Water from Washing area & Balcony polluting groundwater in Dwarka Residential Societies: DJB apprises NGT

26th November 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

In the matter of Mahesh Chander Saxena versus Chief Secretary, Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) vide O.A. No. 147/2021, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has submitted a reply to the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT). In its reply DJB has stated that inspections were undertaken jointly with Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee. During the Joint Inspection of Rainwater Harvesting structures in societies at Dwarka, New Delhi, it was found that the design of structures were technically sound. However, the recharge well pipes were taken deep into the static ground water level by the societies. That has caused contamination of groundwater.

According to the required parameters of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the depth of pipes in a rainwater harvesting recharge well should be kept at 3 to 5 meter above the static ground water levels.

The Joint Inpsection report also states that contamtnation may occur in the societies due to mixing of the rain water with the wastewater from different sources like waste washing area water with detergents having chemicals from balconies other than that of roof top rain water and the waste water from paved or parking areas of the societies.

The report further deliberates to connect only rooftop area to rainwater harvesting system, to avoid contamination of the groundwater. Rainwater harvesting system should disconnect pipes and conduits carrying rainwater from balcony or washing areas.

Dr. C N Pandey led EAC asks Vedanta pertinent technical questions, signals green to 5 projects including one of UltraTech Cement

24th November 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry Projects, Industry-1 Sector, constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), in its 48th meeting held on 11th and 12th November 2021 recommended five important projects for the grant of EC.

After due appraisals, the EAC has recommended for the grant of EC to the expansion of existing facilities at with addition of 2x300 TPD DRI Kiln and CPP (WHRB from 22 to 30 MW and CFBC 40 MW) within the existing plant Integrated Steel Plant premises by SMC Power Generation Limited,

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NGT document shows over 45% Untreated Sewage still a concern in Ganga River Pollution

21st November 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

In the matter of M. C. Mehta versus Union of India and Others vide OA No. 200 of 2014, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has submitted its 4th Quarterly Progress report to the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). NMCG Report runs through 539 pages and in terms of NGT Order Dated 8th February 2021, in which the Tribunal directed the five concerned states to submit their progress reports on preventing and remedying pollution of River Ganga.

According to the report, Uttarakhand has started bio-remediation works in 9 out of 13 drains, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have done it in 42 out of 459 and 416 drains, respectively. West Bengal needs bioremediation in 15 out of 56 drains, which is yet to be planned.

The report depicts that as of 31st October 2021, Uttarakhand has completed 30 out of 33 sewer infrastructure projects sanctioned, which are situated in towns on the main stem of the River Ganga. Bihar has completed 4 out of 29 STP/ sewer infrastructure projects, while one is expected to be completed by November 2021.

As reported in the 2nd Quarterly Report, earlier the NMCG had suggested States for the implementation of National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management, 2017 in all towns with less than 1 lakh population. It is now reported that Uttarakhand has notified protocol for Septage Management and also formed Septage Management Committees in all 15 priority towns/ULBs. UP Septage Management Policy 2019 was approved in October 2019. NMCG reports that FSTP is operational in two cities; Jhansi and Unnao, while under construction in five more cities – Chunar, Loni, Lakhimpur, Rai Bareilly and Modinagar. Further, UP has approved FSTP projects in 31 more towns. Bihar has only prepared Detailed Project Reports for three towns – Digwara, Manihari and Teghra. The Bihar Government is yet to sanction the DPRs for implementation. Jharkhand has reportedly started works in 4 projects, while 19 are yet to gain momentum. West Bengal has planned one FSTP in every district of the state, while it has only one Septage Treatment Plant of 30 KLD in South Dumdum Municipality Area.

With regard to industrial effluent treatment infrastructure, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have reported that 100% of industries in their states have effluent treatment plants (ETPs). Uttarakhand has reported to have 830 industries, generating 145 MLD effluent and all the industries have ETPs with capacity to treat 175 MLD effluent. West Bengal has reported 454 industries generate 1360.60 KLD effluent, and all of those are having ETPs to treat 1360.60 MLD. However, Uttar Pradesh shares discouraging data with 1404 out of 1648 industries having ETPs. Similarly, Bihar has declared 179 industries releasing 34.4 MLD of wastewater, out of which 148 industries have ETPs with capacity to treat 93.63 KLD of wastewater. In Jharkhand 187 out of 190 industries have ETPs, while the State has not quantified effluent generation. The report also depicts that Uttarakhand has 3 CETPs with a treatment capacity of 13.2 MLD, while it requires 3 more to treat 18 MLD effluent. Uttar Pradesh has 7 CETPs to treat 58.55 MLD effluent, while it is working on 6 more with a total capacity 53.75 MLD. Bihar has no CETPs as of date, though it is working on several projects. West Bengal has 20 MLD CETP and working on 4 more CETPs for which no clear data is provided in the report. Jharkhand has a comparatively better infrastructure with 2 CETPs with 2.2 and 0.5 MLD capacities, and it is working on one more CETP at Tupadana Industrial Cluster in Ranchi.

