A Permanent Body to Strengthen Environmental Compliance

11th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a move aimed at enhancing environmental governance and enforcing Supreme Court orders, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has established the 'Central Empowered Committee.' This permanent authority, formed on September 5, 2023, in response to a Supreme Court order dated August 18, 2023, will oversee compliance in environmental, forest, wildlife, and related matters.

Key Points:

Composition: The committee comprises a Chairman, Member Secretary, and three Expert Members, each selected based on their extensive experience in environmental and administrative fields.

Powers and Functions: The Central Empowered Committee will monitor Supreme Court orders, report noncompliance, handle applications from aggrieved individuals, and recommend measures for effective implementation of environmental laws.

Accountability: If suggestions or recommendations are not accepted by the State or Central Government, written reasons must be provided, with the Central Government's decision being final.

Administrative Framework: The committee operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which provides necessary support and resources.

Financial Support: Expenses, including salaries and staff, are covered by the Ministry.

National Jurisdiction: The committee's jurisdiction extends across India, covering environmental, forest, and wildlife matters.

The Central Empowered Committee signifies a significant step towards ensuring compliance with environmental laws and protecting India's natural resources and biodiversity. With its diverse composition and broad powers, it plays a crucial role in safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainable development.

UNFCCC Releases Synthesis Report on First GST

8th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has unveiled a critical synthesis report on the technical dialogue of the first global stocktake (GST). This comprehensive report is the culmination of extensive inputs received and discussions held during a series of technical dialogues over the past two years. It serves as a vital resource, offering a holistic view of the discussions conducted during the technical dialogue and identifying key areas for action to bridge gaps and address challenges in implementing the Paris Agreement.

The Global Stocktake, often referred to as the GST, is a crucial component of global climate action. It represents the most comprehensive assessment of worldwide efforts to combat climate change, relying on scientific data and consultations with government experts, business leaders, and civil society. The process involved in creating the GST is meticulous, and it provides an essential overview of the current state of climate action while charting a course for addressing the climate crisis in the coming years.

The significance of this report cannot be overstated, as it will play a pivotal role in determining the success of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC. The extent to which governments respond to the recommendations and warnings contained in the GST will serve as a key benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness of COP28. The report goes beyond headline aspirations and offers concrete guidance for climate action.

This week, the United Nations will release a "technical report" that consolidates the wealth of inputs from government experts, business leaders, and civil society. Countries will have the opportunity to review and discuss the report's contents, which will inform high-level events and the decision text or declaration expected to be adopted at COP28, outlining the path forward in the global fight against climate change. An "options paper" is also slated to be released ahead of the Dubai summit.

Notably, South Africa's Environment Minister Barbara Creecey and Denmark's Climate Minister Dan Jorgensen have been tasked with leading the GST consultations on behalf of the COP28 Presidency. Their leadership underscores the importance of international cooperation and collaboration in addressing the pressing climate challenges facing our planet.

The release of this synthesis report marks a crucial step forward in the ongoing global effort to combat climate change, providing a roadmap for action and an opportunity for countries to enhance their climate commitments as they work together to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Indore Ranks First in Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023

7th September 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

On the eve of the 4th International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (Swachh Vayu Diwas 2023), Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, announced the prestigious Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023 awards. The assessment, which evaluates the air quality efforts of Indian cities, revealed impressive rankings across three population categories.

In the first category (million-plus population):

Indore secured the top position with the score of 187 out of 200. Agra, renowned as the City of the Taj Mahal, followed closely behind with 186, while Thane in Maharashtra earned the third spot with 185.2.

In the second category (3-10 lakhs population): Amravati emerged as the leader with 194out of 200. Moradabad and Guntur claimed the second and third positions, respectively.

In the third category (less than 3 lakhs population): Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh clinched the first rank. Kala Amb, also in Himachal Pradesh, secured the second position. Angul in Odisha stood third in this category.

The rankings were determined based on self-assessment reports and supporting documents submitted by Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). These reports were subsequently vetted by the respective Air Quality Monitoring Committees (AQMC), chaired by the Principal Secretary of Environment, and further evaluated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), following the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). The assessment period covered the financial year from April 1st to March 31st of the preceding year.

Specific weightage was assigned to eight identified sectors to assess city performance. These sectors included Biomass and Municipal Solid Waste Burning, Road Dust, Dust from Construction and Demolition Waste, Vehicular Emissions, Emissions from Industries, Other Emissions, IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) activities/Public Awareness, and Improvement in PM10 concentrations. Notably, IEC activities/Public Awareness and Improvement in PM10 concentrations received a 2.5% weightage each.

Speaking at the event in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Minister Yadav emphasized that Swachh Vayu Diwas 2023 aimed to strengthen partnerships, increase investments, and share the responsibility of combatting air pollution, aligning with the global theme of "Together for Clean Air."

Minister Yadav also recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment on August 15, 2020, to provide clean air to all citizens and announced plans to improve air quality in over 100 cities through a holistic approach. The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been implementing the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) since 2019 as a national-level strategy to reduce air pollution at city and regional scales.

Under NCAP, 131 cities have been identified for city-specific action plans. The program focuses on preparing and implementing national, state, and city-level action plans to systematically address air pollution, involving all stakeholders.

Minister Yadav highlighted the launch of "PRANA," a portal to monitor NCAP implementation, where action plans of cities, states, and line ministries are reflected and monitored for their status. The portal also shares best practices for adoption by other cities.

Additionally, the Minister underscored the notification of waste management rules covering various waste types, Extended Producer Responsibility, and the "SATAT" (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) scheme, which promotes Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production for use as a green fuel. He noted the establishment of a statutory Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas, which comprehensively addresses air quality concerns in the region.

The Minister's remarks emphasized the government's unwavering commitment to achieving cleaner air for all citizens and the importance of collective efforts in realizing this goal. The Swachh Vayu Sarvekshan 2023 awards serve as recognition and motivation for cities across India to continue their work in improving air quality. Read at Enviro's Substack

NGT Questions PCB's Procedures in Environmental Violation Case

30th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

While hearing on the matter of Gautam Prakash versus Seventeen Degree Hotel Company Pvt. Ltd. & Anr., Original Application No.74/2023/EZ (I.A. No.40/2023/EZ) the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone Bench has questioned Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board regarding the provision for giving a second show cause notice. 

During the hearing, the Bench, comprising Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member pressed the pollution control board about the provision for a second show cause notice under environmental laws. The board was directed to submit an affidavit in a week clarifying this provision's existence and explaining the lack of action against the violators.

Additionally, Advocate Ashok Prasad requested the removal of remarks from a previous order that criticized his preparedness. The Bench granted this request, expunging the comments.

MoEF&CC reconstitutes SEIAA and SEAC for Sikkim

25th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued a notification today to establish the State Level Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Authority for the state of Sikkim. This decision comes under the powers granted by the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) and is in alignment with the Government of India's commitment to ensure comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts.

The newly constituted State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Sikkim will operate in accordance with the existing notification issued by the erstwhile Ministry of Environment and Forests, numbered S.O. 1533(E), dated September 14, 2006.

The authority will be chaired by B.S. Siktel, Chief Conservator of Forest (Retd.), who brings a wealth of experience and expertise in environmental conservation. Dr. Laxuman Sharma, Professor and Head of the Department of Horticulture at Sikkim University, will serve as a key member of the authority, contributing valuable insights in the field of horticulture and sustainable agriculture practices.

As per provisions to support environmental appraisals, the authority will by supported by the newly constituted State Level Expert Appraisal Committee. 

The Notification has named J.B Subba as Chairman of the State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) . The SEAC has five other members.

WTO Chief Urges G20 to Collaborate for Positive Outcomes at MC13

25th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has called upon the Group of 20 major economies (G20) to play an active role in ensuring successful outcomes at the upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the WTO in Abu Dhabi next February. Speaking at a meeting of G20 trade and investment ministers in Jaipur, India, on August 24, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the importance of addressing critical issues on the global trade agenda.

While praising the achievements of the previous ministerial conference (MC12) held in June the previous year, which resulted in remarkable trade agreements, the Director-General emphasized that there is more work to be done, both at MC13 and beyond. These comments were made during the G20 meeting hosted by India's presidency.

Key concerns on the agenda for MC13 include reforming the WTO, particularly the overhaul of its dispute settlement system, which is of high importance to many member countries. Additionally, priorities encompass finalizing the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement and concluding the second phase of negotiations on fisheries subsidies. Talks on agriculture are another focal point, as discussions in Geneva have shown limited progress. To maintain the trust of developing nations, it's vital to deliver on the development agenda.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala mentioned that a senior officials meeting is planned for October in Geneva. This meeting aims to address or make substantial progress on these pressing issues, preparing the way for ministerial decisions at MC13. She expressed a collective readiness to contribute effectively in Abu Dhabi.

To enhance dialogue on contemporary challenges, MC13 will hold deliberative sessions discussing trade and climate change, subsidies, and inclusion. The aim is to foster mutual understanding among WTO members regarding these 21st-century concerns.

The Director-General welcomed positive developments, including negotiations among large groups of members on services' domestic regulation and investment facilitation, as well as significant strides in electronic commerce negotiations.

Highlighting the need for a fresh approach to global trade, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala advocated for "re-globalization." This approach emphasizes integrating marginalized regions and individuals into mainstream supply networks, promoting open, fair, and free multilateral trade.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala concluded by noting the common objectives shared by the global community: prosperity, resilience, inclusion, and sustainability. She warned that neglecting the open, rules-based global economy could hinder progress toward these goals.

During her time in Jaipur, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala engaged with Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and various trade officials from G20 members. The G20 consists of 19 individual countries and the European Union, working collectively towards shared economic objectives.

Japan Begins Release of Treated Radioactive Water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into Pacific Ocean

25th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Japan commenced the controlled release of over a million metric tons of treated radioactive water from the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean on Thursday. The process, set to span across decades, has prompted varying reactions from neighboring countries and international organizations.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station suffered catastrophic damage during a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Since then, a constant inflow of water has been necessary to cool the reactors, while groundwater and rainwater have seeped into the compromised reactor and turbine buildings. The contaminated water, which came into contact with melted fuel, fuel debris, and other radioactive materials, underwent treatment and dilution using an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) filtration process. This treated water has been stored in specialized tanks, numbering over a thousand and holding more than a million cubic meters as of June.

In a move closely monitored by experts from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan began the phased release of this treated water into the Pacific Ocean. The IAEA has been providing real-time data regarding water flow rates and radiation levels, aiming to ensure that all relevant international safety standards are adhered to throughout the discharge process. Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi emphasized the IAEA's commitment to oversee the process from start to finish.

Addressing concerns over potential environmental and health implications, a recent IAEA report asserted that Japan's approach aligns with international safety standards. The gradual and controlled discharge of the treated water, according to the report, would result in a "negligible radiological impact" on both human populations and the environment.

However, the decision has not been without its critics. Protests erupted both within Japan and in neighboring countries, most notably the Republic of Korea and China. China swiftly responded to the news by imposing an immediate ban on all aquatic imports from Japan. Furthermore, Hong Kong introduced stricter import controls on Japanese seafood products.

The international community remains divided on the issue, with concerns about potential long-term effects and the overall impact on marine ecosystems. As the release of treated radioactive water from Fukushima continues, it is clear that this decision will remain a subject of debate and scrutiny for years to come.

Environmental Violations in NH 707 Construction?

17th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) addressed issues brought forth in Original Application No. 504/2023, where Nathu Ram Chauhan, Chairman of N.H. 707, Nirman Rakh Rakhav Evam Sangarsh Samiti, raised concerns against the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. The hearing, presided over by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, Judicial Member, and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member, took place on August 14, 2023.

The application, filed under the provisions of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, pertains to alleged violations of environmental norms during the construction of the green corridor NH 707 in Himachal Pradesh.

Nathu Ram's application highlighted several irregularities and violations of environmental norms associated with the construction of NH 707. The applicant contended that during the construction process, muck, and stones were improperly dumped into trenches, leading to the destruction of essential flora and fauna, water bodies, natural springs, habitats, and agricultural and horticultural fields. Additionally, numerous green trees were felled, and substantial amounts of sand were unscrupulously disposed of in the Yamuna River. The application also claimed that unauthorized Gelatin Sticks were used for blasting purposes, raising concerns about potential environmental damage and the risk of landslides.

However, the NGT's response to the allegations was measured. It noted that the applicant's claims lacked specificity, and the application itself did not challenge the environmental clearance (EC) granted to the project. The Tribunal emphasized the importance of precise details and substantiating evidence in addressing environmental concerns. While acknowledging the significance of adhering to environmental norms, the NGT underscored that effective resolution requires concrete details and evidence, which were lacking in the current application.

Consequently, the NGT disposed of the application, with the provision that if Nathu Ram Chauhan provides the necessary specific details, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and the District Magistrate of Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh, would examine the matter and take appropriate remedial action in accordance with the law.

The NGT verdict highlights the necessity of robust evidence and precise details when addressing concerns related to environmental violations.

Expert Committee Contemplates Policy Shift in Infra-2 Sector: CSTPs in Focus

16th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a pivotal development, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) responsible for evaluating Infra-2 sector projects has engaged in a comprehensive discussion regarding potential adjustments to policy dynamics. The focal point of this deliberation is the inclusion of Common Sewage Treatment Plants (CSTPs) within the ambit of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification of 2006.

This contemplation stems from the recent Public Interest Litigation (PIL) designated as St 4805/2022, titled "Gousmahamad Ibrahim Bargir vs. The Chief Officer Ichakkaranji Municipal," which currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court. This PIL has triggered the need for an in-depth examination of CSTPs and their alignment with existing environmental regulations.

Notably, it's imperative to acknowledge that the Ministry has issued explicit exemptions for Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) established within projects or activities not mandating environmental clearance. This exemption was formalized through an amendment notification dated December 19th, 2018.

Furthermore, the Bombay High Court has also weighed in on the applicability of the EIA Notification, 2006 to Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). The case titled Jairaj A. Naik & Ors vs. MD, Sewerage & Infrastructural Development Corporation of Goa Ltd. and Ors., addressed this issue and asserted that not all STPs need to fall under the purview of the EIA Notification, 2006.

In light of these developments, the committee is actively exploring the prospect of including CSTPs within the EIA framework. This could potentially entail renaming the existing item 7(i) as ‘Common Municipal Solid and Liquid Waste Management Facilities (CMSLWMF)’. This strategic shift seeks to ensure robust management of sewage and waste, aligning with evolving environmental concerns.

Specific considerations revolve around CSTPs with a capacity of less than 5 million liters per day (MLD) and CSTPs situated within designated industrial zones. The committee contemplates the application of General Conditions and the possible exemption from public hearings based on the provisions outlined in the EIA Notification, 2006 and its subsequent amendments.

To ensure thorough analysis, the EAC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Promode Kant, IFS (Retd.), is contemplating inviting an expert representative from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for specialized insights. Owing to time constraints, detailed deliberations on this critical matter were deferred to subsequent meetings. The upcoming EAC sessions are expected to provide the platform for decisive discussions on the way forward.

Indonesia Raises Concerns Over EU Biodiesel Import Duties

16th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Indonesia has formally taken its concerns to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the European Union's (EU) imposition of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Indonesia. This move was made through a process called "request for consultations," which is the first step to address trade disputes.

Indonesia claims that the EU's decision to impose countervailing duties and the investigation that led to this decision go against certain rules outlined in international trade agreements. Specifically, Indonesia believes that the EU's actions violate the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

A "request for consultations" is like a formal invitation to discuss the issue at hand. It provides both sides with an opportunity to talk and hopefully find a solution without resorting to legal actions. This process typically lasts for 60 days. If, after this period, the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the complaining country (in this case, Indonesia) can ask for a panel of experts to make a judgment on the matter.

The specific issue here is the import duties that the EU has imposed on biodiesel from Indonesia. Indonesia is concerned about two types of duties: provisional duties (applied temporarily) and definitive duties (applied permanently). These measures were enacted by the EU in response to what they believe were subsidies provided by the Indonesian government to its biodiesel industry. These subsidies, according to the EU, gave an unfair advantage to Indonesian biodiesel in the international market.

Indonesia argues that the EU's claim about subsidies is not valid. The Indonesian government maintains that any support given to its biodiesel industry was in line with trade rules and regulations, and thus, the countervailing duties are unwarranted.

The situation will now unfold over the next two months of consultations. If a resolution isn't reached during this time, the dispute could escalate further to a panel ruling, where a group of experts would evaluate the arguments from both sides and make a final decision on whether the EU's duties are justified or not.

PM Modi's Independence Day Speech Highlights Clean Water, Environment, and Mission LiFE

15th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

India marked its 77th Independence Day with a strong commitment to providing clean water and safeguarding the environment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address from the Red Fort underscored the importance of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, aimed at delivering pure drinking water to every citizen.

Highlighting the monumental efforts, PM Modi mentioned the allocation of 2 lakh crore rupees for the Jal Jeevan Mission, ensuring access to clean water in every household. He also noted the ambitious initiative to create 75,000 Amrit Sarovars across the country, showcasing the government's determination to protect environmental resources.

Throwing light on India's global environmental leadership PM Modi shared the concept of "One World, One Family, One Future" at the G20 summit. Initiatives like the "LifeStyle for Environment – Mission LiFE" and the International Solar Alliance demonstrate India's commitment to sustainable living and combating climate change.

Furthermore, the creation of the "Big Cat Alliance" emphasized India's dedication to preserving biodiversity. As India celebrated its Independence Day, PM Modi's address illuminated the nation's unwavering drive to secure a prosperous future while being mindful of the planet's health.

Special Guests from Grassroots Witness Prime Minister's Independence Day Speech at Red Fort

15th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

PM Modi's 77th Independence Day Speech at the Red Fort included a special audience representing the 'Jal Jeevan Mission', providing tap water to rural homes in 25 states. The special guests include grassroots workers such as sarpanchs (village heads), plumbers, pump operators, water meter readers, and members of village water and sanitation committees. 

The Prime Minister revealed that an incredible investment of Rs 2.00 lakh Crore (approximately 27 billion USD) has been allocated under the Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure the delivery of clean water to every household, marking the largest such investment globally in the drinking water sector.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat commended these guests, emphasizing PM Modi's commitment to water sector growth and sustainable rural development. Minister Prahlad Singh Patel stressed collaboration between government, partners, and society for improved lives and increased income through better water access.

Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Vikas Sheel, Additional Secretary & Mission Director of Jal Jeevan Mission, underlined water purity and smart management's importance. The event echoed India's inclusive journey towards a prosperous future.

EAC Recommends EC for Expansion of Sasti OCP by Western Coalfields

14th August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

In the 47th meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) it has recommended the grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) for the expansion of the Sasti Open Cast Project (OCP) by Western Coalfields Limited. The expansion project seeks to increase the mine lease area from 919.69 hectares to 1120.48 hectares, with a production capacity of 2.50 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Interesting to note that the project made excess production as compared to the approved qunatity from 1994-95 to 2004-05. 

Chaired by G.P Kundargi, the EAC convened on July 21-22, 2023, to appraise coal mining projects' environmental impact. The expansion of the Sasti OCP, located in the villages of Sasti and Mathra, Tehsil Rajura, District Chandrapur, Maharashtra, aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply of non-coking coal for power plants and other consumers in the Western and Southern regions of India. This increased domestic production is projected to reduce reliance on coal imports and save valuable foreign exchange.

The expansion is projected to help alleviate the demand for non-coking coal, leading to a reduced environmental impact and preservation of foreign exchange resources.

