ENVIRO ANNOTATIONS

Hyundai supports IIT Delhi in research on new-age mobility

22.01.2021, New Delhi: Hyundai Motor India Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) - IIT Delhi and donated a KONA Electric for NVH and battery technology research for students of IIT Delhi to study alternate energy powered vehicles and emerging technologies to innovate new-age mobility solutions.

The MoU was exchanged between Prof. V Ramgopal Rao, Director IIT Delhi, Dr. Anil Wali MD, FITT - IIT Delhi, and S S Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. at IIT Campus, New Delhi.

CART, (formerly known as ITMMEC) has been established in May 2019 with a vision to promote interdisciplinary research in Electric Vehicles (EV) and related areas such as energy storage and tribology & associated interdisciplinary fields.

NITI Aayog brings India Innovation Index 2020

Unlike Global Innovation Index, India Innovation Index 2020 does not give a separate environmental performance index.”

20.01.2021, New Delhi: NITI Aayog, along with the Institute for Competitiveness, today released the second edition of the India Innovation Index (III). The III 2020 report examines the innovation capabilities and performance of the states and union territories. The first edition of the index was launched in October 2019. In III 2020, the framework is updated to include globally considered parameters for measuring innovation, such as the percentage of GDP spent on research and development, while keeping them specific to the Indian economy.

The report broadly consists of four thematic sections—the first talks about innovation and its ability to drive economic growth; the crucial role it plays in not only facilitating the country’s recovery but also sustaining competitiveness during these times. The third section of III 2020 provides learnings and recommendations at the national and state level for policymakers to ponder on.

In the Major States category, Karnataka continued to occupy the top position, while Maharashtra leapfrogged Tamil Nadu to reach second place. Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab completed the top ten in that order. Karnataka’s rank is attributable to its substantive number of venture capital deals, registered geographical indicators, and information and communications technology exports. Karnataka’s high Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow has also enhanced the innovation capabilities of the state. Four southern states—Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Kerala—occupied the top five spots under the ‘Major States’ category this year.

Overall, Delhi retained its first rank, while Chandigarh made a big leap since 2019 and landed in second place this year. Delhi tops ranking in Innovation, Performance, and Work Output. Under the ‘North-Eastern/Hill States’ category, Himachal Pradesh moved up from the second position to emerge as the top ranker this year, while 2019’s top performer (in this category), Sikkim, slipped down to the fourth position.

The innovation inputs were measured through five enabler parameters and the output through two performance parameters. While ‘Human Capital’, ‘Investment’, ‘Knowledge Workers’, ‘Business Environment’, ‘Safety and Legal Environment’ were identified as enabler parameters; ‘Knowledge Output’ and ‘Knowledge Diffusion’ were chosen as the performance parameters.

India breaking into the top 50 nations of the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020, with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) declaring India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019-20 in the central and southern Asian region. Unlike GII 2020, III 2020 does not give a separate environmental performance index. However, in terms of expenditure on Science, Technology and Environment Arunachal lead with the best case followed by Manipur and Mizoram.

Integrated Waste to Energy Facilities at Ranikhera in Narela

20.01.2021, New Delhi: In a major initiative, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for development of integrated waste-to-energy facilities at NDMC's landfill site at Ranikhera in Narela, New Delhi. The MoU was signed on January 19, 2021 in the august presence of Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan; Lt. Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal; Mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Jai Prakash; Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Tarun Kapoor; Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation. Gyanesh Bharti; and Chairman, Indian Oil, S M Vaidya.

IndianOil shall facilitate NDMC for identification of a concessionaire for setting up of an Integrated Waste to Energy Plant at Ranikhera in Narela. The plant would process Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and organic waste of NDMC for producing Compressed Biogas (CBG), recycling plastics, Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) for producing plastic or syngas and its downstream products. plastics recycling, etc.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said that Commissioning of this landmark project will also help in generating energy in various forms and in reducing dependence on crude imports as well as in achieving other national objectives. "Petroleum and Natural gas Ministry is committed to establish more such plants in Delhi for a sustainable future. The signing of this MoU is in line with Hon'ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision of carving a greener and energy-efficient future for India and also towards achieving self-reliance in energy by adopting innovative green solutions."

Appreciating IndianOil and North DMC for coming together for setting up the project, he called for a quick expansion and replication of such pilot projects across India. The Union Minister said that such CBG Plants in the capital will not only solve the problem of solid waste in the national capital but also help in reducing the pollution and our oil dependence. He called for putting up more such plants to take care of solid waste in other areas of Delhi, including in New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment. He assured 100% offtake of gas produced from such plants by Oil PSUs.

Pradhan said that the Government will enable connecting the gas produced from such plants with the PNG, CNG pipelines. He said we should find an end to end solution in a time bound and transparent manner so that 14000 to 15000 tonnes of solid waste produced in the city every day is disposed of in a safe and healthy manner. He also assured that PSUs will provide the technological help, wherever required. The Minister called for expediting the process so that the results can be seen in next couple of years. Shri Pradhan said that the Central Government is already working with Haryana to take care of the Agri wastes which will help not only reducing the pollution but also ensure additional income to the farmers for their residues.

Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi mentioned about the benefits of the project for the people of National Capital. He went on to add that the city has the capacity to process only half of its waste and the commissioning of waste-to-energy Plants will not only provide a clean & environment-friendly way to handle solid wastes, but also generate energy, CBG, city compost, etc.

Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, MoP&NG in his address mentioned that it is important to manage MSW in a scientific manner and convert it into energy. This shall fulfil the energy needs of India as well as mitigate the waste and related landfill emission problem. He said that 15 of the 5000 plants envisaged under the SATAT scheme have become operational, and there is a good demand of the gas produced in such plants due to its high quality.

S M Vaidya, Chairman, IndianOil during his address stressed on the problem of waste management in Delhi. He informed that the proposed Plant shall provide a sustainable and replicable solution for waste management. Setting up of an MSW-to-energy plant shall provide multiple benefits and is also in alignment with Government initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India. It shall also provide an impetus to creation of jobs across the value chain, from collection of waste to sale of energy.

The integrated plant will process approx. 2500 million tonne of municipal solid waste collected by NDMC, recycle plastics and produce compressed bio-gas CBG, ethanol, syngas and other value-added downstream products.

MoJS supported Prototypes Development for “Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System” in progress

13.01.2021, New Delhi: ICT Grand Challenge, for development of a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ was launched on 15th September 2020, by the National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Ministry of Jal Shakti in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

Total 218 applications were received, from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc. A Jury comprising of experts from academia, industry, Jal Jeevan Mission, C-DAC, STPI, COEs, MeitY, etc. came out with the results, which was announced on 20th November 2020. 10 applicants were selected for ideation to prototype stage and each are being supported with Rs. 7.50 Lakhs.

Currently, the prototypes are being developed which are going to be evaluated during the last week of January, 2021 by the jury. A water test bed is set up in C-DAC Bangalore Electronics City Campus for these evaluations. Best four techno-economically viable prototypes shall be selected for product development and each team will receive Rs. 25 Lakh to build their solution as per the need of the user agency.

This would be followed by field trial, testing & deployment and demonstration at about 25 locations across the country as identified by NJJM. Based on evaluation, one winner and two runner-ups will be selected and supported by 50 Lakh (winner) and 20 Lakh each (runner-ups). The grand challenge is being carried out with funding support from MeitY and National Jal Jeevan Mission.

Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household by 2024. Announced by Prime Minister on 15th August 2019, the Mission so far has provided 3.13 crore household tap connections in rural areas.

Union Environment Minister releases Report on Management Effectiveness Evaluation of 146 National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries

12.01.2021, New Delhi: There are 238,563 terrestrial and inland water protected areas recorded in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), covering almost 7% of the global ocean and terrestrial protected areas covering just under 15% of global land and spread in 245 countries and territories. At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country. Improving the management of protected areas has become a priority globally. Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) has emerged as a key instrument for Protected Area and is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country. In order to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness is needed.

Speaking at the event the Union Minister said that what other countries could not achieve, India has achieved and today has a thriving biodiversity. “70% of the global tiger population, 70% of asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards population in India is a certificate of India's thriving biodiversity ,as these big cats sit at the top of food chain and their growing numbers shows the well being of the whole ecosystem.”, said Javadekar.

The Minister also announced that from this year onwards 10 best National Parks, 5 coastal and Marine parks and top five Zoos in the country will be ranked and awarded every year.

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AQI improves in Lucknow, deteriorates in Delhi & most NCR cities

07.01.2021, New Delhi: Delhi AQI further deteriorated on 7th January 2021. The 24-hour average AQI in Delhi, as reported this evening by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was found to be 255, which falls under "poor" category, as against 226 and 140 on the previous days.

In the adjoining city Gurgaon, the AQI jumped to 204 from 175 and 83 in previous two days; while in Faridabad it was 240 from 203, Greater Noida 288 from 239, Noida 236 from 200, and Ghaziabad 294 from 234. Thus, air quality in the entire NCR, except Sonepat and Bahadurgarh was in poor category. Sonepat with AQI 131 and Bahadurgarh with 181 fall in moderate category.

128 cities were monitored during the last 24 hours as against 130 stations in the previous day. None out of 128 cities fell in severe category. Maximum AQI was found to be 336 in Vapi, where PM2.5 was a primary air pollutant. Lucknow found to be in moderate category with 173, where the AQI got improved from 361.

Out of 128 cities monitored, 19% were found with "Good" category of AQI, while 23% in "Satisfactory", 30% "Moderate", 21% "Poor" and 7% in "Very poor" category.

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

The predominant surface wind is likely to be coming from North East and North West direction of Delhi with wind speed up to 5-8 kmph, partly cloudy sky, moderate to dense fog in the morning and possibility of very light rain/drizzle towards night on 8th January. .

Predicted maximum mixing depth over Delhi is likely to be around 450 m on 8th January and 550 m on January. Ventilation index is likely to be nearly 2500 m2/s during the period. It is noteworthy that ventilation index lower than 6000 m2/s with average wind speed less than 10 kmph is unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants.

145 Laboratories participate in Analytical Quality Control Programme initiated by CPCB

07.01.2021, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi has organized the 33rd Analytical Quality Control (AQC) exercise for trace metal parameters for Environmental Laboratories of Central and State Pollution Control Boards, Pollution Control Committees, and EPA Recognized Private Labs. The exercise aims a continuous monitor of the accuracy and reliability of the analytical data generated by these laboratories, to help to improve the infrastructure of laboratories and the quality of data.

The AQC exercise will help evaluate the performance of participating laboratories in terms of analytical activities, the robustness of instruments used for sample analysis and the expertise of manpower engaged in the laboratory. It will also help to ensure the reliability of the analyzed data, for an informed and conclusive decision for the prevention and control of pollution.

145 laboratories including all the Central and State Board laboratories, Pollution Control Committees and EPA approved laboratories are participating in the 33rd AQC program. The exercise is being conducted with in-house expertise and following the international norms with utmost care.

The laboratories would analyse AQC samples, and communicate the test results on or before the due date. The performance of each laboratory would be evaluated based on scores and the scorecards would be sent by the end of 31st March 2021.

The metals included in the 33rd AQC exercise are Total Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Total Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb) and Zinc (Zn) for the assessment of pollution in air and water.

CPCB should also initiate AQC programmes on Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the range of <3 ppm, which may be useful for river quality monitoring.

Human-Wildlife Conflict Management across the country: Govt. approves Advisory

06.01.2021, New Delhi: Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is an increasingly common phenomenon in many parts of India. Killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala by using explosives in food items, in June last year is one of the recent happening. According to reports, conflict with wild animals, mostly elephants and tigers, has killed more than 1,100 people across India between 2014 and 2017.

The Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL) in its 60th meeting held on 05th January has approved the advisory for management of HWC in the country. The advisory makes important prescriptions for the States/ Union Territories for dealing with Human-Wildlife conflict situations and seeks expedited inter-departmental coordinated and effective actions.

The advisory envisages empowering gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the section 11 (1) (b) of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.Utilising add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC and augmenting fodder and water sources within the forest areas are some key steps envisaged to reduce HWC. Payment of a portion of ex-gratia as interim relief within 24 hours of the incident to the victim/family.

The advisory also envisages prescribing inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis, Identification of hotspots and formulation and implementation of special plans for improved stall-fed farm animal etc.

Some of the other important approvals took place during the meeting are, inclusion of Caracal, a medium size wild cat found in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, into the list of critically endangered species for taking up conservation efforts with financial support under Centrally sponsored Scheme-Development of Wildlife Habitat. Now, there are 22 wildlife species under recovery programme for critically endangered species.

During the meeting, the Standing Committee also recommended the construction of causeway across Jampannavagu to Muthapur of Govindaraopet and between Jampannavagu to Motlagudem in Mulugu District of Telengana with certain mitigation measures. It also recommended the proposal for Tinaighat-Castlerock-Caranzol Railway doubling of South Western Railways, Karnataka with certain mitigation measures as advised by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

The other decisions taken at the meeting are construction of a bridge and canal with an aim to augment the water supply and irrigation facilities in villages Madharwa, Thakurapur, Jamdhara and Sugaon in Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh under the National SaryuNaharPariyojna with certain mitigation measures and the construction of Integrated Bus Terminus cum Commercial complex in Vashi, Navi Mumbai in Thane district with certain mitigation measures. The redeveloped facility will pave way for 17 bus bays and approximately 3,300 bus trips shall be operational, which will greatly benefit in transportation of people in and around Mumbai.

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA). The Standing Committee of NBWL considers proposals after a series of levels of scrutiny and have recommendations of the State Chief Wildlife Warden, State Government and the State Board for Wildlife. During the meetings of SC-NBWL, the views of the expert members are taken into consideration before arriving at decisions.

Earnings apart, Construction Projects pay hefty Penalty for non-compliance of C&D Waste Rules

05.01.2021, New Delhi: On the wake of air pollution in Delhi and NCR, a number of measures were taken to abate dust and related air pollution. Construction and Demolition (C&D) wastes are considered to be one of the biggest sources of air pollution. According to the directions issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi NCR and adjoining areas, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and the State Pollution Control Boards of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh along with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee constituted 227 special teams and launched inspection drives in the premises, processes and transportation of materials related to C&D activities in the NCR.

These teams carried out surprise checks and inspections at more than 3000 sites from 24.12.2020 to 31.12.2020, out of which about 386 sites were found to be non-compliant with the various C&D Waste Management Rules, pertinent Guidelines and dust mitigation measures stipulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the CPCB. Therefore, the teams penalized the non-compliant project sites. Thus, a staggering amount of nearly Rs. 1.59 Crore was collected as environment compensation against the defaulting agencies besides orders for stoppage of work at 12 locations.

Compliance with respect to transportation of materials related to C&D activities was also seen by the inspecting teams. About 325 vehicles, not in conformance with guidelines related to transportation of C&D materials, were levied environment compensation charges of approximately Rs. 1.17 crore.

Such fortnightly drives are planned to be continued to enforce compliance of the C&D waste management rules and related guidelines to abate dust pollution from C&D sector, which contributes significantly to poor air quality in the region.

The noncompliance is not new. In October 2020, Delhi Govt. carried out several surprise inspections and found a number of sites as non-compliers with C&D Waste Management Rules 2016. According to a report, between 1st November to 11th November 2020, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram also had collected penalties of Rs. 2.67 lakh from 55 defaulters for dumping C&D waste illegally.

It is important to cite here that the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 were notified on 29th March 2016 vide GSR 371(E). Earlier, the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 had also defined "demolition and construction waste” as wastes from building materials debris and rubble resulting from construction, re-modelling, repair and demolition operation. Thus, even after 20 years, the value of C&D waste is not understood. Non-compliance still rampant.

On the contrary, C&D wastes can become an invaluable source of building material. There is a need to recycle, reuse and substitute naturally sourced building materials such as sand due to age old controversies over sand mining in India.

Joint action to curb Ammoniacal Nitrogen in River Yamuna

05.01.2021, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) convened a meeting on 4th January 2020 with the officials of Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Irrigation & Water Resources Department, Haryana and Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Delhi, to discuss the recurring issue of increase in Ammoniacal Nitrogen in the River Yamuna and short and long term remedial actions required.

The long deliberations on the issue identified and agreed that possible reasons could be discharge of untreated sewage from upstream towns in Haryana, discharge from industrial units, Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), illegal discharge of sewage from unsewered colonies in outer Delhi and also many other construction projects in the NCR through tankers, lean flow in the River Yamuna and anaerobic decomposition of accumulated sludge on the river bed.​

A study group comprising DJB, HSPCB, DPCC, Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Haryana, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Delhi has been constituted. The group will review uniform monitoring protocol and requirement of strengthening monitoring mechanism, analyse past data and carry out field survey to identify critical hotspots as well as period of high anomia levels. It has also been asked to suggest short and long term measures for sustained solutions, and submit its report within a month.

Also, it was agreed to constitute a Joint Surveillance Squad comprising DJB, DPCC, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Delhi, HSPCB and Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Haryana.

Prime Minister lays Foundation Stone of National Environmental Standards Laboratory

04.01.2021, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today, laid the Foundation Stone of National Environmental Standards Laboratory through a video conference. He also dedicated National Atomic Timescale and Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya Pranali to the Nation.

Delivering the inaugural address at the National Metrology Conclave 2021, organised by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), New Delhi, on its 75th foundation day, the Prime Minister said that India is moving towards a leading position in the field of environment. Still, India is dependent on others for technology and tools for measuring air quality and emission. This achievement will lead to self-reliance in the field and will lead to creation of more effective and cheaper tools for pollution control. This will also enhance India’s share in the global market for technologies related to air quality and emission technology. The Prime Minister said that India has achieved this by the continuous efforts of the scientists.

Anil Jauhri, Ex-CEO, QCI - NABCB said, "The lab is expected to serve for calibration of pollution control measuring equipment and continuous emission monitoring system. Given importance of precise and real time environmental measurements it is an excellent initiative."

This lab would also test pollution control measuring equipment. Any certification scheme should be accredited to facilitate international acceptance. It is anticipated that the Testing and Certification shall be based on International Standards so that our monitoring system is at par with world's best and can be exported too, added Anil Jauhri.

The theme of the conclave is ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’.

Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Principal Scientific Advisor Dr. Vijay Raghwan were present on the occasion.

Jal Jeevan Mission connects 3.23 Crore households with Tap Water

01.01.2021, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) on 15th August, 2019 in his Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort. The Mission aims to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. Since then JJM is under implementation in partnership with the State governments with an aim to provide potable water. As on 15th August 2019, out of 18.93 Crore rural households, only 3.23 Crore, about 17% had tap water connections.

JJM has provided 3 Crore tap water connections since inception. Further, 26 districts, 457 Blocks, 34,919 Panchayats and 65,627 villages have become 'Har Ghar Jal' meaning every family living in these rural areas is getting assured tap water supply in their homes and 'no one is left behind'.

Goa, having 263,013 households, the first State in the country to provide 100% FHTCs and became 'Har Ghar Jal' State. While, Telengana has covered more than 98% households with FHTC, out of a staggering 5,434,001 households in the state. It is important to note that Telengana had 69.7% households with tap water supply before the Mission. Puducherry has attained 87.3% out of 114,908 households, Haryana has covered nearly 83% out of 3,103,122. West Bengal has registered the least progress with 4.46% out of 16,325,859 households.

Consumption of contaminated water has adverse impact on our health, especially children. In this backdrop, upgradation of water quality testing laboratories and its accreditation from NABL have been taken up. There are about 2,300 water quality testing laboratories with States/ UTs and these have been opened up to general public, so that they can get their water samples tested at a nominal cost. Also, emphasis is given to empowering local village community to keep surveillance on quality of water supply and/ or source through regular testing using Field Test Kits (FTKs). A grand challenge is going on in partnership with the DPIIT to develop ‘portable domestic water quality testing devices’.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, Village Action Plans (VAPs) for five years, co-terminus with the 15th Finance Commission are prepared so that fund available to PRIs can be gainfully utilized by GPs for assured water supply delivery to homes. These VAPs are aggregated at district level to formulate the District Action Plans (DAPs), which are consolidated at State level to formulate the State Action Plan (SAP). SAP covers projects like regional water supply schemes, bulk water supply and distribution projects, etc. to ensure drinking water security in the State.

CPCB asks SPCBs/DPCC to be vigilant as AQI envisaged to worsen


Public may raise complaint through SAMEER App

31.12.2020, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has been consistently reviewing air quality and meteorological scenario in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). Based on forecast received from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the air ventilation conditions are likely to slow down in Delhi, which may lead to poor dispersion of air pollutants. Thus, AQI is predicted to be in Very Poor category for coming days.

In view of the worsening air quality and likely increase in activities during New Year eve celebrations, CPCB had issued an order on 23rd December 2020 directing Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) in NCR states namely, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan to ensure (1) Closure of Hot mix plants and stone crushers all the time till 2nd January 2021 (2) Frequency of mechanized cleaning of roads and water sprinkling be increased particularly on the road stretches with high dust generation potential (3) guidelines/standard operating procedures (SOPs0 for dust mitigation at construction sites are strictly adhered to. In case of violations, strict action should be taken against the violators like imposition of penalty/ temporary stoppage of construction activities and (4) Compliance of Orders of Hon’ble Courts and National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding banning of sale and use of firecrackers.

As per NGT Order dated 15th October 2019, in the matter of Utkarsh Panwar Vs. Central Pollution Control Board, all brick kilns in NCR are already closed.

CPCB has deployed 50 teams for field inspections in Delhi –NCR, with special emphasis on hotspots, since 15th October 2020, to assess the ground level scenario and ensure enforcement of mitigation measures for control of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. These teams have been visiting pollution hotspots and other areas in Delhi NCR region and reporting the violations of various guidelines/norms by posting these on the SAMEER App.

DPCC, SPCBs of NCR states and various central and state agencies have been asked to take effective steps immediately that would help in controlling pollution.

CPCB urges public to provide feedback on polluting activities through SAMEER App which can be downloaded from Google Play and App store for android and IOS respectively.

NGT Orders 2020 addresses far more issues than Air & Water pollution

31.12.2020, New Delhi: Over a decade, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), often referred as the Green Court of India, has become the ultimate address of people of India seeking environmental justice. Even in the COVID inflicted pandemic year, the Tribunal, as of November 2020, dealt with 5073 matters. NGT disposed 2372 cases leaving 2701 matters for consideration, with 943 lying undecided at the Principal Bench at New Delhi.

With growing number of cases, NGT reduced the lengthy judicial process and adopted practices of getting factual ground reports from the concerned Stakeholders. The Tribunal relies on scientific approach, factual reports and technical inputs from local authorities and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The process involved getting consolidated status report through CPCB. Factual field reports were sought by constituting Joint Committees which involved sample collections and scientific interpretations. The directions passed in individual matters have been towards restoration of environment and executing waste management infrastructure projects. Execution of projects reflects governance attitude and commitments of the Departments.

Looking at some key orders of 2020, it shows a diversified range of thorny cases were addressed by the Tribunal. The subject of appeals include air pollution due to fire crackers in Covid-19 situation, road dust, toxic pollutants in air, air quality management, industrial accident resulting fatalities and injuries, inadequate solid and liquid waste management facilities in group housing societies, siting of projects and environmental clearance (EC), Requirement of EC to Lift Irrigation Schemes, Prohibiting operation of Brick Kilns considering having no carrying capacity, Preventing Flood Plain Zones, Non-utilisation of Environment Relief Fund, Waste management arising out of Covid-19 treatment, Ship Breaking to be in unison with environmental needs, Care for Birds – Non-Renewable Energy Projects to take Mitigation measures, River Sand Mining - a bothering issue, District Environment Plan - Constitutional Provisions, Water Management, groundwater, Saving the dying rivers and 351 polluted river stretches and many matters on individual rivers, Restoration of Water Bodies, Coastal Pollution, Trade and Sewage effluent treatment and utilisation of treated effluents, Industrial waste water and Sewage Treatment, Utilisation of treated Sewage, Swachh Bharat and Hazardous and Other Wastes, Plastic Waste Menace, Resources, Restitution and Institutions.

Industrial Accident resulting fatalities and injuries in the case of Blast in Plastic recycling industry in Malda, West Bengal; Spent wash digester collapse causing spillages in a Distillery in Mohel Taluka, Solapur district, Maharashtra; Vishaka Solvent; Sainor Life Sciences; Boiler Blast in Neveili Lignite Corporation; Yashasvi Rasayani; Spy Agro; Indian Oil Corporation; and most importantly LG Polymers India. The Tribunal took cognisance of gas leak incidents in Andhra Pradesh as also the fire in Assam's Baghjan oil well and observed that such disasters occurred on account of mishandling of operations, lack of skilled supervision and unprepared system to deal eventualities.

NGT has pushed the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for non-utilisation of over Rs. 800 crore meant towards Environment Relief Fund for victims of accidents in the process of handling hazardous substances and directed that compensation needs to be provided to them on urgent basis through District Collectors.

Holding that public oriented schemes do require environment clearance, the NGT passed direction on such requirement for Purushothapatanam Lift Irrigation Scheme, Andhra Pradesh, which involved lifting of water from river Godavari.

Noting that air pollution kills millions of people every year, NGT directed brick kilns, which emit particulate matters, to adopt the environment friendly zig-zag technology. It got an assessment done through CPCB by finding out ambient air quality and carrying capacity.

The NGT also took note that the COVID-19 related biomedical waste in the country is about 101 tonnes per day, and said that segregation of this waste from others is a must to avoid further contamination adversely affecting public health.

The Tribunal dealt with the issue of protecting endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB), which has been facing fatalities on account transmission lines and directed that bird diverters be installed and transmission lines may be put underground.

The NGT said rivers in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka were being unscrupulously exploited for sand mining without any regard for the environment and ordered that such projects be executed with due caution in accordance with mining plan.

On the issue of ground water extraction, the NGT said that water withdrawal cannot be at the cost of the environment and ignoring intra and inter-generational, sustainable development principles.

As the country went into the lockdown, the Tribunal, headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, expressed dissatisfaction over the slow progress and lackadaisical approach of authorities and government agencies on key issues relating to public health and hygiene and emphasized on recovering compensation from polluters.

CASFOS Dehradun trained Teachers on Conservation Education

31.12.2020, New Delhi: Central Academy for State Forest Service (CASFOS), Dehradun, under the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, conducted a Two-days specialised training on “Conservation Education” for in-service Teachers including teachers in-charge of Eco clubs.

Chief Guest at the Inaugural session Padmashri Karthikeya Sarabhai, Director Centre of Environment Education asked the teachers to strengthen the linkage between the Forest department and Eco clubs to make the Environment Conservation efforts effective and efficient. He also appealed the teachers to inculcate environmental conservation ideas to the forthcoming generation of India.

Conservation education is the process of helping human beings clarify and improve their personal values concerning their environment. The training programme from 28th to 29th December 2020 included topics like Overview of Environmental Issues in India, Conservation issues and Challenges in India, Nature Education with a case study of Gujarat, Wildlife amidst Humans, Domestic Solid Waste management, Green Schools Programme and Green Auditing. The programme also offered a wide range of experience sharing opportunity.

Kunal Satyarthi, IFS, Principal, CASFOS; Abhilash Damodaran, IFS, Lecturer, CASFOS, Dehradun; Ranjitha Menon, Programme Director, Environment Education, Centre for Science & Environment; S. Karthikeyan, Naturalist, JLR, Karnataka; deliberated on the aforesaid topics with fascinating notes from their enormous experiences. More than 1600 participants from 18 States across India participated in this training virtual programme.

4th Meeting of the India-Sri Lanka JWG on Fisheries discussed on preservation of marine environment

30.12.2020, New Delhi: The Fourth Meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries was held on Wednesday through virtual mode. The Indian delegation was led by Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The other members of the Indian delegation included senior representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of Puducherry, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

The Sri Lankan delegation was led by Ms. R.M.I. Rathnayake, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The meeting covered the entire gamut of issues related to fishermen and fishing boats which have been on the agenda of bilateral discussions between India and Sri Lanka for many years. Secretary, Fisheries, Government of India, highlighted that the Indian side remains committed to working constructively with the Sri Lankan side to address all issues related to fishermen and their livelihoods in a humanitarian manner and in line with past understandings.