The report also provides insights into state-wise environmental flows in River Ganga.

The NMCG report shows that the available sewage treatment infrastructure cannot accommodate to treat nearly 4617 MLD sewage. It states that 10139.3 MLD of sewage from urban settlements is being generated in 5 States in the Ganga Basin, while 226 STPs are available to treat only 5586.74 MLD of sewage. The report shows that Bihar has the least capacity utilization of 44%, while West Bengal has the maximum 86% capacity utilization. Further, the report states that 9 STPs were found complying, while 74 were non-complying for Faecal Coliform Standard of less than 230 MPN per 100 ml, as per 30th April 2019 NGT Order. Maximum non-compliance was reported from Uttarakhand followed by Uttar Pradesh.

On Flood Plain Demarcation and Zoning, Uttarakhand has notified the State’s Flood Plain Zoning Act 2012 on 28th February 2017. It has further identified the scope for Flood Plain Zoning in two phases - 1st phase to cover 13 rivers 955 km and 2nd phase 9 rivers with 1151 km. Uttar Pradesh has also reported having notified Flood Plains. Bihar, for which the Tribunal has issued special observation in its 8th February 2021 Order, has submitted a Scientific Report on 10th August 2021, has stated that demarcation of flood plain of River Ganga is not feasible in Bihar and has asked to revisit parts of the Section 3, and Section 6 of the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and management) Order, 2016. Demarcation of flood plains of the rivers in Jharkhand shall be completed by 2024-25. According to NMCG, West Bengal is yet to take decision on flood plain zonation followed by protection and management of identified flood plain areas.

On depicting biological diversity of Ganga in Public Domain, NMCG has mentioned that the River Ganga ecosystem supports more than 25000 floral and faunal species. The NMCG report states that a total of 8 rounds of bio-monitoring along the entire course of River Ganga was carried out during 2014-2020. Biological data is available for 93 unique locations of the River Ganga covered so far. Based on comparative bio-assessment study of same period carried out at 41 locations and covered in eight rounds of bio-monitoring, it is revealed that there is an improvement in biological water quality from moderate to good class at 29 out of 41 locations. The NMCG report also talks about the Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary declared in 30 km stretch near Varanasi.

The report also deliberates on plantation activities and setting up of biodiversity parks, water quality of Ganga River at inter-state border and selected public places in the five states under discussion. NMCG has stated to be working continuously to develop an organic and three-tiered relationship between the State and District Level Authorities to converge all efforts and resources specially in Ganga towns and villages, not only to restore the health of the River but also to bring about a Ganga Centric Development in the areas abutting the River for a symbiotic relation between the river ecology and sustainable development in livelihood opportunities.

This article was published on 17th November 2021 issue of Enviro Annotations Print version

CO2 emission per tonne of crude steel cast goes up YoY reports World Steel Association Report

21st November 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has recently published “Sustainable steel – Sustainability Indicators 2021 and our sustainability journey”. worldsteel uses 8 indicators to measure key aspects of the steel industry’s economic, environmental and social sustainability performance. According to the report, a total of 94 steel companies and associations representing just over 1 billion tonnes of crude steel production, 53.7% of global crude steel production, contributed data for the fiscal year of 2020. Earlier in 2021, worldsteel has recognised 9 companies including JSW Steel and Tata Steel as Steel Sustainability Champions for their work in 2020.

worldsteel released its first policy statement on the environment in 1972, five years after it was founded as the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI). According to a press statement, since then, as the scope of sustainability has broadened, we have released policy statements on topics including safety, climate change and LCA, and have collected industry data from across the world so that our members can benchmark their own performance and strive for continuous improvement.

The report depicts CO2 emission per tonne of crude steel cast has increased year after year from 2018 to 2020. CO2 emission in 2018 was 1.81 per tonne of crude steel cast, which increased to 1.85 per tonne of crude steel cast in 2019 and 1.89 per tonne of crude steel cast in 2020.

Similarly, the energy intensity also increased from 19.51 GJ per tonne crude steel cast in 2018 to 20.06 in 2019 and 20.62 is 2020.

However, encouragingly, material efficiency also got up from 96.33 % of materials converted to products and co-products in 2018 to 96.49 in 2019 and 97.86 in 2020.

The Association has stated that updating its previous principles, now, 9 new Sustainability Principles are the latest development in its sustainability journey, which reflect the rapidly changing business environment and societal expectations and reiterate our commitment to being part of the solution for a sustainable society and future.

This article was published on 17th November 2021 issue of Enviro Annotations Print version

Dharmendra Pradhan stresses on biodiversity conservation research in North Eastern States

21st November 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister of Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan along with Minister of State for Education and External Affairs Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh on Saturday chaired the meeting of Education Ministers of the North-Eastern States in Guwahati.