The project area is not categorized as a Critically Polluted Area (CPA). Meteorological and air quality data have been collected from October 2020 to December 2020, representing a production capacity of 1.46 MTPA. Air quality modeling has been conducted for an incremental production of 1.04 MTPA to match the proposed production capacity of 2.50 MTPA.

The EAC has stated about the Certified Compliance Report issued by the Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry, Nagpur vide F No. 3-15/2008 (ENV)/10978 dated 13.01.2023.. The report shows that the mechanized system has not been implemented in a timely manner, and the tree plantation area remains limited to 169 hectares. The EAC stressed the need for the plantation area to be expanded to at least 575 hectares, as indicated in their submission. 

Although the project area reportedly does not involve any forest land, the study identified the presence of several Schedule-I species, including Tigers, Sloth Bears, Leopards, and wild dogs. To mitigate this, a conservation plan with a budget of 1.59 Crore has been proposed.

The project involves seven external overburden (OB) dumps covering an area of 202.52 hectares, with a maximum height of 60 meters and 46.85 million cubic meters of OB. Additionally, there will be one internal OB dump spanning 275.89 hectares, with a height of 90 meters and 171.54 million cubic meters of OB. The project's quarry area will be 544.79 hectares, with 275.89 hectares designated for backfilling and 268.90 hectares for final mine void, reaching a depth of 200 meters. After mining operations are completed, the backfilled quarry area will be reclaimed with plantation, while the final mine void will be converted into a water body, totaling 686.41 hectares of post-mining plantation.

Coal transportation will involve dumpers in the mine pithead, trucks from the surface to siding, and railways at the sidings. A new railway siding will be constructed within the existing mine lease area, requiring approximately 2.5 km of new railway track. However, there is no timeline, while life of mine is said to be 11 years. However, the EAC's condition "PP shall deploy atleast 20% of overall fleet of dumpers/trucks/other vehicles as electrical or CNG/LNG based for transportation of coal/OB etc. "  seems to be impractical. 

The EAC has proposed the establishment of a "Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System" to address pollution-related concerns within 30 days. This system aims to provide a simple and efficient mechanism for the public to raise and resolve grievances. Additionally, provisions have been made to compensate farmers for agricultural land losses due to pollution, as assessed by the concerned District Commissioner.

Lok Sabha discusses on 5 years old data on Average Temperature Rise in India

3rd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Earth Sciences, informed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in 2020 has published ‘Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region’. The report contains a comprehensive assessment of the impact of climate change upon the Indian subcontinent. The highlights of the report are:

It was also said that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) routinely monitors Climate over Indian Region and bring out yearly publication viz. “Annual Climate summary”. IMD issues monthly climate summary. Annual climate summary includes information about the temperature, Rainfall and extreme weather events occurring during the concerned period.

SEIAA UP gets new Chairperson 

2nd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The Central Government on the 1st August 2023 notified inclusion of the name of Mrs. Mamta Sanjeev Dubey for post of Chairperson, State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA)  Uttar Pradesh. Mrs. Mamta Sanjeev Dubey is now replacing Dr. Rajiv Kumar Garg who was named as Chairman SEIAA, UP vide S.O. 2276(E), dated the 11th June 2021.

47 TPPs used about 1.65 Lakh Tonne Bio-mass

2nd August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy has informed that as of May 2023, 47 Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) across the country have successfully carried out co-firing of agro-residue-based biomass pellets with coal.

While replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister R K Singh said that the Ministry of Power has been actively working towards bolstering the use of biomass in TPPs to achieve cleaner and greener energy production. As part of this effort, the Ministry issued a modification on 16th June 2023, to revise the biomass policy dated October 8, 2021. The updated policy now mandates a minimum of 5% biomass co-firing in Thermal Power Plants starting from the fiscal year 2024-25. This obligation will be further increased to 7% from the fiscal year 2025-26.

To ensure the smooth implementation of this policy, the Government has taken several initiatives to facilitate the availability and procurement of biomass pellets for co-firing in TPPs. Some of these initiatives include:

Finance Assistance Schemes: The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have issued Finance Assistance Schemes to support biomass pellet manufacturing units.

Priority Sector Lending (PSL): The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved 'Biomass pellet manufacturing' as an eligible activity under Priority Sector Lending, making it easier for manufacturers to secure loans for their operations.

GeM Portal: A dedicated 'Procurement Provision of Biomass Category' has been created on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal to streamline the procurement process for biomass pellets.

Revised Model Contract: The Ministry of Power issued a Revised Model long-term contract for Biomass supply to establish clear guidelines for biomass procurement.

Vendor Database and Awareness Campaigns: A comprehensive vendor database has been finalized and listed on the SAMARTH website. Additionally, various awareness programs and advertisement campaigns were carried out to promote biomass co-firing.

Udyam Aadhaar: The provision of Udyam Aadhaar on the National Single Window System simplifies the registration process for biomass pellet manufacturing units.

Bankable Model Project Report: The Government has developed a Bankable Model Project Report for Biomass Pellet Plants to aid potential investors and entrepreneurs in setting up new units.

The policy also identifies various types of agro-residues that can be used for biomass pellet production and subsequently for co-firing in TPPs. These include residues obtained from crops such as Paddy, Soya, Arhar, Gwar, Cotton, Gram, Jawar, Bajra, Moong, Mustard, Sesame, Til, Maize, Sunflower, Jute, Coffee, and more. Additionally, waste materials like Groundnut Shell, Coconut Shell, Castor Seed Shell, Bamboo, Horticulture waste (dry leaves and trimmings from trees and plants), and other biomass like Pine Cone/Needle, Elephant Grass, Sarkanda, etc., can also be used for co-firing.

The implementation of this policy has led to significant progress in biomass co-firing in TPPs. As of May 2023, approximately 1,64,976 Metric Tonnes of agro-residue-based biomass have been co-fired in 47 coal-based thermal power plants.

NMCG Initiates M.Sc. Course in Freshwater Ecology and Conservation

1st August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Another remarkable initiative approved in the 50th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)  is the initiation of an M.Sc. Course in Freshwater Ecology and Conservation at the Ganga Aqualife Conservation Monitoring Centre, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. This pioneering project, expected to run for 10 years at an estimated cost of Rs. 6.86 crore, aims to produce a specialized cadre of ecologists and field biologists proficient in freshwater ecology. The course curriculum will encompass various aspects of freshwater ecosystems, their biodiversity, and the impacts of environmental drivers.

The meeting was convened under the chairmanship of DG, NMCG, G. Asok Kumar. During the meeting, the committee approved seven significant projects with an approximate total cost of Rs. 692 crore. Among these projects, four are dedicated to sewage management in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This marks another step forward in the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate and preserve the sacred River Ganga.

In Uttar Pradesh, three sewage management projects worth Rs. 661.74 crore were given the green light. These include the establishment of a 100 Million Litres per Day (MLD) Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in Lucknow, along with Interception and Diversion (I&D) works under the Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM). Another project involves I&D of the remaining discharge from Dariyabad Pipalghat and Dariyabad Kakahraghat drains, alongside the construction of a 50 MLD STP in Prayagraj. This particular project, valued at approximately Rs. 186.47 crore, is designed to enhance the treatment capacity of Naini STP in sewerage district-A, Prayagraj, to 80 MLD. Additionally, a smaller project costing around Rs. 6 crore was sanctioned for the construction of a 6 MLD STP and I&D works in Hapur, with the purpose of preventing the flow of Hapur city drain into River Kali, a tributary of River Ganga.

In Bihar, two STPs, with capacities of 5 and 7 MLDs respectively, were approved at an estimated cost of Rs. 74.64 crore. These projects aim to address pollution in Sirsiya River, originating in Nepal and entering Bihar at Raxaul, in East Champaran district.

In a significant move towards effective water management in urban areas, the committee approved a project for the preparation of 60-70 Urban River Management Plans (URMPs) in two phases, with a budget of approximately Rs. 20 crore. The first phase will focus on preparing 25 URMPs, while the second phase will cover 35 URMPs. The selected cities in this phase belong to five main stem Ganga basin states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. This project is part of the River-Cities Alliance (RCA) under Namami Gange, which fosters cooperation, knowledge sharing, and transformational solutions among cities. The World Bank will fund this initiative. The RCA, which began with 30 members in 2021, now boasts more than 140 members, including international cities.

In addition to these projects, the committee also granted approval for the construction of an electric crematorium in Barkola, Kharagpur, West Bengal.

WCCB Busts Tiger Poaching and Illegal Trade Syndicate

1st August 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a major breakthrough, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), an apex body constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), issued a red alert to all Tiger reserves and tiger-bearing areas on 29th July 2023. The alert aimed to intensify patrolling and sanitize the above-mentioned areas to combat the organized wildlife crime and illegal wildlife trade. This move came after credible inputs indicated a surge in tiger poaching and trafficking activities.

The WCCB's actions came in the wake of a significant tiger poaching incident that took place on 28th June 2023, where a tiger skin and bones were seized, and five offenders were arrested in Guwahati by Assam Forest and police officials. Due to the involvement of multiple states, the Assam Forest Department transferred the case to the WCCB for investigation.

The WCCB, in response to the preliminary interrogation of the arrested offenders, shared information with the Maharashtra forest department officials, revealing that the tiger body parts seized in Guwahati belonged to the Gadchiroli area in Maharashtra. Subsequently, the WCCB acted upon this information and arrested ten members of a hunting gang belonging to the Bawariya community from the Gadchiroli area. The suspects were found in possession of leg-hold traps and additional tiger body parts. One of the wanted offenders from the Guwahati seizure case was also apprehended from Gadchiroli.

Further investigation led to the identification of Mishram Jakhad as a key figure controlling and directing the tiger poaching and illegal trade of tiger body parts. The WCCB, along with the Maharashtra forest officials, conducted a raid on Jakhad's premises on 31st July 2023. During the raid, Jakhad was arrested, and authorities seized a significant amount of cash, amounting to Rs. 14.80 lakh, suspected to be linked to illegal tiger trade.

Shockingly, an ID card was recovered from Mishram Jakhad, indicating that he had previously worked as a field officer of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) in the wildlife wing of the forest department, NCT Delhi Government.

Jakhad's arrest has led to the registration of a case under various sections of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, despite his age (81 years), the Honorable Court granted him a transit bail, allowing him to appear before the court and the Investigation Officer on designated dates and times for further interrogation.

The investigation is ongoing, with the WCCB SIT, along with Maharashtra forest officials, delving deep into the tiger poaching and illegal trade network under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Additionally, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) will be roped in to investigate the predicate offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The WCCB's efforts demonstrate the seriousness of the government's commitment to combat wildlife crime and protect the endangered tiger population. It is hoped that these actions will dismantle the illegal trade syndicate and bring justice to the exploited wildlife.

Delhi Witnesses Lowest July Air Quality in Four Years

31st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change today issued a press release stating that Delhi experienced its lowest average Air Quality Index (AQI) during July 2023 compared to the same month in the last four years, starting from 2019. The city recorded all 31 days of July with 'Good to Moderate' Air Quality Index (AQI), a significant improvement over previous years.

During July 2023, Delhi's AQI remained consistently in the 'Good to Moderate' category, with a monthly average AQI of 83.71. This represents a remarkable achievement, as it is not only lower than the AQI recorded during the corresponding period in 2019, 2021, and 2022, but also below the monthly average AQI for July 2020, which was deemed cleaner due to reduced human activities during the pandemic.

The data revealed a consistent upward trend in the number of 'Good to Moderate' AQI days over the years, with 26 days in 2019, 31 days in 2020, 29 days in 2021, 31 days in 2022, and a full 31 days in 2023. This suggests a positive trajectory in Delhi's air quality management efforts, with the city now consistently experiencing better air quality conditions.

A chart shared by the Ministry showcased the Monthly Average AQI for the month of July between 2019 and 2023. The noticeable decline in AQI values over the years, especially during July 2023, points towards the effectiveness of pollution control measures undertaken by various stakeholders.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that Delhi witnessed the lowest levels of daily average PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations during the 31-day period in July 2023 compared to the corresponding period in the past four years. This milestone is a testament to the successful efforts to reduce particulate matter pollution, one of the major contributors to poor air quality.

In light of this encouraging data, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) called upon the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), NCR State Governments, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs), regulatory bodies, industries, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), civil society organizations, and citizens to continue their dedicated efforts in promoting clean air initiatives. The CAQM reaffirmed its commitment to monitor and enforce air quality-related laws, rules, regulations, and standards while supporting public awareness campaigns aimed at emphasizing the importance of clean air.

The collaboration of various stakeholders in adopting effective measures for air pollution prevention, control, and abatement has played a pivotal role in improving the overall air quality in the National Capital Region. CAQM's coordination with concerned entities has resulted in positive outcomes, and the authorities intend to build on this progress to further enhance air quality in the region.

The achievement of record-low AQI levels during July 2023 is definitely laudable, because Delhi Government, with the help of reputed institutions like IITs and TERI, was still trying to find details of air pollution sources. It is also notable that number of vehicles have increased, and road traffic remains in similar situation.  Whether this is a result of calibration of air pollution measurement sensors? Or whther it was from mega construction projects? 

EAC Industry 3 okays EC Amendment to Sarna Chemicals, Fresh EC to Huber Group

Should EACs be allowed to skip mentioning groundwater/surface water to legitimize tanker water?

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In the 56th meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee for the Industry-3 Sector projects, two major approvals were granted to Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. and Huber Group India Pvt. Ltd. Both are said to be located in GIDC Industrial Area in Vapi, Gujarat.

Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., known for its expansion of Dyes Intermediates Manufacturing Capacity at Unit II in GIDC Vapi, Valsad District, Gujarat, secured an amendment in Environmental Clearance (EC). The initial EC was granted on 4th May 2019. The company recently acquired an adjoining plot, Plot No. 1707, spanning an impressive 5515 square meters. While 400 square meters are currently dedicated to a tank farm for storing various solvents and chemicals (with a Consent to Operate obtained from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board), the remaining 5115 square meters will be utilized to alleviate space constraints by relocating some plant and machinery from the existing facility.

The Expert Appraisal Committee reviewed several key aspects, including the revised plant layout for greenbelt and area bifurcation, revised water balance for additional greenbelt, action taken report for partially complied conditions, justification for show cause notice, and the undertaking of purchase of vacant land. The committee expressed satisfaction with the provided responses, leading to the approval of the amendment with certain conditions.

One crucial condition stipulates that the company must develop a Greenbelt within the plant area, covering 3515 square meters. To fulfill this commitment, Sarna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. will be required to plant approximately 1053 saplings within one year of receiving the Environmental Clearance. The prescribed density for the greenbelt will be 2500 trees per hectare, with an 80% survival rate. Additionally, an estimated water requirement of 7 Kilo Litres per Day (KLD) will be necessary for greenbelt development, to be sourced through private tanker supply. However, in environmental appraisals, mentioning such source is vague. It may either be groundwater or surface water or treated wastewater, which the EAC didn't deliberate.

In another notable decision, Huber Group India Pvt. Ltd. presented a proposal for establishing a manufacturing plant specializing in various Resins, Esters, and Monomers. The proposed site for this project is Plot No. 1303/C in Phase-III, Notified Industrial Area, GIDC Vapi, Pardi Taluka, Valsad District, Gujarat. The plant's anticipated production capacity is an impressive 2814 Tonnes per Month. After thorough review, the Expert Appraisal Committee recommended the project for the grant of Environmental Clearance.

5 Tiger Reserves from Karnataka Score Excellent in Management Effectiveness Evaluation

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

India completes its fifth cycle of Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Tiger Reserves. Based on the framework of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas, the MEE has emerged as a crucial tool for assessing and improving the management perspectives of Tiger Reserves and their associated landscape connectivity.

Since its inception in 2006, the MEE, jointly conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), has played a pivotal role in evaluating the efficacy of national tiger conservation endeavors. India's tiger reserve network, comprising 53 reserves spread across 18 states, covering a vast area of 75,796.83 sq km, has undergone extensive evaluations in each of the five cycles of MEE.

The latest cycle saw 51 Tiger Reserves being independently evaluated by ten Regional Expert Committees (RECs) in different clusters of tiger landscapes. Each team, comprising experienced retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers and a faculty member from the Wildlife Institute of India, visited the reserves to assess their performance based on 33 criteria developed in the technical manual. The assessment aimed to provide a balanced analysis of the diverse reserves and guide evaluators in making their judgments.

The MEE scores for all 33 criteria were pooled for each reserve, resulting in an overall mean score of 78.01% (ranging from 50% to 94%). Impressively, 12 Tiger Reserves achieved the coveted "Excellent" category, while 21 secured a "Very Good" rating. Additionally, 13 reserves were rated as "Good," and 5 were placed in the "Fair" category.

12  Tiger Reserves are placed in Excellent Category. 

Five are from Karnataka, namely - Bandipur, Nagarhole, Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Bhadra and Kali (Dandeli-Anshi).  

Satpura and Kanha from Madhya Pradesh, Annamalai and Mudumalai from Tamil Nadu, 

Odisha's Similipal, Maharashtra's Pench and Periyar in Kerala were placed 

The announcement of the MEE results came on the occasion of the Global Tiger Day, with a detailed report released by Union Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey during a program organized at the Corbett Tiger Reserve. The event was graced by the presence of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and Union MoS for the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Tourism, Ajay Bhatt.

India's Tiger Census 2022 Unveiled on Global Tiger Day

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

On Global Tiger Day 2023, Union MoS Ashwini Kumar Choubey released a comprehensive report at Corbett Tiger Reserve, joined by CM Uttarakhand and Union MOS Ajay Bhatt. The occasion marked the 50th anniversary of India's Project Tiger, which has achieved significant milestones in tiger conservation and biodiversity preservation.

Launched in 1973, the project aimed to safeguard India's tiger population and biodiversity. It began with nine reserves covering 18,278 km2 and has since expanded to 53 reserves, now spanning 75,796 km2, making India the home to nearly 75% of the world's wild tiger population.

In its initial phase, the project focused on enacting wildlife protection laws, but poaching posed a severe threat to tiger numbers. In response, the second phase in 2005 adopted a landscape-level approach, engaging local communities and implementing advanced technology for conservation. As a result, over three-fourths of India's tigers now reside within protected areas.

During the Global Tiger Day celebrations in 2022, PM Narendra Modi announced a minimum tiger population of 3,167. Subsequent analysis estimated up to 3,925 tigers, reflecting an impressive annual growth rate of 6.1%.

Central India and the Gangetic Plains observed significant increases in tiger populations, but certain regions faced challenges with small tiger populations. To address this, targeted monitoring and conservation efforts are crucial.

Approximately 35% of reserves require enhanced protection measures and habitat restoration. Maintaining an eco-friendly development agenda, strengthening anti-poaching measures, and addressing human-wildlife conflict are essential to ensure the preservation of India's tigers and their ecosystems for future generations.

Project Tiger's remarkable achievements underscore the importance of continued efforts and commitment towards tiger conservation to secure a brighter future for these majestic creatures.

G20 Environment and Climate Working Group Vows to Combat Crimes Impacting the Environment

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The 4th and last Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group and Environment and Climate Ministers' meeting concluded in Chennai on 28th July 2023, with the consensual adoption of an Outcome document, "The Chennai High-Level Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue/Ocean-based Economy."