Referring to the recent apprehension of 40 fishermen and 6 boats by Sri Lanka Navy, the leader of the Indian delegation called on the Sri Lankan side to ensure their early release and till such time, to provide necessary facilitation including consular access and necessary assistance. The Indian side also reiterated the need for releasing all fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody in line with the commitment given by Sri Lankan President during his state visit to India in November 2019.

The two sides also exchanged views on the status of cooperation between Navy & Coast Guard of both countries in patrolling, existing hotline between the Coast Guards and related operational matters, cooperation in preservation of marine environment as well as the schedule for the fifth meeting of the JWG. The Indian side conveyed its sincere determination to work in a constructive spirit with the Sri Lankan side for convening an early meeting of the Fisheries Ministers on both sides.

Both sides agreed that the convening of the JWG on virtual medium to tide over the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic reflected the common desire to utilize the existing bilateral mechanisms and work constructively to address all issues pertaining to fishermen.

Secretary, Fisheries, Government of India, highlighted the initiatives being taken by India under the new Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana and other schemes of Government of India and governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to diversify and reduce fishing pressure in the Palk Bay. He also informed of initiatives taken for diversification into deep-sea fishing especially by fishermen of Palk Bay area, infrastructure created to facilitate deep-sea fishing, promotion of alternative livelihood through seaweed cultivation, mariculture and varieties of aquaculture activities.

It may be recalled that the First Meeting of the Joint Working Group was held on 31 December 2016 in New Delhi. The Second Joint Working Group was held in Colombo on 7 April 2017 while the Third Meeting was held in New Delhi on 13 October 2017.

Minister of State for Jal Shakti joins Brahamputra Aamantran Abhiyaan at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh

30.12.2020, New Delhi: The Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice and Empowerment, Rattan Lal Kataria participated on Wednesday in the Brahmaputra Amantran Abhiyan - a river rafting expedition and a public outreach programme organized by the Brahmaputra Board at Passighat, Arunachal Pradesh. The Month long Campaign titled as “Living with the rivers” is aimed at sensitizing people towards the river Brahmaputra, which is the major river that enters India at Arunachal Pradesh and flows through Assam before entering Bangladesh where it merges with river Ganga and drains into Bay of Bengal.

Speaking at the event, Kataria apprised the IIT Guwahati students, Members of NDRF, and other participants; about the efforts of Ministry of Jal Shakti, which is working relentlessly towards solving water related issues through integrated approach. He informed that Brahmaputra Amantran Abhiyan was chalked out after an astounding response to the Ganga Amantran Abhiyan conceptualized and executed by the Ministry in the year 2019. He also informed the participants about the quality work being carried out under the Namami Gange Programme.

The Minister emphasized upon the inextricable link between rivers and human civilisation. He added that historically, all human societies have originated and flourished alongside rivers as it is the major source of Life on this planet. However, owing to the increase in the population and subsequent Urbanization, there is an increased pressure on our river systems. They are also facing the acute problem of pollution as effluents/waste from the settlements are flushed into the rivers without any treatment. He requested all the participants to take a pledge to free our rivers from pollution and work towards their clean and continuous flow. He stressed upon the concept of “River synchronized development” so as to ensure that river conservation and development go hand in hand and complement each other. Awards were distributed to students for participating in the awareness generation programme and various other competitions organized by the Brahmaputra Board.

International Blue Flag hoisted at 8 beaches across India

29.12.2020, New Delhi: It was a proud moment for India as Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar virtually hoisted the International Blue Flags on 28th December 2020

in 8 beaches across the country. These beaches of India, spread across five states and two union territories, were awarded the International Blue Flag Certification on 6th October 2020, when an International Jury comprising of member organizations UNEP, UNWTO, UNESCO, IUCN, ILS, FEE etc. announced the award at Copenhagen, Denmark. Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by "Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark" based on 33 stringent criteria.

The beaches that have been awarded the ‘BLUE FLAG” are Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).

On the eve, the union Minister said that neat and clean beaches are an indicator that the coastal environment is in good health and the Blue Flag Certification is a global recognition of India's conservation and sustainable development efforts.

In October, India has also been awarded a 3rd Prize by the International Jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions.

India is now in the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries and we take pride in this honour to our Nation, planning to take this journey forward to 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years.

India began its humble journey in 2018 for development of pilot beaches (one each in coastal states/UTs) and presented the first set of 08 beaches for the certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.

During the event, the Environment Minister also informed that hundred more such beaches will be made Blue Flag in coming 3-4 years and highlighted that cleaning beaches needs to be a made a “Peoples Movement” not only for its aesthetic value and tourism prospects, but more importantly towards reducing the menace of marine litter and making coastal environment sustainable.

The objective of the BEAMS (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) program is to abate pollution in coastal waters & beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities/ facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources and encourage local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment norms & regulations. This program promotes beach tourism and recreation in absolute harmony with nature; and is unique in that sense.

India gets 42nd Ramsar Site, as Startsapuk Tso and Tso Kar connected lakes complex in Ladakh gets recognition of international importance

24.12.2020, New Delhi: Year 2020 has listed one more wetland from India on “Ramsar Sites”. India's 42nd Ramsar Site is the high-altitude wetland complex, found at more than 4,500 metres above sea level in the Nyoma Block, Leh District, Changthang region of Union Territory of Ladakh.

The complex includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar; it presents a notable example of two such lakes existing in close proximity. The name Tso Kar refers to the white salt efflorescence on the margins of the lake caused by the evaporation of the saline waters. The local climate is arid, and glacial meltwater is the primary water source for the lakes.

The site tagged with No. 2443 sprawls in an area of 9577 hac. The lakes and in particular the presence of fresh water attract biodiversity in a biologically sparse region. Inhabiting the Site are numerous threatened species including the endangered saker falcon (Falco cherrug) and Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus laniger), and the vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia). The Site also acts as an important stopover ground for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway and is one of the most important breeding areas in India for the black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis).

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated "Happy to share that high-altitude wetland complex in Changthang region of Ladakh is recognized as wetland of international importance. The complex is a notable example of two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso & the hypersaline Tso Kar."

In November 2020, two sites - Sur Sarovar, commonly known as Keetham Lake, Agra, Uttar Pradesh and Lonar Lake in Maharashtra State were added to Ramsar list.

Earlier, in January 2020, 10 wetlands in India were recognised by the Ramsar Convention as sites of international importance.

Wetlands have a significant role in the ecosystem. Wetlands provide food, water, fibre, and help in groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. Wetlands are reckoned as the major source of water and considered to be the key source of freshwater.

In the Wetland Rules, 2017, wetland has been defined as an area of marsh, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters, but does not include river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies/tanks specifically constructed for drinking water purposes and structures specifically constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes.

The Ramsar Convention signed on February 2, 1971, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord signed by member countries to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance. The international treaty, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, was for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed. Over 170 countries are party to the Ramsar Convention and over 2,000 designated sites covering over 20 crore hectares have been recognised under it.

Apex India Green Leaf & CSR Awards 2019 distributed in a Glittering Hybrid Event

23.12.2020, New Delhi: On 22nd December 2020, Apex India Foundation honoured the Corporate, Organizations, and Professionals who have performed extraordinarily in the field of Environment, Corporate Social responsibility (CSR), Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, Eco-innovation, Plant Efficiency, Afforestation, and Water Conservation; with Apex India Green Leaf and CSR Excellence Awards 2019, in a glittering function in the Le Meridien, New Delhi.

Acclaimed Defence Expert, Major General (Retd.) P. K. Saighal graced the occasion as Guest of Honour. In his address, the former army man expressed concerns about the degrading environment, as many activities are taking place, which are unsustainable for the environment and society. Deliberating on the need of environmental management and sustainable development, former Major General said that Apex India Foundation is doing a magnificent work by inspiring the doers, for which he congratulated Kuldeep Singh, President of the Foundation.

Renowned Human Rights Activist Smt. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Guest of Honour of the event, lauded Apex India’s initiatives for motivating corporates and industries for their significant achievements in the field of environmental management and CSR. In a uniquely hybrid event, which was part physical and mostly digital event, she made a point before the corporates, industries and government that they should consider spending 3% of CSR funds for the upliftment of transgenders, which will ensure true equality to every individual of a progressive India.

Industry giants from various sectors such as Automobile, Cement, Thermal Power, Petroleum Exploration, Petroleum & Refinery, FMCG, Metal & Mining, Paper, Fertilizer, Breweries, Construction, and Textile etc. participated in the award programme. World class companies, like ONGC Hazia Plant, Reliance Industries, Tata Steel, NMDC, BPCL, HPCL, NTPC, Shapoorji, NLC India, Dabur India Limited Sahibabd unit bagged Platinum Award for Environment Excellence.

The award programme received a huge response from various categories industries, despite 2019 being a COVID pandemic year. The jury selected 102 winners from more than 150 applications. Many top order organizations from different industry segments won Awards in the Apex India Green Leaf and CSR Excellence Category.

In individual category, R. K. Tyagi, former EHS Country Head for India, Middle East, South Africa and Europe Operations, Regal Beloit Corporation – USA, got awarded with “Apex India Green Leaf Lifetime Achievement Award of the Year 2019”. His service to Corporates in the field of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability spanned through a period of over 4 decades. On receiving the most coveted award, he expressed thankfulness to Apex India Foundation for such a valued acknowledgement of his work. He further added that there are very few award programs in India to recognize works in the field of environment. Therefore, Apex India’s award programme has immense value that distinguishes individuals, industries and corporates, who are doing remarkable works in the field of environment and also encourages others to follow.

On the occasion, Minister of State, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, congratulated Apex India Foundation, and all the winners for their perseverance and hard work. In a written statement, the Minister stated that I look forward to see the remarkable works carried out by all the winners in their respective fields.

A conference on Sustainable Environment Management & CSR was also organized on the side line. S K Mishra, notable environmentalist and Editor, Enviro Annotations delivered a talk on Plastic Waste Management with reference to a holistic Indian Scenario.

With a glaring success and spirit, now Apex India Foundation is inviting nomination for "Apex India Green Leaf Awards 2020”, “Apex India CSR Awards 2020”, and “Apex India Occupational Health & Safety Awards 2020”. The foundation welcomes wide participation of Corporates, Industries, MSMEs, Hotels, Hospitals, Institutions, and Individuals who are doing remarkable works in the field of Environment, CSR and Occupation Health & Safety.

$500 Million loan from World Bank for Green, Resilient and Safe Highways in India

22.12.2020, New Delhi: The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a USD 500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.

The Green National Highways Corridors Project will support MoRTH construct 783 km of highways in various geographies by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial byproducts, and other bioengineering solutions. The project will help reduce GHG emissions in the construction and maintenance of highways. Globally, transport sector is the 3rd major contributor of CO2 emissions.

Dr C S Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance stated that the Government of India is committed to environmentally sustainable development in its infrastructure projects. This project will set new standards in the construction of safe motorable roads. The selected stretches in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh will also help improve connectivity and promote economic development.

The agreement was signed by Dr Mohapatra on behalf of the Government of India and Ms SumilaGulyani, Acting Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.

The ultimate objective of transport infrastructure is to provide seamless connectivity and reduce logistics costs. The Government of India has launched many investment programs in road sector infrastructure to strengthen and improve logistics performance. This project will also support analytics to map the freight volume and movement pattern on the National Highway network, identify constraints, and provide innovative logistics solutions.

The National Highways of India carry about 40 percent of road traffic. However, several sections of these highways have inadequate capacity, weak drainage structures and black spots prone to accidents. The project will strengthen and widen existing structures; construct new pavements, drainage facilities and bypasses; improve junctions; and introduce road safety features. It is imperative that the infrastructure investments are climate resilient. To this effect disaster risk assessment of about 5,000 km of the National Highway network will also be undertaken under the project along with support to ministry for mainstreaming climate resilience aspects in project design and implementation.

The $500 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.

Delhi Industries have to switch to PNG fuel, directed Air Quality Commission

Delhi Pollution Control Committee directed to identify the industries using unapproved fuels and take stringent penal action in case of non-compliance.

22.12.2020, New Delhi: The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas reviewed the progress of switching over of Industries operating in Delhi to Piped Natural Gas with the Government of NCT of Delhi, GAIL and Indraprastha Gas Limited.

About 1644 of Industrial Units spread across 50 industrial areas in Delhi had been identified to switch over to Piped Natural Gas (PNG). Though sizeable number of Industries are using PNG, the Commission stressed the need to switch over to PNG by all identified Industries in Delhi considering the fact that industrial sector is one of the major contributors to air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region. Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) were impressed upon to complete the pipeline network, metering and associated infrastructure.

M/s IGL, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Government of NCT of Delhi were also asked to work in close coordination with the industrial units so as to target completion of infrastructure works and complete switch over to PNG, by all the identified industrial units in Delhi, by 31st January, 2021. DPCC was also directed to inspect and identify the industries using unapproved fuels and to take stringent penal action in case of non-compliances.

According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural gas emits 50-60% less Carbon Dioxide (CO2) when combusted. Natural Gas is safer as it catches fire only when it forms a 5-15% mixture with air whereas LPG catches fire when it forms 2% or above mixture with air. Natural gas is lighter than air. Therefore, in case of a leak, it just rises and disperses into thin air given adequate ventilation.

Indian Youth to drive "Catch the Rain Where it falls, When it falls" Campaign

22.12.2020, New Delhi: Government of India has been encouraging for maximum harvesting of rainwater, which stands around <10%. The Prime Minister himself wrote letters to Sarpanches. It brought some good results. In March 2020, National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti launched the campaign "Catch the Rain Where it falls, When it falls" just before COVID-19 inflicted lockdown.

On Tuesday, the NWM in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has launched the “Jal shakti Abhiyan - II: Catch the Rain” Awareness Generation Campaign. The campaign was launched jointly by Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State (Independent Charge), Youth Affairs & Sports and Minister of State, Minority Affairs, Kiren Rijiju in presence of Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Social Justice & Empowerment, Rattan Lal Kataria. The launch event was attended by large number of participants on digital platforms including field functionaries of NYKS in all the districts of the country.

Success stories of rainwater harvesting has proved to be a tide turner in Jakhni village, Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh; Dewas in Madhya Pradesh; Heware bazar in Maharashtra; and many other places.

The Union Jal Shakti Minister emphasized on the need to focus on water conservation and rainwater harvesting while Rijiju stressed on the importance of involving the youngsters in the revolutionary campaign. Kataria said that the Union Government accords the highest priority to the issue of water conservation and the need of the hour is to adopt an integrated approach towards water management. The Ministers collectively unveiled the posters and IEC material promoting Catch the Rain campaign.

As a preparatory phase of JSA-II, the Ministry has involved Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangthan (NYKS) for undertaking ‘Catch the Rain’ awareness campaign to cover 623 districts. The awareness generation phase of campaign will run from mid-December 2020 to March 2021. NYKS will undertake this awareness building campaign through various IEC activities which will include conducting education & motivational programs, mass awareness campaigns, environment building including wall writing, banners & e-posters, knowledge competitions, demonstration activities like theme-based nukkad nataks & skits, branding & popularize the campaign by logos & printed IEC materials etc. During this period, the NYKS teams will also meet district administration, line departments and water agencies, hold meetings with Pradhans, local influencers and volunteers to further the cause and also prepare plans for the water conservation to be taken up in the next phase of the campaign.

Rain Water Harvesting Structures are to be based on the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata to store rain water as rains falling in the 4-5 months of monsoon are the only source of water for most parts of the country. Drives to make water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS and check dams; removal of encroachments and de-silting of tanks to increase their storage capacity; removal of obstructions in the channels which bring water to them from the catchment areas; repairs to traditional water harvesting structures like step-wells and using defunct bore-wells and old wells to put the water back to aquifers etc, are some of the activities suggested to be taken up with peoples’ active participation under this campaign. The collaboration with NYKS is a step to engage people at the grassroots through effective campaigning & IEC activities for implementation of the campaign.

Leopards population in India stands to be 12,852

60% growth from 2014-2018

21.12.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar released the Status Report of Leopards in New Delhi, today. He said that increase in Tiger, Lion and Leopards numbers over the last few years is a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgling wildlife & biodiversity of the country.

India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted 2014. More than 60% increase in population has been recorded. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar remarked that monitoring of the tiger in India has clearly shown its umbrella role in the ecosystem, which has shed light on other charismatic species like the Leopard.

India's world record tiger survey also estimated the population of leopards and the tiger range was found home to 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards. They occur in prey rich protected areas as well as multi-use forests. A total of 5,240 adult individual leopards were identified in a total of 51,337 leopard photographs using pattern recognition software. Statistical analysis estimates the leopard population at - 12,800 leopards within the tiger's range.

The leopard was estimated across forested habitats in tiger range areas of the country but other leopard occupied areas such as non-forested habitats (coffee and tea plantations and other land uses from where leopards are known to occur), higher elevations in the Himalayas, arid landscapes and majority of North East landscape were not sampled and, therefore, the population estimation should be considered as minimum number of leopards in each of the landscapes.

Tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but even its monitoring has helped evaluate the status of other species, like the leopard. The National Tiger Conservation Authority-Wildlife Institute of India (NTCA-WII) shall be reporting on several other species shortly.

20th Water Talk: Community Participation is the Foundation to Sustainable Water Solutions

19.12.2020, New Delhi: 20th Water Talk, the monthly seminar series on water was conducted by the National Water Mission (NWM) on Friday 18th December 2020. Apoorva Oza, Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) was the guest speaker, who delivered a talk on various aspects of participatory water management, and shared various field experiences.

In his presentation, Oza described how participatory community approach brought paradigm shift from drought prone to a water rich Junagadh and nearby areas in Saurashtra, Gujarat. The hilly tribal area in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh was facing acute problems of high migration due to poverty. Despite receiving a rainfall of 1100 - 3000 mm of rainfall the area was having access to low irrigation. An integrated approach of water harvesting through a large number of check dams, boribunds and lifting devices through community participation proved to be a game changer. It resulted in reduction of migration, income increased by 30% - 50%, reduced GHG emissions, ameliorated food and nutrition status.

He also deliberated on how participatory irrigation management increased area under irrigation up to 80% , income by 250% and reduced migration by 100%. Quoting the example of Chakhazi village in Bihar, where irrigation failed due to lack of reliable electricity supply, in spite of availability of adequate water, Oza pointed out that solar irrigation empowers the poor. The villagers stated to have saved up to Rs. 12 Lakh per year out of diesel purchase cost. The irrigation cost was also brought down by about 70%.

The Water Talk also emphasized on the water quality testing aspect, which can reduce medical expenses and increase productivity. In his presentation, Apoorva Oza highlighted that identifying and maintaining source of drinking water is of utmost importance. He described the probabilities of contamination between source to mouth, which necessitates testing of drinking water quality. Water quality testing is also the essence of Jal Jeevan Mission. He further elaborated with a case study of a village in Bihar that could have saved between Rs. 1.5 Lakh to Rs. 3.5 lakh per year from health related costings by setting up of affordable water testing facility.

The talk also deliberated on balancing the supply side and demand side. Micro irrigation, water budgeting, recycling of treated wastewater could be vital in this. Water being connected to energy, agriculture and soil; community participation is the foundation to sustainable solutions.

Additional Secretary and Mission Director, NWM, G. Asok Kumar highlighted about the Water Talks, and various activities by NWM. He informed that IIT Kanpur is developing a low cost, highly efficient and easy to handle water testing kit. He also shared an example of Nizamabad district, where cleanliness was ensured by constructing 1.5 lakh toilets and creating clean sources for drinking water, maintaining them. This ultimately resulted in reduction of diarrhea from 5000 to 150 cases in a year.

Water Talk is a monthly seminar series on water is conducted on the 3rd Friday. It has become a platform of knowledge transfer and problem solving. It attracts many vibrant people of various age groups from different walks of life to participate in the event and actively share various ideas towards sustainable water management in India. Please share your view

Under Jal Jeevan Mission 100% households of Ganderbal and Srinagar Districts in UT of J&K connected with FHTC

17.12.2020, New Delhi: In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir every household in Ganderbal and Srinagar districts has got tap Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) and every family is getting potable piped water in their homes. The UT is planning 100% coverage by 2022 to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap water connection to every rural household of J&K. This kind of work in these difficult terrains speak volumes of the commitment of the people and Govt. to provide basic facilities in rural areas. Out of 18.17 lakh rural households in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir, 8.66 lakh (48%) are provided with tap water connections. Jammu & Kashmir plans to provide tap connections in 2.32 lakh households during 2020-21.

Out of 20 districts under the UT of J&K, 5 more districts have covered more than 50% households: Poonch (71%), Pulwama (64%), Baramulla (56%), Reasi and Shopian around 54%. The lowest coverage is nearly 35% in Rajouri district.

Union Government’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission, being implemented in partnership with States, aims to provide tap water connections to every rural household of the country by 2024. The objective of the mission is to ensure every household in every village/ habitation gets a functional tap connection and ‘none is left behind’. With the undivided focus of the Union Government to provide basic amenities in remote areas, aspirational districts, border areas, etc., this mission strives for provision of the basic amenity of safe drinking water in every rural household.

Since the soul of this decentralized and demand-driven programme is community participation, focus is on the planning of the water supply schemes in the village to its operation and maintenance. Every village is taken up as a unit and Village Action Plan (VAP) for five years is being prepared for each village by participation of local community with mandatory components viz. strengthening of local drinking water sources; in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections; grey water treatment and reuse; and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water on regular and long-term basis. Village action plans for all 6,877 villages in the UT have been prepared.

In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization are being taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission, truly a people’s movement. Out of 98 water testing laboratories, the UT plans NABL accreditation of 20 labs during current year. Field Testing Kits will be provided at community level for testing of water quality for taking corrective measures.

In less than a year, actual implementation of the mission that started on 25th December, 2019, despite Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown as well as restrictions, about 2.80 Crore households in the country have been provided with tap water connections. With this, as of now 6.03 Crore households (32%) of the country are getting tap water supply into their homes. Every year, more than 3 Crore households are to be given tap water connections. This is the speed and scale on which Jal Jeevan mission is being implemented.

So far, one State i.e. Goa, 18 districts including difficult areas of Srinagar and Ganderbal in Jammu & Kashmir and Lahaul & Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and more than 423 Blocks, 33 thousand Gram Panchayats, and 60 thousand villages have achieved 100% household coverage. This shows the commitment to all-inclusive development and no one is left out.

NGT expresses hope that all Authorities will act to comply with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 for Protection of Environment and Public Health

17.12.2020, New Delhi: While hearing on the Original Application No. 606/2018 regarding Compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and other environmental issues on 14th December 2020, the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed that States directed to file quarterly compliance reports with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). CPCB further has been directed to prepare a consolidated report every six months before this Tribunal. First such report may be filed by 30th June 2021.

The Principal Bench of NGT headed by Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson NGT has also directed that the compensation in terms of earlier order be recovered and credited to a separate account with the Environment Department of the States/UTs to be used for restoration of environment in the concerned States/UTs. The deposit, instead of being made with the CPCB, may now be made to the said account.

The NGT has further directed that while by order dated 16th January 2019 and further orders passed, the Chief Secretaries were directed to give a consolidated report on the subject of waste management as well as remedial action for rejuvenation of 351 polluted river stretches, 122 non-attainment cities, 100 polluted industrial clusters, sand mining, etc., henceforth the present matter will primarily deal with the issues of solid waste management only, other issues being subject matter of separate proceedings.

In the Order, the NGT has noted that in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the statutory authorities for various actions have been specified under different rules, and categorically deliberated the followings:

Under Rule 5, a Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) is to be constituted headed by the Secretary, MoEF&CC with representation from Ministries of Urban Development, Rural Development, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Agriculture, CPCB, State PCBs/PCCs, Urban and Rural Development Departments, Urban Local Bodies and Towns from the of the States, FICCI, CII and subject experts. The CMC is to meet once in a year.

The Ministry of Urban Development has to coordinate with the States/UTs under Rule 6 for periodic review and formulation of National Policy and strategies and taking other measures.

Under Rule 7, the Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers have to provide market development assistance for compost and promote marketing of such compost.

Under Rule 8, Ministry of Agriculture has to evolve mechanism for utilization of compost. The rule also deals with the characterization of compost quality.

Under Rule 9, Ministry of Power has to decide compulsory purchase and tariff issues.

Under Rule 10, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources has to facilitate infrastructure creation and provide for subsidy.

Under Rule 11, the concerned Secretaries of Urban Development have to prepare State Policy and Management strategies and the Town Planning Department has to ensure setting up waste processing and disposal facilities and take other enumerated actions.

Under Rule 12, the District Magistrates have to identify suitable lands and review performance of local bodies.

Under Rule 13, the Secretaries of Panchayats have also to perform similar duties.

Under Rule 14, CPCB is to coordinate with State Pollution Control Boards and Union Territory Pollution Control Committees to formulate standards of ground water, ambient air quality, noise, etc.

Under rule 15, local authorities have to prepare solid waste management plans, collection of waste and coordination with the other stakeholders for enumerated steps.

Under Rule 16, the SPCBs/PCCs have to enforce the rules and monitor compliances.

Under Rule 17, there are duties of private bodies, including the manufacturers to be monitored by the State Bodies.

Rule 22 provides timelines for various steps. Last timeline of 5 years from the Rules expires on 7th April 2021.

Under Rules 24, there is a provision for audit and submitting of annual report.

The Principal Bench of NGT has stated that since there has been large scale non-compliances of the said rules, all the concerned authorities need to review the progress and perform their responsibility in accordance with law. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has to finally monitor compliance, as already mentioned. The NGT Bench has expressed hope that all the authorities will now take necessary steps for meaningful compliances for protection of environment and public health.

“World needs to come together to meet challenges in water sector”: Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

17.12.2020, New Delhi: The 5th India Water Impact Summit, organized by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) ended on Wednesday. In the concluding session of the 5th India Water Impact Summit, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of Jal Shakti said that the world needs to come together to meet the challenges of the water sector in the same way as the

world has united in fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic. The focal point of discussion on the last day of summit today was "River Conservation Synchronised Navigation and Flood Management". Equating the summit as “VaicharikKumbh”, the minister pointed out that the conference resulted in greater interaction between investors and stakeholders in the water sector to promote international cooperation between India and many foreign countries for water and river management. He said, “We have learnt a lot from national and international experiences and it is our promise that we will try to bring these learnings and concepts into practice. There is political will and determination like never before, backed by support from academic and self-help organisations.”

The Union Minister said that India is striving to reduce our dependence on groundwater. He deliberated on the Atal BhujalYojna, a pioneering initiative to map and recharge aquifers and conserve ground water in collaboration with the World Bank. He said “The scheme would promote panchayat-centric groundwater management and behavioural change with the main emphasis on demand side management”. Minister of State, Jal Shakti Ministry, Ratan Lal Katariya was also present at the Summit.

Appreciating the impactful momentum created by the NamamiGange mission, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs shared that NMCG and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) have developed a first of its kind strategic framework for managing urban river areas in the Ganga River Basin called the ‘Urban River Management Plan’.

Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog stressed on changing the attitude of pollute now and rejuvenate later. He illustrated how conservation and development can go hand in hand and how attempts to involve people in this process is yielding positive results.

Water Resource Minister of Bihar, Vijay Kumar Choudhry, emphasized that flood management is an extremely relevant topic for Bihar because of its geography.

U. P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, stated that in the last four years the focus of this Mission has evolved from just cleaning Ganga to rejuvenating her. “Now the Mission is far more holistic which includes not only pollution abatement but also considers e-flow, biodiversity, community participation and small river rejuvenation” he said.

The confluence joined by over 3000 intellectuals, researchers, water & environment experts and policy makers from across the world to explore new technologies in water security and rejuvenation of local water bodies in the country.

