and sustainability a people’s movement:  Piyush Goyal

21st February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal said that there is a need to issue Quality Control Orders (QCOs) across sectors in the electrical industry. 

He was addressing the gathering at the 15th edition of ELECRAMA, themed ‘Reimagining Energy for Sustainable Future’, organized by the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA) in Greater Noida today. ELECRAMA is the flagship showcase of the Indian Electrical Industry ecosystem and the largest standalone show in the electrical and allied equipment arena. 

He sought the industry’s support in implementing QCOs.  ‘Quality control orders will help us save the industry from unfair competition from non-transparent economies which are pumping low quality goods and sub optimal goods into the country’, he stressed. 

He urged larger companies to support and handhold smaller companies to develop quality consciousness by making them realize that quality would help them grow, get better markets and better prices. He also asked IEEMA to run campaigns to help people understand the importance of quality products and their role in boosting sustainability, energy efficiency and conservation.

Lauding the electrical industry for having achieved USD 10 billion worth of exports and setting target of USD 25 billion dollars in next five years, the Minister said we have to achieve more.

The electrical Industry has a very important role to play in achieving this goal, he added. 

Highlighting the government’s efforts in the construction of over 35 million homes, the Minister said that the fulfillment of these basic needs of life by the government had effectively raised the aspirations of people. He noted that a TV or smartphone is not a luxury but a necessity in the digital age, which is opening up huge opportunities for both the nation and the electrical industry. 

Underlining India’s quick adoption of domestic LED lighting, he said the rapid shift from incandescent to LED bulbs has significantly brought down Carbon emissions, contributing remarkably to India’s net zero emissions goal by 2070 and our effort to have 500 GW of clean and renewable energy in the days to come by 2030. 

Mr. Goyal said Amrit Kaal Budget has given big boost to green goals and circular economy. He emphasized that the goal to transition to green and sustainable products and practices was one of the ‘saptarshis’ or the seven goals of the Amrit Kaal budget.  He added that there is a need to make energy efficiency and sustainability a movement and motivate our children to conserve energy. 

Describing solar energy as the biggest source of clean and sustainable energy available to India, he asked the electrical industry to strive to harness it to the best possible extent and create a huge storage capacity which would in turn would help popularize Electric vehicles in India. A robust ecosystem for electric vehicles would in turn boost solar energy initiatives, he said. He asked the electrical industry to Invest in electrical vehicles, helping make electric mobility a pathway to sustainability, reducing dependence on fossil fuels which are bad for the economy as well as the environment. He also asked them to work to create better electrical products and energy efficient transmission and distribution infrastructure to maximize conservation. 

Environmental Compensation Charges and Criminal Proceedings against HSPCB, Haryana Govt.?

20th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Bench has sought explanation from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HCPCB) and Chief Secretary, Haryana on their inaction on filling of vacant posts. 

The two member NGT Bench comprising Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Judicial Member and Prof. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member, in an Order today, has questioned HSPCB and State of Haryana why on the ground of shortage of staff, laboratories capabilities be not treated as collusion with polluters and why environmental compensation be not imposed upon the Board and State Govt and/or Criminal Action be not directed against both?

The NGT Principal Bench has issued the Order in Original Application No. 80/2023 in the matter of Varun Gulati Versus Union of India & Anr. 

Advocate Mansi Chahal presented the matter on behalf of, Delhi based, noted environmental activist, Varun Gulati. The matter pertains to 303 vacant posts out of 481 sanctioned posts in HSPCB. Acute shortage of staff hinders effective control over polluters who are causing pollution and affecting not only environment but health of people. 

Notable that the NGT earlier on 28th August 2019, in the matter of OA No. 95/2018, has directed all Chief Secretaries of States/ UTs to fill up the vacant positions in SPCBs/UTPCCs within a period of 4 months.