The Preamble of the Outcome Document also mentions: "We reiterate and are determined to step up our efforts to prevent and combat crimes that affect the environment, in line with UN General Assembly resolution 76/185, and to intensify our cooperation with relevant Ministers to combat illicit financial flows deriving from crimes that affect the environment." Will it motivate India to rethink its initiation to decriminalize polluters?

It is also acknowledged that resource efficiency and the circular economy are essential tools available for achieving sustainable development and that they can contribute significantly to sustainable consumption and production, as well as addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, and pollution.

The group gives a commitment to address pollution in a balanced manner to protect human health and the environment, aiming to help realize sustainable development and achieve the vision of living in harmony with nature. The group will actively work towards preventing chemical pollution or, when not feasible, minimizing its associated risks. In line with UNEA resolution 5/7, we will work together for the further development of an ambitious, improved enabling framework to address the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020. This framework will reflect a lifecycle approach and the need to achieve sustainable consumption and production while addressing the means of implementation. The implementation framework will be put in place at the ICCM 5, and a Science-Policy Panel will be established pursuant to UNEA Resolution 5/8.

IICA Concludes Impactful ESG Workshop with Diverse Representation

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The School of Business Environment, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), successfully concluded a two-day workshop on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Impact Leadership. The workshop brought together ESG leaders from various parts of the country at the IMT Manesar campus.

Amarjeet Sinha, Member of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), Government of India, emphasized the growing relevance of ESG in the global corporate landscape and the importance of leadership skills for becoming impactful ESG leaders. He praised IICA for conducting the foundation batch of the 'IICA Certified ESG Professional: Impact Leader Programme' and motivated delegates to be path-breakers in the ESG ecosystem.

During the valedictory address, Praveen Kumar, DG&CEO, IICA, highlighted the positive response from the industry to the ESG Professional programme. He announced the constitution of a 'National Association of Impact Leaders' (NAIL), exclusively for ESG professionals certified by IICA.

Prominent speakers from academia and industry addressed the gathering, shedding light on critical ESG topics. Prof. Raghu Tata from XLRI highlighted environmental challenges faced by corporations and the need to scale up corporate ambitions while staying within planetary limitations. Mr. Ashok Emani, Head ESG, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, shared insights on ESG investing.

Other speakers included Shankar Venkateswaran, Adjunct Faculty at IICA, Kanishk Negi from Schneider Electric, Anu Chaudhary from Uniqus Consultech Inc., and Prof. Rupamanjari Sinha Ray from MDI, who discussed various aspects of ESG and sustainability.

Prof. Garima Dadhich, Head of School of Business Environment, IICA, stressed the importance of ESG professionals in today's dynamic economy and highlighted the program's unique pedagogy.

The workshop, inaugurated by Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in December, saw enthusiastic participation from forty senior corporate officials and IICA-trained professionals eager to become Certified ESG Impact Leaders.

GOBARdhan Initiative Drives Rapid Growth in India's Biogas/CBG Sector

29th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The GOBARdhan initiative by the Indian government has resulted in the registration of over 100 under-construction CBG plants and over 1200 plants in just 60 days on the Unified Registration Portal. 

These plants cover 450 districts and have the capacity to process more than 6600 TPD of organic/agricultural residue to produce over 300 TPD of CBG and more than 2000 TPD of Fermented Organic Manure (FOM). 

The Government aims to transform waste into wealth through a "Whole of Government" approach. Its policies, such as the Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme and carbon credit trading for CBG, have fostered an enabling environment for the industry's growth. The CBG/Biogas sector is envisioned to play a significant role in India's renewable energy portfolio, supported by forthcoming policies and fiscal incentives. The GOBARdhan initiative is a collective effort involving the government, private players, and other stakeholders to manage organic waste and benefit rural households.

Judicial Intervention Proves Effective: Sewage Issue in a Bhopal Colony Gets Attention and Action

26th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a shining example of the power of legal and judicial intervention, the long-standing sewage overflow issue in the New Chowksey Nagar colony has finally received the attention it deserves. For those who may have doubted the efficacy of such interventions, this case stands as a testament to their impact.

The colony, which was developed by SBI Staff Grah Nirman Sehkari Sanstha Maryadit, Bhopal, in 1997, has been grappling with sewage overflow from manholes for years. Despite having a sewer system in place, the lack of cleaning and maintenance had rendered it ineffective, leaving the residents in distress.

However, hope arrived in the form of an Application No. 57/2022 (CZ) filed by Krishna Social Awareness Welfare Society against the State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. The matter caught the attention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which took cognizance of the situation and decided to intervene.

Following the NGT's involvement, the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) stepped in and served a notice to SBI Staff Grah Nirman Sehkari Sanstha Maryadit, Bhopal. The notice directed them to undertake immediate operation and maintenance work of the sewage line in the New Chowksey Nagar colony.

Moreover, realizing the urgency of the matter, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation took swift action and cleaned the sewer lines in the colony, providing much-needed instant relief to the residents.

This case serves as a powerful example for those who may have been skeptical about the impact of legal and judicial interventions. Through the application filed by Krishna Social Awareness Welfare Society and the NGT's intervention, the long-neglected sewage issue in the New Chowksey Nagar colony finally received the attention of concerned authorities.

The residents, who had been suffering due to the unsanitary conditions, now have newfound hope that their living environment will improve significantly. With the MPPCB's notice, there is a sense of accountability and responsibility on the part of the authorities, ensuring that necessary actions will be taken to rectify the situation.

It is essential to acknowledge that legal and judicial interventions can make a significant difference in addressing community issues and holding responsible parties accountable. As this case demonstrates, when citizens and organizations come together to raise their voices, the wheels of justice turn, and positive change becomes possible.

NGT finds MoEF&CC Affidavit Carelessly Filed, Lacking Verification and Authenticity

24th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone Bench of Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member, has taken cognizance of a petition regarding rampant excess mining activities in Kalinganagar by a lessee. The petitioner alleged that the lessee was involved in unauthorized extraction and transportation of over 1000 cubic meters of sand daily, utilizing approximately 200 vehicles of varying sizes and capacities. This scale of mining vastly surpassed the permitted limits. 

In the Original Application No. 43/2023/EZ filed by Pradeep Kumar Dhal & Ors. versus State of Odisha & Ors., in which Sankar Prasad Pani is the Counsel for the Applicants, concerns were raised regarding the revised Consent to Operate (CTO), which restricted sand extraction to a maximum of 17 cubic meters per day for approximately 210 days in a year.

However, the joint committee appointed to investigate the matter encountered challenges during their site visit. They reported that the majority of the leased quarry area was submerged in water, making it difficult to ascertain the exact quantity of sand being extracted.

Furthermore, the joint committee, comprising the Additional District Magistrate of Kalingangar, the Regional Officer of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), and the Tahasildar of Vyasanagar, stated that the leased area was properly demarcated with pillar postings throughout the riverbed. This was in contrast to the petitioner's claim that there were no pillar postings in the lease area. Nevertheless, it's interesting to point out that there was no technical data provided regarding the aging of the pillar posts, raising doubts on the Committee's counter claim.

Regarding the complaint of non-compliance of CTO conditions by the Regional Offices of Kalinganagar SPCB, the joint committee stated that no violations were observed during the field visit. This contradicts the joint Committee's own statement in the same report claiming that the lease area was submerged in water during inspection.

It is significant to note that the NGT discovered that there was only one mining lease, not two, as stated in the affidavit of Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). MoEF&CC also found to have failed to provide any documentary evidence to support their claim. The NGT Bench expressed displeasure, stating that the MoEF&CC's affidavit seemed to have been carelessly filed in a cut-and-paste manner from some other affidavit, lacking proper verification and authenticity.

The NGT is actively reviewing the submissions and reports to determine the appropriate course of action against the alleged violations and excessive mining activities in Kalinganagar. The matter is further listed for hearing on 25th August 2023. 

Jal Shakti Ministry Notifies Offices with Hindi Proficiency

24th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Ministry Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation  has issued a notification in accordance with Sub-Rule (4) of Rule 10 of the Official Languages (Use for official purposes of the Union) Rule, 1976 (as amended in 1987). 

The notification lists 20 offices of the Central Water Commission (CWC) and 7 offices of WAPCOS Limited, where more than 80% of the staff have acquired working knowledge of Hindi. 

Execution Application Against MoEF&CC Over Ghaziabad Solid Waste Burning

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a recent development, Jaishree Bansal has filed an Execution Application (EA) No. 23/2023 before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Bench. The application has been filed against the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change & Ors. The NGT bench, comprising Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Chairperson), Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi (Judicial Member), and an Expert Member, convened today, 21st July 2023, to hear the matter.

The EA seeks to implement the Tribunal's Order dated 26th April 2023 in M.A. No. 33/2023 in O.A. No. 75/2023, which primarily dealt with an appropriate disposal of solid waste. The contention raised by Jaishree Bansal alleges that the authorities concerned have been resorting to burning solid waste, leading to environmental hazards.

As supporting evidence the Applicant has submitted Fire Department report revealing use of a staggering 4,17,300 liters of water between 1st May 2023 and 20th May 2023 to control the fire resulting from the burning of solid waste. 

The NGT Bench had previously noted a discrepancy in the generation and processing of waste by Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam, which led to the accumulation of a significant legacy waste dump site, amounting to 329,936 Metric Tons (MT). In response to the Tribunal's concerns, Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam reported that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) had been prepared to remediate the legacy waste. The completion of the project was to be taken up within 18-20 months.

Considering the seriousness of the issue, the NGT directed the District Magistrate and Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam to take appropriate remedial actions, as per the law, and submit a report to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh within one month from 26th April 2023. The Chief Secretary was entrusted with the responsibility to review the compliance status, ensure further necessary actions, and submit a separate report, in addition to the one to be filed in O.A. No. 606/2018.

In the present proceedings, the NGT has directed Jaishree Bansal to furnish copies of the filed application and relevant documents to the Respondents within a week. The next hearing on this matter has been scheduled for 1st November 2023. #Ghaziabad #NGT #solidwaste

Govt's Initiatives in Boosting Cultivation of Medicinal Plants

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In response to questions raised by Vishnu Datt Sharma and Sudarshan Bhagat, Lok Sabha MPs, the Minister of AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal, highlighted the Government's efforts to promote the cultivation and usage of medicinal plants. 

Government Initiatives:

Rise in Cultivation:

2018-19 : 627000 Hac

2019-20 : 641000 Hac

2020-21 : 653000 Hac

2021-22 : 668000 Hac

2022-23 :  671000 Hac

Assistance to Farmers:

Lok Sabha MP Raises Questions on Chemical and Petrochemical Accidents, Spillages in India

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

In a ongoing Parliamentary session, today, Lok Sabha MP Chandeshwar Prasad raised concerns about the government's actions regarding harmful gas and chemical leaks in the country over the past decade, including the most recent year. The MP sought answers on various aspects related to these incidents.

The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Bhagwanth Khuba, responded to the questions, explaining that the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is responsible for compiling data on chemical accidents, including gas and chemical leakages. This data is collected from various State Governments and Union Territories based on information provided by the Chief Inspector of Factories (CIFs). 

He presented State-wise data for the past 10 years. However, the data presented is limited to which was received from CIFs on gas/chemical leakage incidents along with injuries/ deaths resulting from such incidents. The State Govts./ UT Administrations, along with the District Administration are the first responders to provide accident relief during the incidents of chemical accidents, including gas leakage incidents, to the victims.

According to the data maximum injuries recorded to be 4017 in Andhra Pradesh in 2020. 

The maximum No. of Incidents of Gas/Chemical Leakage in a year was 26 in Telangana in 2016. 

Telangana also records the maximum number of fatalities in a year that is 35 during two consecutive years 2015 and 2016.  

Lok Sabha MP Anumula Revanth Reddy raised crucial questions concerning accidents, spills, leaks, and fires within the chemical and petrochemical industries over the past five years. He sought information on the human and environmental damage caused by these incidents, the compensation provided to affected parties, the number of inspections conducted in the past year, major findings or violations discovered during inspections, and whether the Government has taken legal action against responsible companies. These inquiries highlight the need for enhanced safety measures and corporate accountability within these industries.

As per the Ministers' reply 176 accidents took place during 2018 to 2022, with maximum of 66 in 2020 and minimum 4 in 2022. Gujarat recorded 57 out of 176 accidents, followed by Telangana 50 during 2018-2022. In a single year, during the same 5 years, Gujarat recorded maximum of 25 accidents. 

To ensure chemical safety in industrial operations, the MoEF&CC administers the Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemical (MSIHC) Rules, 1989 (as amended) and Chemical Accident (Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules, 1996 (as amended). The concerned Chief Inspector of Factories (CIFs), appointed under the Factories Act, 1948, acts as the nodal authority for implementing these rules in Major Accident Hazard (MAH) units and takes enforcement measures accordingly. The Ministry of Labour and Employment is responsible for implementing the Factories Act, 1948, at the central level.

The MSIHC Rules, 1989 mandate the occupiers of MAH units to conduct a safety audit once a year and update the Safety Audit Report, submitting a copy to CIFs within 30 days. These occupiers are also responsible for preparing and updating the 'On-site Emergency Plan.' Additionally, the District Collector or designated District Emergency Authority (DEA) by the State Government is responsible for preparing the Off-site Emergency Plan of a district, with the CIFs' assistance.

In response to directions from the National Green Tribunal, the MoEF&CC and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) have developed an 'Integrated Guidance Framework for Chemicals Safety.' This framework covers isolated storage and industries under the MSIHC Rules, 1989, and prescribes regular inspections, preparation of on-site emergency plans, safety audits, and information sharing among stakeholders to ensure compliance.

The government's efforts in formulating rules and guidelines for chemical safety aim to prevent such incidents in the future and mitigate the impact of any accidents that might occur. However, further scrutiny and continuous improvement in safety measures remain crucial to ensure the well-being of the people and the environment. #chemical #accident

President to Honour Geoscientists for Contributions to Sustainable Mineral Development and Environmental Studies

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, will bestow the prestigious National Geoscience Awards - 2022 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre on July 24, 2023. The awards, presented by the Ministry of Mines, recognize exceptional individuals and organizations that have demonstrated excellence, dedication, and innovation in various fields of geosciences, with a particular focus on sustainable mineral development and environmental studies.

According to a Government of India press release, the awards will be presented in three categories: National Geoscience Award for Lifetime Achievement, National Young Geoscientist Award, and National Geoscience Award in various fields of geosciences.

One of the highly anticipated awards, the National Geoscience Award for Lifetime Achievement, will be conferred upon Dr. Om Narain Bhargava. Dr. Bhargava is renowned for his pioneering work in the Himalayas over the last four decades, demonstrating unwavering commitment to sustainable practices in geosciences.

Another notable awardee is Dr. Amiya Kumar Samal, who will receive the National Young Geoscientist Award for his significant contributions in understanding the variation of Sub-Continental Lithospheric Mantle (SCLM) below different Archean cratons of the Indian shield.

Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi and Minister of State for Mines, Coal & Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve, will grace the National Geoscience Awards ceremony. Many distinguished geoscientists, scholars, policymakers, and industry leaders are expected to participate in the event.

The National Geoscience Awards, established in 1966, are among the oldest and most prestigious national awards in the field of geosciences. The awards span various fields, including Mineral Discovery and Exploration, Basic Geosciences, Applied Geosciences, Mining, Mineral Beneficiation, and Sustainable Mineral Development. They aim to recognize and encourage sustainable practices in these crucial areas to promote environmental conservation and responsible resource utilization.

The Ministry of Mines, in line with its commitment to sustainability, rationalized the National Geoscience Awards in 2022, reducing the total number of awards from 21 to 12. This move allows for a more focused approach towards recognizing and rewarding exceptional contributions to sustainable geosciences practices.

The National Geoscience Awards ceremony will undoubtedly serve as a reminder of the importance of sustainability in geosciences and will inspire future generations of geoscientists to work towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation Meeting Focus on Sustainable Energy Transition

21st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

On the second day of the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial and 8th Mission Innovation meeting, crucial discussions were held on strategies for clean energy transition. The session titled "Accelerating Regional and Global Energy Interconnection to Meet the Global Clean Energy Deployment and Climate Goals" emphasized the significance of establishing an interconnected clean energy network across borders. This interconnected system is vital in achieving sustainability and reducing costs, facilitating rapid clean energy development, and working towards net-zero carbon emissions through energy transition. Electrification was identified as a key strategy for industrial decarbonization within integrated energy systems.

Participants highlighted the importance of strategic partnerships and collaborations in managing variable energy sources and energy consumption patterns. Digitalization, ultra-high voltage technology, and cyber security were deemed essential for the successful operation and flexibility of integrated energy systems. The interconnection of AC and DC infrastructure and the development of specific components and subsystems were seen as critical for better interconnection across countries and grid parts, ensuring economic development, reliability, and resilience in uncertain situations. Expanding the geographical footprint of interconnection was emphasized to handle variability and promote sustainable diversity in energy storage and production, leading to cost reduction benefits.

Additionally, a side event organized by COP28 UAE Presidency and UNEP-led Cool Coalition focused on accelerating sustainable cooling for an equitable energy transition. The COP28 UAE Presidency presented the Global Cooling Pledge, calling for countries to support increased energy efficiency and sustainable cooling access. Examples from India, France, and Norway showcased that this transition is achievable today through initiatives like India's Cooling Action Plan.

The discussions also centered around the Green Powered Future Mission (GPFM), aimed at integrating 100% variable renewable energy worldwide with a focus on affordability, flexibility, and resilience. International collaboration, data sharing, and funding for innovation are critical to the mission's success. The GPFM Toolbox facilitates data exchange and viable sustainability solutions. Continental cooperation and monitoring of decarbonization targets are also vital for effectiveness.

Furthermore, a side event titled "Igniting Change: Breaking down Barriers to Gender Equality" addressed gender disparities in the energy sector. Experts from various sectors discussed obstacles like inadequate gender-responsive policies and the need for gender-disaggregated data to monitor progress. Calls to action urged proactive measures to foster inclusive environments and support women and youth in the energy sector.

In an effort to promote sustainable transportation and clean energy solutions, the Technology Showcase at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Goa captivated school students. Divided into three parts, the exhibition showcased electric mobility awareness, Mission Innovation & Clean Tech start-ups, and vehicle and charging infrastructure. The event aimed to inspire young minds towards a sustainable future.

The Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation meeting exemplifies a collective commitment towards sustainable energy transition and environmental conservation on a global scale.

Halman-Aldubi Group joins hand with CEF Group to Convert Slaughterhouse Waste into Fish Food in India

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

CEF Group, an Indian waste management organization, has partnered with Halman-Aldubi Group, an Israeli company specializing in finance, energy, climate, and technology management solutions, to convert slaughterhouse waste into protein-rich fish food. This collaboration aims to revolutionize waste management in the slaughterhouse industry and promote a circular economy and waste management innovation.

The joint initiative focuses on providing an eco-friendly solution for utilizing slaughterhouse waste, thereby addressing environmental challenges. The advanced technology employed in the conversion process ensures that the fish feed meets nutritional requirements for optimal fish growth and health.

The partnership also explores exporting the outcome products to foreign developed countries, creating economic opportunities and fostering international collaboration. The shared vision includes establishing a model that can be replicated and scaled up in various locations, leading to a widespread positive impact on waste management practices and the agriculture industry.

Daiki Axis to Provide Johkasou Technology to Namami Gange Project in Uttarakhand

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Samar Pratap

Daiki Axis, a leading provider of decentralized wastewater treatment solutions, will contribute its state-of-the-art Johkasou technology to India's Namami Gange project. This initiative aims to rejuvenate the River Ganga. The Ministry of the Environment, Japan, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to implement innovative technologies for effective wastewater treatment.