The Potential Role of Hydrogen in India – Harnessing the Hype

“We see hydrogen as our next big sunrise sector” - Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog

16.12.2020, New Delhi: At a time, when most of the world is deliberating on various aspects to achieve net zero emissions, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) organized a digital event The Potential Role of Hydrogen in India – Harnessing the Hype, on Wednesday. The demand for hydrogen in India can grow five-fold by 2050. Further, by 2030, the costs of "green hydrogen" from renewables will fall more than 50% and start to compete with hydrogen from fossil fuels.

These were the findings of a report launched by TERI in the event. The report, titled "The Potential Role of Hydrogen in India", was created under TERI's Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) India programme.

"This is a first-of-its-kind, cross-sector assessment of how hydrogen technologies can support the transition to a zero-carbon energy system in India," said Will Hall, Fellow, TERI, and one of the report authors.

The report says that hydrogen needs to be targeted in sectors where direct electrification is not possible. These are heavy-duty, long-distance transport sectors, some industry sectors, and long-term seasonal storage in the power sector.

In transport, battery electric vehicles (BEV) will become competitive across all segments, except for very long-distance, heavy-duty transport, which could be fuelled by hydrogen.

Hydrogen is expected to compete with fossil fuels in certain industrial applications by 2030. For example, ammonia produced from green hydrogen will be competitive with the current incumbent technology of ammonia produced from fossil fuel-based hydrogen.

In the power sector, hydrogen could provide an important source of seasonal storage for variable renewables like solar and wind energy. Large amounts of seasonal storage will become necessary only when the share of wind and solar in total generation reaches very high levels (60-80%). Further, green hydrogen production could require around 1000 TWh of renewables-based electricity by 2050, placing further pressure on power system decarbonisation.

Launching the report, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog, said "In Government of India, we see hydrogen as our next big sunrise sector and a transition to the hydrogen economy as the way forward for India. I therefore hope that some of my optimism about the sector will prevail in combination with a coordinated policy thrust from us."

He added that improvement in technology and fall in cost of hydrogen will happen sooner than estimated.

Dr Kumar also suggested adding electrolysers to produce hydrogen in the list of industries that are to receive the production linked fiscal incentives recently announced by the government for economic recovery.

Emphasizing on the need to look at hydrogen growth in India from the point of view of demand, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said, "The falling cost of hydrogen will drive its uptake, with initial scale-up being driven by collaborations between progressive public and private players… India has an opportunity to grow an economically competitive low carbon hydrogen sector that can spur job growth reduce energy imports, whilst drastically reducing emissions."

On the occasion, Lord Adair Turner, Co-Chair, ETC said, "The costs of making green hydrogen from electrolysis are falling fast, with $2 per kg production costs likely to be achieved before 2030. So, it is essential to identify what role hydrogen could play in India, and how Indian industry can seize the economic opportunities arising."

He added that it is important to see a hydrogen economy not just as a way to decarbonise economies but also as an opportunity for creating new value-added businesses and employment.

The launch was followed by a panel discussion with DMR Panda, General Manager (Hydrogen), NTPC Limited; Gerd Deusser, CEO, Siemens India; Dr Saurabh Kundu, Chief, Process Research, Tata Steel; Timur Guel, Head (Energy Technology Policy Division), International Energy Agency (IEA); and Richard Boocock, Senior Vice President and Special Advisor to the Chairman at Air Products.

India and Norway to work deeply in water, environment and climate change

US willing to partner with India to accelerate Innovative Tech & Solutions Market

15.12.2020, New Delhi: Experts from India and abroad have been sharing insights on conservation and development in the India Water Impact Summit. From artificial intelligence to state-of-the-art infrastructure development approaches, foreign companies and organizations are aiming to partner with India to accelerate innovative technologies and solutions market.

On 4th day of the summit, experts from Norway joined their Indian counterparts to discuss ‘Arth Ganga – River Conservation Synchronised Development’.

In a session on Sludge management, Dr. B. Bala Bhaskar, Ambassador of India to Norway said, “We need to take advantage of best practices of Norway in India and see how they can be adapted to local needs.” He extended his support to NMCG and cGanga. Ms. Karina Asbjørnsen, Norwegian Diplomat in India stated that Norway intends to work extensively with India especially in prevention of climate change and conservation of environment. “Our mandate to work with India is loud and clear. We are looking forward to deeper engagement.” she added. Mr. Ole Henaes, Head of Innovation Norway, expressed keen interest in working in India and informed that they have opened a centre in Delhi.

In a key development Dr. Ola Stedje, Research Scientist, announced that his company has signed an MoU for development of sludge management framework in India jointly by The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and cGanga. This will be a major breakthrough for both the organisations.

Highlighting peculiar problems in India, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, U. P. Singh, said that India does not have shortage of water but we need to improve water management and explained several initiatives in waste water management and need to develop further business modules by cGanga Norwegian Counterpart. Director General NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, promised to arrange a detailed interaction between Norwegian technology companies and Indian business leaders in water sector to explore joint projects to take advantage of Norwegian technology.

Day – 4 also had discussions revolving around “River Conservation Synchronised Agriculture”. Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Alka Bhargav, while explaining effect of agricultural practices on health of local water bodies said, “It is essential that traditional wisdom and modern science work together to have river development synchronised agriculture.” She also briefed how the farmer’s bargaining power has increased with the formation of Farmer Producers Organisations. Neelam Patel, Sr. Adviser (agriculture), NITI Ayog, emphasized the need of informing, communicating and training farmers about agroecological practices and promoting Farmer Producers Organisation. Also spoke about leveraging digital technologies and promoting agri-tousim. Agri-tourism can play an instrumental role in making people especially children value farmers and their hard work.

Stating that agriculture is one of the main activities for which water is extracted from the rivers, Director General, NMCG said, “We are working with farmers to educate them about water use efficiency.” He also shared that in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, NMCG is also trying to promote organic farming, natural farming and zero budget farming. Organic farming has been scaled up multi-fold this year with Uttarakhand having 50,000 Ha. under organic farming from 1000 Ha earlier and Uttar Pradesh is having more than 35,000 Ha integrated organic farming projects.

Earlier, on the 3rd day of the summit, in a session on Digital Water, Dr. Ravi Kota, Minister Economic – Embassy of India, Washington said, “United States can be great allies to building India’s Digital foundation for the water sector.” Xavier Chauvet De Beauchene, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development said that the bank is very proud of all the work done in India. “Who would have thought 5 years ago that 550 million people will stop defecating in the open in India.” He added that there is a massive shift in the Indian Government’s approach from focusing only on infrastructure development to working with people and bringing about behaviour change.

He also emphasized on the importance of data. “The problem cannot be solved if it is not understood and quantified.” India has taken many endeavours in this direction also. There are many tasks at the work-in-progress stage but it’s a very good start, he observed. Mr. Ben Grumble, Secretary, Environment, Maryland stressed upon the need of nations to learn from each other’s experience. He said that “equity” of water is very essential and shared the success story of the US Clean Water Act. Interestingly, India too has launched ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ with the goal of equal distribution of water to all. Usha Rao Monari, Senior Advisor at Blackstone Infrastructure Group and Board presenting the case of the Thames river cleaning up said that a good mix of policy and finance lead to effective cleaning of the river. It is noteworthy that the Namami Gange Mission has the advantage of these two factors – policy and finance.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG said, “we are glad that our efforts are being recognised by the international fraternity now.” He attributes the success of the Namami Gange Mission to his team, volunteers, academicians and many self-help organisations who are working continuously towards the cause of cleaning Ganga and her tributaries under the vision of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the guidance of the union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

India Water Impact 2020 is a five-day long summit, hosting experts and academicians from all over the world to discuss and debate issues related to water conservation, water security and river rejuvenation. The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.

Tata Steel among top five companies in the steel industry in Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) Corporate Sustainability Assessment 2020

14.12.2020, New Delhi: Tata Steel has ranked amongst the top 5 steel companies in Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) Corporate Sustainability Assessment 2020. The results of the Assessment were declared by S&P Global in the second week of November 2020. The Company has stated to have retained its position in the DJSI Emerging Markets (EM) Index for the 9th year in a row. Tata Steel is one of the 11 companies from India and one amongst only two steel companies from Emerging Markets that have made it to the EM Index (comprising 100 companies).

Sanjiv Paul, Vice President (Safety, Health & Sustainability), Tata Steel, said: “We are proud to be a part of DJSI Emerging Markets Index 2020. Our consistent performance over the years is testimony to the fact that sustainable business practices are core to Tata Steel’s vision and overall strategy. The Company’s business philosophy has always been underpinned by imbibing responsibility towards planet Earth in our operations, ensuring the health and safety of people at our workplaces, balancing economic prosperity and generating social benefits for the community. This recognition reaffirms our commitment to a sustainable tomorrow.”

Tata Steel Limited has been participating in the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) since 2012 and has been a member of DJSI Emerging Markets Index for nine consecutive years.

The DJSI Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) is an annual evaluation of companies’ sustainability practices since 1999. Each year over 7300 companies around the world are assessed on Economic/Governance, Environmental and Social dimensions focusing on criteria that are both industry-specific and financially material.

India has reduced emission intensity by 21% over 2005 levels: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

UN Environment's Emission gap report shows India ranked at no. 7 on the basis of per capita emissions, though it is 4th highest emitter.

12.12.2020, New Delhi: Today. on the eve of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi described as the most ambitious step in our fight against Climate Change, the Prime Minister said "As we are looking to set our sights even higher, we must also not lose sight of the past. We must not only revise our ambitions, but also review our achievements against targets already set. Only then can our voices be credible for future generations."

The Prime Minister informed the world leaders that India is not only on track to achieve its Paris Agreement targets, but to exceed them beyond expectations. He said "We have reduced our emission intensity by 21% over 2005 levels. Our solar capacity has grown from 2.63 Giga Watts in 2014 to 36 Giga Watts in 2020. Our renewable energy capacity is the fourth largest in the world. It will reach 175 GigaWatts before 2022. And, we have an even more ambitious target now - 450 GigaWatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030."

Prime Minister Modi also enlightened the on India's successful expansion of forest cover and safeguarding its biodiversity.

He emphasized India's pioneering two major initiatives on world stage; (1) The International Solar Alliance, and (2) Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

The Indian Premier said "In 2047, India will celebrate 100 years as a modern, independent nation. To all my fellow residents of this planet, I make a solemn pledge today. Centennial India will not only meet its own targets, but will also exceed your expectations."

It is noteworthy that the Emissions Gap Report 2020 published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) depicts that though it is among the top 6 emitters of absolute GHG emissions, India ranked at no. 7 on the basis of per capita emissions.

India's absolute GHG emissions (excluding LUC emissions) is about 5 times less than that of China, the No. 1 emitter of the World.

Emissions gap is described as the difference between the greenhouse gas emission levels consistent with a specific probability of limiting the mean global temperature rise to below 2°C or 1.5°C in 2100 above pre-industrial levels and the GHG emission levels consistent with the global effect of the NDCs, assuming full implementation from 2020.

Air Pollution a serious problem and Government committed towards fighting it: Prakash Javadekar Though Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have similar population load and similar industrial and vehicular pollution levels, but AQI in Delhi has shot up to over 300 in the last few days while in Chennai it is only 29, in Mumbai it is 140 and in Bangalore it is 45. The Minister said that this is due to the meteorological factors which we must appreciate and therefore when the wind speed and meteorology is unfavourable we must make more efforts to better air quality.

Ministry of Jal Shakti invites entries for National Water Awards-2020

10.12.2020, New Delhi: The ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) has invited entries for the 3rd National Water Awards. In order to encourage and recognize individuals and organizations who are doing exemplary works in the field of water resources conservation and management, the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, MoJS has invited entries in 11 categories: (1) Best State, (2) Best District (2 Awards each in five zones; total 10 Awards), (3) Best Village Panchayat (3 Awards each in five zones; total 15 Awards), (4) Best Urban Local Body, (5) Best Media (Print and Electronic), (6) Best School, (7) Best Institution/RWA/Religious Organization for Campus Usage, (8) Best Industry, (9) Best NGO, (10) Best Water User Association and (11) Best Industry for CSR Activities. In the category of Best District and Best Village Panchayats, the Ministry has separate awards for North, South, East, West and North-East.

A total of 52 Awards will be given under 11 categories. Apart from Best State and Best District Awards, cash prize of Rs. 2 lakh, Rs. 1.5 lakh and Rs. 1 lakh for Ist, IInd and IIIrd prize winners respectively will be given for all remaining 9 categories

The objective of these Awards is to encourage all stakeholders, including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Gram Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies, Water User Associations, Institutions, Corporate Sector, Individuals etc. for adopting innovative practices of ground water augmentation by rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge, promoting water use efficiency, recycling & reuse of water. It is also aimed to create awareness through people's participation in the focus areas which are expected to result in sustainable water resources management.

The entries may be submitted latest by 10th February 2021. Applications to be sent either through MyGov platform or via email to Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) at nationalwaterawards@gmail.com. It is categorically stated that only online applications will be considered.

Vice President expressed concerns over marine and freshwater pollution emanating from disposal of plastics, other residual waste and industrial chemicals

09.12.2020, New Delhi: While addressing the scientists and staff at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) in Visakhapatnam this week, the Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that from the pristine waters of the Himalayas to a long coastline of over 8000 kms, India is blessed with vast aquatic resources. “These waters are endowed with a diversity of fish fauna that has been supporting the livelihoods of millions of people for many generations”, he added.

Noting that India ranks second in the world in total fish production, he said that there still is a lot of potential to be harnessed in both inland and marine fisheries. Observing that with the growing population and the increasing demand for animal protein, the domestic requirement of fish is estimated to increase significantly, Shri Naidu called for bridging the gap in demand and supply of the annual fish production in India.

During his deliberation, the Vice President expressed concerns over the increasing frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change. He said the impact of climate change mostly felt by the seas and oceans through sea-level rise, ocean warming, and ocean acidification, which further harms marine life and the human lives.

Expressing concerns over the pollution of marine and freshwater, the Vice President said that discarded plastics, other residual waste and industrial chemicals eventually find their way into our water bodies with devastating consequences for aquatic life and the habitats they depend on.

The Vice President emphasized on stainable management of resources and mitigation of the damage caused by climate change, which are linked to fisheries.

Air Pollution a serious problem and Government committed towards fighting it: Prakash Javadekar

08.12.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar yesterday said that the Central Government has been taking all steps possible to combat air pollution in Delhi and North India and is working towards deploying all possible technological interventions towards that.

Speaking at the 4th Roundtable Consultation on 'Clearing the Air – Driving central and state-level actions’ jointly hosted by TERI and Air Quality Asia, an international air quality advocacy group, the Environment Minister stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put a firm resolve to improve the air quality of 100 cities in next 5 years. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through its National Clean Air Programme, which is a city specific plan is working in that direction with a target to achieve 20 to 30 % reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024.

Speaking on the peculiar nature of Air Pollution in Northern India especially Delhi-NCR the minister said that the crisis of air pollution can be attributed to primary factors like industrial emissions, vehicular emissions, dust from construction and demolition sites, stubble burning for around 50-60 days in a year, biomass burning and poor legacy waste management.

Speaking on the role of meteorology and geography Javadekar said that though Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have similar population load and similar industrial and vehicular pollution levels, but Air quality index(AQI) in Delhi has shot up to over 300 in the last few days while in Chennai it is only 29, in Mumbai it is 140 and in Bangalore it is 45. The Minister said that this is due to the meteorological factors which we must appreciate and therefore when the wind speed and meteorology is unfavourable we must make more efforts to better air quality.

The Minister highlighted a host of initiatives including scientific and technological interventions taken by Central government to mitigate the menace of Air Pollution in last few years.

CPCB asks Delhi & States concerned for effective Sewage Treatment to counter high Ammonia concentration

07.12.2020, New Delhi: The Yamuna is the most important tributary of the Ganga and a river of great importance to millions of people who depend on it as a source of drinking water and irrigation. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) monitors water quality of River Yamuna and drains discharging into the River. Recently, CPCB observed froth formation and increase in ammonia levels in river Yamuna because of discharge of untreated sewage, non-operation of existing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), improper functioning of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) installed by the industries and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) located on the banks of river Yamuna.

According to a report available on the Rejuvenation of the River Yamuna site The primary reason behind the formation of the toxic foam was high phosphate content in the wastewater because of detergents used in dyeing industries, dhobi ghats and households. These detergents and other organic matter gets deposited in the riverbed when the river is flowing normally. When more water is released upstream, it falls from a height on reaching the Okhla Barrage, leading to turbulence and churning which causes froth.

Another reason, which is not considered to be a major one, for the frothing is the release of certain gases when a specific kind of bacteria become active in anaerobic conditions -- when there is no or little oxygen is available.

Monitoring of 22 drains carried out recently, indicated that 14 drains (Sonia Vihar, Najafgarh, Shastri Park, Shahdara, etc.) are found untapped ,discharging sewage. While 5 drains are 100% tapped and no flow at downward of interception observed, 2 drains were found tapped but overflow into river Yamuna was observed. One drain (drain no. 14) has no flow at all. Due to partially/untreated discharge of sewage and industrial effluent containing phosphorus, many times, foaming also is observed.

CPCB, taking cognizance of this, issued directions to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) to submit time bound action plan to ensure compliance to norms by STPs and that no untreated sewage is discharged to these drains.

The Final Report of the Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Vide order dated 29th June 2020 also depicts that DJB has raised the issue of intermittent pollution, including high levels of Ammonical Nitrogen in the river at Wazirabad causing disruption in drinking water supply to Delhi. To identify source of high Ammonical Nitrogen, YMC also ordered a Committee of CPCB and NEERI scientists to inspect and submit a report on the sources of such pollution. Based on the report of the Committee, directions were issued to CPCB and HSPCB to take action against the distillery M/s RSL Distillery identified by the Committee. The report further states that CPCB was also directed to ensure that all the STPs and ETPs of Grossly Polluting Industries in Haryana are connected online to the CPCB server and effective monitoring done to locate the point sources of pollution in the river, well in advance. The YMC report also states that Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) volunteered to take over the proper maintenance of monitoring systems, and also installed a new station at Palla for the purpose of advance alert on the quality of water at Palla particularly when the Ammonical Nitrogen level rises abnormally high to affect drinking water quality at Wazirabad.

Improper operation of the Common Effluent Treatment Plans (CETPs) in Delhi is also a major issue in the matter pf Yamuna pollution. Hence, CPCB has directed DPCC to take action against non-complying CETPs and industrial units. Similar directions have also been issued to Haryana State Pollution Control Board and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board.

In view of the importance of the issues, reminders have been issued on 6th December 2020 to concerned agencies to submit action taken report by 15th December 2020.

There are many industrial units, business establishments and institutions, where online continuous environmental monitoring system is still not installed. Wherever installed, not all are measuring Ammonia or Ammoniacal Nitrogen as a test parameter. many of the laboratories, duly accredited by NABL and also recognized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) are not seriously reporting on all applicable parameters as ordered by the NGT and some SPCBs.

National Jal Jeevan Mission team visits West Bengal & Jharkhand to expedite realization of ‘Har Ghar Jal’

04.12.2020, New Delhi: A team of 4 members from the National Jal Jeevan Mission is visiting West Bengal from 2nd to 4th December, 2020 and Jharkhand from 2nd to 5th December, 2020 to provide technical assistance to the State to realize the goal of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ under the flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission as well as identify different issues and challenges and to document good practices.

The current coverage of Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) in West Bengal State, which has 16,325,859 households stands at 3.39% only, which is the lowest in India. Jharkhand has covered FHTC for ~10% from its total 54,08,690 households.

West Bengal has planned to provide 100% tap connections to all the households in the State by 2023-24. The team from National Jal Jeevan Mission is visiting the State to see the implementation in the field and extend technical assistance to expedite the implementation with a focus on prudent investment. The team along with PHED officials visited three schemes of Howrah district. The Uttar Pirpur scheme is 100% FHTC with focus on sustainability by creating rainwater harvesting through convergence with 15th Finance commission funds. In Balichak Scheme key parameters of Jal Jeevan Mission were discussed with the Gram Panchayat. The GP is in process of preparing the VAP and the work of providing FHTC is expected to begin soon. In Khosalpur village, the work is ongoing for providing FHTC and the work is expected to be completed during this month.

During 2020-21, fund allocation to West Bengal has increased to Rs. 1,610.76 Crore. With an opening balance of Rs. 1,146.58 Crore, the State has an assured availability of Rs. 2,760.76 Crore of Central share funds. Therefore, during 2020-21, along with State share, about Rs. 5,770 Crore is available under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide household tap connections in West Bengal. NJJM has stated that additional funds too can be provided based on the progress of implementation in form of performance incentive under JJM. Further, West Bengal has received Rs. 4,412 Crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to Panchayati Raj Institutions, 50% of which will mandatorily be spent on water and sanitation. The state has to convergence various programmes like MGNREGS fund, Swaccha Bharat Mission (Gramin) Fund, JJM, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level and Village Action Plan (VAP) of every village is to be prepared for 5 years co-terminus with the 15th Finance Commission by dovetailing all such funds for carrying out water conservation activities to strengthen water source leading to drinking water security.

In 2020-21, the Central Government has allocated Rs. 572.23 Crore to the State of Jharkhand. Further, 15th Finance Commission has also allocated Rs. 1,689 Crore to the State, 50% of which will be spent mandatorily by Panchayati Raj Institutions on provision of safe water and improved sanitation.

Central Govt’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission is under implementation in partnership with States to provide functional household tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024. It envisage to supply potable water of 55 litres per person per day to every rural household on regular and long-term basis. Jharkhand State is planning 100% household coverage by 2023-24. Under Jal Jeevan Mission, provision of functional tap connections providing water in adequate quantity, of prescribed quality on a sustainable and long-term basis is to be achieved through community participation and involvement in implementation of water supply schemes.

For Paris Agreement Implementation, Government constitutes a High-level Ministerial Committee

02.12.2020, New Delhi: In furtherance to the launch of “India Climate Change Knowledge Portal”, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the Chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC.

The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

The 17 members committee will have senior officials from 14 ministries, who will serve as Members to AIPA and will oversee the progress in implementation of India’s NDC and receive periodic information updates to monitor, review and revisit climate goals to fulfil the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

According to S.O. 4259(E) dated 27th November 2020, another key function of AIPA would be to operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon markets in India under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, formulate guidelines for consideration of projects or activities under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism, and other similar instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs. It will take note of the contributions of the private sector as well as multi-/bi-lateral agencies in the field of climate change and provide guidance for aligning their climate actions with national priorities.

AIPA is empowered to invite officials and experts from the Government, financial institutions, universities, academic institutions, consultancy organisations, non-Governmental organisations, civil society, legal profession, industry and commerce, as it may deem necessary for technical and professional inputs and may co-opt other members depending upon need. It has also got power to interact with concerned authorities, institutions, individual stakeholders for matters relating to climate change and to take up any environmental or sustainable development issues pertaining to climate change as may be referred to it by the Central Government.

The year 2021 would mark the beginning of implementation of the Paris Agreement and constitution of AIPA is central to strengthening the national systems and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of climate actions. It will also ensure that India maintains its climate leadership as one the few countries in the world whose climate actions are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Earlier, on 27th November 2020, the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar launched the “India Climate Change Knowledge Portal”. The portal will be a “single point Information resource” which provides information on the different climate initiatives taken by various Line Ministries enabling users to access updated status on these initiatives.

In the virtual event, Javadekar mentioned that India has practically achieved its Pre-2020 Climate Action targets and said though historically India is not responsible for emissions, it is leading the world on Climate Action.

Validity of EC expiring in F.Y. 2020-21 has been extended by MoEF&CC

02.12.2020, New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, vide S.O. 4254(E) dated 27th November 2020 has extended the validity of environmental clearances expiring in the Financial Year 2020-21 till the 31st March 2021 or six months from the date of expiry, whichever is later.

The order states in view of the outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdowns, MoEF&CC has received a number of requests for extension of the validity of prior environmental clearances beyond the maximum period allowed in the said Notification, as the COVID19 pandemic has not yet come to an end.

The order reads “Notwithstanding anything contained in this notification, the validity of prior environmental clearances granted under the provisions of this notification in respect of the projects or activities whose validity is expiring in the Financial Year 2020-2021 shall deemed to be extended till the 31st March, 2021 or six months from the date of expiry of validity, whichever is later. Such extension is subject to same terms and conditions of the prior environmental clearance in the respective clearance letters, to ensure uninterrupted operations of such projects or activities which have been stalled due to the outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdowns (total or partial) declared for its control”.

Many industries and industry professionals have welcome the government’s move.

Voluntary participation of industries, crucial towards low carbon industries transition: Prakash Javadekar

01.12.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said, people and industries are key drivers in our efforts towards mitigating the climate change.

While speaking at at the high level segment of the Industry transition leadership summit, organised by Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), the Union Environment Minister pointed out that industry contributes directly around 30% of the global CO2 emissions, and transition of hard to abate industries towards low carbon pathways is key to combat climate change.

He informed that CO2 emissions have been cut down by top industries in the country voluntarily without any diktat and also renewable energy consumption is being actively promoted in the country by several companies.

"This is the way forward and we need to encourage voluntary participation of the industries towards cutting down carbon emissions.", added the Environment Minister.

Speaking on the issue of finance Javadekar said, funds should be mobilised at a larger scale and use of technology has to be there to deal with climate change issue.

He said affordable technologies and research studies need to be shared with developing countries so that they can work in the direction of saving environment.

Javadekar also reminded other countries not to forget that every Climate Action has a cost and if we consider Climate Change as a disaster, then nobody should profit from this disaster. The Minister said that this will be tantamount to a kind of double taxation on the poor of the developing countries, which is not Climate Justice.

Addressing the summit, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabelle Levin said, India and Sweden have to work together to deal with climate change issue. She said, best practices and experiences need to be shared to cut down carbon emissions. The Swedish Deputy Prime Minister also pitched for mobilising the finances to deal with carbon emissions and said, the Government of Sweden is committed to work in this direction.

LeadIT is launched by India and Sweden along with the World Economic Forum with the support of Stockholm Environment Institute in 2019 during the United Nations Secretary General Climate Action Summit. Currently, the Group has membership of 13 countries and 15 companies, including Dalmia Cement, Mahindra Group and SpiceJet from India, committed towards low carbon industry transition.

LeadIT organised the virtual industry transition leadership summit to build momentum to accelerate the process of industry transition as the world marks the five years of the Paris Agreement. The event highlighted making a business case for industry transition for catalysing demand and acceleration of diffusion and scale-up technology for industry transition.

The virtual event was attended by heads of global companies like Scania, FLSmidth, LKAB, LafargeHolcim, SSAB, Vattenfall, as well as Indian companies like Dalmia and Mahindra Group. The event also witnessed the participation of global think tanks and Ministers/representatives of countries like the UK, Luxembourg, EU and Germany.

NVVN's Green Hackathon aims to find greener solutions for growing air pollution concerns

01.12.2020, New Delhi: NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), a wholly-owned subsidiary company of NTPC Ltd., in partnership with EESL organises technology challenge "Green Charcoal Hackathon". The event aims to leverage the innovative Indian mind to bridge the technology gap, especially to clean the air by eliminating farm fire, producing renewable energy out of the agro residue, to promote local entrepreneurship, and to increase the income of the farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, R K Singh, Union Minister of State(I/C) for Power and New & RE said, “The Hackathon displays the spirit of innovation, which pervades NTPC. Any organisation has to have this spirit of innovation to grow and prosper or otherwise, it would fade away. I am sure that the NTPC management has told all young engineers that innovation and new ideas are encouraged.”

He added, “This Hackathon is also innovation in the pursuit of reducing our carbon footprint. From that point of view, all competitors in the Hackathon should keep in mind that the process of converting this (agro residue) to charcoal should not lead to emissions. Another key thing is the commercial model, which will depend on the cost of both the machine and charcoal production. I am sure we will come out with a machine which is economical. I am happy to see the orientation of NTPC towards reducing carbon foot print.”