Pradhan stressed on working together with the NE state education ministries in charting special initiatives for research institutions planning in areas like, biodiversity conservation, promoting sustainable commercial cultivation of bio-resources, and also reducing drop-out rates.

The Union Minister overviewed presentations on the school and higher education scenarios in the North Eastern region, including enrolment trends, outreach initiatives for ethnic students, access to facilities, penetration of centrally-sponsored schemes, steps taken to make education accessible, among others. Deliberations centred around the way forward towards implementing the NEP 2020, strategies to strengthen the learning landscape in the NE states to transform the NE region into a knowledge-based economy.

Education Advisors of the NE states and senior officials of the Ministry of Education, GOI were also present.

Citizens’ contribution and assistance to State Administration, always helpful in maintaining Environment: National Green Tribunal

18th November 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

Hearing on the matter of Tulinder Katoch & Anr. Versus State of Haryana & Ors. vide The Original Application No. 49/2020, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stated that citizens willing to contribute and assist the State Authorities can always be helpful in maintaining the environment.

The applicant’s grievance was against the failure of authorities to take remedial action against collected garbage and sewage on the bank of Uttar Pradesh – Agra canal, resulting in damage to the environment. The applicants stated that the piled up garbage and flowing sewage was affecting the health of the children studying in the nearby schools, including the Modern Delhi Public School situated at Tigaon Road, Sector-87, Greater Faridabad in Haryana. The plaint also raised that apart from municipal garbage, there was also contamination due to mix-up of various other wastes such as Plastic Wastes, Construction and Demolition Wastes, Bio-Medical Wastes and E-Wastes. It was also reported that to aggravate the situation, there was a pool of stagnant water causing mosquito breeding and having potential for diseases.

According to the NGT Order, despite the Tribunal has considered the matter on several occasions in the last one and a half years, the situation did not improve. However, the Order depicts that the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) has resolved by decluttering the blockages and channelized with sewer network.

The Construction & Demolition waste was adjusted in nearby low lying areas. NGT was also informed that there was no waste lying in the area, which negates any possibility of waste burning.

Responding to pond rejuvenation aspect in Faridabad, NGT was reported that no pond exists in area in question pertaining to Irrigation Department, State of Uttar Pradesh. However, progress pertaining to rejuvenation of ponds and water bodies as per the Tribunal’s Order in O.A. No.325 of 2015 and 393 of 2019 is being monitored by the Haryana Pond and Waste Water Management Authority, Panchkula.

Disposing the Application, the Principal Bench of NGT headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, on 17th November 2021 directed authorities concerned, which includes Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh, to continue efforts for maintaining the canal and the area in question free from garbage and sewage.

GRAP Sub-Committee advises 30% less use of vehicles by Govt., Private Establishments on the wake of worsening Air Quality in Delhi-NCR

12th November 2021, New Delhi

The Air Quality Index in Delhi-NCR has worsen due to meteorological conditions. Air quality is expected to be in severe category till 18th November 2021. Considering the gravity of the situation, the seventh meeting of the Sub-committee on Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was convened on today via video conferencing. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Chairperson of the Sub-committee.

MS, CPCB briefed that AQI was in ‘Severe’ category and informed that pollution levels have crossed the threshold limit of PM10 (500μg/m3) and PM2.5 (300μg/m3) in Delhi-NCR on 12th November 2021 at 03.00 hours and 01.00 hours, respectively.

Dr. V.K. Soni, a Scientist in the Indian Meteorological Department, was requested for inputs on meteorological forecast, who informed that meteorological conditions are highly unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants till 18th November 2021 due to low wind speed (North-westerly) and calm conditions during the night. It was also informed that during 14th to 17th November, winds will be calm even during the day. Dr. Soni further apprised that stubble contribution is likely to remain high due to North-westerly winds and increased stubble burning incidences.

Dr. Gargava observed that, in view of unfavourable meteorology, stubble burning and poor dispersion resulting in accumulation of pollutants, the coming week is critical with regard to air quality in Delhi-NCR. Action Taken Report (ATR) is received on daily basis from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana Pollution Control Boards. These reports are awaited from Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board.

After deliberation, the Sub-committee decided that all actions under ‘Severe’ category as per Order dated 8th November 2021 to be continued stringently with more rigour.

The Subcommittee has advised the Government Offices, Private Offices and other establishments to reduce vehicle usage by at least 30%. It has suggested working from home, car-pooling, and optimizing their field activities, etc.

People are advised to limit outdoor activities and minimize their exposure.

The implementing agencies, at appropriate levels, have been asked to closely monitor actions taken and submit daily report to concerned SPCBs /PCC, which will review and further submit reports to CAQM and CPCB.