Scheduled for commissioning in 2023-24, nine projects using Johkasou technology will treat untreated domestic wastewater and meet stringent water quality standards. Daiki Axis India will play a pivotal role as the technology provider, supplying and implementing the advanced Johkasou systems. The Uttarakhand Peyjal Nigam and IIT Roorkee will oversee the projects' implementation and compliance evaluation.

The CEO of Daiki Axis India, Kamal Tiwari, highlights the advantages of decentralized wastewater management, such as lower costs and simplified implementation. Johkasou technology will be crucial for wastewater treatment in hilly areas, where conventional systems are unavailable. This transition signifies a significant improvement in efficiency and environmental impact, addressing the pollution of downstream drinking water sources.

The use of state-of-the-art Johkasou technology underlines India's commitment to sustainable development and a cleaner and greener future.

3M Releases India 3M State of Science Index 2023

20th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

3M India released the sixth India 3M State of Science Index 2023 (SOSI 2023), a global science perception survey. The findings revealed that 86% of Indians believe positive outcomes can be achieved by defending science, addressing climate change, public health, and sustainable agriculture.

Climate change concerns were evident, with 83% of Indians worried about its consequences. The majority (95%) believe that science can minimize climate change effects, and 94% support the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce pollution.

The survey emphasized the need for equity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professions, with underrepresented groups and women often overlooked despite their potential. Skilled trade workers are also in demand, but there is a negative stigma surrounding their careers.

The report stressed the importance of diversity and inclusion, fostering innovation and collaboration. 3M aims to provide five million unique STEM and Skilled Trades learning experiences for underrepresented individuals by 2025.

The SOSI 2023 data highlights the need for preparation and understanding of science's impact on the future. 3M remains committed to placing science at the core of its endeavors.

Steel slag road technology fulfilling India's Waste to Wealth Mission

19th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

Union Minister of State for Steel Faggan Singh Kulaste, while participating in the industry meet organized under the 'One Week One Lab' program of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), said that the Steel Slag Road technology of CSIR-CRRI is playing a significant role in realising India's ‘Waste to Wealth’ mission. 

The Union Minister informed that India is the second largest steel producing country in the world and about 19 million tonnes of steel slag is generated in the country as a solid waste, which is expected to increase to 60 million tonnes by the year 2030. About 200 kg of steel slag is generated in one tonne of steel production, which is almost 20%. On this basis, India generates 3.8 million tons of steel slag. Due to non-availability of efficient disposal methods of steel slag, huge piles of steel slag have come up around the steel plants, which have become a major source of water, air and land pollution.

According to the Government, the first road made with steel slag road interpretation technology in Surat, Gujarat, has become famous for its technological excellence at national and national level. Though, no data has been given for per kilometer consumption of steel slag, it is said that about one lakh tonnes of steel slag aggregate has been used in its construction, under the technical guidance of CRRI at the Hazira plant of ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel. No natural ballast of any kind has been used in the construction of this road.

As per Press Information Bureau, the Border Roads Organization (BRO) has also constructed a steel slag road in Arunachal Pradesh along with CRRI and Tata Steel on India-China border, having a much longer life than conventional road. Similarly, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has also successfully used this technology in road construction on National Highway-66 (Mumbai-Goa) in collaboration with JSW Steel, under the technical guidance of CRRI.

The Minister also highlighted that the Steel Ministry is working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, for the usage of steel slag road technology throughout the country. He congratulated Dr. Manoranjan Parida, Director of CRRI and Dr. Satish Pandey, Principal Scientist, Head of Steel Slag Road Project, for the development of this technology and strongly encouraged the institute for road construction across India through this technology.

The Steel Slag Road Technology has been developed by the Central Road Research Institute under a research project in collaboration with the Ministry of Steel, Government of India and four major steel manufacturing companies of the country, viz., ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, JSW Steel, Tata Steel and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. This technology facilitates the large-scale utilization of waste steel slag of steel plants and has proved very useful in effective disposal of about 19 million tonnes of steel slag generated in the country. This technique has been successfully tested in road construction in four major states of the country including Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh.

Dr. Jitendra Singh Calls for Affordable Clean Energy Solutions at CEM-14 MI-8 Meeting

19th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Samar Pratap

Representatives from over 40 countries gathered in Goa for the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM-14) and 8th Mission Innovation (MI-8) meeting. Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, stressed the need for strong Public Private Partnerships to achieve affordable clean energy solutions. He reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to this cause.

India, as the host country, highlighted the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC) established in 2018. CEIIC has successfully incubated 45 StartUps, filed 35 patents, and commercialized products of 10 StartUps. Some StartUps have raised over Rs. 20 crore in funds, and 20 of them are available in the market.

CEIIC, a first-of-its-kind International Incubation Centre, was jointly established by DBT/BIRAC, Tata Trust & Tata Power under the Mission Innovation multilateral program. This reflects the Indian Government's strong commitment to promoting clean energy solutions.

The incubator supports various clean energy innovations, offering access to advanced labs, expert mentors, live test beds, and opportunities to conduct pilots. It also provides networking opportunities, seed fund support, and scale-up investments.

‘Takachar,’ a StartUp incubated at CEIIC, was awarded the GBP 1 million Earth shot prize for its technology innovation.

CEIIC has launched three calls for applications to identify and support entrepreneurs and StartUps. This shows the Indian Government's dedication to collaborate with industry and international partners for clean energy innovations.

Dr. Jitendra Singh emphasized that the successful Public Private Partnership model can be applied to tackle global challenges in other fields. India is eager to connect with other partners to scale up innovations by StartUps, creating environmentally friendly, affordable, and scalable solutions for a sustainable future.

Govt prepones last date for comments and suggestions on Green Credit Programme Draft Notifications to 31st July 

19th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

You need to hurry, if you are thinking to share any comments or suggestions with regard to the Green Credit Programme introduced bt the Central Government. The Government has fixed 31st July 2023 as the last date for seeking suggestions or comments, instead of the notice period of 60 days as mentioned earlier in the draft notification dated 26th June 2023. 

According to the Government the preponement decided in order to give effect to the final notification for promotion of voluntary environmental actions. 

Notable that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change vide S.O. 2779 (E) dated 26th June, 2023 issued a notification containing draft provisions of Green Credit Programme Implementation Rules, 2023.  

There are two major objectives of the Green Credit Programme: - 

Delhi Government Approves Notification to Establish Large Industrial Area in Kanjhawala

17th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Delhi government has approved a notification to declare 920 acres of land in Kanjhawala as an industrial area. This forthcoming industrial zone will be one of the largest in Delhi, contributing to the city's economic growth and providing employment opportunities for many individuals.

Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj highlighted the government's commitment to providing modern amenities in Delhi's industrial areas. With the aim of establishing Delhi as a thriving industrial hub, the government has authorized the designation of Kanjhawala Industrial Estate as an industrial area. This move will stimulate economic activities in Delhi and offer numerous job prospects for the youth. Covering approximately 920 acres, the Kanjhawala Industrial Area will provide a valuable opportunity for the industrial community to establish their businesses.

The development of the Kanjhawala industrial area is expected to drive consistent industrial growth in the capital. This initiative will effectively address the issue of illegal operations conducted by some industrial units, which often lead to accidents and uncontrolled pollution in commercial and residential areas. The Delhi State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) will provide essential services such as roads, sewage and drainage systems, solid waste management, fire-fighting systems, and electricity in the industrial area. The comprehensive development of the area aims to facilitate industry growth and create more job opportunities.

Buyofuel Introduces Sustainability Dashboard to Measure Environmental Impact of Biofuel Adoption

17th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

Biofuel marketplace Buyofuel has unveiled its sustainability dashboard, a groundbreaking tool that enables companies to quantify their positive environmental impact through the use of biofuels. As the first company in the biofuels sector to offer such a solution, Buyofuel reportedly aims to promote informed decision-making and help businesses achieve their climate targets, including net zero emissions.

The innovative dashboard provides valuable insights by measuring key metrics associated with biofuel usage. Developed in collaboration with renowned environmental consultants specializing in ESG reporting and carbon footprint studies, it adheres to globally recognized greenhouse gas (GHG) protocols. The dashboard showcases data on the value of biofuels consumed, direct and indirect CO2 emissions reduced by replacing fossil fuels, social costs of carbon, and more.

By presenting concrete data and insights, the dashboard encourages companies to recognize the positive impact of biofuels on both the environment and their bottom line. It serves as a powerful tool for businesses to track their progress and understand the value they create by transitioning to clean energy sources through Buyofuel.

CEO of Buyofuel, Mr. Kishan Karunakaran, highlighted the importance of GHG accounting in achieving sustainability goals and emphasized the company's commitment to innovation and technology. He expressed confidence that the sustainability dashboard will accelerate the transition to clean energy and help companies align their operations with sustainable practices.

Buyofuel's sustainability dashboard reflects the company's dedication to overcoming existing challenges and accelerating progress towards sustainability. By encouraging the adoption of biofuels, Buyofuel aims to empower businesses to fulfill their environmental responsibilities and contribute to a cleaner future.

Controversy Surrounds Government's Explanation on Cheetah Mortalities at Kuno National Park

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Government of India's recent press statement on the mortalities of cheetahs at Kuno National Park has raised skepticism among experts and the public. The preliminary analysis conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which attributes all reported deaths of the translocated cheetahs to natural causes, is being met with conflicting reports from media sources, casting doubt on the transparency and accuracy of the information provided.

While the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change acknowledges that Project Cheetah is in its early stages, they remain optimistic about its long-term success. Stakeholders involved in the project have gained valuable insights into cheetah management, monitoring, and protection over the past ten months. However, given the magnitude of the recent cheetah mortalities, concerns are mounting about the efficacy of the project's management strategies.

To address conservation efforts, the Ministry has outlined various measures, including the establishment of a Cheetah Research Center with comprehensive facilities for rescue, rehabilitation, capacity building, and interpretation. They also plan to bring additional forest areas under the administrative control of Kuno National Park to facilitate landscape-level management. Moreover, the deployment of extra frontline staff, the establishment of a dedicated Cheetah Protection Force, and the creation of a second cheetah habitat in Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, have been proposed.

The Ministry refers to global experiences with cheetah translocation, citing challenges encountered during the initial phases of reintroduction in African countries, resulting in high mortality rates exceeding 50% among introduced cheetahs. While acknowledging the potential risks associated with reintroduction, such as intra-species fights, diseases, accidents, hunting-related injuries, poaching, road accidents, poisoning, and predatory attacks, it is crucial to thoroughly investigate the specific causes of the recent cheetah deaths.

Conflicting reports from media sources have emerged, indicating collar-related infections as the cause of death for cheetahs Tejas and Suraj. Rajesh Gopal, Chairman of the Cheetah Project Steering Committee, who possesses over 30 years of experience with Project Tiger, expressed surprise at radio collars causing such severe problems, describing it as a clear-cut case of abrasion and sepsis.

The controversy surrounding the cheetah mortalities underscores the necessity for an unbiased and thorough investigation into the true causes of death. Transparency and scientific rigor are paramount in understanding the factors contributing to the mortalities and addressing any potential shortcomings in the management of the project. This calls for prompt action to protect and conserve the reintroduced cheetah population in India.

As the Cheetah Project continues to evolve, it is vital for the government to uphold its commitment to the conservation of India's cheetah population. Patience, understanding, and accountability must guide the project's long-term goals. Scientific evidence, expert consultation, and ongoing evaluation of conservation efforts are essential in ensuring the success of this ambitious endeavor.

Delhi Zoo Observes World Snake Day to Raise Awareness and Appreciation for Snakes

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sunita Mishra

The National Zoological Park, commonly known as Delhi Zoo, marked the celebration of World Snake Day today, July 16, 2023. The main objective of this day is to protect snakes by increasing awareness about the snakes found in India, dispelling misconceptions about them, and highlighting their importance in our ecosystem. To commemorate the occasion, the snake keeping staff organized an enrichment activity by providing cage furniture in the reptile house. Additionally, plantation activities were carried out within the snake enclosures.

As per a press statement by the Government of India, the National Zoological Park currently houses 31 snakes belonging to 7 different species. 

The India Biodiversity Portal indicates that India is home to 324 snake species. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are over 3,500 species of snakes worldwide. Out of these, only approximately 600 species are venomous, which accounts for less than 25% of all snakes. Moreover, there are only about 200 snake species that pose a considerable risk to human life. This means that snakes are not as dangerous or scary as they are often perceived to be. However, it is important to remember that approaching any snake without proper knowledge or caution is not advisable.

These facts invite us to reconsider our attitudes towards these creatures. While it is not recommended to interact with snakes in the wild, it is worth reflecting on whether we give them more fear and trouble than they actually deserve. Snakes play vital roles in maintaining ecological balance, and they deserve our respect and protection.

World Snake Day serves as a reminder to appreciate and coexist with these fascinating creatures. By increasing awareness and dispelling myths, we can foster a better understanding of snakes and contribute to their conservation. Let us strive to protect snakes and appreciate their role in our ecosystem for a harmonious coexistence.

Key Changes for Wildlife Conservation and Eco-sensitive Zones in Jharkhand, Punjab, and Rajasthan

16th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Sanjaya K. Mishra

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued three notifications, bringing important changes to wildlife conservation and eco-sensitive zones in Jharkhand, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Here are the key details of each notification:

Amendments to Van Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary Rajasthan Eco-sensitive Zones through Notification vide S.O. 3142(E) dated 14th July, 2023:

Appointment of Officials for Eco sensitive Zone around Bir Moti Bagh Wildlife Sanctuary Punjab through notification earing S.O. 3144(E) dated 14th July, 2023, 

Amendments to Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary Regulations in Jharkhand vide S.O. 3141(E) dated 14th July, 2023 

These notifications aim to enhance wildlife conservation efforts, promote eco-sensitive practices, and involve local communities in decision-making processes.

India's Focus on 100 Million Tonne Coal Gasification by 2030

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Coal aims to achieve coal gasification of 100 Million Tonne (MT) coal by FY 2030.

The proposal focuses on capitalizing on natural resources and demonstrating the financial and technical feasibility of coal gasification.

Coal gasification will reduce reliance on imports of Natural Gas, Methanol, Ammonia, and other essential products. Currently, India imports approximately 50% of its Natural Gas, over 90% of its total Methanol consumption and around 13-15% of its total ammonia consumption to cater to the domestic demand.

The initiative aligns with India's vision of self-reliance and will create employment opportunities.

The implementation of coal gasification is expected to significantly reduce imports by 2030 and contribute to environmental sustainability.

The Ministry plans to promote coal/lignite gasification projects through a comprehensive scheme with an outlay of Rs 6,000 crores.

Selection of entities for the scheme will be done through a competitive and transparent bidding process.

Budgetary support will be provided to eligible Government Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and the Private Sector.

An incentive to reimburse the GST compensation cess on coal utilized in gasification projects is being considered for a period of 10 years.

Collaborative efforts are underway for Surface Coal Gasification (SCG) projects across Coal India Limited (CIL) coalfields.

Pre-feasibility reports have been accepted for three projects, and tendering activities for Detailed Feasibility Reports (DFRs) are underway.

The Ministry aims to attract investments, foster innovation, and promote sustainable development in the coal gasification sector.

Mangrove Plantation Drive Organized in Tamil Nadu under MISHTI Scheme

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change organized a mangrove plantation program in Kovalam Panchayat, Chengalpattu District, Tamil Nadu.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, led the plantation drive as part of the Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes (MISHTI) scheme.

The plantation drive is a part of the ongoing "Hariyali Mahotsav" with a focus on mangroves.

Tamil Nadu has the second longest coastline in the country and is vulnerable to natural disasters like cyclones and storms.

Mangrove forests serve as a bioshield along the coastal areas, protecting lives and livelihoods, especially of fishers and local communities.

The Minister released the book "Biodiversity and Importance of Mangrove Ecosystem," prepared by M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.

The MISHTI program aims to promote mangrove reforestation and afforestation, develop mangrove-associated ecotourism, and generate livelihoods in coastal states.

The program plans to cover an additional area of 540 sq km across nine states and four union territories, with a focus on converging CAMPA Fund, MGNREGS, and other sources.

The scheme will be implemented for a period of five years from 2023-2024 to 2027-2028.

Progress of Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

A two-day Stakeholder Workshop Meeting recently concluded, where the progress of Phase-III of the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) was reviewed. 

The scheme aims to develop complete organic value chains in the North Eastern States. The meeting focused on assessing the progress made and planning for the next phase of the scheme. States were encouraged to suggest activities and plans that could be implemented using the available funds. 

Rakesh Ranjan, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, emphasized the importance of service providers in establishing market connections and creating brand value for organic products. 

The workshop also included presentations on marketing support and opportunities for convergence with other agricultural schemes. The MOVCDNER scheme has been successful in expanding organic farming and supporting Farmer Producer Organizations. The workshop provided a platform for state representatives to share progress, challenges, and success stories. The concluding remarks emphasized the need for collaboration and convergence to further promote organic farming in the North Eastern region.

Chief Secretary Punjab seeks more time to report on Flood Plain Mapping Compliance

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant development in the case of Karnvir Thamman versus State of Punjab and others, the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab has submitted an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The case, filed as Original Application No. 303/2023, pertains to the mapping of flood plain zones in the state.

Following directions issued by the NGT on 25th April 2023, the Chief Secretary submitted the affidavit to provide a status report on the compliance of the mapping of flood plain zones. The responsibility for this task was assigned to the Department of Science, Technology, and Environment.

However, upon assuming the charge as Chief Secretary on 1st July 2023, the answering deponent expressed dissatisfaction with the draft reply submitted by the Department of Science, Technology, and Environment. In response, a committee consisting of two officers has been constituted on 13th July 2023 to ensure compliance with the NGT's order dated 22nd January 2021 and to submit a compliance status report as per the order issued on 25th April 2023.

The committee comprises the Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) cum Financial Commissioner Revenue and the Principal Secretary Water Resources. Its primary responsibility is to ensure that the directives regarding flood plain mapping are implemented effectively. The committee has been given a period of 30 days to submit its report.

Recognizing the importance of this matter, the State Government has prayed before the NGT for the grant of required time to fully comply with the mapping of flood plain zones. 

Utilization of Crop Residue by Thermal Power Plants Regulated

14th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a bid to address environmental concerns and promote sustainable practices, the Central Government has introduced new rules to regulate the utilization of crop residue by thermal power plants. These rules, called the Environment (Utilisation of Crop residue by Thermal Power Plants) Rules, 2023, have been formulated under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The rules, which come into force immediately, apply to the National Capital Region and the Adjoining Areas as defined in the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021. All coal-based thermal power plants of power generation utilities in these regions will be required to use a minimum of five percent blend of pellets or briquettes made of crop residue along with coal.

To ensure compliance, the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, or any authorized officer appointed by the Commission, will impose and collect environmental compensation from thermal power plants that fail to utilize crop residue as mandated. The rates of environmental compensation for non-utilization have been specified in a table provided in the rules.

For the year 2024-2025, the rates of environmental compensation range from zero to 0.03 Rs. per unit of electricity generated, depending on the percentage of crop residue pellets or briquettes utilized. From the year 2025-2026 onwards, the rates increase gradually, with a maximum compensation of 0.05 Rs. per unit of electricity generated for utilization below one percent.

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission or the State Regulatory Commissions, as applicable, will consider these rules while determining tariffs under the Electricity Act, 2003.