Ashish Upadhyay, Additional Secretary of Power said, “The NTPC Group needs to focus on integrated and smart solutions to manage a carbon-neutral economy”.

Gurdeep Singh, CMD NTPC Ltd, said that Power plants are the biggest consumers of coal. He informed that typically a 1000 MW plant consumes about 5 million tonnes of coal annually. India's total coal-based power generation capacity is about 2 lakh MW, which theoretically can consume approximately 1000 million tonnes of coal annually. He elaborated that replacing 10% of total coal consumption with green charcoal will amount to 100 million tonnes of this fuel which will require approximately 160 million tonne of agro residue and municipal waste (considering 60% yield). This could produce approx. 20,000 MW of renewable power and generate 50,000 crore per year of revenue”.

The increasing air pollution due to the burning of stubble and agro residue by local farmers has become a major concern for the country. As a result, NVVN is looking for technologies to convert the agricultural waste to a form that can be used in the power plants in form of the Green Charcoal Hackathon. One such option is torrefaction which converts the agro residue to green charcoal.

The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass is not easily accessible to small entrepreneurs due to the higher cost of imported machines, lack of sufficient manufacturers. The technology to produce torrefied fuel using agro residue biomass once developed in India will be made accessible to small entrepreneurs.

To encourage the participants, there was a provision for cash prizes worth up to INR 24 Lakhs in three Categories, namely: (a) Category – I, Technology for Production of 100 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets (b) Category – II, Technology for Production of 1000 kg per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets, and (c) Category – III, Technology for Production of 10 Tonnes per day of Torrefied Biomass Pellets.

Prime Minister shared unique example of ‘waste to wealth’ exhibited by Haryana's Virendra Yadav who made a whopping Rs. 2.5 Crore by trading the troubling Stubble

29.11.2020, New Delhi: Environment has always been an integral part of deliberation in Prime Minister Modi's Mann Ki Baat programmes. In the 18th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’ he reminded the commencement of the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Dr. Salim Ali, from 12th November 2020. The Prime Minister said "Dr. Salim has done illustrious work in the field of bird watching – the avian world. This has also attracted bird watchers of the world towards India. I have always been an ardent admirer of people who are fond of bird watching. With utmost patience, for hours together from morn to dusk, they can do bird watching, enjoying the scenic beauty of nature; they also keep passing on the knowledge gained to us. In India too, many bird watching societies are active. You too should connect yourselves with this subject. Amid the hectic routine of my life, recently in Kevadia, I also got a memorable opportunity to spend time with birds. Time spent among birds will bond you closer to nature, it will also inspire you towards the environment."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the stubble management efforts of Virendra Yadav, a farmer entrepreneur, who has returned from Australia and now lives in Kaithal, Haryana. He described how Virendra Yadav bought a Straw Baler machine to make bundles of straw, with financial assistance from the Agricultural department, and further sold to agro energy plants and paper mills. The stubble traded amount was a staggering Rs. 2.5 Crores. Virendra Yadav has earned a profit of approximately Rs. 50 Lakh from this way.

The Prime Minister described this as a unique example of ‘waste to wealth’. He said "To the youth, especially the lakhs of students who are studying agriculture, it is my request that they visit villages in their vicinity and talk to the farmers and make them aware about innovations in farming and the recent agricultural reforms. This way, you will become stakeholders in major reforms underway in the country."

"Environment is an Article of Faith for India" - Union Minister R K Singh

29.11.2020, New Delhi: India has also prioritised to have its Islands fully on green energy Islands. Union Minister of New & Renewable Energy and Power, R K Singh, said that India has given target to Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep to meet their energy needs from Renewable Energy only. While speaking at Country session of Maldives during 3rd Global Re-Invest, the Union Minister reiterated that India is one of very few countries to have met its commitment of keeping climate change within 2%.

The Minister also said that India has installed about 136,000 MW of RE capacity with capacity addition of another 57,000 MW under implementation. He also informed that India has a robust energy efficiency programme under which more than 11,000,000 LED street lights have been installed, which is significant in reducing CO2 emission.

Speaking about large RE capacity addition through open bids and open competition Indian RE sector, the Minister said that for us environment is an article of faith. “Therefore we are taking steps to reduce our carbon Footprints,” he added.

R. K. Singh said that our target is now to achieve 450 GW (450,000 MW) RE capacity by 2030. He emphasised that renewable energy is a must not only for Island States, but also for the world. This realisation has dawned on everybody that we need to reduce our carbon footprints to preserve the planet. He echoed the sentiments that Island States/territories are more vulnerable to global warming.

NHAI states that only 1940 trees to be cleared and not 7000 trees as speculated

29.11.2020, New Delhi: Denying the speculations about a proposal to cut 7,000 trees for the proposed InterModal Station Project (IMS) at Ajani in Nagpur, Regional office of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has clarified that the IMS project is in resonance with Environment Impact Assessment. Only about 1,940 trees are to be felled as per Detailed Project Study. It is also proposed that the maximum number of these trees shall be replanted or transplanted as per the advice of Forest Department and Forest Experts. NHAI also informed that a compensatory afforestation of 25,000 trees shall be carried out by the NHAI on the available vacant spaces on the National Highway Projects land in and around Nagpur.

InterModal Station proposed to be constructed at Ajni, with a Land Acquisition of 44.4 acres of Indian Railway land, available adjacent to Railway tracks, for handling capacity of over 3 lakhs passengers per day with a facility of Bus Stand , Railway Station and a Metro Station in the proposed vicinity. This Project is taken up for development of the city of Nagpur in the best interest of people as currently Nagpur Central Station is heavily congested and has limited scope of expansion. There are no organized bus terminuses for intra-city & inter-city buses. This is leading to an increase in road traffic and corresponding pollution across the city.

It is informed that the InterModal Station project envisages a saving of 16,31,737 litres of fuel and prevent 75,65,196 Kgs. of CO2 emissions over a period of up to year 2050.

Accordingly, this facility is being developed in an environmentally friendly manner, with sufficient open and green spaces incorporated in the design. The development of this facility shall lead to environmental benefits including reduction in congestion and pollution, stated a press release issued by Regional office of NHAI in Nagpur.

India and Finland sign MOU for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation

26.11.2020, New Delhi: India and Finland today signed a MOU for developing cooperation between two countries in the field of Environment protection and biodiversity conservation.

The MoU is a platform to further advance Indian and Finnish partnership and support, exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air and water pollution; Waste management; Promotion of circular economy, low-carbon solutions and sustainable management of natural resources including forests; Climate change; Conservation of Marine and Coastal Resources; etc.

The MoU was signed virtually by Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change from the Indian side and Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Government of Finland from the Finnish side.

Speaking at the event avadekar said that the MoU also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest. “This MOU will definitely commits us to work together more closely towards on the fulfilment of commitments made under Paris Agreement.”, said the Environment Minister.

Javadekar also informed that India has achieved its voluntary target of reducing emissions intensity of its GDP by 21% over 2005 levels, by 2020 and is poised to achieve 35% reduction well before the target year of 2030.

As part of its Nationally Determined Contributions submitted under the Paris Agreement , India has taken three quantitative climate change goals viz. reduction in the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

The MoU will strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and develop bilateral cooperation in the field of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit with due respect to promotion of sustainable development.

UNDP & India Invest brings Investor Map to narrow down the SDG financing gap

26.11.2020, New Delhi: Realizing India's key role in the success of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Invest India have launched SDG Investor Map for India. Targeting to narrow down the SDG financing gap, the map identifies 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors. It is expected that the map can help India push forward Sustainable Development.

Key highlights of the SDG Investor Map:

  • Of the 18 IOAs identified, 10 are already mature investable areas that have seen robust Private Equity and Venture Capital activity, and feature companies that have been able to unlock scale and demonstrate profitability. The remaining eight IOAs are emerging opportunities, which have seen traction from early-stage investors.

  • The map has also identified eight White Spaces, which have seen investor interest and have the potential to grow into IOAs within a 5-6-year horizon. However, these require further policy support and private sector participation to mature into commercially attractive IOAs.

  • Nearly 50% of the shortlisted IOAs have historical investments that have yielded IRRs in excess of 20%.

  • 84% of the IOAs have investment timeframes ranging from the short term (less than 5 years) to the medium-term (between 5- 15 years).

The observations from the map present a strong case for investing in SDG enabling sectors and IOAs, bridging the gap between high-level development targets and the need for commercially viable returns. Moreover, investing in the SDGs is crucial to ‘Building Back Better’ from COVID-19 and enhancing India’s resilience to future threats. Investing in opportunities that enhance employment and employability, push forward the inclusion of underserved communities and leverage technology will be of essence to India as it grapples with the challenges of a post-COVID economy.

83% of the identified IOAs address job creation and industrialization needs, 70% focus on inclusive business models and 50% leverage digital technologies to deliver commercial returns and impact at scale. Notable IOAs include ‘Online Supplementary Education for K12’ (Education), ‘Tech-Enabled Remote Care Services’ (Healthcare), ‘Digital Platforms to service input/output needs of farmers to enable easy access to markets’ (Agriculture) and ‘Access to credit by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Low-Income Groups especially through digital platforms for Income Generating Purposes’ (Financial Services).

By mapping the overlaps and gaps between public sector priorities and private sector interest, the SDG Investor Map lays out pathways that can bring together private-sector investment and public sector support for 6 SDG-enabling sectors including Education, Healthcare, Agriculture & Allied Activities, Financial Services, Renewable Energy & Alternatives and Sustainable Environment. These sectors and the IOAs within them were selected through a rigorous analytical process that included extensive consultations with a number of major domestic and international investors, government stakeholders and think-tanks. This ensured that the Map’s findings were truly reflective of market sentiment.

Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India , which acts as the first point of reference for investors in India, since it was set up in 2009.

CPCB cautions industries and projects about fraud inspectors

25.11.2020, New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a public notice raising concerns on fraud inspections of industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites. On the wake of increasing air pollution in northern part of India, and specifically in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR), the central board has constituted teams for inspection of polluting sites. Taking advantage of such a situation, external elements have created havoc in the name of officials of CPCB. In some cases, it has come into the notice of CPCB that people claim to be authorized consultants from CPCB. They have created websites with some similarity to CPCB’s site. The Board has denied grant of any kind of approval or authorization to any consultants.

It was stated by the central board that the list of officials and contact details are available on the website http://www.cpcb.nic.in where they can be contacted.

The notice has mentioned that if any person or group of people claim to be officers or inspection agency and forcefully enters into the premises of industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites, the party officials should verify identity of such persons. The industry representatives may also speak to the CPCB official concerned, named by the person or group of people willing to conduct inspection.

CPCB has categorically advised not to entertain people or group of people, who can’t demonstrate identity to one’s satisfaction. Also the industries, business establishments, projects and construction sites should check if the email is received from email ids bearing @gov.in or @nic.in. Emails received from other ids are not to be entertained.

Delhi Government’s Petition to Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas

25.11.2020, New Delhi: Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Tuesday, 24th November 2020 said that the Delhi Government has submitted a petition in front of the Air Quality Management Commission describing the successful implementation of the Pusa Institute made bio-decomposer to stop stubble burning. He said that the Delhi government has requested the commission to take cognisance of the assessment report on the usage of the bio composer technique. Shri Rai said that the commission should make this technique mandatory for all the states like Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan; this will stop stubble burning and also help the farmers to develop the quality of farmland from the produced manure. He said that due to massive stubble burning which affected the air quality of Delhi in the past few days the COVID situation of capital has also significantly worsened.

Earlier, on 23rd November 2020, a meeting took place between the official and non-official members of the newly formed Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas and three Delhi MLAs at 11:00 hrs. The meeting was conducted on a request from the Chairperson, Committee on Environment, Delhi Government.

The MLAs requested the Commission to take prompt action against the State Governments of Punjab and Haryana for criminal negligence regarding stubble burning. They suggested various options including the in- situ decomposition technology developed by IARI, Pusa, Delhi for large scale adoption.

The Commission informed them that it is seized of the matter and will take required steps including formulation of appropriate policies and strategies to control stubble burning, in due consultations with stakeholders concerned, on a priority basis, as communicated by a Spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. #Delhi #AirPollution

Jal Jeevan Mission: Meghalaya to provide 100% tap water connections for 5.83 Lakh households

23.11.2020, New Delhi: Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the Government of Meghalaya has decided to provide Functional Household Tap Connections to all 5.9 Lakh rural households in 6,415 villages in the State by 2023. The total balance number of connections to be provided is for 5.83 lakh households.

Recently, a two-member team from the National Jal Jeevan Mission visited the State. The team visited the districts of West and East Jaintia, East Khasi and Ri-bhoi, an aspirational district. In the Amsohrhong village in West Jaintia district, that is last but one village from the Bangladesh border, all 74 households have been provided with tap water connections. Earlier, the water supply was through public stand post requiring women and children to walk every time to fetch water. As envisaged under Jal Jeevan Mission, the community has to contribute 5% or 10% of capital cost for in-village infrastructure as the case may be, in cash/ kind/ and/ or labour, the community has provided labour for meeting the 5% community contribution, which indicates the sense of ownership of the village community for the water supply scheme.

In East Jaintia district, the team visited the Suchenmulieh village with 62 households who all have been provided tap water connections through a multi-village scheme. Water tariff in these two districts would be decided by the community after handing over of the schemes. One of the problems faced is the difficulty in transporting the materials to far off villages due to poor connectivity during monsoon as well as the lock down period when villagers never allowed any outsider to visit them.

The village MawthlongMynsain in East Khasi district is having 123 households and out of them 95 have been provided tap connection so far. The provision of tap connection has saved hours of drudgery of women and girls. The daughters are now relieved of their evening routine to fetch water and use saved hours for studies and games. The Village Water & Sanitation Committee Chairman assured to take over the Operation &Maintenanceof the water supply scheme. The team also visited the Shoryngkhem village, which is once considered as a largest village in Asia and spread over 32.61 sq.km with a population of 7,789, wherein the retrofitting works of existing piped water supply systems is planned to provide tap water connections to all households.

In the Aspirational district of Ribhoi, the team visited Syahheh, Nerbong, Umiapkhla villages wherein tap connections are being provided through convergence with retrofitting of schemes taken up to provide tap connections. Despite a small village with framing as major activity, the 21 households of Umiapkhla village provided 5% community contribution and are willing to collect Rs 40 per household per month for the operation and maintenance. Along with households, anganwadis and schools are also being provided tap connections under the mission’s 100 days campaign launched on 2nd October, 2020 to provide piped water supply in these public institutions.

Despite the pandemic period, difficulty in the availability and transport of materials, State receiving heavy monsoon rains in 2020, the provision of tap water connections under the mission is fast-tracked. The team also had interactions with district and State PHED officials. The State that started with 1% of its rural households with tap connection is well on its way to achieve the targeted 100% tap connection by 2023.These silent works undergoing in these difficult hilly terrains to provide basic amenity such as potable water to every rural home speak volume of the commitment of the Government to bring improvements in the lives of people.

he Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims providing Tap Connection to every rural household by 2024 with particular focus on ‘service delivery’ i.e. regular water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on long-term basis. The Union Government’s flagship programme, envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by year 2024.

So far, over 5 Crore 87 Lakh households have been provided with FHTC since 15th August 2019.

World Fisheries Day observed in India

Best State award for Odisha in marine fisheries, UP for Inland fisheries, Kalahandi gets best inland fisheries district award

21.11.2020, New Delhi: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India celebrated the ‘World Fisheries Day’ today at NASC Complex, Pusa, New Delhi. The Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Minister for Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, also graced the occasion and received the award on behalf of the State of Uttar Pradesh, awarded as best performing State in inland fisheries sector. The fishers, fish farmers, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, professionals, officials and Scientist from across the nation also participated in the grand event.

Addressing the gathering, the Minister of State, Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that World Fisheries Day is our way of thinking globally and acting locally as we reach out to our fisher communities through local events. He said that through this event we send a message to our fishers, to our nation and to the world that fisheries is an important sector that contributes immensely to the socio-economic growth of the country. Shri Sarangi said that this sector is responsible for providing affordable nutritional security, livelihood support and employment to millions of Indians. It is estimated that the world’s population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. With the increase in the population, the demand for nutritional security also goes on parallel lines. The agriculture and the allied sectors have to contribute the food demand and supply will play an important role combined with other food sectors to meet the nutritional demands of the growing population.

The Minister of State further said that the marine capture fisheries of our country has become stagnant and there is a paradigm shift from capture to culture based fisheries. Aquaculture activities have to be taken up in India as the alternative way of meeting the growing demand of nutritional security. Shri Sarangi also said that Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada at a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores intends to address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare. He also stressed that there is a need to create more fund by attracting investments.

Pratap Chandra Sarangi said that the Fisheries sector is extremely diverse and quite dynamic. There is a need to streamline policies and programs to take R&D benefits to the farmers and fishers for orderly and sustainable utilisation of all potential resources with focus on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental footprint. We need to diligently explore the resources available in the country such as waterlogged area, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, canals, ponds, tanks, floodplains, backwaters, lagoons, low saline inland areas for increasing the fish production.

The Minister said that connectors are much needed to link individuals and farmers with the government. He appealed to all the dignitaries present at the occasion to provide as much support as possible for the development of this sector, to increase fish production and in turn improving the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen and other people associated in this sector. Let us celebrate this ‘World Fisheries Day’ to highlight and protect the life and livelihoods of fishing communities, sustainable fish stocks and healthy ecosystems in India.

During the event, for the first time in Fisheries Sector, the Government of India awarded best performing States for 2019-20 namely - Odisha (amongst Marine states), Uttar Pradesh (amongst Inland states) and Assam (amongst Hilly and NE states).

Odisha, which witnessed a tremendous growth in fish production during the last 5 years, 11.87% CAGR, adjudged nest state for Marine fisheries. Odisha's per-capita fish consumption has increased from 7.71 kg in 2000 to 16.24 kg in 2019-20, against the national average of 5 - 6 kg.

Awards for Best Quasi-government Organization/ Federation/ Corporation/Board and Best District in categories Marine State, Inland State and Hilly & NE State were distributed.

Kalahandi district of Odisha, once renowned to be a poor and dry place, attained Best District award for Inland fisheries.

Prizes were distributed to all the awardees and several publications were also released during the event.

"Biofuels have the potential to reduce our fuel import bill by Rs. 1 lakh crore" - Dharmendra Pradhan

20.11.2020, New Delhi: Biofuels not only takes care of energy point of view but also the environment. To boost availability of affordable and clean transport fuels, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) and leading oil & gas marketing companies & technology providers signed MoU today in the presence of Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan. The MoU was signed to establish Compressed Bio-Gas CBG) plants across India under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative.

MoUs were signed with energy companies viz. JBM Group, Adani Gas, Torrent Gas and Petronet LNG for setting up of Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) plants,and with technology providers in CBG sectors IndianOil, Praj Industries, CEID Consultants & Bharat Biogas Energy for facilitating availability of technology for the projects.

The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs was launched on 1st October 2018. It envisages to target production of 15 million tonnes of CBG per annum from 5,000 plants by the year 2023. India has an estimated potential of 680 million tonnes of bio-fertilizers per year. CBG production from agricultural residues and agricultural industrial and other wastes can reduce greenhouse gas emission and carbon dioxide footprint by 30% that of the fossil fuel. Large scale use of CBG shall enable India not only achieve its climate change goals as per the Paris Agreement of 2015 but also help in achieving self-reliance goal in gaseous energy and organic fertilizers.

Speaking about SATAT, Dharmendra Pradhan said, “We have developed a clear-cut roadmap for SATAT. I am glad to note that Indian industry players have shown immense interest in SATAT. Letter of intent for 600 CBG plants have already been given and with today’s signing of MoUs for 900 plants, a total of 1500 CBG plants are at various stages of execution. Rs. 30,000 Cr of investment is envisaged in these 900 plants. A total of 5000 CBG plants with approximate investment of Rs. 2 lakh crores are envisaged. Biofuels have the potential to reduce our fuel import bill by Rs. 1 lakh crore.”

Elucidating the benefits of SATAT, the Minister said, “Benefits out of the SATAT will go to our farmers, rural areas and tribals. With inclusion of forest waste, Agri-waste, animal husbandry waste and marine waste, SATAT involves a multi-pronged approach. With liberalized policy regime ensuring ease of doing business for entrepreneurs, off-take guarantee, financing and technology support, SATAT is all set to contribute towards doubling farmer’s income, generating employment for the youth and ensuring clean energy for sustainable development.

He also thanked the Reserve Bank of India for including CBG in priority sector lending framework.

The Union Minister, in his address, affirmed that completion of 5000 CBG plants will facilitate in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, remunerating farmers for agricultural residues and reducing natural gas imports, in line with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Swacch Bharat missions.

Over the last two years, SATAT has grown into one of flagship programs of MoPNG. SATAT will establish an ecosystem for the production of Compressed Bio Gas from various waste and biomass sources in the country leading to multiple benefits viz. reduction of natural gas import, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in burning of agriculture residues, remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc. The initiative is in line with the goals of AatmaNirbhar Bharat, Swachh Bharat Mission and boosting MSME sector.

Secretary, MoPNG, Tarun Kapoor sharing his insights, termed this as a remarkable achievement, as infusion of big companies in the CBG sector will provide the sector with much sought guidance and technical expertise towards the success of SATAT.

MOU Signing ceremony marks MoPNG's commitment towards SATAT and the increased participation of the private sector would help the nation in achieving indigenous and sustainable production of clean fuel.

"Country specific and affordable technologies, need of the hour" emphasizes Union Minister Prakash Javadekar at Energy Technology Perspectives 2020

19.11.2020, New Delhi: Executive Director of International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol today said that India has moved to the centre stage of International Energy Affairs (IEA) and is a role model for other major emerging economies. Speaking at a virtual launch of the Energy Technology Perspectives 2020, a new study of IEA that focusses on the technology needs and opportunities for reaching international climate and sustainable energy goals, Birol lauded efforts taken by the Indian government in providing clean energy to millions by way of schemes like Ujjawala and Ujala.

Delivering the keynote address Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar said, that the International energy report is extremely important and has raised many valid issues. The Minister highlighted that today India is the only country in the G-20 nations which is 2-degrees compliant in keeping with NDCs presented in Paris, and has taken many decisive actions, in fighting Climate Change, not only at the government level but even at the private level, which shows our commitment and resolve.

The Minister made an appeal to the World that Instead of talking about 2050, we must talk of 2020, of 2030 and 2040 and there needs to phased targets and countries should be committed to achieve those.

Highlighting the key role of finances and technology in providing clean energy and enhanced Climate actions, Javadekar pointed out that country specific, appropriate and affordable technologies is the need of the hour because every climate action comes with a cost. We cannot tax the people for that cost.

Speaking on India’s actions on renewable energy the Union Minister said that India’s renewable energy now stands at 89 GW. It has increased by 170 % in the last 6 years which is a significant increase. “Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has declared 175 GW of renewable power by 2022 and our aspirational goal stands at 450 GW of renewable energy.”, said Javadekar.

“We are improving energy efficiency and simultaneously also giving a big push to e-vehicles. The demand for EVs is growing and the prices are being slashed and we are also providing for more battery charging infrastructure. Battery swapping policy has also been adopted. We are giving subsidy for electrical buses which are already operational across many cities” highlighted the Minister and said that India is contributing massively on the energy front and the government is working tirelessly in this direction.

The IEA report launched today lays stress, among other things, especially on how Governments have an outsized role to play in supporting transitions towards low emissions by way of effective policy toolkits towards tackling emissions from existing infrastructure and technologies, strengthening markets for technologies at an early stage of adoption ,developing and upgrading infrastructure that enables technology deployment ,boosting support for research, development and demonstration and expanding international technology collaboration.

World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable Sanitation & Climate Change

"India Strengthens its resolve of Toilet for All" - Prime Minister

19.11.2020, New Delhi: World Toilet Day, 19th November, celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation.

This year the World Toilet Day 2020 focuses on sustainable sanitation and climate change. Climate change is getting worse. Flood, drought and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. Everyone must have sustainable sanitation, alongside clean water and handwashing facilities, to help protect and maintain our health security and stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases such as COVID-19, cholera and typhoid. Sustainable sanitation systems also reuse waste to safely boost agriculture, and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a twitter message said "On World Toilet Day, India strengthens its resolve of Toilet for All. The last few years have seen an unparalleled achievement of providing hygienic toilets to crores of Indians. It has brought tremendous health benefits along with dignity, especially to our Nari Shakti."

Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State, Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria conferred the "Swachhata Awards 2020" on the 20 best performing districts for making significant contribution towards ODF Sustainability and ODF Plus goals on the occasion of World Toilet Day. These awards were given at a virtual ceremony organized by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti and saw the online participation by Central, State and District SBMG officials.

In his address, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the SBMG has transformed rural India by manifesting into a movement for sanitation under guidance and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) rural India milestone in mission mode, in a span of five years. Taking forward the extraordinary success, Phase 2 of the SBM (G) has been launched early this year, which focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) aiming at comprehensive cleanliness in villages. He stressed on the importance of access to safe sanitation facilities in terms of social, economic and health benefits to rural community members especially the vulnerable and marginalized community. Shekhawat said that the awards being given today are recognition to worthy contributions made by community members for boosting the People’s movement.

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State Rattan Lal Kataria applauded the efforts of all stakeholders associated with SBM for making it a remarkable journey since 2014 and world’s largest behavior change programme. He congratulated the awardees for making significant contribution in improving sanitation and cleanliness standards in their villages and urged everyone to continue working with same spirit in SBM Phase 2 as well which focuses on the bigger goal of ODF Plus.

U P Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti complimented all the states’ SBMG teams for making significant contribution in Phase 1 of SBMG and stressed that goals outlined under Phase 2 are more important for sustaining toilet usage and comprehensive cleanliness. He stressed on the resolve and commitment to attain ODF Plus status for all the villages in mission mode under Phase 2. At the same time, he pointed out at the challenge to sustain the Phase 1 gains.

The Union Minister also had a virtual interaction or Sarpanch Samvad with nine Sarpanches from ODF Plus Gram Panchayats where Sapanches shared their key activities such as SLWM, people’ participation and ODF Sustainability. Sarpanches shared their inspiring success stories live with all through online media. The occasion also observed the screening of a short film on ODF Plus Film (Swachhata ke Paanch Mantra) which shows key components of ODF Plus in a creative format.

The 20 awardee districts are namely West Godavari and East Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), Siang (Arunachal Pradesh), Kanker and Bemetara (Chhattisgarh);Vadodara and Rajkot (Gujarat); Bhiwana and Rewari (Haryana); Ernakulam and Wayanad (Kerala);Kolhapur and Nashik (Maharashtra); Kolasib and Serchhip (Mioram); Moga and Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab); Siddipet and Peddapalli (Telangana); and Cooch Behar (West Bengal).

Vulture Conservation: MoEFCC brings out Action Plan 2020-25

“Vultures as the soldiers of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and are truly social birds.” - Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

19.11.2020, New Delhi: Vultures were very common in India till the 1980s. They have a major role in maintaining ecological balance. This is more significant in the Pandemic year. Vultures are nature's most efficient scavengers and can finish off a carcass of an adult cattle in a matter of minutes. As stated by Grubh 1989, the vultures once kept the environment clean in India in the absence of any effective carcass and slaughter house waste disposal system. They prevented the outbreak of epidemics by cleaning the carcasses before pathogenic bacteria and fungus could grow and multiply on them. The vultures are known to feed on rotting and putrefied.

In 1980s the populations of the three resident Gyps species - Oriental White-backed Vulture (OWBV), Long-billed Vulture (LBV), and Slender-billed Vulture (SBV) in the country was estimated at 40 million individuals. The overall population however crashed by over 90% during the mid-nineties. By 2007, 99% of the three Gyps species had been wiped out. When their populations crashed and the most common vultures - Oriental white-backed, Longbilled,and Slender-billed - declined by more than 96% in just a single decade (1993-2003), dog and rat population exploded and so was rabies.