Rajesh Kumar, Director, Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas; Dr. K.S. Jayachandran, Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee; Anand Mohan, Member Secretary, Rajasthan Pollution Control Board; Vivek Roy, CEO, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board; Dr. T.K. Joshi, Health Expert; ipun Gupta, Haryana State Pollution Control Board; P.K. Gupta, Scientist E, CPCB; Sharandeep Singh, Scientist, CPCB, and Deuvshree Sharma, CPCB also participated in the meeting.

US - China announce to work jointly on Green Transport

11th November 2021, New Delhi

As COP26 is on the last lap, on Wednesday, the United States and China jointly announced that the two nations have agreed to work together on more ambitious climate action in this decade, doing more to cut emissions, including from methane.

The Chinese envoy for climate, Xie Zhenhua and the American one, John Kerry, organized a press conference to present the historic agreement and to announce to the audience that they have formed an alliance to fight a common enemy: climate change. The extent of the news immediately hit the UN conference with a positive air and reinvigorated hopes for the success of COP26.

The UK Presidency on Wednesday published a draft of the final outcome document of the conference, calling on countries to step up ambition and define their ‘Net-Zero’ strategies as early as 2022.

It is also the first time that ‘loss and damage’ and a call to end fossil fuel subsidies have been included in such a document – a step which drew mixed reactions from some civil society organizations, as well as a broader call for a much more ambitious text.

Alok Sharma, COP26 President, said that finalizing the text, including the recent decisions, will be challenging.

“But we know what is at risk if we do not reach an ambitious outcome: climate-vulnerable countries at the frontline of the climate crisis will continue to bear the brunt before it engulfs us all,” he said, adding that he expects an agreement by Friday evening.

US joins India initiated ISA as 101st Member

10th November 2021, New Delhi

Energy production and use is the single biggest contributor to global warming, accounting for roughly two-thirds of human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Currently, around 80% of global energy and 66% of electrical generation are supplied from fossil fuels, contributing approximately 60% of the GHG emissions responsible for climate change. Solar energy has proven to be a game changer. In a big boost to accelerate global adoption of solar energy, John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate announced at the UNFCCC COP26 on Wednesday that the United States of America (USA) has joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a member country. U.S becomes the 101st country to sign the framework agreement of the ISA to catalyze global energy transition through a solar-led approach.

The launch of the ISA was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Francois Hollande, Former President of France on 30th November 2015, at the 21st session of United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris, France. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the launch, alongside the Heads of about 120 nations who affirmed their participation in the Alliance to dedicate efforts for promotion of solar energy. The ISA is an inter-governmental treaty-based international organization with a global mandate to catalyze global solar growth by helping to reduce the cost of financing and technology for solar. In fulfilling this mandate, the ISA is committed to establishing solar as a shared solution that simultaneously addresses climate, energy, and economic priorities across geographies, facilitating Energy Transition at a global level, Energy Security at national levels, while also ensuring Energy Access at the local level. The ISA is helping large nations scale global commitments, thereby serving the planet’s needs for reduced carbon emissions, while also helping economically more vulnerable nations establish a self-sustaining energy alternative that reduces trade dependency and drives job creation. Universal, affordable, and reliable last- mile electricity connectivity across socio-economic strata is a crucial pillar and targeted, tangible outcome of these combined efforts towards facilitating economic development and environmental impact.

Welcoming the United States of America as the 101st member of the ISA, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav said, that this move will strengthen the ISA and propel future action on providing a clean source of energy to the world.

Signing the framework agreement, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, said, “It has long been coming, and we are happy to join the International Solar Alliance, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead in making. We worked out the details and this is a process we are pleased to be a part of. This will be an important contribution to more rapid deployment of solar globally. It will be particularly important for developing countries.”

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, the ISA said, “The US’ endorsement of ISA’s framework and approach is an heartening development, especially as our 101st member nation, which is a significant milestone in itself, demonstrating that nations across the world are recognizing the economic and climate mitigating value of solar, as well as this energy source’s potential as a catalyst for global energy transition.”

The framework was first circulated for countries’ support in 2016. The framework emphasizes delivering global relevance and local benefit to all countries through collaborations, with ISA’s key interventions focusing on readiness & enabling activities, risk mitigation & innovative financing instruments to facilitate the promotion and deployment of solar technologies in target markets.

The approach and methods detailed in the framework have already delivered results, with ISA building a solar project pipeline of nearly 5 GW installed capacity. The approach detailed in this framework will culminate in a vision for interconnected global grids, which was formalized and jointly launched as the ‘Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG), during the World Leaders Summit of the COP26 in Glasgow on 2nd November 2021 by the UK Presidency of COP26 and India Presidency of International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Earlier at COP26, the United States also joined the Steering Committee of the GGI-OSOWOG comprising of 5 members – USA, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and India — and endorsed the One Sun Declaration along with 80 countries. United States of America’s Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm had said that “the Grid-Sun combination will save the planet. The GGI-OSOWOG is focusing on the two most important pieces of the puzzle. We at the US Department of Energy are happy to be a partner with GGI-OSOWOG.”