In cases where thermal power plants face difficulties in complying with the provisions of rule 2 and 3 due to circumstances beyond their control, the Commission for Air Quality Management has the power to grant relaxation on a case-by-case basis. Such relaxation will be granted in consultation with the Central Electricity Authority and the Central Pollution Control Board.

The introduction of these rules marks a significant step towards reducing the environmental impact of thermal power plants and promoting sustainable energy practices. By mandating the utilization of crop residue, the government aims to mitigate air pollution and encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies in power generation.

Ministry Amends CRZ Clearance Provisions on Validity, Transfer and Split

4th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has issued a new notification dated 3rd July 2023, for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances. The notification states that the validity period for projects granted CRZ clearance is ten years, with a provision for a one-year extension if an application is submitted within the validity period, along with recommendations from the Coastal Zone Management Authority.

Applicants can request an extension within thirty days after the clearance expires, which can be condoned by the respective authority. Similarly, if the application is filed within ninety days after expiry, the delay may be condoned by the Minister or the Coastal Zone Management Authority's chairperson. However, applications for extension filed beyond ninety days will not be entertained.

The validity of clearance is defined as the period from when the CRZ clearance is granted until the start of production or the completion of construction operations, depending on the project type. Projects requiring both Environmental Clearance (EC) and CRZ clearance will follow the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification for their validity period and extension requests, with recommendations required from the Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Expert Appraisal Committee.

The notification also introduces provisions for the transfer and split of CRZ clearances. A CRZ clearance granted for a specific project can be transferred to another legal entity entitled to undertake the project during the validity period. The transfer requires an application from the transferor and a written "no objection" from the transferor, with approval from the relevant authority.

For projects requiring both EC and CRZ clearance, the transfer process will comply with the provisions of the EIA Notification, with recommendations obtained from the relevant Coastal Zone Management Authority.

Earlier on June 21, 2023, the State Governments have received instructions through a gazette notification, to develop a Zonal Master Plan for the Eco-sensitive Zone. This plan will be created in collaboration with the local community, adhering to the guidelines specified in the notification. The State Governments have a two-year deadline from the date of this amendment notification to finalize the plan. 

The Central Government, empowered by the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, has issued a notification, S.O. 2818(E), on June 21, 2023, to amend the existing rules previously outlined in notification S.O. 2561 (E) on August 22, 2013. The Government considers these amendments necessary and in the public interest, thus waiving the requirement of notice for this amendment.

Centre's Notification Mandates States to Develop Zonal Master Plan for ESZ

4th July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The State Governments have received instructions, through a gazette notification dated June 21, 2023, to develop a Zonal Master Plan for the Eco-sensitive Zone. This plan will be created in collaboration with the local community, adhering to the guidelines specified in the notification. The State Governments have a two-year deadline from the date of this amendment notification to finalize the plan. 

The Central Government, empowered by the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, has issued a notification, S.O. 2818(E), on June 21, 2023, to amend the existing rules previously outlined in notification S.O. 2561 (E) on August 22, 2013. The Government considers these amendments necessary and in the public interest, thus waiving the requirement of notice for this amendment.

New Strategy Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Shipping

4thJuly 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Top United Nations officials have announced a new strategy to tackle the issue of greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. They believe this strategy will help to phase out these emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures. Shipping currently accounts for about three percent of global emissions, so it plays a crucial role in addressing climate change.

The officials are urging the members of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), responsible for environmental matters under the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to agree on this strategy during their meeting in London. The MEPC deals with pollution from ships, including oil spills, chemical leaks, sewage, garbage, and air pollution.

The goal of the new strategy is to set ambitious targets that will guide the shipping industry towards reducing and eventually eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. The officials believe that this strategy will have a significant impact on future generations and the health of our planet.

During the meeting, the Committee will review ongoing efforts and is expected to adopt the strategy to combat climate change and protect biodiversity. The IMO Secretary-General has emphasized the importance of this moment, calling for global leadership in creating a greener and more sustainable future for the maritime industry.

The strategy will outline possible measures, both technical and economic, that can be implemented to achieve these goals. It will also highlight the need for concrete actions to protect biodiversity. The officials believe that the MEPC's efforts are essential in promoting a greener and more equitable maritime sector.

The adoption of this new strategy reflects the growing recognition of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry and protect our environment.

Link Between Residual Accounts and Sustainable Development Goals

3rd July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) is hosting the 'Swachhata Pakhwada 2023' (Cleanliness Fortnight 2023) from July 1st to July 15th, 2023. As part of these celebrations, the Social Statistics Division of the National Statistical Office (NSO), MoSPI, organized a one-day seminar on July 3rd, 2023, focusing on "Residual Accounts and its Linkages with Sustainable Development Goals" at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

The seminar aimed to emphasize that waste management is a crucial issue that affects various aspects of sustainable development in ecological, economic, and societal domains. It highlighted the importance of accurate and comprehensive data for effective waste management. The internationally recognized framework for compiling environmental accounts, the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), including Residual Accounts, was discussed extensively during the seminar. These accounts align closely with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide a consistent monitoring framework to inform policy decisions related to climate impacts and adaptation strategies.

MoSPI has adopted the SEEA framework in 2018 and has been consistently compiling accounts on various ecosystems, including the "Solid Waste Account," which was piloted in 2022. The seminar aimed to expand the work on Residual Accounts and foster cooperation among stakeholders in this area.

Representatives from various ministries/departments of the central and state governments attended the seminar. Additionally, the event was live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook for wider access. The seminar consisted of an inaugural session followed by two technical sessions. Recordings of the seminar will be made available on the Ministry's website in the near future.

During the inaugural session, Dr. G. P. Samanta, Chief Statistician of India and Secretary of MoSPI, emphasized the Ministry's commitment to provide timely and reliable data for evidence-based decision-making. He highlighted the lateral and vertical decentralization of India's official statistics system and the importance of mutual coordination and cooperation among agencies at the central and state levels.

Eminent dignitaries, including Dr. Rajiv Sharma, Chairman of Telangana State Pollution Control Board & Chief Advisor to the Government of Telangana, Ms. Anshu Singh, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ms. Divya Datt, Deputy Country Head at the United Nations Environment Programme, shared their insights during the seminar. Representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board, NITI Aayog, State Pollution Control Boards, and State Urban Departments also contributed to the discussions.

The first technical session focused on policies related to waste management, NSO's efforts in residual accounting, and the linkages between residual accounts and the SDGs. The second technical session delved into data collection mechanisms and associated challenges. Representatives from Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Assam shared their experiences in collecting data on residuals.

The seminar highlighted the urgency to address the "throwaway culture" and emphasized the need for reliable data on residuals to inform effective policymaking. The increasing demand for such data necessitates considering sustainability parameters. It was acknowledged that achieving real progress in sustainability requires rethinking waste management, as sustainability is integral to prosperity and well-being.

The seminar underscored the importance of establishing robust mechanisms for developing comprehensive environmental accounts. NSO, MoSPI aims to make the environment a key dimension in the policy paradigm and seeks support and cooperation from sub-national, national, and international agencies.

In conclusion, the seminar on "Residual Accounts and its Linkages with Sustainable Development Goals" brought together stakeholders to highlight the critical role of waste management in sustainable development and stressed the need for accurate and comprehensive data. By adopting the SEEA framework and expanding the work on Residual Accounts, MoSPI aims to contribute to the development of effective policies and a sustainable future.

Global Climate Change Litigation Cases More Than Double in One Year, Surpassing 2,300

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Global climate change-related cases have more than doubled since 2015, reaching over 2,341 cases between May 2022 and May 2023, according to the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law. 

The report highlights the expanding diversity of climate change litigation, with emerging cases in countries such as Bulgaria, China, Finland, Romania, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. 

Over 50% of the cases analyzed resulted in direct judicial outcomes supporting climate action. Climate litigation has influenced decision-making beyond the courtroom, with domestic legal protections playing a crucial role. Corporate actors face complex legal arguments, and notable cases against major carbon-emitting companies are likely to proceed to trial. 

The rise of "climate-washing" cases challenging green claims and commitments is also noted. Litigation addressing climate policy responses and investment decisions is on the rise, demonstrating a comprehensive effort to tackle climate change concerns. 

The increase in climate change litigation reflects the growing demand for action and accountability in addressing climate change.

New Defence Facility to affect 214 Trees in Delhi, gets approval from Kejriwal Govt. 

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Delhi is all set to witness the establishment of a new defense facility, a project that holds immense significance for national interest. However, the project encountered a green hurdle as it required the removal and transplantation of 214 trees from the proposed construction site. In a major development, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has given the green signal for the project by approving the proposal for tree removal and transplantation, with the condition that the applicant agency takes responsibility for planting 2,140 new saplings in return.

While the Delhi Government has approved this proposal, the Union Government has set a mandatory requirement of ten times compensatory plantation for every tree that is affected by such projects.

According to the Delhi Government, the transplantation process will take place in the vicinity of the identified project site, and the designated agency responsible for the project has been explicitly instructed not to damage any tree at the site other than the ones identified and approved by the government. Any unauthorized damage to trees beyond the approved list will be treated as a violation of the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act 1994, inviting severe consequences.

The Delhi Government has revealed that the 2,140 trees will be planted on identified land parcels within a three-month timeframe, starting from the date of permission issuance for tree shifting. Furthermore, the applicant agency will be accountable for maintaining these trees for the next seven years in adherence to the guidelines set by the Delhi Government. The proposal, approved by the authorities, emphasizes the plantation of tree species that are well-suited to Delhi's soil and climate. This includes Neem, Amaltas, Pipal, Pilkhan, Gular, Bargad, Desi Kikar, Arjun, and other such species. The saplings of these trees, ranging from 6 to 8 feet in height, will be planted on non-forest lands.

Regarding the transplantation process, the applicant agency has been directed to commence the process immediately after fulfilling all the necessary conditions. The transplantation is required to be completed within six months, and the agency will be obliged to submit a comprehensive report on the progress to the Tree Officer for supervision. The Delhi Government has laid out stringent compliance with the Delhi Tree Transplantation Policy 2020 for the project, and the applicant agency is expected to submit regular progress reports accordingly.

In instances where transplanted trees do not survive, the Delhi Government mandates that indigenous tree species, with a minimum height of 15 feet and a diameter of at least 6 inches, be planted at a ratio of 1:5. Moreover, if any tree is found to have a bird's nest, it will not be permitted to be felled or transplanted until the birds abandon the tree. Additionally, the lops and tops of the felled trees must be sent to the nearest crematorium within 90 days, at the applicant agency's expense.

The project's approval for tree transplantation comes as a significant step in balancing the requirements of development and environmental conservation, ensuring a sustainable future for the city of Delhi.

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav Affirms: Preserving Nature - an Indulgence Bestowed upon Ourselves, Not a Benediction to Nature

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Kolkata witnessed the commencement of the three-day celebration program of the 108th ZSI (Zoological Survey of India) Day, graced by the presence of Union Minister for Environment & Forest and Climate Change and Labour and Employment, Bhupender Yadav, and Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

In his address to the gathering, Minister Yadav extended his congratulations to ZSI on completing 108 remarkable years dedicated to the preservation of our faunal diversity. He shed light on the significance of the number 108, which holds great symbolism in the practice of japamala, where 108 repetitions are counted, focusing on the sounds, vibrations, and meaning of what is recited. Yadav also highlighted the number's association with the Sanskrit alphabet, consisting of 54 letters, each possessing masculine and feminine attributes.

The Minister emphasized the need to protect India's faunal diversity as a means to safeguard ourselves, as climate change has shattered the misconception that humans are superior to nature. Drawing from the work of Anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, Yadav pointed out that forests possess a thinking capacity, as trees interact with their environment through specialized characteristics of pest resistance. This attribute serves as a reminder of Mahatma Gandhi's belief that "In nature, there is enough for everyone's need." Yadav further illustrated this point by referencing the discovery of the pesticide DDT during World War II and how biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson raised awareness about its detrimental effects on the environment in her book "Silent Spring" in 1958, highlighting human arrogance towards nature.

Yadav underscored that working towards the protection of nature is not an act of favoritism but rather a favor we do for ourselves. He commended ZSI's efforts in establishing globally renowned protected areas, including the Silent Valley National Park (Kerala), Namdapha Tiger Reserve (Arunachal Pradesh), Nilgiri and Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserves, among many others. The Minister also acknowledged ZSI's significant role in providing technical inputs for amending the Wildlife Protection Act.

Union Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey urged ZSI to focus on the research and conservation of vital wetlands in the Gangetic plains of India. He proposed the initiation of a program for citizen scientists, titled 'Sarovar Mitra,' aimed at better data dissemination and conservation awareness.

As part of the event, six books were released by the dignitaries, including titles like "Animal Discoveries: New Species and New Records 2022," "Plant Discoveries 2022," "Faunal Diversity of 75 Ramsar Wetlands of India," "Records of Zoological Survey of India-Special Issue of ATS 2023," "75 Endemic Birds of India," and "Fauna of India-108 DNA Sequences."

ZSI also signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for research and academic collaboration. The first MoU was with the Royal Government of Bhutan to conduct a non-invasive population assessment of the Red Panda. The other two MoUs were signed with IIT Jodhpur and the University of Burdwan for research collaborations and student exchange programs. Additionally, awards were presented for various competitions held during the World Environment Day, Mission Life, and International Day of Biodiversity.

As part of the ongoing celebrations, the first two-day Animal Taxonomy Summit, scheduled for July 2 and 3, 2023, will witness the participation of 400 delegates from India and abroad, including representatives from the Natural History Museum, London. Eminent speakers will deliver talks on various aspects of animal taxonomy, biodiversity conservation, and biogeography. The event commenced with a welcome address by ZSI Director, Dr. Dhriti Banerjee, followed by an inaugural address by Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, Chandra Prakash Goyal. The Director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Dr. Ashiho Asosii Mao, was also present at the event.

Government Revises Crop Residue Management Guidelines for Efficient Paddy Straw Utilization

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant move towards combating stubble burning and promoting sustainable agricultural practices, the Indian government has introduced revised Crop Residue Management guidelines. The new guidelines focus on enabling efficient ex-situ management of paddy straw generated in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.

Under the revised guidelines, techno-commercial pilot projects for the Paddy Straw Supply Chain will be established through bilateral agreements between various beneficiaries and industries involved in utilizing the paddy straw. The beneficiaries include farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, farmers' producer organizations (FPOs), and Panchayats.

To facilitate the implementation of these projects, the government will provide financial assistance for the capital cost of machinery and equipment. The working capital required can be financed jointly by the industry and beneficiaries or through the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), NABARD Financial, or financing from financial institutions by the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will also be responsible for arranging and preparing land for the storage of collected paddy straw, guided by the end-use industry.

Financial assistance will be extended for procuring essential machinery and equipment such as higher horsepower tractors, cutters, tedders, medium to large balers, rakers, loaders, grabbers, and telehandlers, which are necessary for establishing the paddy straw supply chain.

State governments will play a crucial role in approving these projects through a project sanctioning committee.

The funding for these projects will be divided as follows: the government (jointly by the central and state governments) will provide 65% of the project cost, the industry as the primary promoter will contribute 25%, and the direct beneficiaries, such as farmers, rural entrepreneurs, cooperative societies of farmers, farmers' producer organizations (FPOs), or Panchayats, will contribute the remaining 10%.

The implementation of these interventions is expected to yield several positive outcomes. It will supplement the existing in-situ options for paddy straw management, resulting in the collection of approximately 1.5 million metric tonnes of surplus paddy straw over three years, which would have otherwise been burned in fields. Around 333 biomass collection depots with a capacity of 4,500 metric tonnes will be established in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. This proactive approach will significantly reduce air pollution caused by stubble burning and generate employment opportunities for approximately 900,000 man-days.

Moreover, these interventions will encourage robust supply chain management of paddy straw, making it available for various end uses such as power generation, heat generation, and bio-CNG production by power/bio-CNG/bio-ethanol producers. This will lead to new investments in the biomass to biofuel and energy sectors, promoting sustainability and driving economic growth.

The implementation of the revised guidelines marks a crucial step towards addressing the issue of stubble burning, mitigating environmental pollution, and fostering a sustainable agricultural ecosystem.

DPIIT Successfully Orchestrates National Workshop on Industrial Park Rating

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

New Delhi witnessed the successful organization of the National Workshop on Industrial Park Rating System (IPRS) by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) today. The event, aimed at advancing India's industrial competitiveness and promoting sustainability, brought together government officials, industry experts, and stakeholders in a collaborative effort to enhance the country's industrial infrastructure.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary of DPIIT, delivered the keynote address, highlighting the crucial role played by industrial parks in attracting investments and increasing the share of the manufacturing sector in the overall GDP. He expressed his gratitude to the participating states, union territories, the steering committee, and the collaborating teams for their dedicated efforts in making the IPRS exercise and the workshop a resounding success.

The Industrial Park Rating System (IPRS), a major initiative by DPIIT, was a focal point of the workshop. Launched on October 5, 2021, IPRS 2.0 rates industrial parks across four pillars: internal infrastructure and utilities, external infrastructure and facilities, business support services, and environmental and safety management. The system received nominations from 31 participating states and union territories, along with 50 additional Special Economic Zones (SEZs) nominated by the Department of Commerce (DoC).

The workshop provided a platform for knowledge-sharing and capacity building, enabling the exchange of best practices observed during individual workshops conducted in collaboration with states and union territories from November 2022 to March 2023. Participants shared initiatives such as sustainable water supply systems, local self-governance models, industry-focused plug-and-play facilities, and the provision of common facilities, all aimed at promoting ease of doing business and improving the lives of citizens.

A panel discussion on "Creating Smart, Resilient, and Eco-Industrial Parks with Innovative Financial Solutions" added further depth to the workshop. The panel comprised experts from the industry, government, think tanks, and multilateral organizations, who explored innovative approaches to park management and governance, environmental performance, efficiency enhancement, sustainability promotion, and industrial park competitiveness.

DPIIT has undertaken various initiatives to transform the business ecosystem and attract investments. These efforts include the establishment of the Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS), Project Development Cells (PDCs) to expedite investments, the Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) with the National Single Window System (NSWS) for streamlined facilitation, the One-District One-Product (ODOP) scheme, and the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, all aimed at strengthening India's position in the global supply chain.

The National Workshop on IPRS served as a significant step towards enhancing India's industrial competitiveness, fostering sustainability, and promoting a conducive environment for investments.

Delhi Government to Transform Non-Conforming Industrial Areas for Growth and Development

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant move, the Kejriwal government in Delhi has announced a comprehensive plan to transform non-conforming industrial areas into conforming zones. This initiative aims to provide recognition to these areas and support the growth and development of industries within them. To kickstart the process, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with industrialists on June 30, 2023, to initiate the layout planning phase for these areas.

During the meeting, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal underscored the importance of uplifting the non-conforming industrial areas and emphasized the positive impact this step would have. Through this project, the government intends to completely redevelop these areas, fostering the growth of existing industries and generating a significant number of new employment opportunities.

The redevelopment plan will be executed in three phases. The initial phase will focus on developing layouts, followed by the construction of necessary infrastructure in the second phase. In the third and final phase, essential public facilities will be established to cater to the needs of the transformed zones. To ensure the successful implementation of the project, a panel of consultants will be formed. The Delhi Government will bear 90 percent of the consultancy cost, with the remaining 10 percent shared by the industry associations. This collaborative effort aims to leverage expertise and resources from both the public and private sectors.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has stated that the redevelopment of non-conforming industrial areas will create employment opportunities for an estimated 10-15 lakh people, making a significant contribution to the economy and improving the lives of countless individuals and families.