Bhupender Yadav visits Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre

20th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi: Union Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Labour & Employment, Government of India Bhupender Yadav, today visited the Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centre, Pinjore. The Minister has said that the vultures may be released in the wild after breeding .He also assured technical and financial support for the development of the Jatayu Vulture Breeding Centre.

It is proposed to release Oriental white-backed Vultures during the year 2023-24 in the wild. The released birds will be monitored closely for atleast a year with satellite transmitters and will look for any behaviour problems to make sure that they adjust well to the wild conditions and there is no mortality due to diclofenac poisoning. Thereafter the birds would be released regularly in the wild every year.

The Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre (JCBC), was established to investigate the dramatic declines in the population of the three India’s Gyps species of vultures, the Oriental white-backed, Long-billed and Slender-billed vultures, from looming extinction. It is a collaborative initiative between the Haryana Forest Department and Bombay Natural History Society.The main objectives of the centre were to establish a founder population of 25 pairs of each of the 3 species of vultures and to produce a population of at least 200 birds, in 15 years of each species to be reintroduced to the wild. 

Pankaj Goyal, Principal Chief Conservator, Forest Wildlife said that the centre has continued its efforts to make the environment safe for vultures in the wild by monitoring the prevalence of vulture toxic drugs specially diclofenac in veterinary use by carrying out cattle carcass samplings across the country. The Centre is coordinating Zoo of Central Zoo Authority for Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme. The Centre received Technical and financial support from the Central Zoo Authority. He also said that, different species of exotic birds and animals  are being brought into state of Haryana frtom other states at Pipli, Rohtak and Bhiwani Zoos for promotion and development of Wildlife Tourism and generate awareness among students for wildlife and environment.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF) Jagdish Chandra said that the Centre will also be providing founder stock of vultures to other  Vulture Conservation Breeding  facilities in the country .

Amarkantak Supercritical Thermal Power Project Expansion gets EAC's green signal 

13th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for appraisal of EIA of Thermal Power Projects has released its Minutes of the Meeting held on 25th January 2023. The EAC under the Chairmanship of Gururaj P. Kundargi, has recommended the proposal of M. P. Power Generating Company Ltd. for grant of Environmental Clearance. The proposal is for the expansion of existing Amarkantak Thermal Power Station (Phase – I & II: 290 MW) to 1x660MW Amarkantak Supercritical Thermal Power Project (Expansion) in Chachai Village, Anuppur District, Madhya Pradesh.

The EAC returned the application of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd. seeking amendment in Environmental Clearance dated 21st October 2010. The company sought an amendment in Environmental Clearance for Discharge of Treated Trade Effluent into the Existing drain for Neyveli New Thermal Power Station (2X500 MW), Neyveli, Kurinjipadi Tehsil, Cuddalore District, Tamil Nadu. 

EAC Industry 1 nods EC for all projects 

11th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry 1 sector projects, has released its Minutes of the Meeting held on 30th and 31st January 2023. The EAC under the Chairmanship of Rajive Kumar, IFS (Retd.), has recommended all the projects for grant of Environmental Clearance.

DG sets of capacity up to 800 kW allowed for industrial and commercial sector in the entire NCR subject to dual fuel system where gas supply is available

10th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a move to comprehensively prevent, control and abate air pollution caused by Diesel Generator (DG) sets in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has directed NCR State Governments and NCR Pollution Control Boards (PCBs)/DPCC vide Direction No. 71 that  w.e.f. 15.05.2023, for periods other than during ban/ restrictions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), any use of Diesel Generator (DG) sets of capacity up to 800 kW shall be permitted for industrial and commercial sector in the entire NCR, only subject to their conversion to dual fuel system (70% gas + 30% diesel) in areas where gas infrastructure and supply is available.

DG sets operations are selectively permitted in industrial applications in the periods under GRAP provided they are equipped with Retro-fit Emission Control Devices (RECD) in accordance with the CPCB guidelines towards a minimum PM capturing efficiency of 70% for in-use DG sets up to 800 kW gross power category and such DG sets are also converted to run in a dual fuel mode (Natural Gas and Diesel), in areas where gas infrastructure and supply is available.