U.S.' endorsement of the ISA framework follows remarks by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at the Fourth General Assembly of ISA in October 2021, where he had said that ISA is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has an opportunity to accelerate Solar’s growth with member countries blessed with the world’s strongest sunlight. Stating that, “Solar energy is at the heart of the urgent climate action,” Mr. Kerry urged nations to take dramatic action to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature rise and mid-century net zero emissions targets within reach.

Youth were the spotlight at COP 26 on Ocean Action day

6th November 2021, New Delhi

On the 6th day at COP26 and all over the city centre of Glasgow, young leaders did their best to make their voices be heard, expressing their discontent with the current state of climate action, or, as some claimed, "climate inaction.”

Inside the COP26 venue, similar calls were made, and a statement with several demands made by UN youth representatives was handed over to Ministers.

Youth were undisputedly in the spotlight, but the day was also Ocean Action Day, which ended on a positive note.

The UNFCCC published its latest updates of the national commitments thus far to reduce carbon emissions, and although some advances have been made during the conference, they are still not enough.

“A sizable increase, of about 13.7 per cent, in global greenhouse emissions in 2030 compared to 2010 is anticipated”, the UNFCCC report says.

Before COP, the increase was calculated at 16 per cent, but for the world to be able to curb global heating and avoid disastrous consequences, emissions must be cut by 50 per cent in the next nine years.

For Carla Huanca, a young activist who travelled all the way from Bolivia to be in Glasgow with her friend, the dinosaur “T-Resilient”, another extinction can’t be a possibility.

The COP Blue Zone heard a broad set of commitments to provide substantial new funding to defend the quality of the oceans and protect the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on the marine environment.

“River Festival will sow the seed for reviving tradition of respecting rivers”, says Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

3rd November 2021, New Delhi

The final day of 3 days long Ganga Utsav 2021 – The River Festival began with glimpses of last two days followed by Kathak dance performance by acclaimed dancer Shovana Narayan. She performed the story of pains and sufferings of mother Ganga and appeal to all to help in keeping it healthy through her dance. This Indian classical dance form powerfully communicated the message of preservation of nature.

Welcoming Kiren Rijiju, Minister for Law & Justice and Ganjendra Singh Shekhawat, Jal Shakti Minister and other delgates, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG informed that well-known singers, musicians, artists, story-tellers, scholars and literary figures performed and participated in Ganga Utsav 2021. He also informed that there were some very important launches like CLAP, 1st Chacha Chaudhary comics on Ganga rejuvenation, a song on Rivers of India by IIT Madras and much more. He informed that this year Ganga Utsav is being celebrated across India, celebrations are happening from Surat to Nagaland and from Leh to Kanyakumari. “Ganga Utsav has shaped into nation-wide Nadi Utsav and this is just the beginning” he said.

Congratulating NMCG for their contribution to Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav in his keynote address Kiren Rijiju, Minister for Law & Justice said, “I have travelled to almost origin of every river in the country. Ganga especially looked very polluted few years back but today, it looks cleaner and magnanimous. The work is inspiring and I pledge my full support to the mission and would always be happy to join and contribute.” He attributed to this success to Prime Minister’s vision, NMCG’s holistic approach and volunteer’s hard work.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Jal Shakti Minister recalling Prime Minister’s call for celebrating Nadi Utsav said, “India has a tradition of reverence for rivers but with rise of consumerism this connect was lost somewhere” in his valedictory Address at Ganga Utsav 2021. “Nadi Utsav will sow the seed for reviving this tradition of respecting rivers. This will encourage people to conserve and protect our rivers.” he added. He complimented Namami Gange for "laying the foundation of Nadi Utsav through successful conduct of Ganga Utsavs over last few years and the Ganga Utsav this year has laid foundation for strong Nadi Utsav in country".

Expressing his joy on success of Ganga Utsav 2021 Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, MoJS thanked the NMCG team and all volunteers working as Ganga Sewaks.

A report on Ganga Quest 2021 was launched at the final session of Ganga Utsav 2021.

Internationally acclaimed poet, lyrists and communication specialist Prasoon Joshi, who is also the maker of Kartvya Ganga song said, “The idea behind Kartvya Ganga song is if we focus of our responsibilities our rights will be fulfilled on its own.” He also recited his poem on importance of rivers which he wrote for Ganga Utsav.

The Ganges Children Handbook and training module prepared by Indian Institute of Public Administration represented by Prof Vinod Sharma under Namami Gange programme were also released.