Addressing the industrialists, the Chief Minister acknowledged the unplanned nature of development in Delhi, where residential, commercial, and industrial establishments have spread without adequate infrastructure such as sewer networks, water, and electricity availability. As a result, these areas were designated as non-conforming industrial areas. The government identified 26 such notified areas, including a godown cluster, as non-conforming industrial areas. Two decades ago, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) issued an order requiring the creation of layout plans and the commencement of redevelopment in these areas.

The Chief Minister explained that failure to comply with the DDA's order resulted in the directive to shut down non-compliant units and areas. However, the industrial units faced difficulties in meeting the requirements, leading to a legal quagmire and unfavorable court rulings.

Recognizing the importance of these industrial units in providing employment opportunities, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stressed the need for an alternative approach that would not unjustly affect employees. Understanding the ramifications of closing down these units, as they employ over 5 lakh people across the 26 notified areas, with an additional 10 lakh employed informally, the government decided on the Redevelopment of Non-Conforming Industrial Areas policy.

The 26 non-conforming industrial areas in Delhi that will undergo redevelopment include Anand Parbat, Shahdara, Samaypur Badli, Jawahar Nagar, Sultanpur Majra, Hastsal Pocket-A, Hastsal Pocket-D, Naresh Park Extension, Libaspur, Pira Garhi Gaon, Khayala, Shalimar Gaon, New Mandoli, Nawada, Rithala, Swarn Park Mundka, Haiderpur, Karawal Nagar, Dabri, Basai Darapur, Prahlaadpur Bangar, Mundka Udyog Nagar Dakshin, Firni Road Mundka, Nangli Sakrawati, and Tikri Kalan. Additionally, the Mundka (North) cluster, which consists of godowns, is also planned for resettlement. The notification process for these non-conforming industrial areas began in 1990 and continued until 2021.

Under the Delhi Master Plan 2021, notifications have been issued for the redevelopment of non-conforming industrial areas and industrial and warehouse clusters. To qualify for redevelopment, a non-conforming industrial area must cover a minimum of 4 hectares of land, with industrial activity present on over 70% of the land within the cluster. The redevelopment plans will be prepared based on advice from society, local authorities, and land-owning agencies. Warehousing clusters with an area of around 2 hectares and more than 55% industrial plots can also be identified and redeveloped based on an actual survey. As per this provision, the Mundka (North) warehouse cluster has been notified for redevelopment.

UNOOSA Raises Global Awareness on Potentially Hazardous Near-Earth Objects

1st July 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is intensifying efforts to draw attention to the presence of nearly 18,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs), with approximately 2,000 classified as potentially hazardous. On the occasion of International Asteroid Day, celebrated annually on Friday, UNOOSA aims to increase public awareness worldwide about the existence and potential risks associated with NEOs. These NEOs include asteroids and comets that come within a proximity of approximately 50 million kilometers from Earth's orbit, with some classified as "potentially hazardous objects" (PHOs) due to their even closer minimum distance of less than 7.5 million kilometers in interstellar terms.

Of particular concern are PHOs measuring over 140 meters across, as they possess the capacity to cause regional devastation with potential global consequences. However, even smaller NEOs can still inflict significant localized damage. For instance, the Tunguska event on June 30, 1908, which occurred over Siberia, is believed to have resulted from an object with a diameter of up to 60 meters. This catastrophic incident, recognized as the largest recorded asteroid impact event, inspired the selection of its anniversary as the date for International Asteroid Day in 2017.

Smaller NEOs also pose risks, as demonstrated by the incident in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15, 2013. A sizable fireball approximately 20 meters across disintegrated in the skies above the city, releasing energy equivalent to about 440,000 tons of TNT. The resulting shock wave shattered windows and damaged buildings, leading to over 1,600 injuries primarily caused by shattered glass.

The majority of these NEOs originate from the inner portion of the Solar System's main asteroid belt. Formed due to gravitational influences from Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, as well as collisions between larger celestial bodies, these NEOs present a global challenge that necessitates a robust international response. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, UNOOSA has established the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) to coordinate worldwide efforts in planetary defense.

IAWN's role entails equipping member states with comprehensive communication plans and protocols to aid in making informed decisions in the event of an asteroid impact. On the other hand, SMPAG serves as an inter-agency forum that selects technologies required for NEO deflection and facilitates consensus on planetary defense measures.

In practical terms, if a credible impact threat emerges, IAWN would issue an alert. For objects larger than 50 meters with a probability of impact exceeding one percent within the next 50 years, SMPAG would evaluate potential mitigation options and develop an implementation plan.

Government Notifies Draft Green Credit Programme Implementation Rules 2023

27th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The introduction of the Green Credit Programme marks a significant step towards promoting sustainable lifestyles and encouraging environmental actions across various sectors. By creating a competitive market-based approach, the programme aims to incentivize individuals, communities, and organizations to actively participate in initiatives that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future. The government welcomes public feedback on the proposed rules as it moves towards implementing this voluntary market mechanism.

Read more in our print version. DOWNLOAD NOTIFICATION

NGT Chairperson Emphasizes Significance of District Environment Plan for Environmental Protection

26th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Justice Adarsh ​​Kumar Goyal, Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), addressed the importance of the District Environment Plan (DEP) as a crucial tool for environmental protection and waste disposal. Speaking at a one-day training camp held at the Haryana Institute of Public Administration in Gurugram, Justice Goyal stressed the need for collaborative efforts among various stakeholders including government agencies, local officials, citizens, social organizations, educational institutions, and community representatives.

The DEP serves as a comprehensive document that fosters cooperation among stakeholders to effectively address environmental concerns. Justice Goyal emphasized its role in integrating environmental considerations into different developmental activities at the district level. He explained that the DEP involves analyzing the existing environmental conditions, identifying district-specific challenges, and assessing the potential impacts of developmental projects. These assessments serve as the basis for setting goals and objectives that promote sustainable development and tackle environmental challenges within the district.

Justice Goyal further highlighted that the DEP plays a vital role in formulating action plans designed to achieve the established goals and objectives. These plans encompass measures for pollution control, waste management, conservation of natural resources, promotion of renewable energy, and environmental education and awareness.

The establishment of a robust institutional framework within the DEP was also emphasized by Justice Goyal. This framework identifies responsible agencies, coordination mechanisms, and the roles of various stakeholders involved in the implementation and monitoring of the DEP. He stressed the importance of incorporating a monitoring and evaluation mechanism within the DEP to ensure continuous improvement and adaptability to emerging environmental challenges and district priorities.

Addressing the training program focused on the implementation of District Environment Plans, Sanjeev Kaushal, Chief Secretary of the Haryana Government, highlighted the state's efforts in ensuring the scientific handling and disposal of municipal solid waste, hazardous waste, biomedical waste, and enforcing a ban on single-use plastics. As per the directives of the NGT, all Deputy Commissioners of the state have been instructed to prepare DEPs, covering various thematic areas such as solid waste management, air quality, industrial wastewater treatment, water quality, mining activity, and noise pollution. These comprehensive plans will be made available on the Environment Department's website. Kaushal added that these plans will play a vital role in addressing environmental challenges, ensuring compliance with environmental norms, and contributing to the sustainable development and progress of the state.

Furthermore, to ensure the efficient utilization of environment compensation funds collected from violators, a high-powered committee has been constituted. This committee will undertake environment restoration activities outlined in the DEPs, further strengthening environmental protection measures.

The training camp and the commitment of stakeholders to implement the DEP reflect a collective effort to safeguard the environment, promote sustainable development, and ensure a greener future for the state of Haryana.

Prestigious International Award for CSIR-CRRI's Steel Slag Road Innovation

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

(This news article is already published in our print version dated 21st June 2023)

In a moment of pride for the Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), their Delhi Steel Slag Road Technology has been honored with a prestigious award from Germany. Principal Scientist Satish Pandey has become the first Indian scientist to receive the Global Slag Personality of the Year Award 2023, recognizing CSIR-CRRI's significant contributions in promoting the environmentally-friendly use of iron and steel slag generated as solid waste in the steel industry since 2007.

The technology developed by CSIR-CRRI has played a crucial role in the construction of India's first steel slag road in Surat, Gujarat in 2022. Following this success, the technology was utilized in the construction of NH-33 and NH-66 in Jharkhand and Maharashtra, respectively. Moreover, the Border Roads Organization successfully implemented the steel slag road technology in the construction of roads near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh.

These roads, built using the innovative technology, not only exhibit greater strength compared to conventional roads but also prove to be cost-effective by utilizing steel slag waste from steel plants.

The development of steel slag road technology by CSIR-CRRI aligns with the Indian government's vision of turning waste into wealth. 

Dr. Satish Pandey's leadership in the steel slag road research project has made a significant contribution to the construction of steel slag roads across the country. It is noteworthy that India produces around 19 million tons of steel slag as solid waste from various steel plants each year, with this number expected to reach approximately 60 million tons by 2030. Effectively utilizing steel slag in an environmentally friendly manner remains a major challenge for the steel industry.

Expressing his elation, Dr. Satish Pandey described the recognition as a proud moment for the CSIR-CRRI team. He emphasized the importance of steel slag valorization through processed steel slag aggregates and its utilization in constructing the world's first heavy-duty 100% steel slag road in Gujarat, as well as the high-altitude border road in Arunachal Pradesh. The esteemed "Global Slag Personality of the Year Award 2023" was conferred upon him at the Global Slag Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The recognition bestowed upon CSIR-CRRI not only acknowledges their accomplishment but also underscores the immense potential of steel slag road technology in revolutionizing sustainable infrastructure development, not only in India but also globally. This achievement showcases the true essence of the circular economy and the concept of turning waste into wealth.

Mercury Concentration in Boiler Emission?

24th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

How often you have heard about Mercury concentration in Air Emission from Boilers run on imported fuel?

Solaris Chemtech Industries Ltd. in its proposal for EC expansion of Marine Chemicals, Fertilizers, and Organic Chemicals to boost production by a whopping 37.6 times (from 3,005 to 112,917 MT/Month) has declared mercury concentration in boiler air emission. The boiler is run on imported coal as fuel. The company has also planned to increase the Captive Co-Gen Power Plant from 7.675 MW to 33.275 MW. The project is located in Ratadia Village, near Khavda in Bhuj Tehsil, Kutch District of Gujarat..

The company's proposal was deferred due to lack of confirmation from the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) or an authorized agency of the Ministry, along with supporting documents regarding the non-requirement of CRZ clearance for seawater withdrawal.

In the 52nd meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry-3 Sector projects held on May 30th and 31st, 2023, several projects were discussed, and two projects from Gujarat were deferred for a common reason.

The proposal by Agrocel Industries Pvt. Ltd. for environmental clearance (EC) of their proposed expansion of Marine Chemicals, Fertilizers, and Captive Co-Gen Power Plant in Greater Rann of Kutch, near Village Dhordo, Tehsil Bhuj, in the Kutch District of Gujarat, was also deferred. 

Agrocel Industries has been seeking EC for products such as Potassium Schoenite, Syngenite, Sulphate of Potash, Potassium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulphate, and a Captive Co-Gen Power Plant. The expansion project involves the addition of 26 process emission stacks. The proposal also mentioned the reuse of 700,000 MT/year of Neutralizer sludge in Syngenite and Potassium Schoenite, as well as the utilization of an additional 46,000 MT/year of Spent Sulphuric Acid for captive consumption.

The proposed expansions has an enormous water requirement, estimated at 26,287 KLD. However, the company states that it will not directly withdraw seawater. Instead, it plans to pump saline water from ponds generated after salt recovery, located approximately 18 to 22 km away from the project area. The company argues that since the Arabian Sea is about 100 km from the site, there is no need for Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for seawater withdrawal. In this light, the EAC has asked for submission of a confirmation from the GCZMA or any Competent Authority, along with supporting documents to substantiate the non-requirement of CRZ clearance. Consequently, the decision regarding EC was deferred.

As a rare case, Unit 2 of Sajjan India Limited, which involves the production of Specialty Chemicals and Agrochemicals with a product capacity of 21,620 MT/Annum. has clearly declared that its Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) is not based on a total zero liquid discharge system. The proposed project location is in GIDC Estate Ankleshwar, Bharuch District, Gujarat, which is declared a critically polluted area. 

While the EAC approved the expansion proposal of Navin Fluorine International Ltd. to increase Specialty Chemicals production capacity, concerns were raised by Enviro Annotations. No statement was given by the EAC regarding the assessment of the carrying capacity of the drain and Common Sewage Treatment Plant (CSTP) for the treated wastewater discharge.

Solaris Chemtech Industries Ltd.'s declaration regarding the mercury concentration in boiler emissions raises concerns and highlights the importance of reevaluating the requirements for emission and ambient air quality monitoring. Given the potential environmental and health impacts associated with mercury pollution, it becomes crucial to ensure that proper measures are in place to monitor and control emissions from industrial sources.

Delhi Government Implementing European Standards for Water Supply Management in Delhi

23rd June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Kejriwal Government in Delhi has stated of adopting European Standards and implementing state-of-the-art SCADA systems to revolutionize water supply management. The installation of flow meters throughout the city is said to be underway and expected to be completed by December 31, 2023. 

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, according to a Delhi Government press release, emphasizes timely execution to enhance water distribution and track usage. Starting from July 1, 2023, central monitoring of water supply is slated to be initiated by the Delhi Jal Board. This would streamline management, improve efficiency, and ensure equitable distribution. 

The government aims to conserve water resources and accurately record water supply to address shortages and wastage. The installation process is being closely monitored, and flow meters will be connected to SCADA systems for comprehensive data analysis. The initiative aims to meet the diverse water supply demands of different areas in Delhi.

Delhi Govt to allow 15 years permit to Taxis running on CNG and other cleaner fuels

21st June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In a significant development, the Delhi Transport Department has issued an order to allow extension of permit validity, for all taxis plying on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or other clean fuels, and possessing a Contract Carriage permit, to 15 years. The extension, however, is subject to the fulfillment of all other prescribed conditions as stipulated in the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, CMVR, 1989, and DMVR, 1993.

In a statement, Transport Minister of Delhi Kailash Gahlot said "Under the leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi government has always stood with our taxi drivers. This move will help thousands of taxi drivers who will be able to ply their CNG vehicles for a total of 15 years now. It is an initiative towards providing cleaner and greener modes of transportation while ensuring the welfare and convenience of taxi owners and operators in the city."

The Delhi Transport Department has urged taxi owners and operators to ensure they meet all other conditions specified in the relevant acts and regulations. Adherence to these prescribed requirements will remain crucial for maintaining the extended permit validity.

Revised CPHEEO Manual on Water Supply and Treatment under finalization

20th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in collaboration with the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization (CPHEEO) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), successfully organized a two-day national workshop to finalize the revised and updated manual on water supply and treatment. The workshop, held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, aimed to gather feedback, suggestions, and comments from states, cities, and other stakeholders regarding the contents of the manual.

The inaugural session, chaired by Manoj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, saw Dr. M. Dhinadhayalan, Adviser (PHEE) of CPHEEO, deliver the welcome address. D. Thara, Additional Secretary & National Mission Director (AMRUT), also delivered a special address during the session.

The existing manual on water supply and treatment, published in 1999, and the operation and maintenance manual, published in 2005, have served as guidance documents for planning, designing, and implementing urban water supply systems under various programs such as AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) and AMRUT 2.0. However, considering technological advancements and the challenges faced in the urban water supply sector, the Ministry decided to revise and update the manuals.

To accomplish this, an expert committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Adviser (PHEE) of CPHEEO, in coordination with GIZ. WAPCOS was appointed by GIZ as the study team to draft the manual. The draft manual, divided into three parts covering engineering, operation and maintenance, and management, was reviewed and approved by the expert committee, along with input from water experts from the United States.

The revised manual provides guidelines for planning and designing water supply systems based on operational zones and District Metered Areas (DMAs). Its aim is to improve water supply services, transition from intermittent to 24x7 water supply with "Drink from Tap" facility, and incorporate GIS hydraulic modeling. The manual also covers various aspects such as water treatment technologies for different water qualities, water quality monitoring protocols, SMART water solutions, operation and maintenance guidelines, financial and asset management, stakeholder engagement, public-private partnerships (PPP), and climate-resilient water supply systems.

In his keynote address, Secretary Manoj Joshi emphasized the importance of providing safe and reliable water that meets the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) quality standards to every household in urban areas. He highlighted the financial burden placed on households due to coping costs such as storage facilities or household treatment plants. Secretary Joshi advocated for direct water supply to households on a 24x7 basis to eliminate the need for additional storage, which can lead to water deterioration and financial losses. He expressed confidence that the revised manual, incorporating the latest technologies and design procedures after 25 years, would prove beneficial to states and urban local bodies (ULBs).

During her special address, D. Thara, Additional Secretary & National Mission Director (AMRUT), suggested including the design of water supply systems for slum areas, mapping human resources within the water supply system, and empowering women in the water sector.

Laura Sustersic, Project Director of the India EU Water Partnership at GIZ, emphasized the importance of addressing gender aspects within the manual.

The conference was attended by technical heads, chief engineers, city engineers, senior engineers responsible for water supply, representatives from Public Health and Engineering Departments/Corporations/Boards/Jal Nigams, experts, public-private partnership partners, manufacturing firms, and consultants. Approximately 300 participants took part in the workshop.

The revised and updated manual on water supply and treatment is expected to provide comprehensive guidance for the planning, design, and management of water supply systems, enabling safer and more efficient water supply services across urban areas in India.

National Workshop Explores Integrated Sediment Management for Sustainable River Development

19th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Central Water Commission (CWC), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, organized a one-day national workshop on "Integrated Management of Sediments in River Basins and Reservoirs for Sustainable Development" at the India International Centre in New Delhi. The workshop, inaugurated by Pankaj Kumar, Secretary of the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, aimed to formulate sustainable action plans for sediment management in rivers, reservoirs, and water bodies.

Over 200 delegates from various central ministries, states/union territories, academic institutes, and implementing agencies of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) participated in the workshop. The discussions revolved around the need to prepare short and long-term action plans to control silt deposition in reservoirs, emphasizing phased implementation.

Secretary Pankaj Kumar emphasized the importance of assessing sedimentation rates and evaluating their impact on reservoirs and their useful life. He stressed that the workshop's deliberations should guide states in formulating action plans for the management of sedimentation in reservoirs and rivers. Chairman of the CWC, Kushvinder Vohra, highlighted the challenges posed by sedimentation to water resources infrastructure in the country. Ms. Debashree Mukherjee, Special Secretary of the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation, suggested using basin health sediment status as a tool to understand sediment footprints in river basins.

During the workshop, subject experts delivered presentations on various topics such as national frameworks for sediment management, sediment assessment studies, application of geomorphological tools for river health assessment, sedimentation management for national waterways, and modeling tools for basin-scale sediment load assessment. States and union territories including Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha shared their experiences and interventions related to sediment management.

Key presentations were made on the National Framework for Sediment Management (NFSM) and the Dam Safety Act-2021, triggering discussions on sedimentation in reservoirs. The NFSM, recently notified by the Department of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, provides a comprehensive framework for simultaneous management of sediments in rivers and reservoirs, covering statutory aspects, environmental impact, and clearances. Participants emphasized the importance of monitoring, standardized protocols, identifying sediment hotspots, modeling basin-level sediment fluxes, and assessing sedimentation rates to develop effective sediment management plans for reclaiming lost storage capacity in the country.