CAQM has observed that amongst others, uncontrolled use of DG sets is a matter of concern. A large number of DG sets operating in the region without adequate emission control measures, even during the periods other than the ban under GRAP, cause heavy air pollution and are thus a major contributing factor for deterioration of air quality in the region. Therefore, regulating the use of DG Sets even for the periods when there is no ban or restrictions imposed under the GRAP, is the need of the hour.

Further, it is reiterated that operation of DG sets during period of restrictions/ ban under the GRAP is regulated in the NCR as per Direction No. 54-57 dated 08.02.2022 and Direction No. 68 dated 14.09.2022 read with Order dated 16.12.2022. Moreover, NCR State PCBs/DPCC to ensure compliance of the directions through suitable consent mechanisms and periodic monitoring.

Environmental Law course for IFS Trainees

10th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed, on Thursday, between Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA), Dehradun and National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru for imparting Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law (PGDEL) to Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer Trainees. 

The MoU would pave way for imparting requisite legal knowledge to the officers by the faculty of premier law school.  This would also make available a pool of trained and competent officers in the field of environmental laws to the Government of India and the State Governments in meeting the challenges of environment and forestry sector, and also for effective implementation of the Central and State legislations on the subject. 

The course will be conducted by the NLSIU faculty at IGNFA, Dehradun and will be completed within the programme cycle of the professional course of the officer trainees.  The MoU shall be effective initially for a period of 5 years.

According to a Press Communication issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Environmental Jurisprudence is fast evolving in India. The same is reflected in the number of environmental legislations that are enacted and also in the various directions being issued by the higher courts. It, therefore, becomes very essential that the Forest and Environmental bureaucracy is well equipped and updated on these issues. It is also in line with the Government of India’s Mission Karmayogi, which aims at capacity building of the Civil Services in India.

Till now the legal education for forest officers was handled largely by internal experts. But by an arrangement with NLSIU, Bengaluru, provision is being made to provide to the officers at the very beginning of their career, an objective and professional input by the best in the business. The MoU is a result of vision and efforts at various levels, in the MoEFCC to ensure quality training to the officers entering the Service.

Climate Change Impacts on Sunderbans

9th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. Sundarban Reserve Forest (SRF) of Bangladesh is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It spans the area from the Baleswar River in Bangladesh's division of Khulna to the Hooghly River in West Bengal.

Indian Institute of tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, attached to the Ministry of Earth Sciences is stated to be working on the high-resolution regional climate change projections until 2100 at 50 km spatial resolution for overall South Asian region by using global and regional climate models. In general, some scientific studies reported that endemic species of the Sundarbans region are impacted by climate change due to inadequate supply of fresh water leading to intrusion of salinity and thereby disturbing the forest vegetation. 

According to a Statement made by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (I/c) for Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, in the Lok Sabha on 8th February 2023, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report of 2022 shows that hyper salinity, storm effects on sediment deposition, fishery development and land erosion are responsible for most of the Sundarbans mangrove degradations leading to loss of livelihood.

The World Bank Strategy Report 2014 'Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans' states that "the sea is estimated to be rising at a rate of 3-8 mm per year in the Sundarbans; parts of the coast due south are, in fact, rising because of uplift, which illustrates that impacts are not necessarily homogenous and differ according to varying geological processes". According to the Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Ministry of Earth Sciences through Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), also carried out the rate of sea level change measurement in that region using sea level gauges installed at the Diamond harbour and Haldia locations in Hooghly Estuary of West Bengal. The rate of sea level change estimated at Diamond harbour is 5.16 mm/yr (during 1948-2005) and 2.89 mm/yr (during 1972-2005) at Haldia. However, there is no latest data shared in reply to the question put up by Jagannath Sarkar, MP.