The crash in vulture populations came into limelight in the mid-nineties, and in 2004 the cause of the crash was established as diclofenac, a veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Soon after, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, acted swiftly and released the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation (APVC) 2006, to save the vultures from possible extinction. The drug was banned by the Drug Controller General of India, based on the recommendation of MoEFCC in 2006. Apart from diclofenac, there are at least three more drugs which were found toxic to vultures but they are still available in the market for veterinary use and need to be banned.

The MoEFCC has recently brought out an Action Plan for Vulture Conservation in India (APVC) 2020-2025. The document advocates prevention of misuse of veterinary NSAIDs by ensuring their sale only on prescription, handled only by qualified veterinarians to ensure control of overdose. It also deliberate on the scientific manner of disposal of livestock carcasses to ensure that the vultures do not get exposed to the carcasses of animals that died during treatment.

APVC 2020-2025 also advocates expansion of the Conservation Breeding Programme of vultures by establishing more centres in different parts of the country. Red-headed Vulture and Egyptian Vulture are also included in the breeding programme.

It has highlighted that the rapidly increasing power infrastructure in the country also causes problems to large birds of prey including vultures, which needs to be addressed. APVC has proposed that information shall be collected on the spread of power infrastructure in vulture habitats. Guidelines shall be obtained from International experts and would be shared with local authorities to carry out vulture-friendly modifications. Similar efforts shall be made to mitigate the harm caused by the wind turbines. A national database shall be created and incidences of mishaps shall be recorded.

In his message, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has described Vultures as the soldiers of the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" and are truly social birds. They soar on thermals in loose dispersed flocks and can converge from long distances in hundreds when a vulture spots a carcass and starts taking tight circles, triggering a cascading effect. Being specialized scavengers, they play a very important role in quickly disposing carcasses that could harbour millions of pathogenic bacteria and fungus and cause serious implications for human and animal health. This is how they help in keeping India's countryside clean.

The action plan cannot be implemented by the MoEFCC alone without the active support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying. The document has detailed plans for coordination between the ministries for conservation of vultures to address the systemic issues in a much more comprehensive and coordinated manner.

Delhi Chief Minister directs DJB to expedite Yamuna Clean Up, sets target to eliminate 90% pollution of the river by March 2023

18.11.2020, New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 18th November 2020, Wednesday chaired a meeting with the officials of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on swift implementation of a concrete plan to clean up the river Yamuna and reduce pollution in the Yamuna by 90% by March 2023. In the meeting, the DJB presented a detailed action plan on the reuse of around 400 MGD, against the existing capacity of 90 MGD of water. Various steps will be taken to improve the quality of the existing STPs including upgrading all the equipment in the STPs. Delhi Water Minister Satyendar Jain, CEO DJB Nikhil Kumar, and senior officials of the Board were present in the meeting.

DJB’s presentation was primarily on four major interventions devised for the cleaning up of river Yamuna. First, the Delhi government will set up a modern technology to treat around 150 MGD of polluted water coming from the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh by natural wetlands and aeration method.

Second, the wastewater in the small or big drains will be tapped into Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs).

Third, steps will be taken to improve the quality of the existing STPs including upgrading all the equipment and use innovative processes.

Fourth, all the sludge and the septage from the septic tanks across Delhi, will be collected by the Delhi Jal Board and reused in the bio-gas plants to generate electricity and gas.

There are five major outfalls carrying wastewater into the Yamuna, including Najafgarh drain, Shahdara drain, Barapulla drain, Delhi Gate drain, Mori Gate drain. The Najafgarh and Shadhdara drain apart from Delhi wastewater also receive polluted water from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The STPs and the drains will be treated as per the Yamuna Cleaning plan of the Delhi government to prevent polluted water to flow into the Yamuna.

The Delhi Jal Board has presented an action plan to reduce 90% of pollution in the river Yamuna by March 2023, and all the steps will have different milestones to be completed by March 2021, 2022, and 2023. The STPs treat around 525 MGD of water before it flows into drains, out of which only 90 MGD is reused for different purposes. An action plan to reuse 436 MGD of water against the earlier reuse of 90 MGD has been presented by the DJB before the CM. This 436 MGD water will be reused in water bodies, lakes, irrigation, gardening, forests, groundwater recharge, etc.

Geo-polymer aggregate from fly ash developed by NTPC to help in curbing carbon emission and reducing water consumption

18.11.2020, New Delhi: India’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd. has successfully developed Geo-polymer coarse aggregate from fly ash. The development will help in replacing natural aggregates reducing the impact on environment.

According to NTPC, the research project on production of Geo-polymer coarse aggregate from fly ash has met the statutory parameters of Indian Standards and was confirmed by National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCCBM).

NTPC has also stated that it has successfully developed Geo-polymer coarse aggregates as a replacement to natural aggregates. The technical parameters as per Indian standards for its suitability to use in concrete works were tested by NCCBM, Hyderabad and the results are in acceptable range.

The development is NTPC’s R&D achievement in expanding the horizon in ash utilisation.

India’s demand for these aggregate touches close to 2000 million metric tons mark every year. The aggregate developed by NTPC from fly ash will help in meeting the demand to a great extent and also will reduce the impact on environment caused by Natural aggregates which require quarrying of natural stone.

In India, every year, approximately 258 MMT of ash is produced by the coal fired thermal power plants. Out of this around 78% of the ash is utilised and the balance remains unutilised which remain in ash dykes. As the legal requirements are becoming stringent, NTPC is exploring alternate ways to utilise the remaining ash which includes the current research project to generate aggregates using more than 90% ash.

The Geo-polymer aggregates finds its extensive usage in construction industry turning the ash eco-friendly. These aggregates are extremely environment friendly and does not require any cement for application in concrete where the fly ash based Geopolymer mortar acts as the binding agent. The Geo-polymer aggregates will help in reducing carbon emission and has great potential for reduction of water consumption.

With Lonar Lake and Keetham Lake added India has South Asia's highest Ramsar Sites

India has South Asia’s highest of 41 sites of International importance for Conservation of Biological Diversity

“Happy to note that India has added two more Ramsar sites. Lonar lake in Maharashtra, the only crater lake of Country. Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra. Wetlands are the world's natural water filters &one of the most productive ecosystem on the planet.” - Prakash Javadekar

16.11.2020, New Delhi: India has added two new “Ramsar Sites”, its 40th and 41st. Sur Sarovar (Site no. 2440 on the List of Wetlands of International Importance), commonly known as Keetham Lake, is a human-made reservoir in the State of Uttar Pradesh in northern India.

Originally created to supply water to the city of Agra in summer, the wetland soon became an important and rich ecosystem. The Site’s patchwork of different habitat types provides refuge to resident and migratory birds, and more than 60 species of fish. Threatened species include the vulnerable greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), sarus crane (Grus antigone) and catfish Wallago attu. The Site is important for bird species which migrate on the Central Asian flyway, with over 30,000 waterbirds known to visit the reservoir annually. Over 1% of the South Asian regional population of the greylag goose (Anser anser) is present.

Lonar Lake (Site no. 2441), on the Deccan Plateau in Maharashtra State, is an endorheic or closed basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact onto the basalt bedrock. The Site includes the lake as well as escarpments, which form the crater walls, and forested zones. The lake is high in salinity and alkalinity, as the lack of an outflow leads to a concentration of minerals as the lake water evaporates. Specialized micro-organisms such as anaerobes, cyanobacteria and phytoplankton survive in this harsh chemical environment.

Outside the lake, there is considerable diversity of plant and animal life, as springs which help feed the lake provide a source of fresh water. Inhabiting the Site are 160 species of birds including the vulnerable Asian woollyneck (Ciconia episcopus) and common pochard (Aythya ferina), 46 species of reptiles, and 12 species of mammals including the iconic grey wolf (Canis lupus).

The Sites are both threatened by household sewage and urban wastewater and by unsustainable tourism.

In January this year, 10 wetlands in India were recognised by the Ramsar Convention as sites of international importance. It would be worth noting that earlier this year the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has come out with a set of guidelines in order to support the State Governments and Union Territory (UT) Administrations to implement the earlier notified Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. The guidelines uploaded on 6th January 2020 is expected to provide guidance on how to prepare a list of wetlands in the State / UT. In the last six months, the MoEF&CC has set a four pronged strategy for the restoration of wetlands, which includes preparation of baseline data, wetland health cards, enlisting wetland mitras and the targeted Integrated Management Plans.

Wetlands provide food, water, fibre, and help in groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. Wetlands are reckoned as the major source of water and considered to be the key source of freshwater. In the Wetland Rules, 2017, wetland has been defined as an area of marsh, fen, peatland or water; whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters, but does not include river channels, paddy fields, human-made water bodies/tanks specifically constructed for drinking water purposes and structures specifically constructed for aquaculture, salt production, recreation and irrigation purposes.

The Ramsar Convention signed on February 2, 1971, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord signed by member countries to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance. The international treaty, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, was for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed. Over 170 countries are party to the Ramsar Convention and over 2,000 designated sites covering over 20 crore hectares have been recognised under it.

2nd National Water Awards Ceremony: Potable water might become a scarce resource unless water conservation is taken on a war footing, warns Vice President

11.11.2020, New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on 11th November 2020 inaugurated the Award distribution ceremony of the 2nd National Water Awards, 2019 in presence of the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat; Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria; Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, U.P. Singh and other officials were also present on the occasion.

The Vice President gave his compliments to the Jal Shakti Ministry and congratulated all the States, institutions, organisations, individuals and others for their contribution to the cause of water conservation. He said that through National Water Awards, Jal Andolan is being transformed into a Jan Andolan. "Without the people's participation nothing will succeed; we saw that in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," he said.

The Vice President complimented Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for taking various initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jal Shakti Abhiyan. He expressed his delight to know that the categories of the Awards include all stakeholders. "It is our duty to take all possible steps for conservation of this limited resource and there is an urgent need for a sustained mass media campaign to aware people about the importance of water conservation," Shri Naidu added. He also emphasized on the need to reduce wastage of water and said that need of the hour is to change our lifestyle and make water conservation a way of life. Good governance has been placed at the forefront of the country’s development agenda. The positive results of Namami Gange Programme, the expeditious completion of irrigation projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, a renewed participatory approach towards groundwater management through Atal Bhujal Yojana, the improvement in availability of hydrological data through National Hydrology Project and National Project on Aquifer Management exemplify the holistic transformation India’s water sector has undergone in the past few years. A much-needed policy reform was undertaken at the highest level with the creation of Jal Shakti Ministry to give impetus to integrated management of water resources in India with special focus on demand side and supply side management.

He said that, commendably, the policy planners made judicious and active interventions at multiple levels to address individual elements of water management. Soon after the creation of the Jal Shakti Ministry, Jal Jeevan Mission was launched to provide a functional tap to every household by 2024. Parallelly, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA), an aggressive and time-bound water conservation campaign was carried out from July to December 2019 covering 256 districts across India. JSA aims at making water conservation a Jan Andolan through asset creation and extensive communication. JSA is vigorously supplemented by the activities of National Water Mission to augment the overall growth of water consciousness in the country by emphasizing on the importance of water conservation, reuse and recharge and raise awareness on the indispensability of water as a resource.

He said that micro-irrigation practices like drip and sprinkler systems have to be promoted in a big way for efficient use of water for agriculture. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be the watch-words if we have to handover a liveable planet to the future generations. Watershed development is another area that can spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.

He congratulated all the winners and hoped that they will continue to do good work in water conservation. He also thanked the Ministry of Jal Shakti for organizing these Awards which not only motivate more and more people to do their but for the wonderful cause of water conservation but also act as a national platform to bring together and acknowledge some outstanding works being done across the country. Shri Naidu said that this platform also offers a window for new perspectives and directions in the area of water resources and expressed confidence that steps like these will go a long way in the development of water consciousness in the country, which is the need-of-the-hour.

Vision and Devotion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create a people's movement for Water Conservation has inspired the entire Nation: Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

11.11.2020, New Delhi: On the inaugural day of 2nd National Water Awards distribution ceremony, addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat thanked the Vice President for encouraging everyone to do their bit for water conservation. The Union Minister said that there are many reasons to compliment the winners but first among them is their contribution to create

a robust water consciousness through mass awareness. The winners have shown from their actions that anything can be achieved if one is ready to make efforts. He also extended his gratitude to water warriors who have not applied for the Awards but are playing their part.

He emphasized that urbanisation and industrialisation will put water resources under stress but it is essential to spread the awareness about water conservation through leaders, parents and other important institutions at all levels to bring about a behavioural change, which will be pivotal to the cause of effective water conservation and management. He added that all of us will have to acknowledge the inseparability of people and natural ecosystems to being about a transformation in our consciousness.

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria congratulated the awardees for their remarkable achievements & meaningful contributions in the field of Water Conservation and Management. He termed their contribution as equally valuable.

U. P. Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti welcomed the guests and said that the Ministry of Jal Shakti is committed to address the water related issues in an integrated manner. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG and Padma Bhushan Anil Joshi, a noted environmentalist were also present on the occasion.

Out of 1112 valid applications, a total of 98 winners were selected in 16 categories. The categories in which entries were invited include Best State, Best District, Best Village Panchayat, Best Urban Local Body, Best Research/ Innovation/ New Technology, Best Education/ Mass Awareness effort, Best TV show, Best Newspaper, Best School, Best Institution/ RWA/ Religious Organisation, Best Industry, Best Water Regulatory Authority, Best Water Warrior, Best NGO, Best Water User Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity. Water Users Association and Best Industry for CSR Activity are the two categories which were included in National Water Awards 2019. Few of these categories have sub-categories in different zones of the country. The winners were felicitated with trophies/citation. Except for three categories - ‘Best State’, ‘Best State’ and ‘Best Water Regulatory Authority’, winners from the rest thirteen categories were awarded cash prizes.

The Best State Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions have gone to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Mizoram won the first prize in the special category States. Best District Award was sub-divided into six zones – North, South, West, East, Northeast and Aspirational and into two sub categories – Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation. In North, the Award for Best District in Revival of Rivers and Water Conservation was given to Ayodhya and Almora, in South, Vellore and YSR Kadapa, in West, Sangli and Kachchh, in East, Bilaspur and Surajpur, in Northeast, West Tripura (WC) and in Aspirational district category to Khandana and Vizianagaram respectively.

The aim of the National Water Awards is to acknowledge individuals/organizations doing commendable work in the field of water conservation and management. Also, it strives to create awareness among the people about the importance of water and motivate them to adopt the best water usage practices. The National Water Awards focused on the good work and efforts made by individual and organisations across the country, besides being a right step in the direction of government’s vision of a ‘Jal Samridh Bharat’.

Sarpanch changes the face of water management in Haryana village under Jal Jeevan Mission

10.11.2020, New Delhi: ‘Once a soldier, always a soldier’. That’s what Paramjeet boot camp training in Indian army has taught him. So, even after retiring from the defence forces, he has taken up the front of fighting off the dearth of clean, potable water in his village. Post retirement, Paramjeet decided to settle in his native village, Kothal Khurd in Mahendragarh, Haryana. The village is a developed place with people equipped with better education and lifestyle owing to the rapid development. But one paradox still existed in the village i.e. the village was still in grip of potable water paucity and poor water management.

Taking a close look at the situation, Paramjeet realized that many houses in the villages had a water pipeline, but there was no regular supply of water. Besides, there was a lot of wastage of potable water as villagers were not sensitized about water management. A number of people had resorted to illegal connections, which further deteriorated the situation.

‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ came as a timely guide which Paramjeet was seeking. Jal Jeevan Mission, the flagship program of Union Government plans to improve the lives of people by providing safe drinking water to every rural home through functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024. He internalized the vision of JJM and the soldier in him was on a mission soon after being elected as village Sarpanch.

An intensive survey was carried out to prepare an action plan with the help of Public Health and Engineering Department. It was found that only 145 houses had legal connections out of 342 households, 115 taps were broken with water overflowing on the streets and in 60% houses no taps were installed.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, a proper IEC (information, education, communication) plan was drafted to help the village and mobilize the villagers towards effective water management. It was a result of the campaign that motivated the villagers to install piped water connection and help in their upkeep & maintenance. A training program was organized by Water and Sanitation Support Organization (WSSO), Haryana for all the Gram Panchayats in which VWSC members were taught about water conservation techniques.

Youth of the village were roped in for awareness campaign to sensitize the community, school children and bring about social and behavioral change. A house-to-house survey was carried out to check where wastage of drinking water was rampant. With the community joining in the efforts of the Sarpanch, the face of the village has changed forever. Presently the village has 4 seasonal ponds and 14 soak pits catering to a population of 2,300 in the village. 200 new connections have been provided and 345 connections were installed with 230 new taps and all the leakage points have been repaired.

Kothal Kurd village has built a ground water surface recharge pond. During rainy season, the water from the sky and canal fills the pond which has helped improve the ground water level. The water table has now risen by 40 feet from 290 feet to 250 feet. In January 2020, the Commissioner of Mahendragarh felicitated Kothal Khurd village under Mera Gaon Swachh Gaon for the work carried out under water management. Even while the country was in a lockdown, the work related to water continued and the tap connections are linked with Aadhar card. Paramjeet is a happy man, but for him he is far from winning the war against water mismanagement. His guards are up and boots still on!

The soul of Jal Jeevan Mission is ‘community participation’ starting from the planning of the water supply scheme to regular operation and maintenance for assured service delivery. Every village is taken up as a unit so as they become water secure. Village Action Plan (VAP) for five years is required to be prepared for each village by participation of local community with components of strengthening of local drinking water sources, in-village water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connections, grey water treatment and reuse, and operation & maintenance of water supply systems so as every family gets assured supply of potable water on regular and long-term basis.

Further, it is expected that village community will be able to identify issues and challenges, and also steps to be taken to address those issues and use all available resources available in the village like MNREGA, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC grants to PRIs, DMDF, MP/ MLA Local Area Development fund, CSR funds, community contribution, etc.

Involvement of the local community in planning, execution and operation and maintenance in villages like Kothal Khurd is an example how the bottom up approach with active involvement of people yield results in terms of delivery of services.

New Commission for Air Quality Management Identifies 10 Immediate Measures to improve air quality in Delhi, NCR

9.11.2020, New Delhi: The members of Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and adjoining Areas met and reviewed the air quality scenario in the region, actions taken by various agencies so far and further steps to be taken for improving the air quality.

The Commission noted that future action will necessitate consultation with various stakeholders. However, at this stage the Commission stressed the need to strictly enforce existing laws, rules, guidelines, directions and standard operating procedures to minimize air pollution on an emergency basis.

The Commission also felt that active public involvement is critical in the abatement of air pollution and identified the following major immediate measures:

1. Minimize use of personalized transport to the extent possible

2. Restrict travel unless absolutely essential

3. Encourage work from home

4. Strict enforcement of laws and rules regarding dust control measures including at construction sites

5. Strict enforcement to prevent burning of municipal solid waste and biomass

6. Intensify water sprinkling particularly in dust prone areas

7. Use of anti-smog guns at pollution hotspots specially at construction sites

8. Strict implementation of extant rules, Courts and Tribunal orders regarding stubble burning and use of fire crackers

9. Seek co-operation from civil society and public spirited citizens to report air pollution incidents on the Sameer App

10. Encourage coal using industries in NCR to minimize the use of coal in the coming months.

India's first Compressed Biogas from Biomass demonstration plant inaugurated

06.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar virtually inaugurated the country's first demonstration plant at Pune which produces Compressed Biogas (CBG) from Biomass. In his address, the Minister said such a technology could not only ensure energy security but also help attaining energy self sufficiency.

Describing air pollution problems due to stubble burning, which was the prime reason with 42% in Delhi's pollution level, the Minister said farmers adopted this practice as they were having no better option to deal with the stubble within a limited window of 25 days span. He said that with central government funding things are found better this year in Haryana, and expected to be on better line in Punjab as well.

While deliberating on various measures taken by the Government of India, Javadekar said PUSA Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has come out with a low cost solution to decompose the stubble within 25 days, which is being trial in some states. It could be extended to all the states, if found viable.

Further highlighting various other measures taken by the Union Government, Prakash Javadekar informed about Badarpur and Sonepat Power Plant shut down, and phasing out of old Thermal Power Plants. He mentioned that India is investing 46000 Crore Coal to Liquid technology based power plants, which will bring down air pollution level. He also emphasized that coal consumption has come down due to growth in renewable energy, implementation of ethanol mixing, hydel power projects and huge scale LED bulb use in India. He also stated India's implementation of BS-VI vehicles and fuels, which reduces vehicular emissions by 60 to 80%.

Citing the impact of Construction and Demolition Waste in air pollution, he said that 3 plants are processing 6000 Metric Tonne of C&D wastes in Delhi.

With government initiatives and measures, scientific innovations as attained by Praj Industries may bring better yield. He congratulated Praj Industries for having 80 patents and exporting technologies to 75 other countries.

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder and Executive Chairman of Praj Industries, who was recently selected for the prestigious 2020 George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture, made a presentation on the CBG plant located in Praj Matrix R&D campus. He informed that the plant deploys proprietary microbial consortium made from feedstock such as agri residues and press mud.

"The CBG demo plant is a step closer to reducing carbon emissions and pollution. Besides reducing the import of natural gas and crude oil, our technology will boost entrepreneurship, economy and employment in rural India. This project is aligned with the goals of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and supports the national commitment in achieving climate change targets.", added Dr. Chaudhari.

India has nearly 350 million metric tonne (MMT) of biomass, which can generate more than 45 MMT CBG. Haryana and Punjab account for more than 20 MMT of biomass. This indicates the huge possibility for deployment of this technology towards sustainable development.

Greater utilization of Bamboo can reduce carbon footprint & increase employment, says Gadkari

06.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari highlighted how intensive use of bamboo resources could benefit India towards attainment of carbon dioxide reduction and employment generation. Inaugurating a virtual Bamboo Exhibition yesterday at Webinar, he said that bamboo has a variety of uses in various fields like buildings and interiors, handicrafts, agarbatti making, garments, bio-fuel resource, etc.

The Minister shared many valuable data as he asked various sectors to utilize various modes and methods to bring down logistics costs including choosing more cost-efficient transit mode like water, rail or road. He informed that a 3 metre dredging of Brahmaputra River has made it possible to use waterways for transporting goods. Using river transport would come very handy in transportation cost reduction for Bamboo and Bamboo products originating from North East.

Shri Gadkari also asked Ministry of DONER to formulate a comprehensive Bamboo Policy as most of the Bamboo is produced in North East. The Minister recalled how he took up the matter of doing away with the need of permission to cut bamboos with the Prime Minister who directed the Forest Authorities to follow suit as bamboo fall in the category of grass with the character of regeneration.

Stating that India has about 170 species, as compared to 380 speies available in neighbouring country China, Gadkari emphasized on the need to explore more Bamboo species in India. Calling for production of high yielding bamboo varieties, he said, for industrial use bamboo yield should be 200 tonnes per acre against about 40 tonnes per acre in case of some varieties. The greater yield and wider bamboo usage will open up more employment generation especially in North East India.

Comparing the calorific value of Bamboo to be around 3600 KCal/Kg, which is not far below than that of Indian Coal, Shri Gadkari advised that technology be created to reduce Bamboo sticks in to bamboo bales so that the moisture is removed by natural drying, which could further increase the calorific value and also ease transportation. He suggested IITs may be roped in to undertake a pilot project in this regard.

The Minister deliberated on many other areas of Bamboo utilization, such as production of bioethanol and bio-CNG, which will bring down the import cost of petroleum products. He also cited examples of bamboo based fabrics and furniture. He further suggested making available more incentives to Bamboo production, processing and handling and said this will go a long way in developing the bamboo based industry.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh said that India is destined to play a major role in Post-COVID economic resurgence and North Eastern Region will play a crucial role in it with full exploitation of huge Bamboo resources. Union Minister said that it is imperative to make Bamboo a Pan India perspective for its growth and utilization. He said that Bamboo will be the new fuel of New Engine that is North East for India’s growth story.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said that Ministry of DoNER and North Eastern Council is taking all measures for tapping Bamboo resources and technical know-how at all India level. He said that Ministry had already decided to develop three Bamboo Clusters in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas for making of Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcoal as well as setting up of Bamboo Technology Centre. The Minister said that his Ministry is already exploring Bamboo reserves in different parts of the country for exploitation of its full potential. He said, during the last four years, Ministry of DoNER has sanctioned 17 projects for development of bamboo in NE States, including a Bamboo Industrial Park at Dima Hasao in Assam.

The Union Minister said that around 40% area under bamboo is in North Eastern States. However, this potential of Bamboo for North Eastern Region not being fully utilized due to restrictions in movement of Bamboo under Indian Forest Act, 1927. He said, the sensitivity with which the Modi government views the importance for the promotion of Bamboo is evident from the fact that it has amended the century old Indian Forest Act by taking home grown bamboo out of the purview of the Forest Act, in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, another major reform was to increase the import duty on bamboo sticks raised to 25%. This decision has paved the way for setting up of new Agarbatti stick manufacturing units to meet the ever-growing demand of Agarbatti in India. He said, the Agarbatti industry has 5 to 6 thousand crore of market share in India, but bulk of it were imported from countries like China and Korea.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that Bamboo has great potential for its use as a clean source of energy and can also replace the single use plastic, thus promoting the environment and Climate cause in India.

Secretary DONER Dr Inderjit Singh also spoke on the occasion.

Indian CEOs can lead world on climate issues, says Prakash Javadekar

05.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has said, India is on the way forward towards achieving its commitments done at the Paris agreement and the country is acting on its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s). The Minister said that India is among the few countries which are 2 degrees compliant and has taken many decisive actions, in fighting Climate Change, not only at the government level but even at the private level, which shows our commitment and resolve.

Releasing a Declaration on Climate Change signed by 24 key industry captains and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change at the virtual India CEO forum on Climate Change, Javadekar further said that this declaration by private sector companies, voluntarily, is a historic step.

“World says and preaches many things but to bring into practice is more difficult thing. I think today United Nations ecosystem and UNFCCC will take note of this initiative of India and its corporate world to adhere to and declare plans of their own carbon neutrality.”, said Javadekar.

Addressing the forum, Shri Javadekar suggested to the corporate world to propagate and report to the government what steps and initiatives they are taking towards decarbonisation and bring to the government’s notice polluting activities for us to take action. “We have to be on the same page regarding our insistence on financial and technological support from the advanced economies, so that India can also catch up and march ahead.”, stressed the Environment Minister.

The event saw CEO’s and various heads of key industries like TATA, Reliance, the Adani group, Mahindra, Sun pharma, Dr. Reddy’s, Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel, etc. listing out various clean processes and initiatives they have taken and their agenda towards further decarbonisation post 2020. The corporate sector espoused confidence and expressed their support towards a coordinated response by the Government and private sector on climate change which will help protect the country’s interests and ensure that India is on track towards meeting its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The private sector plays a pivotal role in creating low-carbon sustainable economies and has embarked on a number of voluntary actions on climate change that can contribute towards achieving India’s NDC goals. The private sector also benefitted from India’s participation in Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and going forward Article 6 of the Paris Agreement offers further opportunities for meeting the climate change and sustainable development objectives.

India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India has three quantitative climate change goals viz. reduction in the emissions intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33 to 35% by 2030 from 2005 level, achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 and creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Jal Jeevan Mission working on hi-tech water supply infrastructure to solve current problems & future challenges

05.11.2020, New Delhi: The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims providing Tap Connection to every rural household by 2024 with particular focus on ‘service delivery’ i.e. regular water supply in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality on long-term basis. The Union Government’s flagship programme, envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by year 2024. The Government is striving to use modern technology in monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve current problems as well as help anticipate and address future challenges.

In order to harness the power of technology in water management, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti had announced an ICT Grand Challenge to develop a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’. The Jal Jeevan Mission would be the user agent of the Grand Challenge and C-DAC, Bangalore is the implementing agency and would provide technical support for the challenge. C-DAC will also provide technical support for Proof of Concept (PoC) development to the shortlisted candidates. It would also provide mentoring support, technical guidance to them.