An expedition, Ganga Mashal was flagged off by Hon’ble ministers on 3rd day of Ganga Utsav. Ganga Mashal is part of Meri Ganga Meri Shan campaign by Ganga Task Force- a battalion of Territorial Army raised under Namami Gange mission for various rejuvenation efforts. The Mashal would travel along the Ganga and halt at 23 locations where events to sensitize people and volunteers will be organised. Kiren Rijiju said, “Ganga Mashal is the best way to take Ganga Utsav forward in a dignified and inspiring manner.” Brigadier Naveen Singh was representing Ganga Task Force at the flag off ceremony joined by Col Vaidya.

Sakshi Jha and Sarfaraz Ali were felicitated by the Ministers for their artwork, ‘Kachre se Kanchan’. Young painters doing live painting during the Utsav were also felicitated.

Rozy Aggrawal, Executive Director (Finance), NMCG said that the journey which began with a small event in 2017 has come a long way in form of Ganga Utsav. He thanked the teams working at districts levels who ensured that this Nadi Utsav is a huge success. More than 77 events were organised by NMCG volunteers. It was informed that more than 8 lakh people virtually joined the festival during these 3 days.

India launches First Manned Ocean Mission Vehicle

29th October 2021, New Delhi

India’s First Manned Ocean Mission Samudrayan, MATSYA 6000 was launched today at Chennai. This launch would facilitate Ministry of Earth Sciences in its deep ocean exploration of the non-living resources such as polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydro-thermal sulphides and cobalt crusts, located at a depth between 1000 and 5500 meters.

Launching the mission, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, with the launch of this Unique Ocean Mission, India joins the the elite club of nations such as USA, Russia, Japan, France and China to have such underwater vehicles for carrying out subsea activities.

Dr. Singh said, the preliminary design of the manned submersible MATSYA 6000 is completed and realization of vehicle is started with various organization including ISRO, IITM and DRDO roped-in to support the development.

The Minister informed that sea trials of 500 metre rated shallow water version of the manned submersible are expected to take place in the last quarter of 2022 and the MATSYA 6000, the deep water manned submersible will be ready for trials by the second quarter of 2024. He said, the advancing technologies in metallurgy, energy storage, underwater navigation and manufacturing facilities provides opportunity for developing more efficient, reliable and safe manned submersible.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that the underwater vehicles are essential for carrying out subsea activities such as high resolution bathymetry, biodiversity assessment, geo-scientific observation, search activities, salvage operation and engineering support. He said, even though unmanned underwater vehicles have improved manoeuvring and excellent vision systems resembling direct observation, manned submersible provides a feel of direct physical presence for researchers and has better intervention capability. With the advancing subsea technologies, the recent Fendouzhe manned submersible developed by China in 2020 has touched ~11000m water depths, the Minister added.

Ganga Festival 2021 preponed to 1st November

29th October 2021, New Delhi

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) celebrates Ganga Utsav every year to mark the anniversary of announcement of River Ganga as the ‘National River’ i.e. 4th November. This year’s Ganga Utsav is being organised from 1st to 3rd November 2021.

‘Ganga Utsav 2021 – The River Festival’ will be celebrating not just River Ganga but all the rivers across the country. Activities have been planned across 150 Districts, out of which 112 in the Ganga belt and the remaining along other major rivers. The celebrations this year will be part of the ongoing celebrations for 75 years of Independence and Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

This year, the aim will be to take Ganga Utsav 2021 to the various river basins in India and promote the celebration of ‘Nadi Utsav’ (River Festival) which was highlighted by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on the occasion of the World River Day on 26th September 2021, in order to connect with the traditions which are associated with rivers for centuries in our country.

The objective of the festival is to promote stakeholder engagement and ensure public participation under the aegis of the Ganga Knowledge Center. The Utsav highlights the significance of “Jan Bhagidari” in the revival of Ganga, with a focus on encouraging stakeholder engagement and public participation towards the rejuvenation of river Ganga.

Muzaffarpur hits highest AQI, and Shillong registers lowest

25th Oct 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for over the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that the number of cities monitored fell to 126 from yesterday's 134.

Number of cities having Good category AQI remained unchanged at 27, while number cities having satisfactory category AQI got surged to 60 from yesterday's 48. Number of cities with Moderate AQI further fell from 53 to 37, while that in Poor Category came down by from 6 to 2.

None of the 126 cities was in Very Poor or Severe category of AQI.

The lowest AQI value was recorded to be 18 in Shillong. The predominant air pollutant here was PM2.5.

With AQI 250 Muzaffarpur got registered as the worst polluted city for the day. The most predominant pollutant was noted to be PM2.5. AQi in Singrauli, yesterday's worst polluted city, fell from 246 to 215.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, highest AQI value of 168 was recorded in Kolkata. According to data from 7 monitoring stations, the worst AQi in Kolkata is attributed to dust pollution from PM2.5 and PM10. Delhi, which is undertaking the campaign "Red Light On, Gaadi Off" to motivate citizens to switch off vehicles on red light posts, was placed at second highest most polluted city. With rains, the AQI in Delhi nose dived from 160 to 82. However, the AQi data also received from 27 stations only as compared to previous day's 37 stations. Ozone, PM2.5 and PM10 recorded as the most dominating pollutants in Delhi. AQI in Chennai increased from 46 to 63, while in Mumbai it came down from 74 to 58.