Delhi Govt looking for more groundwater to expand city water supply

8th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Tuesday, took Officers to task for laxity in the government’s ambitious water-augmentation project. The CM was reviewing the said project along with the Household Water Connection Project, where he noticed a huge shortfall on part of the officials. Taking a stringent view on the matter, Kejriwal has directed to ensure increase in Delhi's water production capacity from 990 MGD to 1,110 MGD on a mission mode. 

Stressing upon groundwater augmentation. Kejriwal said, DJB should explore the possibility of developing a tube-well network all over Delhi. "Many areas of Delhi including floodplains have high water-tables, we can start extracting groundwater to supply to our citizens from there.” 

Dy CM Manish Sisodia, Environment Minister Gopal Rai, DJB Vice Chairperson Saurabh Bhardwaj were also present in the meeting.

Union Environment Minister launches Save Wetlands Campaign from Goa

4th February 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

World Wetlands Day is observed on 2nd February every year worldwide to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1971. India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and has so far declared 75 wetlands as Ramsar sites covering 23 states and Union Territories.

The 2023 theme for World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetland Restoration’ which highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration. It is a call on an entire generation to take proactive action for wetlands, by investing financial, human and political capital to save the wetlands from disappearing and to revive and restore those that have been degraded.

Today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav launched the ‘Save Wetlands Campaign’ in Goa. This campaign is structured on a “whole of society” approach for wetlands conservation, enabling affirmative actions for wetlands conservation at all levels of the society and involving all strata of the society. This campaign over next one year will include sensitizing people of the value of wetlands, increasing the coverage of wetland mitras and building citizen partnerships for wetlands conservation. 

Two publications were also released during the occasion, ‘India’s 75 Amrit Dharohar- India’s Ramsar Sites Factbook’ and ‘Managing Climate Risks in Wetlands - A Practitioner’s Guide. The factbook is a one-stop resource of information on our 75 Ramsar Sites, including their values, threats they face and management arrangements. The practitioner’s Guide on Climate Risk Assessment provides stepwise guidance on assessing the site-level climate risks and integration of adaptation and mitigation responses into the wetland management plan. 

In his address, the Union Minister highlighted the critical role played by the wetland ecosystem in securing the ecological, economic and climate security. He also mentioned about various green initiatives taken by the Government in the budget 2023 including Amrit Dharohar, MISHTI, PM PRANAM, Green credit and Green Growth aligned with Mission LiFE. The Minister also  emphasised on the importance of strengthening communication, education, awareness and participation for the conservation of the wetlands.  

WHO calls for action to eliminate killer toxic chemical trans fat

24th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Industrially produced trans fat – commonly found in packaged foods, baked goods, cooking oils and spreads – is responsible for up to 500,000 premature deaths from coronary heart disease each year, said WHO.

Since WHO first called for the global elimination of industrially produced trans fat in 2018 – with an elimination target set for 2023 – population coverage of best-practice policies has increased almost six-fold. Forty-three countries have now implemented best-practice policies for tackling trans fat in food, with 2.8 billion people protected globally.

Despite substantial progress, however, this still leaves 5 billion worldwide at risk from trans fat’s devastating health impacts with the global goal for its total elimination in 2023 remaining unattainable at this time.

Currently, 9 of the 16 countries with the highest estimated proportion of coronary heart disease deaths caused by trans fat intake do not have a best-practice policy. They are Australia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nepal, Pakistan and Republic of Korea.

Best-practices in trans fat elimination policies follow specific criteria established by WHO and limit industrially produced trans fat in all settings. There are two best-practice policy alternatives: 1) mandatory national limit of 2 grams of industrially produced trans fat per 100 grams of total fat in all foods; and 2) mandatory national ban on the production or use of partially hydrogenated oils (a major source of trans fat) as an ingredient in all foods.

While most trans fat elimination policies to date have been implemented in higher-income countries (largely in the Americas and in Europe), an increasing number of middle-income countries are implementing or adopting these policies, including Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Paraguay, Philippines and Ukraine. Best-practice policies are also being considered in Mexico, Nigeria and Sri Lanka in 2023. If passed, Nigeria would be the second and most populous country in Africa to put a best-practice trans fat elimination policy in place. No low-income countries have yet adopted a best-practice policy to eliminate trans fat. 