The challenge witnessed enthusiastic participation from all over India with a total of 218 applications. These applications were received from various sectors like LLP Companies, Indian Tech start-ups, Individuals etc., as per the following statistics. Applications were received from 46 individuals, 33 companies, 76 Indian Tech start-ups, 15 LLP Companies and 43 MSMEs.

The evaluation of the applications is currently in progress. Shortlisted submissions will be invited for presentation in front of a Jury duly constituted, which would conduct these online presentations and review the applications for identifying the top 10 for the next round of prototype development.

Way forward in the Grand challenge includes Ideation to Prototype Stage, Prototype to Product Stage, Product Deployment Stage, and announcement of three winners. All these stages would be carried out with funding support from MeitY and National Jal Jeevan Mission. Based on evaluation throughout these steps, one winner and two runners-up will be selected and awarded with Rs. 50 Lakh, for the winner and Rs. 20 Lakh of each runner-up.

This Grand Challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system to measure and monitor the service delivery of the water supply in rural areas. This Challenge will provide an opportunity to work for Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household.

Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task which needs public participation: Union Jal Shakti Minister at Ganga Utsav 2020

04.11.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, recalling how the Prime Minister’s call for Aviral and Nirmal Ganga has become a mass movement at the Ganga Utsav 2020 said, “Ganga rejuvenation is a continuous task that’s why we have to promote public participation, we have to create a sense of duty among people, it can be done only when we are able to make people realize what Ganga offers us.” He emphasized that festivals like Ganga Utsav are very important to encourage public participation. He said that Ganga rejuvenation is not only government work but involves constant public engagement and dialogue. He said, “This program is an enabler in transforming our faith to our duty towards Ganga.”

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, DG, NMCG while giving a recap of the first two days of the festival informed that not only from India but people from different parts of the world joined the festival virtually. U. P. Singh, Secretary, Jal Shakti Ministry congratulated the Namami Gange Mission. He said, “A festival which started as a standalone evening event, ‘ekshaam Ganga ke naam’ has come a long way under the present NMCG team.” This will be instrumental in connecting people to the river, he added.

More than three lakh people joined the festival virtually from across the world. In the closing ceremony, DG, NMCG said Namami Gange has a strong component of public participation as per overall guidance and vision given by the Prime Minister and this Janbhagidari-peoples movement is helping immensely in Ganga rejuvenation. The festival extends this vision beyond these three days and NMCG continuously resolves to work in the direction of increasing public awareness and strengthening public participation towards river rejuvenation. He also listed several specific activities in future such as Haridwar Kumbh, the annual Ganga Quest, Wetland day, Biodiversity day, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Ganga runs, etc calling upon people to participate and make the next Ganga Utsav even bigger and develop a movement for River festivals in the country.

Cabinet approves Rs 1810 crore Investment Proposal of 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Power Project

04.11.2020, New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the investment of Rs.1810.56 crore for 210 MW Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project located on river Satluj which is situated in Shimla & Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh. This project will generate 758.20 million units of electricity annually.

This project is being implemented by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) on Build-Own-Operate-Maintain (BOOM) basis with active support from Government of India and State Government. The MoU of this project was signed with the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh during Rising Himachal, Global Investor Meet, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on 7th November 2019. Government of India is also supporting this project by providing grants of Rs. 66.19 crore for enabling infrastructure which has helped in reducing in power tariff.

The construction activities of the project will result in direct & indirect employment to around 2000 persons and will contribute to overall socio-economic development of the State. Further, Himachal Pradesh will benefit with free power worth around Rs. 1140 crore from Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project, during Project Life Cycle of 40 years. The Project Affected Families will be provided with 100 units of free electricity per month for ten years.

SJVN has forayed into the fields of Renewable Energy, Power Transmission and Thermal power generation. It has envisaged Internal Growth Targets of total installed capacity from all sources of 5000 MW by 2023, 12000 MW by 2030 and 25000 MW by year 2040.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel, Government of India has stated that this will generate 758.20 million units of electricity p.a. and lead to reduction of 6.1 lakh tons of carbon dioxide from the environment annually. This project will also create employment opportunities and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the state.

India's Panna in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves

03.11.2020, New Delhi: Indian tigers roar again. UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme included Panna in India to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves on 29th October 2020. This is India's 12th entry. Located in the central part of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Panna is characterized by forests and marshy vegetation, with an abundance of rare medicinal plants as well as other non-timber forestry products, such as Kattha, gum and resins. It is a critical tiger habitat area and hosts the Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as the World Heritage site of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income, together with horticulture, forestry, and cultural and eco-tourism.

In total 25 new sites were added, one of them transboundary, in 18 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now numbers 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries around the globe. The International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) meeting online from 27 to 28 October 2020 approved these additions along with the extension or re-zoning of five existing biosphere reserves, which in most cases also led to a change in their official names.

"If we can make sustainability work at local level, and scientifically document how it works, perhaps there is hope for the planet. That is the task UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) was given by its Member States 49 years ago"; said Guy Broucke, Head of Natural Sciences, UNESCO New Delhi.

On this achievement, Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has congratulated Panna Tiger Reserve for their amazing work on tiger conservation.

The need to improve the existing biosphere reserves and particularly local ownership were also highlighted in the series of webinars entitled “Pockets of Hope” organized by UNESCO New Delhi earlier this year, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, National Biodiversity Agency of India, WWF-India, TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), and Surabhi Foundation. In the management of the biosphere reserves, many members during the meeting emphasized the importance of involving the local multi-stakeholder entities, all socio-economic sectors, government, civil society and private sector.

UNESCO biosphere reserves seek to reconcile human activity with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. They are a central element of UNESCO’s research and awareness-raising work to foster innovative sustainable development practices and combat the loss of biodiversity supporting communities and Member States’ understanding, valuing and safeguard the living environment.

Public Hearing on Development of Urban Extension Roads in Delhi did not deliberate many important issues

03.11.2020, New Delhi: Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has submitted the Public Hearing Report with regard to Environmental Clearance of Development of Urban Extension Road (UER) – II (NH-344M) from design chainage Km 0.000 to Km 38.111 in the state of NCT of Delhi, Development of link toad (new NH-344P) (Km 0.000 to Km 29.600) between Bawana Industrial Area, Delhi (from Km 7.750 of UER-II) till bypass of NH-352A at Village Barwasni, Sonipat, Haryana in the state of NCT of Delhi/Haryana and Development of link road (new NH-344N) (Km 0.000 to Km 7.500), between Dichaon Kalan till Bahadurgarh Bypass/NH-10 in the state of NCT of Delhi/Haryana (Total length of the project has been reported as 75.211km) by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Four Public Hearing meetings conducted in North, North-West, West and South-West Districts on 30.09.2020, 05.10.2020, 07.10.2020 and 09.10.2020, respectively.

The proceedings of the meetings duly signed by the Member Secretary Dr. K. S. Jayachadran, depicts that though there were many questions raised, number people was very few. The report shows that the total attendance was 17, 16, 12 and 15, out of which 13, 10, 10, and 14 respectively, were officials and consultant. Some people were present in more than one meetings. Most of the 111 page document contains enclosures pertaining to Lt. Gen. S. S. Dahiya, who has expressed his dissatisfaction over the way the Public Hearing was conducted and it did not address related issues.

Most of questions and suggestions were on tree cutting and plantation, followed by issues of drainage, water bodies, air pollution, noise pollution, traffic management and the least was rainwater harvesting. There were no major questions on air and noise pollution during the project construction phase, and operation phase, rather it was limited to existing air pollution issues, which people expect to be better with the road project. An important aspect of the project is cutting of 17,000 trees, as per the Environment Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). The EMP has deliberated 10 trees for each tree to be cut will be planted as a part of compensatory afforestation. The consultants hired by NHAI to prepare a project feasibility have failed to propose any details regarding site selection for tree plantation. Greenbelt development along proposed highway. The replies stated in the Public Hearing documents are also not clear and convincing.

There was no question and answer on construction and demolition waste management, sourcing of water during construction phase, alternatives for DG sets, and so on.

Delhi ranks fourth among the forty one cities of the world monitored for air pollution. 64% of pollution is by automobiles. As referred in Table 5-4 the air pollution modeling has been based on Emission Factors related to Bharat Stage – IV Vehicle, while India has entered into Bharat Stage – VI. Further, it has missed quantification of air pollution during construction phase, which may emanate from vehicles transporting the construction materials, construction and demolition, Hot Mix Plants (HMPs), diesel generator sets and so on.

It is noteworthy that the EIAR has informed that NHAI road project could have some impacts on several water bodies, though without changing any course. The EIA report does not deliberate on details like size and names of the water bodies. It has just highlighted that the road may pass over the water bodies, and possible impacts are only at the time of construction, for which EMP has given certain measures.

A major point is source of water required for the construction phase. The expected total water requirement for 30 months of construction period of the project is nearly 2.2 billion liters. The EIA report states that majority would be sourced from Delhi Jal Board (DJB), and silent on the remaining. It also implies that DJB has not given any permission. Taking available reports into account, Delhi needs around 1,150 million gallons of water per day (MGD) and DJB is able to supply only around 900 MGD on an average. Hence, the statement cited in EIA report seems to be not factual.

It is high time that NABET ensures the EIA reports are data based. For instance, if the project fails to get water supply from DJB, the report does not specify any available alternatives. The EIA report should also deliberate on the both positive and negative impacts on competing users. The air pollution modeling is based on obsolete emission factors and incomplete as it misses Hot Mix Plant (HMP) and DG emissions. Though Public Hearing is concluded without much technical deliberation, the Expert Appraisal Committees of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change may seek incorporation of relevant factual data for the completeness of EIA and an excellent project implementation.

AQI zoomed to 425 in Jind on Haryana Day, while Noida Authority penalized polluters

02.11.2020, New Delhi: During 24 hours ending Sunday, 1st November 2020, 27 stations out of 115 reported by Central Pollution Control Board were in Very Poor category of AQI. Jind remained the only place in "Severe" Category of AQI with 425 AQI predominantly due to PM2.5.

Noida, based on 3 monitoring stations, reported to have AQI value of 384, which is Very Poor category of AQI. According to PTI, the Noida Authority on Sunday said it has slapped penalties worth Rs. 4 lakh on entities, including construction sites, that were found violating norms to combat air pollution. According to the report, Noida Authority has issued penalties worth over Rs. 1.61 Crore since 17th October on entities contributing to air pollution.

The action against polluters comes in the wake of the GRAP coming into force amid deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR. AQI in Greater Noida also remained in "Very Poor category" with 388.

It is worth noting that the Government of India has brought an Ordinance on 28th October 2020 to form a Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.

Ganga Utsav begins virtually with much fun and festivities

02.11.2020, New Delhi: The much-awaited Ganga Utsav 2020 began today with Shri Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga sharing his connection with Ganga since childhood in conversation with Mahiya. He said, “This festival is to celebrate the glory of National river Ganga. Only if the younger generation is made aware of her ancient history and cultural significance, they will revere her not just as a source of water but as an integral part of our civilization.” We need to do our kartvva (duty) towards Ganga along with our deep rooted astha. Ganga represents all rivers and sources of water and festival is designed to be a river festival too, he added.

Day 1 of the Utsav was buzzing with diversity of events. One could not escape the devotion for Maa Ganga in voice of Dr Revati Sakalkar, Indian semi-classical vocalist. The Kashi Kokila brought river before the audience through her bhajans starting with “Chalo man Ganga Yamuna teer”.

In Kahani Junction, legendary storyteller Rituparna Ghosh’s “Whose River Is It Anyway?” the message was clear if you don’t care for nature, nature won’t care for you. Bestselling author Anand Neelkantan, shared fascinating mythological stories of Ganga from Mahabharat and ancient Puranas. Kapil Pandey was another well-known story-teller at the festival.

Mini Ganga Quest organised in association with Tree Craze Foundation, which started two days before the festival has seen overwhelming response. More than 4000 students participated in the quiz so far. The quiz is designed to make youth and students aware about environmental issues and explain them their role in conservation. Mini Ganga Quest will continue throughout the festival and results will be announced on final day. Tree Craze Foundation led by Bhawna Sharma along with NMCG conducts Ganga Quest annually during April- May which had evoked massive million plus response this year.

Ganga Utsav has received support from different countries. Shin Bongkil, Korean Ambassador to India said Ganga is important not only for India but for the whole world as a symbol of Indian spiritual mysticism. Walter J. Lindner,German Ambassador to India praised NMCG efforts and congratulated Ganga Utsav. Marten van den Berg, Netherland Ambassador to India gave his greetings to Ganga Utsav. He said, “Netherland government is committed to work with India. Together we can get the Ganga cleaned and keep it clean.”

An award-winning film “The Miracle Water Village”, directed by Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh showed how a drought prone village came together to start a revolution of rain-water harvesting. Another inspiring tale came from “Locals Become Geohydrologists in Rapar”,directed by Usha Dewani and Nilutpal Das where an arid village in Kutch became water secure by the efforts of visionary villagers. Thirst by Sivanageswara Rao, Angioplasty Of Dreams by Aditya Seth, Water Warriors by Nutan Manmohan and Revival Of AharPynes Systems by SoumitraDey were other notable movies. The idea behind Ganga film festival was to use films as a medium to evoke critical thinking and empathy towards ecology and environment.

Ganga Dialouges, which is a series of discussions with eminent personalities, started with renowned author and researcher Rajiv Malhotra in conversation with Shri Satyanarayana Dasa, a Vaishnava scholar. Taking a leaf out of their upcoming book Sanskrit Non- Translatables, they discussed the idea of Ganga being more relevant than Ganges as it conveys its uniqueness and sacred nature. Ganga, they said is a living entity translating it to Ganges makes her just a water body and prone to exploitation and neglect.

Sharing the innovative ways in which NamamiGange engaging in activities throughout the year, Meenakshi Payal spoke about Art and Murals project along Ganga ghats. She showed the glimpses of massive designs created by her team at Mozarto in association with NMCG. This Project is an CSR initiative under NamamiGange, supported by Union Bank of India. Painters of international repute have contributed to mural painting and facelift in this project making remarkable contributions at Chandighat, clock tower areas in Haridwar and on several iconic ghats at Varanasi.

No celebration is complete without food but it was not easy to have food in a virtual festival. “Zayaka Ganga Kinare Wala” by Anubhav Sapra, Foodie-in-Chief, Delhi Food Walks and Indian Culinary Culture made sure that the audience experience the delicious dishes of different cities on the bank of Ganga. He explored famous more than 100 years of food joints to rare delicacies like Ramphal in Laxman Jhula, Palak Halwa in Prayagraj and Bhuja in Patna. In Kolkata, he landed up at Paramount restaurant, where Subhash Chandra Bose along with other nationalist leaders used to meet and plot against British Government.

Several programs were also held in districts as a part of Ganga Utsav celebrations. Ganga Task Force has conducted afforestation drive with NCC cadets and educational tour for youth in project area. Swachhata drive and plantation on river banks, quiz and painting competitions, water body cleaning etc were reported from districts in Uttarakhand, Bulandshahr, Raibareilly, Varanasi, Kasganj, Sahibganj, Ranchi etc. Ganga Praharis, Mitras and NYK Ganga doots actively participated in several programs. Quiz and painting arranged at Ganga ghat in Raibareilly drew huge response with hundreds of school children.

The festival will continue for two more days i.e. 3rd and 4th Nov 2020.

Buildings are major contributors of GHGs, new buildings need to mandatorily go green and environment friendly

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on 29th October said that it is time to consider making all new buildings to mandatorily go green and environment friendly. He suggested to the governments, Finance Commissions and local bodies to encourage green buildings by way of tax incentives and other measures.

Inaugurating the CII’s Green Building Congress 2020 through virtual mode, the Vice President emphasised that not only new buildings, but the existing buildings too should be retrofitted to make them environment-friendly by adopting green practices that promote energy efficiency and water conservation.

He termed the sustainable buildings as an important component in building resilient communities and called for extensive use and promotion of low carbon technologies. “We not only need a stronger India but also a greener India”, he added.

Drawing attention to the increasing number of extreme climate events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, Shri Naidu said that climate change is as real as daylight and countries all over the world must adopt drastic and revolutionary measures to mitigate the problem of global warming.

Calling for the sustainable approach to development, the Vice President said that the challenge before us is how do you marry both development and environment. “If we take care of nature, the nature in turn will take care of the mankind”, he said.

He stated that buildings and construction account for 39% of energy related CO2 emissions in the world and wanted the process of total de-carbonization of the built environment to be accelerated.

Describing the concept of green building, Shri Naidu said that apart from energy efficiency, it seeks to ensure water efficiency, use of renewable energy, promote waste reduction and encourage the use of environment-friendly local materials.

He emphasised that the construction material we use today should be sustainable and environment-friendly —it should not in any way jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The Vice President also highlighted the need to create awareness on the urgency of promoting green buildings concept among the people. In this regard, he advised India Green Building Council to launch a campaign for promoting ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings’. He also wanted the urban planners and bodies like Builders Association of India, CREDAI to be involved in the campaign.

It may be noted that a net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and fully powered by on-site and/ or off-site renewable energy sources.

Highlighting the pace of rapid urbanisation in the country, he opined that sustainable development should become a critical part of our nation building. It should be realized that it cannot be business as usual in regard to combating global warming, he added.

Mentioning the programs such as Smart Cities Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) the Vice President said that main motto of Government of India is to make cities livable centers of growth.

He expressed happiness that India with over 7.61 Billion Sq.ft of green building footprint is amongst the top 5 countries in the world and lauded the role of all stakeholders in building a greener and healthier India.

Maintaining that India has the potential to lead the Global Green Building Movement, Shri Naidu said that there is a need for a concerted push on this front by both the private players and the government. He appreciated CII for working with State Governments and developers for the implementation of green concepts in affordable housing projects and urged the construction sector to work with the governments in building a greener, healthier and prosperous India.

Shri Naidu also complimented CII for developing ‘Guidelines for Combating COVID-19 in Green Buildings’ and said that the good work should continue and the Government and Industry should work together in achieving the country’s green mission.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President said that India lives in its villages and if India has to grow, our villages have to be prosperous and should have access to all basic amenities like the urban areas. Going green in villages would mean access to hygiene, health, sanitation, energy, water and education, he said.

Shri Naidu expressed satisfaction over the CII initiatives for implementation of green measures in 24 villages in 11 states and wanted the CII to expand its foot print to more number of villages and states.

On this occasion, the Vice President also launched a coffee table book and Rating systems on Healthcare, Logistics and Net Zero Water. He also congratulated CII for its 125th anniversary.

Shri Jamshyd N Godrej, former President, CII and Chairman, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Shri V Suresh, Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, Shri Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, green building professionals, officials of CII, engineers, developers, builders and architects were among those who participated in the virtual event.

Jal Jeevan Mission in Kerala and Gujarat State

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been working with the States/ UTs to implement Union Government’s flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission, which envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The mission aims to improve the lives of rural people especially women and girls by reducing their drudgery. Funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching State share. To take the program further, Kerala State officials presented the status of planning and implementation of the mission in the State before the National Jal Jeevan Mission through video conferencing.

Kerala is planning 100% tap water connections to all rural households by 2023-24. The State has around 67.15 lakh rural households, out of which 49.65 lakh households have not been provided with tap water connection. In 2020-21, the State is planning to enable 21.42 lakh households with tap water connections. The mid-term review highlighted the need for analysing the existing Piped Water Supply (PWS) schemes in 2,493 habitations, where not a single connection has been provided. It was also urged to examine schemes in 95 villages, where not a single tap connection has been provided. Kerala State has planned to provide safe drinking water to remaining 14 Fluoride affected habitations with population of 25,452 by December, 2020. The State was urged to pay undivided attention for universal coverage of aspirational districts; SC/ ST dominated villages, villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY).

The State of Gujarat is one such State that has been dealing with water issues due to its geographically arid conditions and the Jal Jeevan Mission is a potential boon for the masses in the region. Gujarat today presented its mid-term review to the National Jal Jeevan Mission officials who are in the process of reviewing the progress of the mission across the nation. Gujarat has plans to provide 100% tap connections by the year 2022-23. The total number of households in Gujarat are 93,02,583 with 35,996 habitations, 18,191 villages, 13,931 Gram Panchayats, 247 blocks and 33 districts. In the progress reported till date, the State has succeeded in giving 8,50,871 Functional Households Tap Connections (FHTC), which is 76.29 % of the given target.

Ethanol price hiked under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme

29.10.2020, New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has approved fixing higher ethanol price derived from different sugarcane based raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2020-21 during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2020-21 from 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021. With this, the price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.75 per lit to Rs.45.69 per litre, B heavy molasses route increased from Rs.54.27 per lit to Rs.57.61 per litre, and the price of ethanol from sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup route be increased from Rs.59.48 per lit to Rs.62.65 per litre.

Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised, In order to offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State and reduce crisscross movement of ethanol, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc. This priority will limit to the excisable boundaries of the State / UT for production in that State / UT. Same order of preference will be given thereafter for import of ethanol from other States wherever required.

Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels.

All distilleries are expected to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. It is also stated that the remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.

This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.

Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 to contracted over 195 crore litre in ESY 2019-20.

With a view to provide long term perspective to the stake holders, MoP&NG has published “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under EBP Programme”. In line with this, OMCs have already completed the one time registration of ethanol suppliers. OMCs have further reduced the Security Deposit amount from 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs. 400 Cr. to ethanol suppliers. OMCs have also reduced the applicable penalty on non-supplied quantity from earlier 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs.35 Cr. to suppliers. All these would facilitate ease of doing business and achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.

Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.

With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and ex-mill price of sugar have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials.

Increase of Ethanol price may have an impact on automotive users and may not be a good step in terms of air pollution.

CSIR-NCL develops DME-LPG blended a clean cooking fuel can ensure energy security for the nation: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

22.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 21st October 2020 inaugurated the Dimethyl ether (DME) fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” unit along with the DME-LPG blended fuel cylinders and handed them over for common public and CSIR-NCL canteen use on a trial basis at CSIR-NCL premises virtually through video-conferencing. National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). CSIR-NCL is a science and knowledge based research, development and consulting organization.

The Minister, in his address said, “The launch of this burner will also provide a significant boost to the 'Make in India' campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic. This kind of activity may bridge the gap between demand and supply, and it can ensure energy security for the nation.”

DME is an ultra-clean fuel. CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24Kg/day capacity. The conventional LPG burner is not suitable for DME combustion as DME density is different than LPG. To address this issue, CSIR- NCL’s “ADITI URJA SANCH” has come up with a helpful, innovative setup. The new Burner is fully designed and fabricated by NCL for DME, DME -LPG blended mixtures and LPG combustion.

Salient features of newly designed Burner are: efficient for both DME and the blend of DME and LPG, flexible air ingress, the new nozzle design allows optimum oxygen ingress for combustion, the angles at which nozzles are placed maximize the heat transfer area across the utensils, optimum flame velocity can be obtained, length of the flame (high, low, and medium) can be adjusted by altering the oxygen ingress, and experiment shows that it increases the heat transfer rate as well.

Its efficiency trials and comparison with conventional burners have been done. Trial runs have demonstrated an improvement by 10-15 %, compared to conventional burners using LPG alone.

The research group led by Dr. T. Raja at Catalysis and Inorganic Chemistry Division, CSIR-NCL, Pune carried out research and found catalysts with higher yield, and stability for the ether formation and less tendency to produce carbon soot by-product. The DME project is moving on fast track mode from the laboratory to the market to ultimately reach people under the methanol economy and green sustainable fuel policy of the country. In the current phase, CSIR sponsored FTT/ FTC (Fast track Commercialization) project for the pilot plant demonstration has been sanctioned, and CSIR-NCL is in advanced discussion with various industry stakeholders.

A clean cooking fuel combination of DME-LPG also safeguards the well-being of women and children. The DME process technology is economical, cost-effective, and scalable with in-situ product purification as well as a heat integration unit that produces pure DME. This technology developed by CSIR-NCL at present has the capacity of 20-24 kg/ day DME production. It is to be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through the CSIR-FTC project. The DME pilot plant was inaugurated last year by Dr. Harsh Vardhan at CSIR-NCL.

The newly designed stove can burn with up to 30 % DME blended with LPG or 100% DME as fuel. The air to fuel ratio is different for DME blended fuel to achieve optimum combustion and thermal performance. A 20% DME blending with LPG, with fewer infrastructure changes, is expected to result in substantial savings annually. The DME from Methanol process developed by CSIR-NCL is producing 20-24 kg/ day. This economical, cost-effective process will be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through CSIR-FTC project. CSIR-NCL plans under “Aditi UrjaSanch” to launch in future industrial burners for low emission, DME/ DME blended fuel for automobiles and stationery power.

Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG-CSIR & Secretary, DSIR was present on the occasion. Prof. Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director, CSIR-NCL, Pune; Dr. T. Raja, Principal Scientist, CSIR- NCL and others joined the event virtually.

With DSI & SOFA systems, NTPC Dadri strives to become the cleanest coal fired plant of India

19.10.2020, New Delhi: At a time when Delhi Government is demanding closure of all the 11 thermal power plants (TPPs) of the NCR, NTPC Dadri is striving to become the cleanest coal fired plant in the country. According to the Ministry of Power, Dadri plant is complying with all the the emission guidelines set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). All the emission parameters are being monitored online and transmitted to CPCB on real time basis. As per a statement issued by NTPC Ltd, the PSU under Ministry of Power, the Flue gas emissions and Particulate Matters are well within the CPCB norms with high efficiency pollution control device Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) in service in all the 4 nos. 210 MW & 2 nos. 490 MW units.

To reduce Sulfur Dioxide emission, Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) system has been installed in 210 MW units for the first time in the country with technology from United Conveyor Corporation (UCC) , USA. Now, all the four units are meeting emission norms. FGD system is in advanced stage of implementation in 490 MW units by BHEL with technology from Mitsubishi Power Works, Japan.

All the 210 MW units were already compliant to emission norms against parameter Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). In 490 MW units, SOFA (Separated Overfire Air) system has been installed and all the units now comply with the norms for NOx.

NTPC Dadri has also pioneered co-firing of Biomass pellets along with coal in the boilers. The pellets are made of husk or agro-residue which would have been burnt otherwise in the fields increasing the pollution in NCR region. More than 8000 Tons of pellets have been fired in the boilers of NTPC Dadri, which is equivalent to almost 4000 acres of farm fire avoided.

NTPC Dadri has set new benchmarks in Water consumption, going beyond compliances, by implementing Zero liquid discharge system, and Rain water harvesting system.

NTPC’s efforts in leading the energy transition to a decentralised, decarbonised and digitalised energy. It provides broad framework for the company’s priorities to meet the challenges in Decarbonisation & Air emissions control, Water & Biodiversity Conservation, Circular Economy, Health and Safety, Community Development, Strong Finance & Ethics and Sustainable Supply Chain.

As part of its commitment towards the environment, NTPC has undertaken a many ‘firsts’ for the sector. NTPC is working towards utilising agro residue for power generation to discourage in-field crop residue burning. NTPC is also striving hard to install sulphur dioxide-reducing technology flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) at all its plants across the country. NTPC is also working towards various waste to energy projects for a sustainable environment.

NTPC is also taking every possible step to make its energy portfolio greener by adding significant capacities of Renewable Energy (RE) Sources. By 2032, the company plans to have a minimum of 32000 MW capacity through RE sources constituting nearly 25% of its overall power generation capacity.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Grand ICT Challenge to harness vibrant ‘Internet of Things’ receives impressive response

19.10.2020, New Delhi: Water Quality Monitoring is important for a healthy and progressive society. Jal Jeevan Mission aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024 of adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) had launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The last date was 12 October 2020. A total of 213 proposal from various Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs have been received which will now be scrutinized by a jury committee appointed by MEITY and select the proposals. The ambitious mission focuses on service delivery rather than mere creation of infrastructure. This kind of technological challenge offers a great opportunity to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply systems in rural areas.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system to measure and monitor the service delivery of the water supply in rural areas. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for casue of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through functional household tap connection to every rural household of the country.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted in100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each.The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MeitYsupported incubator for further nurturing of the solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of intiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Union Government’s flagship programme- Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented in partnership with States for providing Functional Household Tapwater Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality, on long-term basis. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

95% of Air Pollution in Delhi due to local factors, only 4% by Stubble burning as on today: Prakash Javadekar

15.10.2020, New Delhi: In order to step up efforts to ensure better air quality, 50 teams of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be deployed to make extensive field visits from 15th October 2020 to 28th February 2021.