Various sediment management techniques such as watershed management and catchment area treatment were discussed as preventive measures to mitigate sediment ingress. Additionally, techniques like sluicing, drawdown flushing, and providing large-sized deep outlets for handling sediment in existing reservoirs were explored. The importance of coordinated and synchronized reservoir operation and sediment management in basin projects was underscored.

Representatives from Rajasthan and Kerala presented revenue-based

 models adopted by their respective states for desilting reservoirs, which were appreciated by the attendees. Pre-desiltation studies and the development of a standardized operating procedure for desilting reservoirs were deemed necessary by stakeholders.

Academic institutions, including IIT Roorkee and IIT Kanpur, discussed modern techniques such as satellite remote sensing, bathymetric surveys, and the use of GIS for assessing sedimentation rates, volumes, and reservoir capacity. The emphasis was placed on basic and applied research to predict river responses to sediment dredging and understand river morphology. Comprehensive investigations and modeling integrating GIS techniques were highlighted as essential for sediment assessment and management.

The workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to share knowledge and collaborate in formulating sustainable strategies for integrated sediment management, paving the way for sustainable river development and reservoir operations in India.

ESG, Sustainability & Impact measurement market to cross $30bn by 2030; India a leader in Asia-Pacific with $500mn share

19th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The ESG, Sustainability & Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) market has experienced significant growth over the past two decades as global economies embrace concepts like Impact Economy, Impact Capitalism, and Stakeholder Capitalism.

Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact, through their Impact Future Project, have conducted a market-sizing study revealing that the IMM market has grown from $2 billion in 2010 to $7.7 billion in 2020, with an expected growth rate of 15% CAGR, reaching $31.2 billion by 2030. India, along with Singapore, is poised to be a significant IMM market in the Asia-Pacific region.

This study, titled "The Size of ESG, Sustainability and Impact Measurement & Management Market," is the world's first market-sizing study for the integrated ESG, Sustainability, and Impact sector. It was authored by Amit Bhatia and Harpreet Kaur Ghai and released by Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact, leading pioneers in Impact Leadership and ecosystem development in India.

The publication of this study holds particular significance in light of inaccurate and misleading ESG ratings given by top global rating agencies to multinational companies in recent years.

In 2020, Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact launched the first set of Impact Standards for corporations and non-profits in India and the Global South, utilizing a 4P framework (Product, People, Planet & Policy) with over 150 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The Indian government also modified Business Responsibility Reporting into Business Responsibility & Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) in 2021-22, making it mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies from FY 2022-23.

Regulators worldwide are increasingly moving towards mandatory ESG and Sustainability reporting, driven by conscientious consumers. This shift has led to a significant increase in the number of players entering the market, as well as the diversification of existing businesses into ESG, Sustainability, and Impact. However, this growth has also resulted in a proliferation of frameworks, standards, and methodologies, delaying global consensus on impact measurement standardization.

The study not only provides a market sizing analysis but also identifies five distinct segments within the well-developed IMM ecosystem: IMM Consulting and Services, Databases, Indices, Ratings, and Rankings, Software and Technology, Executive Education & Training, and Principles, Frameworks, Standards, and Coalitions. According to the study, the Databases, Indices, Ratings, and Rankings segment are expected to grow the fastest at 30% CAGR, followed by the IMM Software and Technology market at 22% CAGR. The IMM Consulting and Services and Executive Education & Training segments are projected to grow at 11% CAGR each by 2030.

Amit Bhatia, Founder and CEO of Aspire Impact, expressed his delight in releasing the market-sizing study and highlighted its role in uniting ESG, Sustainability, and Impact intermediaries under a $7.7 billion IMM umbrella. The study also predicts imminent consolidation within the industry, analyzing over 80 M&A deals worth over $100 billion. Bhatia emphasized the potential impact of IMM in driving inclusive growth, achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and India's net-zero target by 2070.

The research publication features a Foreword by Sir Ronald Cohen (President & Co-Founder- GSG) and messages from global Impact leaders such as Cliff Prior (CEO- GSG), Fran Seegull (CEO-US Impact Investing Alliance), Prof. Rosemary Addis, Navneet Munot (MD & CEO HDFC Asset Management), Visalakshi Chandramouli (Managing Partner- Tata Capital Healthcare Fund), and Anurag Pratap (VP & CSR Leader- Capgemini).

Capgemini, the sponsor of the Impact Future Project, has been dedicated to supporting Aspire in conducting groundbreaking research within the impact economy ecosystem since 2020.

The study serves as a comprehensive resource for understanding the IMM industry and its various segments, providing insights into regulations, reporting standards, tools, and methods.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey Urges Adoption of Environment-Friendly Lifestyle to Safeguard Earth from Natural Calamities and Disasters

17th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) organized a significant event called Mission LiFE as part of the Save Wetlands campaign in Buxar, Bihar. The event, held on June 8, 2023, was a continuation of the campaign previously organized at Gokul Jalashay in Buxar. The Environmental Information, Awareness, Capacity Building and Livelihood Programme (EIACP) Centre at ADRI, Patna, played a crucial role in coordinating the event.

The day-long event was graced by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the Minister of State for Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate. The event commenced with the LiFEathon Run, followed by the inauguration of an Exhibition on LiFE. Winners of the LiFEathon were felicitated in three different categories: 12 kilometers, 7 kilometers, and 5 kilometers for boys and girls respectively. Dr. Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Joint Secretary of MoEFCC, Surendra Singh, Member Secretary of State Wetland Authority (SWA), Chandrashekar Rao, Member Secretary of SPCB Bihar, and Rajkumar M. and DFO Bhojpur were among the distinguished guests present at the occasion.

Around 550 boys and girls from various parts of Bihar registered for the LiFEathon Run, actively participating in the event that aimed to promote environmental awareness and conservation, with a particular emphasis on Mission LiFE and wetlands. The Exhibition on LiFE showcased products developed as part of the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) of the Ministry, with participation from EIACP centers located in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Delhi. ZSI, BSPCB, BIS, Bihar JEEVIKA, and Bhojpur Forest Division also set up stalls. Minister Choubey visited each stall, appreciating the participants' dedication to Mission LiFE, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The exhibition provided attendees and visitors with an opportunity to explore innovative solutions and eco-friendly products, such as bamboo handicrafts and water bottles made from bamboo.

A captivating nukkad natak (street play) was performed, captivating the audience and raising awareness about the importance of wetlands and the urgent need for their protection and preservation.

During his speech, Minister Choubey emphasized the significance of wetlands, including their cultural, historical, and social importance. He appealed to the participants to work together to save these vital ecosystems. The Minister also highlighted the increasing number of cyclones and recalled the Kedarnath tragedy, which occurred ten years ago on the same day, expressing his condolences to the families affected by the incident. He stressed the importance of balancing nature and progress and emphasized the role of individuals in protecting the Earth from such calamities. Minister Choubey commended the youth of Buxar for their active participation in the LiFEathon, naming them "Paryavaran Prahari" (Environment Guardians). He expressed his happiness regarding the significant number of young girls participating in the event, expressing hope that they would raise awareness among the people of Buxar about Mission LiFE and wetland conservation.

Dr. Sujit Kumar Bajpayee, Joint Secretary, delivered the Keynote Address, highlighting the significance of wetlands, the NPCA scheme, and the Amrit Dharohar program. Dr. Bajpayee mentioned that Bihar has several wetlands with the potential to be designated as Ramsar sites, and he assured the Ministry's prompt consideration of proposals from the State for the same under the Save Wetlands campaign.

As part of the LiFE-based refreshment experience, participants were provided with organic and sustainable food options, showcasing the benefits of eco-friendly dietary choices, sustainable food options, and responsible consumption. The event concluded with the administration of the LiFE pledge to all attendees by Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey.

The Lalit New Delhi Leads the Way Towards Sustainability with Acquisition of Cutting-Edge Electric Vehicle Fleet

16th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Lalit New Delhi, a prestigious luxury hotel renowned for its sustainability initiatives, has announced the acquisition of a fleet of state-of-the-art BYD Electric Vehicles (EVs). As part of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, the hotel aims to provide environmentally friendly transportation services to its esteemed guests. These cutting-edge EVs will be stationed at the hotel premises, available round the clock to cater to the needs of the guests.

The flag-off ceremony, led by Vijay Bhalla, General Manager of The Lalit New Delhi, and Manish Raj from Lithium Technologies, symbolized the hotel's commitment to embracing advanced technology and establishing strategic partnerships on its sustainability journey.

By opting for EVs, The Lalit New Delhi showcases its dedication to cutting-edge technology and its determination to preserve the environment. According to the hotel's communication, these high-performance EVs not only offer an exceptional guest experience but also contribute to a cleaner and greener future. To further support this initiative, the hotel has installed Electric Vehicle chargers on its premises, ensuring that the vehicles are always ready for use. This enhances guest convenience and minimizes any concerns about vehicle range.

Vijay Bhalla, the General Manager, expressed his enthusiasm for this new venture, stating, "We are thrilled to introduce BYD Electric Vehicles as part of our commitment to sustainable tourism. At The Lalit, our philosophy revolves around taking small steps in our daily activities to benefit the current and future generations, ultimately creating a better world for people to live in. It is an ongoing journey that requires dedication and proactive measures."

The integration of EVs at The Lalit New Delhi sets a shining example for the wider hospitality industry, leading the way towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future for the entire tourism sector. #tourism #travel #hotel

CAQM Issues Revised Schedule for Regulated Operations of Diesel Generator Sets to Control Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR

8th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In an effort to tackle the severe 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 the adoption of a Revised Schedule for regulated operations of DG sets across all sectors. This move aims to comprehensively and effectively prevent, control, and abate air pollution in the region.

The Revised Schedule, which modifies existing directions, orders, and guidelines, introduces specific regulations based on the capacity range of DG sets and the system adopted for controlling emissions. The following are the key highlights of the Revised Schedule:

1) Power generating sets running on LPG/Natural Gas/Bio-gas/Propane/Butane: No restrictions will be imposed on the use of these DG sets, even during periods under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

2) Portable DG sets (below 19 kW): No restrictions, except during periods of GRAP restrictions when they will not be permitted.

3) DG sets with a capacity of 19 kW to less than 125 kW: Dual fuel mode (Natural Gas & Diesel) will be required. They can run without restrictions during non-GRAP periods but will be permitted to operate for a maximum of 2 hours per day during GRAP restrictions. Maintenance logs of DG set operations should be maintained, preferably in a digital format.

4) DG sets with a capacity of 125 kW to less than 800 kW: Dual fuel mode and Retro-fitted Emission Control Devices (ECDs) through certified vendors/agencies are required. No restrictions will be imposed, even during GRAP periods.

5) DG sets with a capacity of 800 kW and above: Dual fuel mode or any other emission control device/system should be implemented. Compliance with stack emissions is mandatory. Similar to the previous category, these DG sets will be permitted to operate for a maximum of 2 hours per day during GRAP restrictions, subject to maintenance logs.

The Revised Schedule will be implemented across the entire NCR from October 1, 2023. It is crucial that retro-fitment of dual fuel kits and/or ECDs, where required, is completed by September 30, 2023. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in a complete ban on the use of DG sets, even during non-GRAP periods, throughout the entire NCR.

The Commission acknowledges the concerns raised by industrial associations, commercial entities, business organizations, and individuals regarding the practical and financial constraints associated with emission control from DG sets. These concerns were considered during the review of the regulations to ensure a balance between pollution control and the practical implementation of the directions.

The Commission urges all stakeholders, including DG set vendors across the NCR, to strictly adhere to the Revised Schedule for regulated operations. The NCR State Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) are responsible for ensuring compliance with these directions through suitable consent mechanisms and periodic monitoring.

Efforts to combat air pollution caused by DG sets are critical for improving the air quality and overall environmental health of Delhi-NCR. The revised regulations aim to strike a balance between the need for power generation and the imperative to reduce harmful emissions, thereby safeguarding the well-being of the region's residents and the environment.

Oceans in Peril: UN Secretary-General's Plea for Urgent Ocean Conservation

8th June 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

On the eve of World Oceans Day 2023, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a powerful plea for immediate and collective action to safeguard the world's oceans. Speaking about the crucial role of the ocean as the foundation of life, he emphasized the need to address the escalating threats posed by human activities and climate change.

Guterres stressed that the ocean not only supplies the air we breathe and the food we eat but also regulates the climate and weather patterns that affect our planet. He expressed concern about the current state of the oceans, stating, "Humanity is its worst enemy."

The Secretary-General pointed to the evidence of human-induced climate change, which is leading to rising temperatures, disrupted weather patterns, and changes in ocean currents. These shifts are altering marine ecosystems and jeopardizing the species that call the oceans home.

Overfishing, over-exploitation, and ocean acidification were cited as additional factors contributing to the degradation of marine biodiversity. Guterres highlighted the depletion of fish stocks and the pollution of coastal waters with chemicals, plastics, and human waste, emphasizing that "the ocean is our planet's greatest reservoir of biodiversity."

World Oceans Day was first declared on June 8, 1992, during the Global Forum at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008, the United Nations officially designated June 8 as World Oceans Day, with the aim of raising awareness and promoting actions to protect our oceans.

India, with its vast coastline and access to multiple oceans and seas, holds a significant stake in ocean conservation efforts. The country's Exclusive Economic Zone spans approximately 2.02 million square kilometers, and its coastline stretches over 7,516 kilometers, ranking it as the seventh longest coastline globally.

India's marine ecosystems host diverse species of fish, coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and numerous other marine organisms. The oceans surrounding the country contribute immensely to its economy, supporting thriving industries such as fishing, shipping, and international trade. Fishing plays a vital role in providing livelihoods and ensuring food security for millions of Indians. The oceans also absorb a most of the heat generated by emissions. 

Moreover, India has been actively exploring and producing offshore oil and gas reserves in its oceans. Balancing economic development with environmental preservation is a critical challenge that requires concerted efforts and sustainable practices.

Recognizing the importance of marine conservation, the Indian government has implemented initiatives to protect coastal areas and establish marine protected areas, including marine national parks and sanctuaries. These efforts aim to preserve marine ecosystems, safeguard coral reefs, and protect endangered species.

As the world marks World Oceans Day 2023, Secretary-General Guterres' call for greater action to protect oceans resonates with the urgent need to address the escalating threats facing our marine environments. The ocean's health and resilience are essential for the well-being and sustainability of our planet, and it is up to individuals, communities, governments, and international organizations to rise as stewards of the seas and ensure their long-term preservation.

NGT CZ Grants Liberty to Raj Govt Dept to Address Urgency of Adverse Impacts on Dam Storage Capacity During Rainy Season

30th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Central Zone Bench of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, Judicial Member, in Bhopal did not pass any orders in Original Application No. 06/2023 (CZ) on May 29, 2023. The tribunal cited that the matter falls under the internal working of the agency and the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited.

The applicant, Dinesh Bothra, filed the matter against the Union of India and others, alleging non-compliance with the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, and the Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020. The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited (ERCPCL), representing the State of Rajasthan's Department of Mines, issued online bids and invited tenders for the reclamation of storage capacity of Bisalpur Dam through desilting in District Tonk, Rajasthan.

The contention of the applicant is that the scope of work, as defined on page 73 of the tender document, primarily involves sand mining. The work is described as the removal of silt/sand/gravel mixed overburden deposited in the submergence of Bisalpur Dam, District Tonk, Rajasthan, using mechanical means such as dredgers, etc. The tender, which is issued for a contract period of 240 months (20 years), involves the removal of sand from the dam. However, the respondent state authorities issued the tender without preparing the District Survey Report and classified it as desilting work.

The NGT Bench has been reported that if dredging of rivers and canals is done for the purpose of maintaining the canals, it does not require environmental clearance. However, if mining is conducted for profit-making purposes and as a commercial venture involving dredging and desilting, then all the provisions of the Environment Impact Notification of 2006 and its subsequent amendments should be applied to the project. This interpretation was reiterated in the judgment passed by the Hon'ble High Court in the matter of Writ Petition (PIL) No. 93 of 2015, Jai Prakash Badoni vs. Union of India & Ors, and another connected writ petition (PIL) No. 95 of 2015, Shakti Sangh Priya vs. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.

The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited informed the tribunal that a committee called the Mittal Committee was constituted to submit a report on the desilting of reservoirs, dredging for upkeep and maintenance of structures, channels, and averting natural disasters.

Unlike the applicant, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), and all other respondents submitted that it is not a commercial activity and does not require an environmental clearance. However, the NGT Bench stated that "It is a mixed question of facts, laws, economy, and ecology and requires replies from all respondents with detailed arguments."

The Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project Corporation Limited stated that no desilting work has been initiated yet, and no machinery has been installed for desilting purposes. However, it also mentioned that desilting will not be possible after June due to the rainy season, which may adversely affect the storage capacity of the dam. This could directly or indirectly impact the general public and result in a shortage of drinking water and water for irrigation purposes.

The NGT Bench noted, "In light of the rainy season and the urgency of the matter, the department is at liberty to proceed in accordance with the law, subject to the final decision of this Tribunal."

Although I.A. No. 05/2023 has been disposed of, OA No. 06/2023 (CZ) and I.A. No. 30/2023 will be further discussed on July 21, 2023. 

NGT seeks reports from MoEF&CC and HP Govt on Kufri's degrading environment

29th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board has reported to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) several violations causing damage to the environment, including the degradation of natural vegetation. It has observed that more than a thousand horses and ponies are employed in a small area, which exceeds the carrying capacity of the area. In addition, solid waste management is not scientific, leading to significant pollution in the area.

In the matter of Shailendra Kumar Yadav versus State of H.P., Original Application No. 187/2023, the NGT Principal Bench sought a factual report through its Order dated 13.03.2023. To accomplish this, it constituted a joint committee comprising the Divisional Forest Officer, Shimla; the Regional Officer, MoEF&CC, Chandigarh; the State PCB; and the District Magistrate, Shimla.

Shailendra Kumar Yadav raised issues related to the disturbance caused at Kufri due to unscientific management of tourist activities, including the employment of a large number of horses in a small area, which was affecting natural vegetation, local ecology, and damaging the environment on a large scale.

It is said that Kufri was the first place in India to be developed for alpine skiing sport by the British. The country's first winter sports club was established here. This was possible because of the lush deodar forest that resulted in abundant snowfall during the winter months from late November to the end of February. This ensured adequate water supply and moisture required for trees and forest fauna in the area, as well as continuous recharging of many natural water sources in the area. However, due to the callous attitude of state authorities, the rising number of horses, and other local reasons, snowfall in the area has continuously declined over the last two decades. As a result, water resources are drying up, and Shimla town itself remains devoid of snow for most of the winter season. Several steps were taken to encourage skiing activities in the area and promote tourism, but this has also adversely affected the ecological balance. Currently, there are about 700-800 horses operating in a small area of 8-10 square kilometers in and around the tourist village of Kufri, which is on the edge of the reserve forest and catchment area. The uncontrolled movement of horses has irreparably damaged the flora and fauna of this ecosystem, disrupting the food chain. The continuous movement of horses has severely damaged the beautiful forest trail and caused further damage to tree roots. The local administration has provided a large area as a parking place for horses in the prohibited forest area. After a day's work, the owners of these horses let them enter the adjoining forests, causing severe damage to the deodar tree roots, as well as the flora and fauna in that area. Naked tree roots, dry trees, shrubs, and heaps of stinking horse dung can be seen throughout the area. A particular patch of forest, approximately one kilometer from Kufri on the Chail-Kufri Road, has been severely damaged by horse owners who constructed an illegal road using a JCB machine. The forest authorities were aware of this but failed to take any action.