The WHO in partnership with Resolve to Save Lives, a not-for-profit organization, has been supporting the development and implementation of the REPLACE action package. The programme was launched in 2018 that provides a strategic approach to eliminating industrially produced trans fat from national food supplies. Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported Resolve to Save Lives’ global efforts to save lives from cardiovascular health disease. 

In 2023, WHO recommends that countries focus on these four areas: adopting best-practice policy, monitoring and surveillance, healthy oil replacements and advocacy. WHO guidance has been developed to help countries make rapid advances in these areas.

WHO also encourages food manufacturers to eliminate industrially produced trans fat from their products, aligning to the commitment made by the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA). Major suppliers of oils and fats are asked to remove industrially produced trans fat from the products sold to food manufacturers globally.

The report, called Countdown to 2023 WHO Report on global trans fat elimination 2022, is an annual status report published by WHO in collaboration with Resolve to Save Lives, to track progress towards the goal of trans fat elimination in 2023.

Sarsawa airport project gets EAC Infra-II nod 

21st January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Sarsawa airstrip project gets recommended by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Infra-II projects. The EAC chaired by Dr.Promode Kant in its 101st meeting on 20the January 2023 forwarded the recommendation. This was the only project taken up in the meeting. Earlier, in the 98th meeting of the EAC the project was deferred owing to inadequate EMP budget. The EAC had sought revised EMP from Airports Authority of India, the Project Proponent and EQMS India, the EIA Consultant. Now, the revised capital and recurring cost on EMP during construction phase will be Rs. 6.28 Lakhs and Rs. 25.83 Lakhs/year. respectively. During operation phase capital and recurring cost will be Rs. 124.15 Lakhs and Rs. 15.01 Lakhs/year, respectively. 

Sarsawa Airstrip at Village Sherpur Naqeebpur, Tehsil Nakur, District Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh belongs to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and it currently handles civilian flights only for VIPs travelling to Saharanpur and neighbouring towns. The current proposal of Airports Authority of India is for establishment of terminal building and allied facilities for civilian use and integrate them with the existing IAF station. 

The Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-II) appraises projects related to airports 7(a); common hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities 7(d); common bio-medical waste treatment facilities 7(da); common effluent treatment plants 7(h); common municipal solid waste management facility 7(i); building and construction 8(a) and townships and area development projects 8(b). Dr. Ashish Kumar, Additional Director is the Member Secretary of the EAC. 

CAQM struggling to stop use of coal, unapproved fuel in Delhi and NCR

19th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has advised Coal India Limited (CIL) and State Governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), to ensure that coal is not supplied/ allotted by various coal companies of CIL to various suppliers/ stockists/ agents of ClL operating in the National Capital Region (NCR). Moreover, the Commission has also advised the entities/ units/ industries including stockists, traders and dealers of coal to ensure compliance and discontinue coal supply in NCR for any kind of usage/ stocking/ selling/ trading in entire NCR except for Thermal Power Plants (TPPs). Statutory directions of the Commission require complete elimination of use of coal and other unapproved fuels for various operations/ applications across all sectors (including industrial, commercial and miscellaneous applications), w.e.f. 01st January, 2023 in the entire NCR.

Statutory directions were issued by the Commission regarding permissible fuels for industrial/ domestic/ miscellaneous applications in the NCR in terms of Direction Nos. 64 dated 02.06.2022 and 65 dated 23.06.2022. Presently, use of coal now stands completely banned (except in TPPs) and it is not considered a permissible fuel within NCR as per the common fuel list under the Directions issued by the Commission.