According to a statement given by Vijay Kumar, IMD, on 23rd October, Punjab and North Haryana received good rainfall and on 24th October Delhi & NCR region received very good rainfall, which resulted in improvement of air quality to 'satisfactory' from 'poor' category. In coming days, air quality would deteriorate to 'moderate' category, he added.

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". #AQI #airpollution

UNECE brings new legally binding mechanism to protect environmental activists

24th Oct 2021, New Delhi

A 46-strong group of countries across the wider European region has agreed to establish a new legally binding mechanism that would protect environmental defenders, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said on Friday.

The agreement to establish the mechanism was adopted on Thursday by the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, known as the Aarhus Convention.

A report to the Human Rights Council by Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, found that one-in-two human rights defenders who were killed in 2019 had been working with communities around issues of land, environment, impacts of business activities, poverty and rights of indigenous peoples, Afrodescendants and other minorities.

Whether it is groups protesting the construction of a dangerous dam or individuals speaking out against harmful agricultural practices in their local community, these activists are vital to environmental preservation across the globe, said the UNECE.

As time is of the essence to buttress the safety of environmental defenders, any member of the public, secretariat or Party to the Aarhus Convention, will be able to submit a confidential complaint to the Special Rapporteur, even before other legal remedies have been exhausted. (Source: UN)

India stresses Developed Countries to resolve all pending issues mutually at COP 26 considering national priorities and circumstances

21st October 2021, New Delhi

Stressing on the urgency of strong climate actions the Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav underlined the need for initiating the process of setting the long-term climate finance for post-2020 and the fulfilment of the goal of USD 100 billion committed by developed countries at the bilateral held in New Delhi with Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President- European Green Deal, European Union.

Both sides discussed a wide range of climate issues relating to COP26, EU and Indian climate policies, bilateral cooperation between the EU and India.

On the upcoming COP-26 the Environment Minister stated that in the COP 26, all important pending issues like Article 6, Common Time Frame, Enhanced Transparency Framework, etc. should be resolved mutually taking into account national priorities and circumstances.

Both sides acknowledged that India and the EU should work together to achieve a successful outcome of COP26 to enable full and effective implementation of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

Mr. Yadav also highlighted India’s ambitious climate action plans under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards a green transition covering the priority areas of renewable energy, sustainable transport including e-vehicles, energy efficiency, forest, and biodiversity conservation, etc.

Applauding, India’s leadership on Climate Actions, Mr. Timmermans said that the whole World is in admiration of India’s ambitious target of 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

Both sides may explore to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation on climate and environment, especially on ways and means which help in promoting low carbon pathways.

CPCB Joint Committee Report to NGT needs review

20th October 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has submitted a Compliance Verification Report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The report of the Joint Committee (JC) on O.A. No. 124 of 2015 (Execution Application No. 42/2019) M.A. No. 72/2020 for intervention in the matter of Sumitra Devi Vs CPCB & Ors. contains as many as 15 annexures. The 4th annexure at page No. 44 provides a Calibration Certificate of the online continuous effluent monitoring system (OCEMS). The JC report submitted under the sign of a CPCB Scientist clearly states that calibration is done on regular basis and last calibration done on 17th June 2021. However, the Calibration Certificate is not issued by any accredited laboratory. It contains no traceability data, nor does it state any method used for calibration. Technically, the document fails to meet acceptance as per any national and international standards. It is a mere, low quality document arranged from none other than the equipment supplier.

To ensure effective environmental justice, the document needs a relook by the CPCB as well as NGT.

Bhupender Yadav addresses LMDC Ministerial Meeting on COP26 Prep

18th October 2021, New Delhi

Participating in the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) Ministerial meeting Union Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav noted that world needs rapid and transformative actions, in view of the fact that the remaining global carbon budget is meager and will be exhausted within this decade at the current rate of global emissions. He also noted that the commitments of carbon neutrality and to raise ambitions in nationally determined contributions to be in line with climate justice and principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).

The Plurinational State of Bolivia hosted the LMDC Ministerial meeting, today, on a virtual platform. In the meeting titled "Preparations for COP 26 on Climate Change – Expectations and Challenges", India's Environment Minister called for rapid reduction of emissions by developed countries in this decade.

Mr. Yadav highlighted the ambitious climate actions taken up by India in areas of renewable energy, energy access, and efficiency, sustainable transport including e-mobility, sustainable agriculture, enhancing green cover, etc. He noted that India has achieved a reduction of 24% in emission intensity of its GDP between 2005 and 2016, thereby achieving its pre-2020 voluntary target.