Addressing the nodal officers of the teams in New Delhi today, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that during the current times of COVID the members of the team are no less than Corona Warriors as they will be visiting and giving feedback from the ground, which will help in mitigating Air pollution.

The Union Minister said that around 95% of the pollution in the city, is due to local factors like dust, construction and biomass burning and the share of stubble burning is only around 4 to 5% as on date.

Javadekar congratulated the teams and expressed his best wishes. The teams will visit Delhi and NCR towns - Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat in Haryana; and Bhiwadi, Alwar, Bharatpur in Rajasthan. These teams will specifically focus on hotspot areas where the problem is aggravated.

On spot reporting of major air polluting sources such as major construction activities without proper control measures, dumping of garbage & construction waste alongside the roads and on open plots, unpaved roads, open burning of garbage/industrial waste, etc. will be done using SAMEER App.

Feedback on polluting activities will be shared with concerned agencies through an automated system, for quick action. Details will also be shared with State Governments. This will help in taking timely actions and monitoring at appropriate levels by the concerned agencies.

A Central Control Room at CPCB Head Quarters has been made functional for keeping track of pollution levels on hour to hour basis and overall coordination with State agencies. In addition, district wise nodal officers have been appointed for better management and coordination with teams.

Air quality in winter season is a major environmental concern in Delhi and NCR region. Various efforts are being taken since past five years for air quality management in the region. Although gradual year on year improvement in air quality has been observed, a lot needs to be done.

MoEF&CC lists measures taken by Union Govt. as Delhi’s Dy. CM says Central Govt.’s failure in handling North India’s Air Pollution

14.10.2020, New Delhi: As Delhi Air Pollution is becoming fast becoming a matter of concern, an Official Spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) stated that the Central Govt. believes in working to end pollution.

On 13th October 2020, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia expressed his concern over increasing pollution across Northern India due to stubble burning. Sisodia said, “This year, due to the Corona crisis, stubble pollution is very deadly. The Central Government has completely failed to save North India from pollution.”

In a press conference held at the Media Center of the Delhi Secretariat, Deputy Chief Minister pointed out that the smoke of crop burning from neighbouring states has started showing its effect this time also.

Stating that Delhi Government is continuously making efforts to stop pollution throughout the year, Sisodia mentioned a number of measures taken by Delhi Government and demanded immediate concrete steps from the Central Government to stop pollution in North India.

Ostensibly, it reply to Delhi Govt., Official Spokesperson of MoEF&CC, said the Union Govt. has taken various anti air pollution initiatives in the last 6 years. A major step towards curbing Delhi Air Pollution is the construction of Eastern and Western peripheral expressways, which has reduced pollution by preventing 60000 undestined Heavy Vehicles (trucks) passing through Delhi every day.

MoEF&CC stated that in addition to implementation of Vapour Recovery System in all retail outlets of petrol and diesel in NCR, the introduction of BS-VI standard compliant vehicles and fuel, with the investment of Rs. 65000 crore, which has resulted in controlling vehicular pollution to a great extent. Further, infrastructure was created to provide piped natural gas (PNG) fuel to industries. 2600 NCR industries have been brought on PNG.

It was also informed that stubble cutting machines worth Rs. 1400 crore have been provided to Punjab and Haryana farmers. MoEF&CC stated that this has resulted in reduction of about 15% and 20% pollution from stubble burning, respectively.

Other measures were provision of hundreds of dust suppressants and water sprinkling vehicles have been provided by Delhi Development AUthority (DDA), adoption of zig-zag technology in 2800 brick klins in NCR and introduction of Construction and Demolition Waste Management rules, for the first time in 2016, has also helped to attain lesser air pollution in Delhi and NCR. MoEF&CC official informed that 3 factories produce roadside tiles and dividers from the construction waste.

MoEF&CC also claimed closure of Badarpur Power Plant, as a step towards direct reduction of air pollution. Maintaining a silence on other power plants operating in the neighbouring states of Delhi, MoEF&CC stated that 3 power plants are producing 57 MW of electricity from processing of waste in Delhi.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Haryana Government's Lab on wheels!

12.10.2020, New Delhi: The supply of clean and safe water is essential for public health therefore, ensuring supply of water along with regular testing is imperative. The Jal Jeevan Mission of the Ministry of Jal Shakti aims to provide tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The work under this mission is being done on war footing and the mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. Taking cognizance of the pressing need for water testing, Govt. of Haryana has come up with a novel approach by launching a State of the Art Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van, fully equipped with multi-parameter system containing analyzers/ sensor/ probes/ instruments meant for water testing. Water Quality in State of Haryana is mainly affected by constituents like total dissolved solids (TDS), Fluoride, nitrate, iron and alkalinity.

This mobile water testing lab van has been uniquely designed and fully loaded with latest technologies and features. It is GPS enabled for location tracking and the analyzed sample data can be transmitted to a centralized PHED server via GPRS/ 3G connectivity with power backup. It also provides On-site recording and reporting of results through a smart phone or similar device with the ability to send results direct to a web based secure central server. This mobile van also has a fully automated sensor-based analysis controlled by centrally commanded software. The LED display unit in the mobile lab gives an instant display of the results immediately after analysis.

Needless to say, this mobile water testing laboratory will be an effective mode of surveillance of drinking water quality in rural areas of the State. The lab is capable of measuring different water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, TDS, hardness, residual chlorine, zinc, nitrite, Fluoride, turbidity and micro-biological test of water samples. This mobile lab will help in quickly identifying the water quality problem on the spot at site.

The mobile testing van will be stationed at State Water Testing Laboratory, Karnal and its area of operation will be throughout the State. This new facility will provide access to water-testing facility even at the remotest corner of the State. Further, in the event of outbreak of water-borne disease, these vans can be deployed onsite for effective management and quick access to water test reports. Besides, they can also be used for counter checking of quality of testing from all laboratories.

Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government and under this program Government of Haryana is fully committed to provide tap water connection to every rural household ensuring sustainable supply of potable water. The mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. It mandates that in every village 5 persons especially women to be trained for use of Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in villages. Public Health Engineering Department/ Rural Water Supply department of States are ensuring supply of safe drinking water to rural homes and monitoring water quality on regular basis by testing in the laboratories.

International Blue Flag Certification to all 8 beaches recommended by India

11.10.2020, New Delhi: It is a proud moment for India as 8 beaches of India, spread across five states and two union territories, have been awarded the “BLUE FLAG” by an International Jury comprising of eminent members viz UNEP, UNWTO, FEE, IUCN.

The beaches that have been awarded the ‘BLUE FLAG” are Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).

India has also been awarded a 3rd Prize by the International Jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions.

In a twitter message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated "8 of India’s serene beaches get the prestigious Blue Flag Certification. This showcases the importance India attaches to protecting such spots and furthering sustainable development. Truly a wonderful feat!"

“It is an outstanding feat considering that no 'BLUE FLAG' nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt,” Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said in a tweet message adding “this is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts”.

“India is also the first country in “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time,” Javadekar further stated in another tweet.

Japan, South Korea and UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches, however, in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years!

India is now in the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries and we take pride in this honour to our Nation, planning to taking this journey forward to 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years.

India began its humble journey in 2018 for development of pilot beaches (one each in coastal states/UTs) and presented the first set of 08 beaches for the certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.

SICOM, MoEFCC, in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This was aimed at striving for the coveted International eco-label "Blue flag”, accorded by The Foundation of Environment Education, FEE Denmark.

The objective of the BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters & beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities/ facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources and encourage local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment norms & regulations. This program promotes beach tourism and recreation in absolute harmony with nature; and is unique in that sense.

Goa becomes first 'Har Ghar Jal' State across the nation by providing tap water connection to every rural household

09.10.2020, New Delhi: Goa has earned itself the unique distinction of becoming first 'Har Ghar Jal' State in the country as it successfully provides 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households. Harnessing the immense benefits of efficiently utilising the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), which aims to improve the quality of life and bring 'ease-of-living' to rural communities, the Chief Minister of Goa, Shri PramodSawant announced that all ruralhomes in the State now have a tap water supply.State's commitment and brisk efforts have ensured advancement and achievement of targets well before time.

In June, 2020, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat wrote to the Chief Minister of Goa expressing his happiness on the State's Annual Action Plan (AAP) to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2021 and extended full support for the implementation of Mission reiterating that providing potable water is a national priority for the Union Government. Accordingly, fund allocation to Goa in 2020-21 has been increased to Rs. 12.40 Crore. Besides, the State could also explore through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for strengthening of drinking water sources, water supply, grey water treatment & re-use and operation & maintenance.

The two districts of Goa i.e. North Goa with 1.65 lakh rural households and South Goa with 98,000rural householdsin 191 Gram Panchayats are fully saturated with assured piped water supply through tap connections. To strengthen the water testing facilities, the State is in process of getting 14 water quality testing laboratories NABL accredited. Jal Jeevan Mission mandates training 5 persons in very village especially women to be trained in using Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in the villages.

Goa’s achievement is an example for other States to emulate and ensure every rural home gets tap connection and especially in these times of CoVid-19 pandemic, it is all the more imperative to have assured safe water supply within households. This silent revolution happening in rural India in terms of household tap water connections is a work in progress for a ‘New India’.

Having achieved the universal access, the State now plans for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system so as to monitor the functionality of water supply i.e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.

CSIR-CMERI transfers High Flow Rate Fluoride and Iron Removal technology to Capricans Aqua

08.10.2020, New Delhi: The CSIR-CMERI today transferred its High Flow Rate Fluoride & Iron Removal technology to M/s Capricans Aqua Private Limited, Howrah, West Bengal, in Durgapur (WB). The Technology Transfer took place over a Virtual Platform in the presence of Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur.

Prof. Hirani, during the event stated, “This Community Level Water Purification System has a Flow-Rate capacity of 10,000 liter per hour and uses commonly available raw materials such as sand, gravel and adsorbent materials. It comprises a three-stage purification process which purifies water within permissible limits (1.5 ppm & 0.3 ppm for Fluoride and Iron respectively). The technology uses a combination of Oxidation, Gravitational Settling and Chemisorption process in an Affordable Package. The integrated backwashing profile of the technology will help in improving the shelf-life of the filtration media in a resource rationalised manner”

Prof. Hirani said that, “As per available statistics the number of Fluoride affected individuals are continuously increasing in a contaminated habitat in the last 50 years. This has been happening in consonance with the disproportional depletion of Water Table, which has led to multiplication of the level of concentration of Fluoride in the particular region. Owing to inaccessibility to Affordable Fluoride Removal Solutions for the drastically affected sections of the Country, the Fluorosis affected statistics has also witnessed an upward trajectory. Besides, the technology is also a major thrust towards the AtmaNirbhar Bharat campaign. Proliferation of this technology will also help in catalysing Employment Generation opportunities for the Youth of the Nation. The strategic deployment of this Community Level system at affected places can help to turn the tide against the menace of Iron and Fluorosis across the Nation.”

Shri Sanjay Dutta, Director, Capricans Aqua Private Limited, said that CSIR-CMERI Water Technologies have provided an Affordable and Cost-Effective solution for serving the most vulnerable sections of the Nation. He said, the results generated after deployment of this Water Technologies will be immense. Capricans now intends to deploy the CMERI Water technologies in the Fluoride and Iron affected regions of the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, he added.

Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems. Paradoxically, low levels of fluoride intake help to prevent dental caries. The control of drinking-water quality is therefore critical in preventing fluorosis.

Banning seven hazardous chemicals India sends strong & positive message to the world

07.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today ratified ban of seven Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention.

“With today’s decision India is sending out a positive message to the world that we are active in this area & we do not tolerate health & environmental hazard”, said the Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar at a press briefing in New Delhi.

The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs, which are identified chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/ environment and have the property of long-range environmental transport (LRET).

Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central & peripheral nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development. POPs are listed in various Annexes to the Stockholm Convention after thorough scientific research, deliberations and negotiations among member countries.

Considering its commitment towards providing safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had notified the 'Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, on March 5, 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals namely (i) Chlordecone, (ii) Hexabromobiphenyl, (iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE), (iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE), (v) Pentachlorobenzene, (vi) Hexabromocyclododecane, and (vii) Hexachlorobutadiene, which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention.

The Cabinet's approval for ratification of POPs demonstrates India's commitment to meet its international obligations with regard to protection of environment and human health. It also indicates the resolve of the Government to take action on POPs by implementing control measures, develop and implement action plans for unintentionally produced chemicals, develop inventories of the chemicals' stockpiles and review as well as update its National Implementation Plan (NIP). The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the NIP.

The Cabinet further delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs and Environment, Forest and Climate Change in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.

India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006 as per Article 25(4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default "opt-out" position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.

Success Stories to Technology & Research on Water deliberated in 3-days 'Global Water Congress 2020’ organized by ESDA

07.10.2020, New Delhi: One of the most acclaimed organizations, Environment and Social Development Association (ESDA) India organized the ‘Global Water Congress 2020’ on a virtual platform to pay our tributes to the Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi Ji on his 151st Birth Anniversary on 2nd - 4th October 2020 under its National campaign of water conservation- Jal Kranti Mission (water conservation by public participation) in collaboration with CSIR- NEERI, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, University of Delhi, GRC India, GD Goenka University Gurugram, Amity University Gurugram, CPCB Alumni Association, IWWA and MSMECCII. About 450 registered participants, 70 invited speakers, 168 paper presenters and 150 volunteers were participated.

The Global Water Congress was inaugurated by Padma Shri Saint Balbeer Singh Seechewal, a well-known Water Conservationist from Punjab with presence of another guest of honor Shri G. Asok Kumar IAS, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, Prof. P. B. Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Amity University, Dr. S. K. Goyal, Head, CSIR-NEERI, Delhi Zonal Office, Ms. Rita Mathew Benjamin, Chairperson, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Dr. G. K. Arora, Principal, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Shri Gopal Arya, National Convener, Paryavaran Sarakshan Gatividhi Prof. R.K. Thakur, Dean, G. D. Goenka University, Mr. Umesh Chandra, Executive president ESDA, Dr. Dhiraj Singh, MD, GRC India and Dr. Jitendra Nagar, Organizing Secretary and General Secretary, ESDA.

About 10 speakers from various foreign countries including Dr. Hans-Uwe Dahms, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, Dr. Sadhana Pradhanang Kayastha, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal, Dr. Mohammad Kamal Hussain, Umm-Al Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Ana G. Mendez University, Cupey Campus, San Jan, PR, USA and about 60 speakers from India including Er. Paritosh Tyagi, Former Chairman, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. K. Keshari, IIT Delhi, Er. V. P. Yadav, Additional Director, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. L. Ramanathan, JNU Delhi, Prof. Manish Kumar, IIT Gandhinagar, Prof. Tanu Jindal, Amity University, Prof Sirajuddin Ahmad, Jamia Millia Islamia, Mr. D. C. Sekhar, Director, AlphaMERS Limited, Bengluru, Karnataka, Shri K G Vyas Former Advisor, Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Mission, M.P., Mr. Sanjay K Mishra, Editor, Enviro Annotations, Shri Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Shri Pushpendra Bhai, Shri Jagdish Bhai Gandhi, Shri Pankaj Malviya, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora, Dr. Shiv Singh Rawat, Mr. Anil Gupta Hrwi were delivered a lecture on the water issues.

Sh. U.P. Singh IAS, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department, of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India was the Chief Guest in the Valedictory Function of Global Water Congress 2020 and he said India has sufficient water resources as per their need but there are a big problem of water management. The Guest of honor Dr. Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and Key speaker Jal Guru Mr. Mahendra Modi IPS, Director General (DG), Uttar Pradesh Police and other dignitaries also address the valedictory.

In the last during vote of thanks the Organizing Secretary Dr. Jitendra Nagar expressed that the motive of this congress to discuss and create awareness among national and international water challenges and give a platform for the discussion. He told he is himself working for water conservation and running Jal Kranti Misssion and they will start a work on Hindon River Conservation.

"Wildlife Conservation is ingrained in our ethos": Prime Minister Narendra Modi

06.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of 66th Wildlife Week being observed in India, Prime Minster Narendra Modi has said that wildlife conservation is ingrained in our ethos and has always been an integral part of our tradition and culture. The Prime Minister has said, the country is now making efforts to conserve endangered species through dedicated projects such as ‘Project Lion’ and ‘Project Dolphin’ after the success of ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’. In a written message on the occasion of Wildlife Week, Shri Modi sought contribution from people from all walks of life to attain the desired results from these projects.

The Prime Minster said, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and non-violence, the celebration of “Wildlife Week” is an ideal occasion to reaffirm the commitment towards conservation of wildlife and harmonious co-existence of all living beings.

He said, today with a robust and wide network of protected areas, the commitment towards wildlife protection is as strong as ever. Saying that eco sensitive zones provide a peripheral support and act as a buffer around national parks and sanctuaries, Shri Modi said, several such zones have been notified to enhance the space available for thriving wildlife. Mentioning that the country hosts the last wild population of Asiatic lions, he said, the resolve of doubling tiger numbers have been fulfilled well in advance.

On India giving special attention to plastic waste management, the Prime Minister said, India is resolute in its efforts to reduce single use plastic and micro-plastic pollution for sustainable development along with a prosper biodiversity. Shri Modi said, the country is emphasising on conservation of the migratory birds and species as India remains a natural home to a verity of migratory species.

Noting that India harbours 17 percent of world human population within 2.4 percent land area of the world and development needs of the country are paramount, Shri Modi, however, said that the country believes that wildilife and biodiversity conservation are equally imperative.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated, "On the occasion of Wildlife Week 2020 , the inspirational message of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will encourage us all to intensify wildlife conservation in the country, in order to make the planet Earth a better place to live in."

Union Minister of Jal Shakti holds 2nd meeting of Apex Council with Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The 2nd meeting of the Apex Council set up by the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organization Act – 2014 (APRA-2014) with Union Minister for Jal Shakti as Chairman and Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as members was held today where Chief Ministers of both states of participated through VC.

The first agenda item that was deliberated upon was to decide on the jurisdiction of both Godavari and Krishna Management Boards. Even after six years their jurisdiction is still not notified because both the states had differing opinions on this issue. The second agenda item that was deliberated upon is the submission of DPR’s of new projects taken up by both the states on rivers Krishna and Godavari respectively. As per the Act, both KRMB and GRMB should technically appraise and clear them. The third agenda item that was deliberated upon was establishing a mechanism for determination of share of Krishna and Godavari waters between the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Centre’s stand on these agenda items and other issues discussed in the meeting is that regarding Telangana’s request of referring the water allocations issue to a new tribunal or to KWDT-II (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal) under Section-3 of Inter State River Water Disputes Act – 1956 (ISRWDA), the matter is pending in Supreme Court and is sub-judice. As mandated by APRA-2014, the headquarters of the KRMB shall be located in the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh.

Centre announced its decision to go ahead with notifying the jurisdiction of both KRMB & GRMB. Telangana CM dissented on this but as per the APRA-2014, no consensus is needed and hence Centre will notify. Both Chief Minister’s agreed to submit the DPR’s of all the projects taken up by their respective states. The Union Minister of Jal Shakti assured that the technical appraisal of all these projects will be done in the shortest possible timeframe.

With regards to sharing of River waters between both the states in both Godavari and Krishna Rivers, CM of Telangana agreed to withdraw the case they filed in Supreme Court to enable Centre to move forward on referring the water sharing issues to the tribunal under Section-3 of ISRWD Act of 1956, after taking due legal opinion. With regards to sharing of River Godavari waters between both the states, both the states were asked to send in the request to Centre so that Centre can move forward to refer to the tribunal under section-3 of ISWRD Act of 1956. Telangana CM said that he would send the request to Centre in a day. It was agreed to shift the KRMB Headquarters to the state of Andhra Pradesh.

"To make India a clean and efficient gas-based economy, Govt is investing more than Rs. 4 lakh crore in gas infrastructure"- Dharmendra Pradhan

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The reach of environment friendly Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was expanded to various areas in 6 states, as the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan today dedicated 42 CNG stations and 3 City Gate Stations of Torrent Gas to the service of the community. All CNG stations and City Gate Stations were connected through video conference during the event with the Minister.

Torrent Gas has the authorization to lay City Gas Distribution network in 32 Districts across 7 States and 1 UT. These CNG stations are located across various states, including 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 8 in Maharashtra, 6 in Gujarat, 4 in Punjab and 5 each in Telangana and Rajasthan. The City Gate Stations include one each in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, the Ministers stressed upon Comprehensive Energy Retail facilities, where consumers can buy fuel of their choice as per purchasing capacity - be it petrol, diesel, CNG, LNG or electric charging. He also said that the Government wants to supply fuel through the mobile dispensers so that consumers can get the fuel at their doorstep, as per their convenience. The Minister said that the strategy is being made to expand the battery swapping facilities also.

The Minister said, as India will become world's largest energy consumer in the coming years, development of CGD network is being done in line of Climate Change goals set for 2030. India has already become the role model in the Solar energy sector. He further mentioned that as India is moving towards the gas-based economy, which is not only clean and efficient fuel, but will also help in reducing the country’s dependence on imported crude oil, an investment of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore is being made in the gas infrastructure, which includes laying of pipelines, terminals, gas fields.

Shri Pradhan called upon the CGD companies to also invest in the biomass-based plants to produce Compressed Bio-gas, using agriculture residues, forest produce, city waste and cow dung. He said that 500 such plants are already being set up, and the target is to reach 5000 such plants.

Number of CNG stations have increased to more than double in the country, from 938 CNG station in year 2014 to around 2300 CNG stations in 2020. Together with the existing CNG stations and the ones expected under 9th and 10th rounds, India is looking at a robust infrastructure of about 10,000 CNG stations in coming years.

160 Zoos across India to be upgraded through Public Private Partnership: Prakash Javadekar

05.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of Wildlife Week 2020, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today congratulated the country for the diverse wildlife and said that the government is working towards the upgradation and development of 160 Zoos across the country through Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to encourage interaction between wildlife and humans, and help people observe and understand wildlife behaviour more closely.

The Union Minister informed that policy for up gradation and development of all the zoos in the country is underway and will be taken up during the upcoming budget. Shri Javadekar further said that state governments, corporations, businesses and people will all be key elements of the plan. It will help give enhanced experience to the visitors especially the students and children and the future generation in order to nurture the connect between wildlife, nature and humans.

On the occasion Shri Javadekar also launched a report of the CZA-TERI titled “Economic valuation of ecosystem services, National Zoological Park, New Delhi ‘.The report highlights the importance of habitats such as zoos to human wellbeing and the need of replication across India.

The study first of its kind in India and perhaps the entire World, pegs the total annual economic value of the ecosystem services (biodiversity conservation, employment generation, carbon sequestration, education and research, recreational and cultural) at around 423 crore (2019-20) whereas, the total value of the one-time cost of services such as carbon storage and land value provided by the zoo is estimated to be around 55,000 crore.

The Minister also gave away the CZA-Prani Mitra awards to encourage the zoo officers and staff towards working for captive animal management and welfare. The awards were given in four categories viz. the Outstanding Director / Curator, Outstanding Veterinarian, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist and Outstanding Animal keeper.

The Minister, during the virtual interaction, also addressed questions of school children from across the country, concerning wildlife protection and human-wildlife interaction. He stated that we must all work together to protect the valuable wildlife of the country.

CZA which was established to oversee the functioning of Indian zoos and complement the wildlife conservation strategies through ex-situ measures, as on today recognizes around 160 zoo and rescue centers that enforce global standards in animal housing and welfare. Over 567 captive animal species (with 114 species under endangered category) with overall 56481 individual animals are currently housed in Indian zoos.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, DG (Forest) & Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Shri Soumitra Dasgupta, ADG (Wildlife), Dr SP Yadav, ADG (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary CZA and other senior officers of MoEF&CC also participated in the event.

Wildlife week is observed in the first week of October, throughout India with an aim to protect the flora and fauna. It was first observed in 1957.

"Large scale migration from urban to the rural areas is a challenge", said Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs

05.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri has stated that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 is a guiding document for a planet and the people that inhabit it. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets together reflect, both the collective vision and goal that we have to work to achieving by 2030, he added.All the flagship Missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, the Smart Cities Mission, the AMRUT Mission were in implementation modewell before the SDGswere adopted by the Member States. In a country of India’s size, diversity and population, it is a staggering challenge to implement this ambitious urban agenda. “I am, however, both optimistic and confident that we will succeed. The essential ingredient for success in any endeavour of this magnitude is strong political will. That is in abundance in this Government”. He was addressing a Webinar on the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020 from Nirman Bhawan, here today. Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, senior officials from UN Agencies, States and the Ministry also attended the Webinar. On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020, several e-Publications of the organisations under MoHUA viz HUDCO, BMTPC CGEWHO and NCHF were also released.

The Minister during his address stressed on the challenge of large scale migration from urban areas to the rural areas. He informed that to tackle this problem, the Government of India has quickly come up with a scheme for making available rental housing on a large scale. The eco system has been laid down and work is being taken up on a war footing. There is a huge focus on use of new and environmentally safe construction technologies and techniques. This will have a salutary effect in keeping the adverse impact on the environment in check. Through a global housing technology challenge, the very best of national and international technologies are sought to be brought in.

"More focused and collective action needed for mitigation of Air Pollution": Prakash Javadekar

01.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister if Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today chaired a review meeting on the situation of air pollution which has been a recurrent environmental concern in winter season in Northern India especially in Delhi NCR region over last few years. Five states Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab participated in the meeting.

In a press briefing, after the meeting which lasted for more than 90 minutes, Shri Javadekar said, that the meeting was fruitful in addressing the issue and that centre and state have worked and will work together to implement steps to combat air pollution, but more needs to be done.

In an effort to combat air pollution caused due to stubble burning the Minister informed that the centre has allotted a fund of Rs. 1700 to the states for stubble management. Currently,80% subsidy to cooperatives and 50% subsidy to individuals on machineries for stubble is being provided to curb pollution caused due to stubble burning.

The Minister stated that Hotspots have been identified in states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan too and the state governments have been directed to pay more attention to these. State action plans have been made and discussed which will be implemented. Union minister emphasized that Delhi government has been directed to take more action on the 13 hotspots in Delhi so as to reduce the air pollution in the capital. 50 teams of CPCB will be deployed in Delhi NCR region to take appropriate action this year.

He further added that the trial of Pusa Microbial Decomposer Capsule is underway in Delhi NCR and informed that Uttar Pradesh will be using this technology over an area of 10,000 hectrares this year and Delhi will be using the same for 800 hectares as informed by Environment Ministers of these states during the meeting.Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also stated the importance of using Bio Decomposers, Bio CNG and Bio power to reduce air pollution and its negative impact.

The minister emphasized that there are several other factors that contribute to air pollution other than stubble burning which include constructions and demolition waste, poor waste management, unpaved roads and dust management, Bio mass burning, etc. Today, States have shared their plans to fight against pollution and the Centre have suggested more steps to deal with it further.

The minister informed that several measures have been taken by the centre like BS VI norms have been introduced; power plants of Badarpur have Sonipat have been closed. He stated that Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways have helped massively in reducing vehicular air pollution in Delhi and nearly 60,000 vehicles are diverted from Delhi which earlier used to go through Delhi.

To conclude the minister appealed to the state governments as well as the masses to also take constructive measures to contribute in reducing air pollution and informed that the Central Pollution Control Board will work actively with all states on a daily basis to monitor the level of pollution.