In compliance of the Commission’s directions, 84 industrial units across NCR areas of Haryana, U.P. & Rajasthan which were hitherto not using approved fuels, closed down their operations temporarily/ permanently on their own. Since last 3 months w.e.f. 01.10.2022, only 21 industrial units were found using highly polluting unapproved fuels like coal, furnace oil, etc. and those units have been closed pursuant to CAQM closure directions. Beyond 01.01.2023, the compliance has further improved and only 02 units were found using such heavily polluting fuels during inspection, thus indicating satisfactory compliance of Statutory Directions of the Commission.

The Flying Squad of the Commission will continue conducting incognito inspections to ensure strict compliance on use of only approved fuels in the entire NCR.

Applicant challenges Joint Committee report on illegal constructions in Pench Tiger Reserve Area  

19th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

Capt. Brajesh Bharadwaj from Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh has made a legal intervention and objected the Joint Committee Report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 26th July 2022 in OA No. 452/2022.

Capt. Bharadwaj has sought NGT's direction for restoration measures of the pond by removing stone pitching and remove all high mud mounds around it; removal of all fencing above 4 feet around the pond and on the entire properties in the ESZ of the Pench Tiger Reserve Seoni for ease of passage of wild animals to drink water and for the unhindered tiger dispersal, removal of rooms and demolition of the soak pits/septic tank within 100 meters of the pond. 

In a 23 page reply he has also submitted before the NGT to direct respondents to fill the entire trench (garland drain) along the jungle side and also to obtain one season Rapid EIA report from State Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur. 

The Tribunal constituted a Joint Committee comprising of the Regional Office of MoEF&CC, Bhopal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (HoFF), Director, Pench Tiger Reserve Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, State PCB and District Collector, Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. 

Disclosures by Fund Management Entities for Environmental, Social or Governance (ESG) Schemes

18th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

To tap into the increasing investor awareness regarding the social and ecological impact of their investments, asset managers globally, have been focusing on offering investment products relating to various aspects concerning sustainability. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, by 2025, over a third of assets under management globally, shall pertain to ESG.

In order to promote consistency, comparability and reliability in disclosures concerning ESG schemes and ensure ESG schemes in International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) are true to their label, International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has issued a circular today requiring ESG schemes to make certain initial and periodic disclosures. Further, norms have been prescribed for ongoing monitoring and performance evaluation. The framework prescribed by IFSCA is principle-based, and largely aligned with international best practices. Further, in order to set regulatory expectations, IFSCA has also provided detailed guidance notes and illustrations.

With this framework, IFSCA lays down standards and practices (including guidance) for FMEs launching and managing ESG schemes. Given the ongoing evolution of ESG investing landscape, IFSCA will continue to monitor the developments in this area and based on experience gained may supplement/update this Circular from time to time. 

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has been established on April 27, 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019. It is headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

IFSCA with the aim to establish GIFT-IFSC as a hub for various sustainable finance related activities, has already issued/notified the following regulatory frameworks/requirements such as (1) Disclosure and listing of Green Bonds, Social Bonds, Sustainability Bonds and Sustainability Linked Bonds (2) Sustainability reporting by listed companies having market capitalization above $50 million (3) IBUs and Finance Companies to have board approved framework on sustainable financing and to have at least 5% of their loan assets towards sustainable sectors and (4) Sustainability related Disclosures by Fund Management Entities managing corpus / AUM above $3 Billion.

SEIAA Punjab EC Amendments claim lesser pollution load, better energy efficiency without any supporting data

18th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

In the 229th meeting of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Punjab out of several applications, two proposals sought amendment in Environmental Clearance (EC). The SEIAA Punjab okayed EC amendment proposals of Ajar Amar Steel Concast and Aarti Steel Limited.

Ajar Amar Steel Concast has now proposed to install one Induction Furnace of capacity 30TPH instead of two furnaces of capacities 10TPH and 20TPH, as per the earlier EC granted. It is stated that there will be no change in the production capacity of the industry. The SEIAA Punjab has also stated that Ajar Amar Steel Concast has claimed that by installation of single energy efficient furnace instead of two furnaces will cause substantial decrease in energy consumption, manpower and space requirement resulting in reduction of the environmental load of the project. However, SEIAA Punjab has not declared any data in this regard.