During the hearing on May 25th, 2023, the bench, consisting of Justice Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member) and an Expert Member, sought comments from the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Government of Himachal Pradesh through the Additional Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of Tourism and Environment for the implementation of the report.

The matter is further listed for July 12th, 2023.

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 Celebrated, Emphasizing Water's Significance for Migratory Birds

13th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 was celebrated today with a strong focus on the theme "water and its importance for migratory birds". This annual event serves as a platform to advocate for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats, emphasizing the significance of water ecosystems for these avian travelers.

Migratory birds heavily rely on various aquatic habitats throughout their life cycles, including inland and coastal wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, and ponds. These vital water sources serve as essential sites for feeding, drinking, nesting, and resting during their long and arduous journeys.

However, the world's aquatic ecosystems and the migratory birds depending on them face increasing threats. Human activities, such as the rising demand for water resources, pollution, and the impacts of climate change, have directly affected the availability of clean water and have led to challenges in the conservation of many migratory bird species.

World Migratory Bird Day serves as a global awareness-raising campaign to address the urgent need for the protection and preservation of migratory birds and their habitats. The campaign aims to raise global consciousness about the various threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the importance of international cooperation in their conservation.

In India, the Government highlighted several events organized to commemorate the occasion. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), RMNH Bhubaneswar, Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata, and the National Institute of Himalayan Environment arranged various programs and activities. The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) conducted a cleanup and awareness program in the fishing village of Kovalam. 

All these event were focused on the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) movement. 

Ministry Notifies Rules for Sections 49N and 49-O of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, Amended in 2022

12th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972), serves as the legal foundation for safeguarding various species of wild animals, managing their habitats, and regulating the trade of products derived from them. The Act underwent its latest amendment in 2022 with the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022, which became effective from April 1, 2023.

According to Section 49 N of the Act, individuals involved in captive breeding or artificial propagation of any listed species mentioned in Appendix I of Schedule IV are required to submit a license application within ninety days from the commencement of the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Rules under Section 49 N through a Gazette Notification dated April 24, 2023. These rules can also be accessed on the ministry's website at http://moef.gov.in.

All individuals engaged in captive breeding or artificial propagation of any listed species in Appendix I of Schedule IV are urged to submit their license applications in the prescribed form, as per the Rules framed under Section 49 N of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, on or before June 29, 2023.

For more information and to obtain the necessary forms, interested parties are advised to refer to the Gazette Notification and visit the ministry's official website. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for ensuring the protection and conservation of our wildlife resources.

NLCIL EIA Report reaches NGT in Appeal No. 2/2021/EZ seeking Quashing of EC

8th May 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In the matter of Prafulla Samantray versus Union of India & Ors., Appeal No. 02 of 2021/EZ, in Eastern Bench of the National Green Tribunal, the final EIA Report January 2020, downloaded from the Parivesh Portal, has been submitted to the Tribunal. 

The appeal challenges the Environmental Clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLCIL) for its 3X800 MW Thermal Power Plant in the area of Talabira, part of the IB Valley in Jharsuguda district of Odisha.

The appellant, Prafulla Samantray, has sought the quashing of the Environmental Clearance dated 02.02.2021, alleging that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report did not take various factors into consideration. The appellant also claims that the thermal plant is being set up in a critically polluted area, and the impacts on ambient air quality, water bodies, land health, etc., have not been well studied in the EIA report.

The NGT has stated that the matter requires consideration as considerable question of environment arises.

The report, under the details of "Project Location", as well "Scope of Baseline Study" shows that one of the nearest rivers is Bhedan river at 0.5 Km.  

The National Green Tribunal will hear the case and determine whether the Environmental Clearance granted to NLCIL should be quashed. The outcome of this case will have far-reaching implications for the future of environmental assessments and the protection of India's natural resources.

MoEF&CC amends provisions under Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016

30th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has published a notification termed as the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment)Rules, 2023. The notification vide G.S.R. 318(E). dated 27th April 2023 amends certain provisions in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 vide notification number G.S.R. 320 (E), dated 18th March 2016. 

The changes are in following rules:

Farmers liable to pay environmental compensation on stubble burning

29th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified G.S.R. 322(E) Dated 28th April 2023. It pertains to imposition and collection of environmental compensation for stubble burning. 

The rules are referred as the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas (Imposition, Collection and Utilization of Environmental Compensation for Stubble Burning) Rules, 2023. 

The rules are applicable to the National Capital Territory of Delhi, State of Punjab, State of Haryana and National Capital Region of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. As the rules are applicable to farmers, it defines “Farmer” as the owner or occupier or cultivator of the farming or agricultural land.

As per the Rules, the Commission may impose and collect environmental compensation on farmers liable for burning stubble, at three different rates, such as :- 

(a) The Farmer having an area of land less than 2 acres shall pay an environmental compensation of Rs. 2500/- 

(b) The environmental compensation for Farmer having an area of land of 2 acres or more but less than 5 acres shall be Rs. 5000/- and

(c) The Farmers having an area of more than 5 acres shall have to pay an environmental compensation of Rs. 15000/-.

The environmental compensation shall be collected from the Farmer in the form of "challan", specified in the rules.

A Farmer has to pay the challan amount within 30 days from the date of issuance of challan. If the Farmer fails to pay the challan amount within the specified period , the Commission shall prepare a certificate specifying the amount due from the Farmer and forward the certificate along with the form of challan to the officer authorised by the respective State Government or, Union territory, as the case may be, who shall proceed to recover the amount specified thereunder from the Farmer as if it were an arrear of the land revenue. 

The officer of the respective State Government or, Union territory who maintains the land revenue record as prevalent in the respective State Government or, Union territory shall ensure that such record is marked with red entry against the Farmer where from the incident of stubble burning is found or reported to burn stubble or there is a proof to the effect that stubble burning has happened in the land.

The environmental compensation collected under this rule shall be deposited in the account of respective State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.   

NGT Quashes Sand Mining EC granted by SEIAA, UP in natural habitat of crocodiles

28th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Bench quashes and sets aside the (Environmental Clearance (EC) dated 03.12.2021 granted by State Level Development Impact Assessment Authority, Uttar Pradesh in favour of R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. The NGT, after a thorough deliberation of various legal perspective and considering duly verified factual positions of the proposed mining site being natural habitat of the crocodiles, stated that the EC suffers from patent illegality and is liable to be quashed/set aside. 

R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. is held to be entitled to refund of the amounts deposited/paid with interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of deposit/payment till realization/repayment thereof and the concerned respondents are directed to pay the amount deposited/ paid by R.N.S. Pvt. Ltd. with interest at the rate of 7.5% from the date of deposit/payment till realization/repayment thereof within three months from the date of receipt of a copy of the order dated 27th April 2023. 

In Appeal No. 07/2022 (I.A. No. 50/2022 & I.A. No. 51/2022), Ghanai S/o Binde, a resident of Naroghat, Kotra Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh, filed the appeal challenging the EC dated 03.12.2021 for proposed River Sand/Morrum mining, with sanctioned Lease Area 8.502 ha., at Gata No. 03GA, Khand No.-03, Village-Nandha, Orai, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh. A Public hearing was conducted on 20.07.2021 by the project proponent through Green Enviro Engineers Pvt. Ltd., a Kanpur based EIA consultant.

Ghanai, the Appellant challenged the EC for proposed mining on two grounds that the proposed mining leased area is habitat of crocodiles who use the area for nesting and any mining at the site would be highly detrimental to the wild fauna and their nesting grounds and that the leased site is a rocky terrain with rocks exposed therein and there is no sufficient mineable mineral deposit which would suffice for the volume approved for mining in the impugned EC which would lead to illegal mining from nearby areas and adjoining land of the appellant.   

Interesting to note that during the process of hearings the Appellant stated that now he does not apprehend any loss to him and illegal mining in his land and he does not want to continue with the present appeal. The appellant has accordingly prayed that the appeal may be dismissed as withdrawn. 

The NGT perorated on various aspects including the question which first arises for consideration is as to whether the appellant is entitled as a matter of right and as being dominus litis to withdraw the appeal at the present stage of the proceedings. 

EC Splitting Provision in EIA Notification

26th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified an amendment in the EIA Notification 2006. The amendment is brought through S.O. 1832(E) Dated 21st April 2023.

The EIA Notification bearing S.O. 1533 (E) dated the 14th September 2006 has provision for transferring the prior Environmental Clearance (EC) from one legal person to another legal person during the validity period. However,  the said notification does not have explicit provision for splitting an EC and transferring it to more than one legal person during the validity period. 


Now, the Ministry makes a provision that A prior-Environmental Clearance granted for a specific project, except mining projects may be split amongst two or more legal persons, entitled to undertake the project and transferred during the validity to another legal person on application made by the transferor in the format specified on PARIVESH portal to the concerned Regulatory Authority along with requisite documents. The concerned Regulatory Authority shall split and transfer the prior-Environmental Clearance, on recommendation of the concerned Expert Appraisal Committee to the other legal persons for the respective projects.

So, the above notification does not apply to the mining projects.


The Ministry has said that it is necessary to create this provision to bring about greater uniformity and transparency. 

Emaar MGF withdraws EC expansion application as SEIAA seeks site inspection  

25th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Haryana has released the Minutes of 156th Meeting held on 19th April 2023.

Emaar MGF Land Limited has withdrawn its application seeking Environment Clearance (EC) for the expansion of Group Housing Colony, Sector - 62, in Gurugram, Haryana. The company had submitted that construction has been carried out as per the condition of EC granted.  No violation of condition has been done.  However, due to the change in planning, the company has planned for the expansion. The matter was again taken up during 156th Meeting of SEIAA, Haryana held on 19th April 2023. The Authority  decided to constitute a sub-committee comprising of Member Secretary, SEIAA, Dr. R. Baskar, FGS (Ind), Member, SEIAA and Concerned Regional Officer, HSPCB to carry out inspection at the site to see the status and level of compliances in regard to the stipulated conditions, imposed in the EC letter dated 31st July 2017. Subsequently, Emaar MGF Land Limited has withdrawn its application.

Decision on several other projects were deferred, some more withdrawn.

Neverthrless, the SEIAA decided to Grant Environment Clearance (EC), under Category 5 (g) within the scope and meaning of EIA to the proposal of Panipat Coop. Sugar Mill. The Sugar Mill has planned to set up new 90 KLPD distillery consisting of 60 KLPD new plant based on B Heavy molasses from the new Sugar Mill and 30 KLPD grain Based distillery as supplementary raw material and with option of Spent Wash in specially designed Incineration Boiler. The Sugar Mill is located in -Dahar Village, Gohana Road, Panipat. 

Mallans get respite from NGT Southern Zone

24th April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

In the Appeal No. 02 of 2023 (SZ) pertaining to Muraleedhara Mallan and Sreenivas A. Mallan versus Kerala State Pollution Control Board and Others, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Southern Zone Bench, today, pronounced the Judgment Reserved on 17th April 2023.

In the Judgment, the Bench comprising, Smt. Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, Judicial Member and Dr. Satyagopal Korlapati, Expert Member hold that the consent issued in favour of Mukkath Fuels by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is not in conformity with the criteria prescribed in the office memorandums referred in the case and also the circulars of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the KSPCB. In such circumstances, unless the siting criteria prescribed therein are satisfied by the Mukkath Fuels, the consent issued by the KSPCB in PCB/ALP/ICE-1917/2020 dated 20th January 2020 cannot be sustained and the same is liable to be set aside. 

The appellants, Muraleedhara Mallan and Sreenivas A. Mallan, residents of Alappuzha District, were aggrieved due to the proposed construction by Mukkath Fuels at a distance of hardly 20 meters from their properties, residential buildings and wells. Hence, directly affected by the establishment of petrol pump by Mukkath Fuels

According to the appellants the guidelines of the CPCB dated 7th January 2020 laid down the siting criteria that new retail outlet shall not be located within the radial distance of 50 meters from schools, hospitals and residential areas. The said guidelines specifically stated that in case there is constraint in providing 50 meter distance, additional safety measures prescribed by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO). However, in no case the distance between the new retail outlet and school, hospitals and residential areas shall be less than 30 meters. 

The Appellate Authority passed an order in the matter on 20th January 2023 finding that "consent to establish" was issued on 20th January 2020 before the guidelines of the CPCB dated 7th January 2020 was issued under circular dated 24th February 2020. 

It was observed that the the petrol pump company has obtained the consent from the KSPCB based on the circular dated 9th August 2004, which provides the siting criteria for industries other than stone crushers. It states that: “it is desirable to have a minimum set back of 3 meters between the boundary and the plant building to avoid construction of factory buildings along or too close to the boundary wall. The setback can be utilised for the development of greenbelt. In case of industries falling in green/orange categories of small scale industries, the requirement of minimum set back may be dispensed with. Where necessary, the minimum distance may be enhanced for reasons to be recorded in writing. The above criteria will be implemented with immediate effect and will be reviewed after 6 months”. 

In the meanwhile, the office memorandum issued by the CPCB clarifying that cut of date for applicability of siting criteria referred in the guidelines for setting up of new petrol pump dated 7th January 2021 was issued on 29th January 2021. The said clarification states: “In this regard, it is clarified that the siting criteria for new retail outlets is to be complied with in cases where construction of retail outlets by oil marketing companies commenced on or after 7th January 2020. In other words, the siting criteria will not apply to those cases where PESO prior clearance/initial approval has been obtained and subsequently construction has been started by the OMC before 7th January 2020”. 

It was relied that the CPCB office memorandum dated 29th January 2021 followed by the circular of KSPCB dated 4th February 2021 make it amply clear that unless and otherwise the retail outlets have commenced their constructions on or before 7th January 2020 the circulars would be made applicable. 

However, in the instant case of Mukkath Fuels, KSPCB admitted, and it was also apparent from the building permit issued to the company, the commencement of the construction, if any, could be possible only after the cut off date of 7th January 2020. 

First ever Census shows 2.42 Million Water Bodies 

Only 2.9% water bodies in Urban Areas, 55.2% owned by Private

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has stated that for the first time in the history of the country, it has conducted the first-ever census of water bodies across the nation. The census provides a comprehensive inventory of India's water resources, including natural and man-made water bodies like ponds, tanks, lakes, and more, and to collect data on the encroachment of water bodies. The Census also highlighted disparities between rural and urban areas and varying levels of encroachment and revealed crucial insights into the country's water resources. 

As per the study, 24,24,540 water bodies have been enumerated in the country, out of which 97.1% (23,55,055) are in rural areas and only 2.9% (69,485) are in urban areas.

59.5% of water bodies are ponds, followed by tanks (15.7%), reservoirs (12.1%), Water conservation schemes/percolation tanks/check dams (9.3%), lakes (0.9%) and others (2.5%).

Surprisingly, 55.2% of water bodies are owned by private entities whereas 44.8% of water bodies are in the domain of public ownership.

Top 5 States in terms of number of water bodies are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Assam which constitute around 63% of the total water bodies in the country. However, in terms of area covered under water bodies in urban areas the top 5 States areas are West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura, whereas in rural areas, top 5 States are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Assam.

Snow Biking Illegal in Gulmarg?

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

Mushtaq Ahmad Malik came with a grievance before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against use of snow bikes in and around the Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary and Eco Sensitive Zone in terms of notification bearing S.O. 2182(E). dated 7th June 2021 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change & Ors. under the E(P) Act, 1986. Case set out in the application is that snow bikes use petrol which has harmful impact on the ecology. Weight of the bikes impacts the soil and the vegetation underneath the snow. Such activities also result in encroachments and loss of grasslands. 

The Original Application No. 287/2023 has also relied upon letter dated 21st February 2023 of Wildlife Range Gulmarg addressed to the Director Tourism, Srinagar on the subject of Unauthorized plying of Snow bikes in Gulmarg Wildlife Sanctuary at Kangdori Gulmarg.

The NGT Principal Bench duly considered the application but without expressing any opinion on merits at this stage, it directed for investigation of the matter. Disposing the application, the Tribunal has called for remedial actions to be taken in accordance with law as found appropriate by the ACS, Forest and Environment, J & K. 

What NGT said on complaint against noise pollution due to Railway Ops?

23rd April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

There was a grievance in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against use of horn by the trains resulting in violation of Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000. The case of the applicants Ashok Malik and Anr. in Original Application No. 291/2023 was that the residents of Sundar Nagar, Subash Nagar, Gadi Malyan, Shivji Colony, Adarsh Nagar, Dhaula Bhatta, Kalyani Pura, Nehru Nagar in Ajmer and have been suffering due to noise pollution generated by the operation of Railways. 

On 20th April 2023, the NGT Principal Bench considered the matter of common knowledge that Railway operations serve large number of population and generation of noise in their operations cannot be wished away. Horns are required to be blown as per applicable ‘whistle code.’ Thus, while noise free environment is necessary, essential activities have to be conducted in absence of any other options. 

WMO annual report highlights continuous advance of climate change

21st April 2023 YouTube Twitter LinkedIn Blogger

From mountain peaks to ocean depths, climate change continued its advance in 2022, according to the annual report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Droughts, floods and heatwaves affected communities on every continent and cost many billions of dollars. Antarctic sea ice fell to its lowest extent on record and the melting of some European glaciers was, literally, off the charts.

The State of the Global Climate 2022 shows the planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. For global temperature, the years 2015-2022 were the eight warmest on record despite the cooling impact of a La Niña event for the past three years. Melting of glaciers and sea level rise - which again reached record levels in 2022 - will continue to up to thousands of years. “While greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events. For example, in 2022, continuous drought in East Africa, record breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heatwaves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“However, collaboration amongst UN agencies has proven to be very effective in addressing humanitarian impacts induced by extreme weather and climate events, especially in reducing associated mortality and economic losses. The UN Early Warnings for All Initiative aims to fill the existing capacity gap to ensure that every person on earth is covered by early warning services. At the moment about one hundred countries do not have adequate weather services in place. Achieving this ambitious task requires improvement of observation networks, investments in early warning, hydrological and climate service capacities,” he said.

The new WMO report is accompanied by a story map, which provides information for policy makers on how the climate change indicators are playing out, and which also shows how improved technology makes the transition to renewable energy cheaper and more accessible than ever.

In addition to climate indicators, the report focuses on impacts. Rising undernourishment has been exacerbated by the compounded effects of hydrometeorological hazards and COVID-19, as well as of protracted conflicts and violence.

Throughout the year, hazardous climate and weather-related events drove new population displacement and worsened conditions for many of the 95 million people already living in displacement at the beginning of the year, according to the report.

The report also puts a spotlight on ecosystems and the environment and shows how climate change is affecting recurring events in nature, such as when trees blossom, or birds migrate.

The WMO State of the Global Climate report was released ahead of Earth Day 2023. Its key findings echo the message of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for Earth Day.

“We have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions. But we must pick up the pace. We need accelerated climate action with deeper, faster emissions cuts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. We also need massively scaled-up investments in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the crisis,” said Mr Guterres.

The WMO report follows the release of the State of the Climate in Europe report by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It complements the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment report, which includes data up to 2020.

Dozens of experts contribute to the report, including National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and Global Data and Analysis Centers, as well as Regional Climate Centres, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the Global Cryosphere Watch and Copernicus Climate Change Service operated by ECMWF.

United Nations partners include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).