With “New Thinking, New Approach”, Prime Minister inaugurates 6 Mega Projects under Namami Gange for a Clean and Continuous River Ganga

30.09.2020, New Delhi: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated 6 mega development projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission on 29th September 2020, through video conference. He emphasized the importance of keeping the River Ganga clean as it plays a significant role in sustaining the lives of about 50% of the country’s population from its origin in Uttarakhand till West Bengal.

The Prime Minister termed the Namami Gange Mission as the largest integrated river conservation mission which not only aims at the cleanliness of River Ganga but also focuses on comprehensive upkeep of the River. He highlighted the fact that under Namami Gange, projects worth more than Rs. 30,000 Crores are either in progress or have been completed. He pointed out that due to these projects the sewage treatment capacity of Uttarakhand has increased 4 times in the last 6 years.

The Prime Minister mentioned that apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, the Namami Gange is focussing on development of the economy and environment of the entire Gangetic belt. He said “Now the Namami Gange Abhiyan is being taken to a new level. Apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, now there is a focus on the development of the economy and environment of the entire area adjacent to the Ganges. A comprehensive plan has been formulated by the government to provide benefits of organic farming and ayurvedic plant farming to the farmers of all states including Uttarakhand. Besides planting trees on both sides of Ganga ji, a corridor for organic farming is also being developed. These projects to improve Ganga water are now going to get an impetus from Mission Dolphin in the plains. On August 15, the Mission Dolphin has been announced. This mission will further boost the work of increasing dolphin population in Ganga ji.”

The Prime Minister listed the efforts taken to close more than 130 drains in Uttarakhand from flowing into the River Ganga. He referred specially to the Chandreshwar Nagar drain which turned as an eyesore to visitors and rafters at Muni Ki Reti, in Rishikesh. He applauded the closing of the drain and the construction of a four storied STP at Muni Ki Reti.

Shri Modi said owing to fragmentation of work- on an important subject like water- into various ministries and departments, led to lack of clear guidelines & coordination. As a result, problems related to irrigation and drinking water continued to persist. He lamented that even after so many years of independence, piped drinking water has not reached more than 15 crore households in the country. Shri Modi said the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) was formed to bring in a synergy and give impetus to dealing with these challenges. He said the ministry is now engaged in the mission of ensuring access to piped drinking water to every house in the country. Today, about 1 lakh households are being provided piped water supply connections every day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. He said drinking water connections have been provided to 2 crore families of the country in just 1 year.

The Prime Minister orated that unlike the previous programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a bottom to top approach, where the users and Water Committees in the villages envision the whole project from its implementation to maintenance and operation. He said the mission has also ensured that at least 50% of the members of the water committee would be women. He informed that a special 100-day campaign is being launched on 2nd October 2020 under Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure drinking water connection to every school and Anganwadi in the country.

On World Tourism Day Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan calls for Switching to 100% Clean Fuels for Prime Tourist Cities

28.09.2020, New Delhi: On the occasion of the World Tourism Day, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today addressed a virtual meet on the theme of “Tourism and rural development”, along with Minister of State (I/c) for Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.

Minister Pradhan called for weaving sustainability with tourism and collaborating to switch prime tourist cities to 100% clean fuels, which will further help protect our monuments and ensure a cleaner environment for the tourists.

"On World Rivers Day come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean": Prakash Javadekar

27.09.2020, New Delhi: A very special day on which it is celebrated as World Tourism Day, World Rivers Day and also Daughters Day. And all these are so interlinked in terms of social values. Rivers are the source of life, the essence of life. Rivers should be protected from pollution. We cannot have clean water for ourselves if our rivers are polluted.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar shared a message "On this #WorldRiversDay come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean. Let us revitalize rivers."

He said the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is working towards forestry interventions required for the rejuvenation of 13 major rivers across the country.

On the World Rivers Day, DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra remembers the famed river conservationist Mark Angelo, and encourages the participants to continue to remember the words of Angelo - 'Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense'.

"When we had started with Namami Gange programme, we focused towards river Ganga itself, which expanded to big tributaries of Ganga by 2018. We have expanded our focus to rejuvenation of smaller rivers, for overall health of rivers of our country." said DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra

He also expressed his appreciation towards the participant DMS & their contribution towards the rejuvenation of rivers. He emphasised that the theme of World Rivers Day, 'Day of Action for Rivers', suits the work of Namami Gange and its partners & associates.

As winter approaches Centre & Delhi Govt. initiate air pollution issue

26.09.2020, New Delhi: As the winter is approaching, Central Government as well as Delhi Government has become proactive. Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal today wrote to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, suggesting scaling up the use of a low-cost technology developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here to deal with stubble burning.

The chief minister through his letter had also sought an appointment from the Union minister, who said in the evening they have already spoken over the phone.

Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar replied through a tweeter message stating that both the leaders have been in touch over phone. "The Centre has taken several meaningful steps which have resulted in reduced pollution in Delhi. And, I have also told you to convene a meeting with the Ministers of all the concerned States", replied Javadekar.

It is reported that last year, Punjab produced around 20 million tonnes paddy residue and the farmers there burnt 9.8 million tonnes of it. The farmers in Haryana burnt 1.23 million tonnes out of the 7 million tonnes of paddy residue. Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it as there is a short window between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and Delhi Environment Minister have reviewed a technology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

On 19th September, an Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel. Read more

Rs. 2.5 Crore CSR Fund from Fortis Healthcare to Indian Council of Medical Research from CSR fund, HAL to spend 1 Cr in Ladakh

26.09.2020, New Delhi: Reputed private sector medical service provider Fortis Healthcare handed over a cheque of Rs 2.5 crore to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the presence of Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in his office. The fund was handed over under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.

Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare along with Manu Kapila, Senior Vice President (Corporate Affairs and CSR) presented the cheque to ICMR Director General Prof (DR) Balram Bhargav and Senior Financial Advisor, Rajiv Roy.

At the event, Shri Choubey said that the ICMR has “established an outstanding parameter in the field of research”. Not only in India, this institute one of the best research institute in the world. Scientists have worked tirelessly day and night since day one of Covid-19 pandemic.”

He also said “the Fortis Hospital has done a commendable job and I am sure this would inspire many.”

In another event, as part of their CSR program, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has agreed to extend generous funding support to Establishment of one Makeshift Hospital in Himachal Pradesh and a COVID Testing Centre at Ladakh at a cost of over a crore".

670 new electric buses and 241 charging stations sanctioned under FAME scheme

25.09.2020, New Delhi: In a big push towards electric mobility the Government has sanctioned 670 Electric buses in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh and 241 Charging Stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme.

Announcing this in a series of tweet messages, Union Heavy Industries Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar, who is also the Union Minister for Environment, said that the decision reflects government's commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and to address issues of vehicular emissions. Shri Javadekar said that the decision is in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision for eco-friendly public transportation.

The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, is administering the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme since April, 2015 to promote adoption of electric/ hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in India .

In the First Phase of the Scheme upto 31st March 2019, about 2,80,987 hybrid and electric vehicles were supported by way of demand incentive, amounting to about Rs 359 crore. Further, DHI sanctioned 425 electric and hybrid buses to various cities in the country with total cost of about Rs. 280 Crores. The Department of Heavy Industry had also sanctioned 520 Charging Stations for Rs. 43 Crore (approx.) in cities like Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and NCR of Delhi under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme.

At present, Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years w.e.f. 01st April, 2019 with a total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore.

This phase focuses on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation and aims to support, through subsidies, approximately 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers. In addition, creation of charging infrastructure is also supported to address the anxiety among users of electric vehicles.

Central Pollution Control Board celebrates its 46th Foundation Day; pledges for more science-based environment management

“Improving the air quality a shared responsibility”: Babul Supriyo

23.09.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo today on 23rd September 2020 said, people and governments need to share the responsibility and work together to keep the air clean. Speaking at the webinar to commemorate the 46th Year of Establishment of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Minister said, CPCB has been doing a phenomenal work in terms of collecting and collating the data related to pollution, which is acting as a key policy input for the government and the concerned agencies to improve air quality. He said, CPCB has been providing a real time data which is commendable.

The Minister further said, that there is a need to ensure that water is not polluted because it can have an adverse impact on the crops and human health as well as ecosystem. He also appreciated CPCB for handling bio-medical waste during the times of COVID-19.

The CPCB was established on 23rd September 1974 under The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 as a technical arm of Central Government for environmental research, monitoring, regulation and enforcement in the country.

Since its inception, CPCB is working tirelessly towards environmental protection in the country. Some of the pro-active actions of the Central Board include setting sector specific standards (86); real time surveillance of more than 5,000 industries; river basin studies, which led to genesis of Ganga Action Plan; multi-city source apportionment studies; establishing extensive monitoring network and data management for public dissemination; setting national ambient air quality standards; and fixing water quality criteria. CPCB’s actions have been critical in obviating steep environmental degradation expected of rapid industrial, commercial and population growth. With increasing environmental challenges and mounting public expectations, CPCB is working to re-define pollution control technologies and management strategies.

On this occasion, CPCB’s transformative goals for 2030 was presented and India’s Environmental Objectives and Innovative Pollution Control Strategies were discussed.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in his address said that CPCB is on the forefront of efforts for a clean environment. Over the years, it has done lot of commendable works, technological upgradations and is motivated to continual improvement. AQI, NCAP & waste management initiatives will ensure more healthy and conducive environment.

Chairman, CPCB, Shiv Das Meena briefed about the achievements made by CPCB in past 46 years. He also outlined the challenges laying before the Board in ensuing future and appealed to the employees of the Board to continue to work in right earnest to meet the new environmental challenges.

Member Secretary, CPCB, Prashant Gargava, presented transformative goals for 2030. He deliberated CPCB’s vision for revisiting approach to pollution control by revamping monitoring & analysis system, action planning guided by science, capacity building including strengthening research and development department, enhancing engagement of IT tools and future development areas to be focused on.

A panel of eminent speakers, comprising Former Secretary, MoEF&CC, C.K. Mishra; S. P. S. Parihar and Prof. S. P. Gautam, both Former Chairman of CPCB; Shiv Das Meena, Chairman CPCB; and Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science & Environment, shared their views. They expressed admiration for CPCB’s efforts towards environmental protection and emphasized on need for revisiting its role and investing in its capacity building.

Uttarakhand plans 100% coverage under Jal Jeevan Mission by 2022

23.09.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held discussion with Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat regarding implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State through video conferencing. Secretary, Addl. Secretary & Mission Director of the Ministry along with Chief Secretary and other senior officers of Uttarakhand government took part in the meeting. Uttarakhand is planning 100% coverage by 2022 to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to every rural household of the State. In this context, the Union Minister had a detailed discussion on the progress of the mission in the State with the CM.

Emphasizing the importance of the life changing mission to improve the lives of rural people, Union Minister Shri Shekhawat stressed on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply schemes. Out of 15,218 villages in the State, 14,595 have piped water supply schemes, but out of 14.61 lakh households only 2.71 lakh (18.55%) have tap connections. The Union Minister urged to take up the work in campaign mode so that remaining households belonging to poor & marginalized sections of the society could be provided with tap connections at earliest.

Shri Shekhawat reiterated the commitment of Union Government to provide all assistance to the State to achieve this goal. For Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. Minister of Jal Shakti assured Uttarakhand Chief Minister of all support to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs’ State.

Union Minister further emphasized on preparation of village action plans as well as constitution of Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% of women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure. All villages have to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) which essentially will comprise of development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply, grey-water management and operation and maintenance component. It was also suggested to take up IEC campaign along with community mobilization to make Jal Jeevan Mission, truly a people’s movement.

Government of India is committed to provide assured basic services to the people living in rural areas of the country with focus on improving their lives. Drinking water supply is a service delivery, wherein the quantity, quality of water supplied and periodicity of water supply has to be ensured for which the flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation in partnership with States. The objective of the Mission is universal coverage i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their households.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, priority is being given on water quality surveillance through active participation of the local community. 5 persons especially women are being trained in every village to use the Field Test Kits to test the quality of water being provided in the rural areas. Every source needs to be tested once every year for physical and chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological contamination. The State of Uttarakhand was also advised to complete the accreditation of State and district laboratories in next 3-4 months and also to open those for public so that they can test the quality of water supplied at very nominal rate.

Diesel Gen Sets soon to go obsolete?

Cars to Construction, Battery changing many businesses

22.09.2020

The world is passing through a crucial urbanisation and decarbonisation. There is a global shift taking place from internal combustion engines to electric motors. Growing air pollution from transport sector has resulted in a range of electric vehicles being launched in India as well, especially in the past one year or so. Heavy industries such as construction, largely powered by diesel, account for a large part of carbon emissions. And therefore, the battery revolution is moving further to highways to the construction sector. Hong Kong based AMPD Energy is offering a state of the art battery system with high output power electronics that powers the most demanding of loads with no direct tailpipe emissions.

Construction today is powered by diesel generators to meet the heavy power draw of large machinery. The wrath of air pollution in the winters lead to stoppage of diesel generators running due to intermittent regulatory measures, which ultimately causes delay in project execution and project handover. In such a situation, AMPD Energy’s Enertainer, a massive lithium-ion connected battery system, which is powering the giant cranes that erect high-rises, may prove vital. Ampd sells and leases the Enertainers, which are filled with enough lithium-ion, nickel, cobalt and manganese batteries to power 25,000 iPhones. Over 30,000 automotive grade battery cells, designed into fire and explosion-proof battery modules driven by high performance power electronics. Features, hardware and software carefully designed for the specific needs of construction sites.

Though construction cranes run on electricity, they have tended to use diesel generators because the massive power consumption that could drain local grids and risk blackouts. As claimed by AMPD Energy batteries can draw barely noticeable sips from the network all day and night in order to provide the huge discharges required by the builders. The company claims multiple benefits beyond zero end of pipe emissions, for example no diesel, no fire hazards. The product also significantly reduce noise pollution by 10 times as claimed by the manufacturers. Eliminating diesel generators envisages reduction in street-level pollution due to air pollutants, noise and vibration, and also land pollution, which may lead to groundwater contamination, due to spillages of diesel and lubricating oil.

Until recently, battery-powered construction would have been too expensive a proposition. But lithium-ion battery costs have plunged 90% in the past decade as manufacturers gain experience assembling them for electric vehicles, according to BloombergNEF.

Though initial cost of installation and operational expenditure, besides efficiency and reliability could be the trigger points for the success of such products. The legal aspects pertaining to safety requirements, which is not clear at this stage, as compared to diesel generator sets could also be a salient feature.

Brandon Ng, Co-founder and CEO at Ampd Energy states that over the next 40 years, the world will be building equivalent to a new Paris every week, in order to support the hyper-urbanisation of humanity. Ampd Energy is leading the charge to enable us to build the megacities of tomorrow, sustainably.

"75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India": Babul Supriyo on World Rhino Day

22.09.2020, New Delhi: Some species of rhinoceros are among the world’s most endangered animals, threatened by both habitat loss and poaching. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to think deeply about human beings’ relationship with the natural world on which we all depend for our survival. Sound and sustainable wildlife management is, therefore, likely to receive greater attention in the post-COVID-19 world. Here’s one example of an ongoing project in South Africa.

On the eve of World Rhino Day, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate, Babul Supriyo congratulated the frontline forest staff and officials for working tirelessly to save Rhinos and said that India has been successfully saving its Rhinos and the country is one of the best places for them.

Speaking on the the population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros which reached to the brink of extinction by the end of the 20th century with fewer than 200 animals in wild, the Minister said timely efforts and stringent protection and management of the Government of India and the State Governments have revived the population of Rhinos in the country and we are walking in the right direction for a better future for the iconic species. Today, approximately 75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India in the three States viz, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Census of Rhinoceros is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State Governments periodically.

The World Rhino Day is celebrated every year on 22nd September to emphasize the importance of conservation of Rhinoceros species and its habitats. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India celebrated the World Rhino Day, 2020 through virtual platforms in the esteem presence of Shri Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The senior officials of the Ministry, State Forest Departments and other organizations such as Central Zoo Authority, WWF-India, Aaranayak, and UNDP etc. also attended the meeting.

Efforts are currently ongoing in the country to protect the existing rhino population and also to increase the distribution of the species through the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme. Success was achieved in restocking the rhino population in the World Heritage Site Manas National Park recently through wild to wild translocations. One-horned Rhinoceros is also one of the 21 species identified for Recovery programme for critically endangered species by the Ministry. The Ministry has also launched the “National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros” with the goal to repopulate Rhinoceros population in those areas also which used to hold the Rhinoceros earlier by augmenting the existing conservation efforts and strengthening them through scientific and administrative measures.

The Ministry and the State Forest Departments of the Assam, Uttar Pradesh &West Bengal with support from other organizations are taking appropriate steps in accordance with the “New Delhi Declaration” which was signed after the 2nd Asian Rhino range States Conservation meeting held on 26th-28th February, 2019 at MoEF&CC, New Delhi wherein representatives from Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal attended the meeting besides India.

Initiatives have been undertaken by the State Governments such as West Bengal and Bihar are also working for the reintroduction of the Rhinoceros in the areas which used to hold the Rhino populations till a few decades back.

The Minister also informed that an alpha male Rhino shall be translocated from Patna zoo to Delhi zoo.

Jal Jeevan Mission encourages innovations for Smart supply measurement and monitoring system

20.09.2020, New Delhi: Monitoring has been crux of success of all programmes. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The ICT grand challenge will be inviting proposal from Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for cause of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted at 100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each. The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MEITY supported incubator/ CoEs for further nurturing of their solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Details of the challenge can be seen in https://jjm.gov.in/

Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel

19.09.2020, New Delhi: As air pollution is shooting up with monsoon setting off, the Prime Minister's Office has initiated advance action for the management of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. A High-level taskforce led by Dr. P. K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister met on 18th September 2020 to review action taken by agencies and to firm up plans for the coming season. Dr. P. K. Mishra chaired the meeting constituted to improve the air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi. Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of different Departments, Ministries of the Central Government including Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Agriculture, Road, Petroleum and Central Pollution Control Board were present in the meeting.

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister emphasized that the meeting was called well in advance before the onset of harvesting and winter season to ensure proper precautionary and preventive measures to combat the causes of air pollution are taken well in time.

A review of the main sources of air pollution, measures taken and the progress made by the State Governments and various Ministries was carried out. It was noted that the incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50% in last two years and the number of Good AQI days have gone up.

The efforts and plan made by the State of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for control of crop residue burning were examined in detail, including ground level deployment and availability of machinery for in-situ management of crop residue.

It was observed that after recent inclusion of residue based power and fuel plants under priority sector lending by Reserve Bank of India, both State and Central Governments should jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units. Measures related to diversification of crop and strengthening of supply chains were also discussed.

Dr. Mishra highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the existing in-situ management of crop residue scheme of Ministry of Agriculture by the States, and emphasized that State Governments should ensure that the new machinery to be deployed in the current year should reach the farmers before the start of the harvesting season. Ministry of Agriculture was directed to provide all necessary support in this regard.

To control stubble burning, it was stressed that adequate number of teams should be deployed at ground level and they should ensure that no stubble burning takes place especially in the State of Punjab, Haryana and UP. These States need to put extra efforts and appropriate incentives especially in the relevant districts.

Government of GNCT-Delhi was requested to ensure measures to control local sources of pollution. Principal Secretary mentioned that special emphasis should be laid on deployment of teams for control of open burning of waste, IT-enabled monitoring of mechanical road sweepers, improvement in utilization of construction & demolition waste and site specific implementation of action plan for identified hot spots. It was decided that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh would prepare and implement similar site specific action plans in their area falling under NCR.

Principal Secretary emphasized that the envisaged measures should be implemented well before the onset of severe conditions, and focus should also be laid on compliance of emission norms by industry in satellite industrial area.

8 beaches of India recommended for a coveted “Blue Flag” International eco-label

18.09.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of International Coastal Clean-Up Day which is celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced at a virtual event that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification. The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists. Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world. The eight beaches are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman&Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri beach in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden beach of Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar.

Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar who couldn’t attend the event due to the ongoing parliament session, said through a video message that the government is committed to clean the beaches across the country. He said, clean beaches are the testimony to environment in the coastal area. He said, the issue of marine litter and oil spilling has caused disturbances to the aquatic life and the Government of India is undertaking various efforts for the sustainable development of coastal regions.

The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS by e-hoisting the flag -#IAMSAVINGMYBEACH simultaneously at these eight beaches. SICOM, MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This is one of the several other projects of ICZM that Govt of India is undertaking for the sustainable development of coastal regions, striving for globally recognized and the coveted eco-label ‘Blue flag”.

The flag hoisting program was conducted simultaneously at these 08 beaches virtually from MOEFCC and physically at the beaches by respective States/UTs through its MLAs and/or Chairman of Beach Management Committees (BMCs).

Speaking on the occasion, Union Environment Secretary, Shri R.P. Gupta said that high standards are being maintained to clean the beaches to keep environment safe and in the next four to five years 100 more beaches will be cleaned.

In a video message, World Bank’s country director Mr. Zunaid Khan applauded India’s efforts towards cleaning up the its beaches and said that India with its strategies for sustainable coastal zone management shall act as a lighthouse for other countries in the region.

With a view to protect and conserve the coastal and marine ecosystems and environment through a holistic coastal management, the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change launched the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) activities in India for a holistic approach with an interactive, dynamic, multidisciplinary, and iterative planning process to promote sustainable development & management of coastal zones through its own wing SICOM.

The concept of ICZM was introduced in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro and most of the coastal countries in the World have been adopting ICZM principles for managing their coastal zones. Thus, adoption of ICZM principles for managing and sustainably developing our coastal regions is helping India in keeping with its commitments to international agreements on ICZM.

The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations. This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.

International Coastal Cleanup Day got its start in 1986 when Linda Maraniss met Kathy O’Hara while working for Ocean Conservancy. O’Hara had just completed a report called Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem. The two of them reached out to other ocean-lovers and organized a Cleanup for Ocean Conservancy. The first Cleanup consisted of 2,800 volunteers. Since that time, the Cleanup has grown into an international event in more than 100 countries.

National Water Policy

17.09.2020, New Delhi: To address the present challenges in water sector, revision of National Water Policy has been envisaged and a drafting committee has been constituted on 5th November 2019 to revise the National Water Policy within a term of six months. Due to the work being affected due to COVID-19 pandemic, the term of the Committee has been extended up to 31st October, 2020.The said committee is working towards finalizing its report at present.

The proposed National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE) will have the overall responsibility of improving water use efficiency across various sectors, namely irrigation, drinking water supply, power generation, industries, cities and all other areas where water is used.

This was stated by the The Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Katatria in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

The first National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987. It was reviewed and updated in 2002 and later in 2012.

G-20 Environment Minister Meeting addressed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

16.09.2020, New Delhi: Participating in the G20 Environment Ministers meeting today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar stated that the world has to channel its best practices to deal with Climate Change. Emphasizing India’s achievements on land degradation neutrality, climate goals, the Union Minister said that India is committed to working with G20 nations for a better world and applauds the launch of the Global Initiative to reduce land degradation and coral reef program. He also highlighted India’s vast bio-diversity and ecosystem.

At a time when the world is arising out of the global pandemic of Covid-19, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar at the Environment Ministers Meeting reminded that countries who are today speaking on ambitious Climate goals and action for 2050, haven't done enough on Kyoto Protocol and also on commitments made at the Paris Agreement. The Minister called for urgent and concrete actions be taken by all countries to conserve and restore the environment.

Shri Prakash Javadekar also congratulated the Saudi Presidency for exemplary work in bringing together the nations of the world to address the urgent environmental challenges and propose impactful solution.

Waste Management Education by NPTEL

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been conducting a programme “Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City”. This course emphasises on Integrated Solid Waste Management aspects within the broad subject area of Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City. The issues of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management, Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste and Electronic Waste Management are covered in this course. The programme discusses environmental impact of waste management and its relationship on the big picture sustainable development and smart city development.

The course diligently focus on various aspects of MSW management, such as: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Smart Cities, and Make in India. It deliberates on the challenges of waste management for smart cities taking case studies from the first list of 20 smart cities identified in the first phase for this program. The new rules and challenges of implementation with respect of C&D Waste and E-Waste Management are also included.

The course will be beneficial for B.Tech, M.Tech, B.Sc, M.Sc, Researchers, Faculty Members, engineers and professionals working in any area related to waste management, and also the Regulators (SPCB, CPCB and MOEF professionals) and policy makers.

NPTEL has been organizing this programme under the aegis of SWAYAM, initiated by Government of India and designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. Courses delivered through SWAYAM are available free of cost to the learners.

Professor Brajesh Kr. Dubey, Associate Professor (Integrated Waste Management and Sustainable Engineering) in the Division of Environmental Engineering and Management at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, who has worked as Waste Management Expert for UN agencies and World Bank; is the major driving force of this programme.

Odisha gets Rs. 35 Crore from Centre on account of tiger & elephant conservation

14.09.2020, New Delhi: The Govt. of India has released over Rs. 35 Crore to Odisha during 2019-21 for the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes for tiger and elephant conservation.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed that Odisha, which is one of the biodiversity rich states, has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. The minister said "Odisha, one of the most richly endowed state in biodiversity has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. #ProjectTiger and #ProjectElephant are addressing the threat of poaching and helping these majestic species thrive in their natural habitat."

"Modi govt’s consistent efforts are ensuring that #tigers continue to roar in the jungle", he added.

Pradhan stated, "Consistent efforts towards environmental sustainability and conservation of wildlife under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stewardship of Prakash Javdekar has become a trailblazer for the revival of endangered animal species, like tigers and elephants in India."

Union Jal Shakti Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare highlighted Indian Government’s priorities in G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers’ Meet

13.09.2020, New Delhi: A virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers held on 12.09.2020 was attended by G-20 Member countries and special invitees. Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala attended the meeting. In his opening remarks Shri Shekhawat thanked Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the current Presidency of G-20 and complemented Saudi Arabia for its exemplary leadership during this Covid-19 pandemic for successfully facilitating the dialogue among the member countries through virtual meetings. The Minister stated that technology plays a critical role in the prevailing pandemic situation and applauded India’s IT expertise which India shares with the whole world. He also praised Japan for its leadership during previous presidency and extended best wishes to Italy for the next presidency.

During the Saudi presidency G-20 discussion held on sustainable and resilient water management, thereby optimizing the impacts of water related activities in G-20 forum through collaboration, knowledge sharing on different aspects of water. In the last 10 months, number of meetings have been held among member countries to bring synergy and prepare roadmap for holistic water management. As a part of this dialogue, a 3-days meeting was organized by Saudi presidency during 10-12 September, 2020. Deputy Ministers, in-charge of water and agriculture, deliberated issues related to water and agriculture on 10thand 11thSeptember, 2020 and the Ministers of Agriculture and Water met on 12th September, 2020 to share their views.

TheMinister of Jal Shakti reiterated that India believes in the concept of ‘Universal brotherhood & Collective wisdom’ and will continue to play an active role in collaborative groups such as G-20. The Minister assured the Forum of India’s commitment to work tirelessly to contribute to the objectives, goals and targets set by G-20. The Minister appreciated G-20 and Saudi Presidency for emphasis given on water by initiating a separate dialogue on various aspects of water resources management.

Stating that agriculture is a high priority sector for Government of India, MoS, Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Rupala mentioned about the policy measures taken by the government to ensure food security. He also reiterated India’s resolve to work together in collaboration to enhance the productivity, sustainable use of natural resources, development of agriculture value chain and promotion of trade for the benefit of people. He also informed about successful protocols developed by India to use drones for spraying of pesticides for timely control of the dessert locust, thereby appealing G-20 member countries to work in tandem to come up with an action plan for trans-boundary pest and diseases to safeguard agricultural crops. It was also emphasized about the progressive reforms and measures taken up by government of India to open up new agricultural market options, development of agricultural infrastructure, food processing enterprises, value chains and logistics for fisheries and animal husbandry, medicinal and herbal plants. Shri Rupala also appealed G-20 member countries to share knowledge and best practices to reduce the ill-effects of climate change that could affect agriculture and livelihoods of farmers.