Aarti Steel Limited also sought amendment in EC for manufacturing of steel Billets/Ingots and rolled /Flats at Village Harian, in Ludhiana District of Punjab. The SEIAA has stated that earlier the EC was granted to the industry for production of steel billets/ingots and rolls/flats to tune of 2,90,500 TPA with the installation of 3 No. of induction furnaces of capacity 8 TPH, 2X25 TPH, 1 CCM and 1 LRF of capacity 30 TPH. Now, the industry has proposed to install 2 Induction Furnaces of capacity 8 TPH and 15 TPH and an Electric Arc Furnace of capacity 35 TPH. The SEIAA states that it was apprised about a decrease in pollution load due to the change in the type and capacity of the furnaces. Further, the industry has proposed to switch over to PNG instead of furnace oil in near future which will further reduce the pollution load. Nevertheless, SEIAA Punjab has not given any scientific data to support this claim. But they have given an additional condition that "The industry shall provide fourth hole in the lid of the Arc furnace fume extraction system which will be attached with spark arrester followed by bag filter house as APCD. Further, the fume extraction system and bag filter house including spark arrester shall be adequately designed to contain the Air Pollutants within the permissible limits."

Non-coal Mining Ops may commence in non-forest land before Stage-II FC 

17th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its 27th December 2022 decided that in mining leases having forest as well as non-forest land, working on non-forest land without ensuring the separate mining plan or lease for the non-forest land may create fait accompli situations, which is not desirable in terms of directions contained in the Supreme Court orders. Therefore, the Committee decided that after obtaining the Stage-I approval, deposition of compensatory levies and environment clearance, the State/UT Government or authorities concerned should prepare a separate Mining Plan or execute a separate mining lease for full or part of non-forest land involved in the mining lease before allowing mining operations in the non-forest land of such mining leases. 

EAC Infra-II suggests review of mandatory minimum distance between Bio-medical waste disposal facilities 

15th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-II) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recommended three projects in its 100th Meeting held on 11th January 2023. The EAC recommended the proposal of Tata Steel Limited seeking Environmental Clearance (EC) for Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Facility at Village Begunadih, Tehsil Potka, in East Singhbhum District of Jharkhand; proposal of Re Sustainability Limited for Common Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage & Disposal Facility in Baloda Bazar District, Chhattisgarh and project proposed by Bharuch Enviro Infrastructure Limited for development of secured Landfill Facility for Hazardous Waste (30 Lakh MT) (TSDF site) at Village Jitali, Ankleshwar, District Bharuch, Gujarat.

The EAC also looked into the complaint against the grant of EC to M/s National Biomedical Waste Solutions Private Limited on the ground that a similar facility already existed within 75 km radius. The proposal was recommended in its 92nd meeting held on 4th July 2022 by the then EAC on the basis of the facts of the case presented before them. On reconsideration of the matter, the present Chairman and Members of EAC observed that due to prevailing COVID pandemic situation, it is most important that the Bio-medical waste disposal facilities are located as close to pollution generation sources as possible so that the chances of spreading contamination through waste are greatly minimized. The EAC further recommended that the extant regulations limiting the number of biomedical waste disposal facilities such as mandatory minimum distance between facilities may be reviewed by the CPCB/Ministry most urgently in the interest of public health. 

Applicability of EIA Notification on Organic Products Manufacturing from Plants

15th January 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has a clarification dated 9th January 2023 regarding applicability of EIA Notification 2006 on manufacturing of organic products from plants.

The Ministry has clarified that extraction of organic compounds from plants without any chemical synthesis but involve mixing, blending, percolation with water and extracting with solvent are not covered under item 5(f) of the Schedule.  Hence, such projects do not require EC. However, these are covered under Consent Management.

Further, manufacturing of synthetic organic chemical to be used for the above extraction shall require prior EC as per EIA Notification 2006.