In his address, the Minister pointed that the accelerated climate action by developing countries like India requires the contingent provision of climate finance, technology, and other means of implementation support. He also highlighted the importance of global partnerships and cooperation and requested the LMDC countries to join the initiatives of International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) launched by India.

The ministerial level Like-Minded Developing Countries group meeting has been hosted by Plurinational State of Bolivia ahead of upcoming crucial upcoming 26th climate change conference to be held in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12, 2021. LMDC comprises of around 25 developing countries from Asia and other regions.

A ministerial statement was endorsed by the LMDC Ministers during the meeting, expressing their full support to COP26 Presidency and willingness to work closely and constructively with all other Parties and stakeholders towards a successful COP26 through the multilateral process that is conducted in an open and transparent, inclusive, Party-driven and consensus-based manner.

4th ISA General Assembly starts virtually, to deliberate on operationalisation of ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ initiative

18th October 2021, New Delhi

The fourth general assembly of The International Solar Alliance (ISA), is to be held virtually between 18th October and 21st October 2021. R.K. Singh, Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy, Government of India and the President of the ISA Assembly will preside over the assembly. U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will deliver the keynote address on 20th October, and the European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, will also address the gathering on 20th October.

The ISA Secretariat has planned a series of technical sessions on various strategic initiatives of the ISA on October 18th, 2021, and technical sessions on various emergent issues in the solar and clean energy sector in partnership with partner and other organizations on 20th and 21st October 2021.

The Fourth Assembly of the ISA will deliberate on the key initiatives around the operationalisation of the OSOWOG initiative, the $1 trillion Solar Investment Roadmap for 2030, and approval of a Blended Financial Risk Mitigation Facility. World leaders of ISA member countries will also discuss the strategic plan of the ISA for the next five years encompassing a Country Partnership Framework, Strategy for Private Sector Engagement, and initiatives such as Viability Gap Financing scheme to facilitate affordable finance for solar energy projects across ISA’s membership. The ISA will also discuss the partnership with Global Energy Alliance (GEA) to scale up technical and financial support to LDCs and SIDS.

A detailed report on OSOWOG is expected to be discussed at the Assembly. The concept of a single global grid for solar was first outlined at the First Assembly of the ISA in late 2018. It envisions building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe, leveraging the differences of time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions. OSOWOG will also help decarbonise energy production, which is today the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions.

With India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the World Bank and the ISA signing a tripartite agreement on OSOWOG, the initiative could be the world’s most important renewables catalyst. It can unlock unprecedented economies of scale in energy generation and transmission. Rigorous assessments and modelling have confirmed the initiative’s technical and economic viability, building a strong business case. Its commercial feasibility has been further augmented by multilateral development banks such as World Bank, which are helping create markets by driving down costs of solar power.

The Assembly is the apex decision-making body of ISA, in which each member country is represented. This body makes decisions concerning the implementation of the ISA’s Framework Agreement and coordinated actions to be taken to achieve its objective. The Assembly meets annually at the Ministerial level at the seat of the ISA, assesses the aggregate effect of the programmes and other activities in terms of deployment of solar energy, performance, reliability, as well as cost and scale of finance.

NITI Aayog with ISRO launches Geospatial Energy Map of India

18th October 2021, New Delhi

NITI Aayog in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India with the support of Energy Ministries of Government of India. The Geospatial Energy Map of India was launched by Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Dr Rajiv Kumar in presence of CEO, NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant and Member, NITI Aayog, Dr V K Saraswat on 18th October 2021. Dr K Sivan, Chairman ISRO & Secretary Department of Space attended the launch event.

According to a release by the Government of India, the GIS map provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country which enables visualisation of energy installations such as conventional power plants, oil and gas wells, petroleum refineries, coal fields and coal blocks, district-wise data on renewable energy power plants and renewable energy resource potential, etc through 27 thematic layers.

It is stated that the map attempts to identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks to provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in a country. It is a unique effort aimed at integrating energy data scattered across multiple organizations and to present it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner. It leverages latest advancements in web-GIS technology and open-source software to make it interactive and user friendly. The Geospatial Energy Map of India will be useful in planning and making investment decisions. It will also aid in disaster management using available energy assets.

Draft EIA Notification Translated into 22 vernacular languages, available on MoEF&CC website

13th October 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has finally made available the translated versions of the Draft EIA Notification 2020 in 22 vernacular languages.

See the Ministry's Link

Any person interested in making any objections or suggestions on the proposals contained in the translated versions of the draft notification, may forward the same in writing to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Indira Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh Road, Aliganj, New Delhi-110003, or send the same on the e-mail address: eia2020-moefcc@gov.in on or before 15th December 2021.

Bhupender Yadav addresses UN Biodiversity Conference on "Putting Biodiversity of a Path of Recovery"

12th October 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav today addressed virtually the delegates of the High-level ministerial segment of UN Biodiversity Conference, Round Table on 'Putting biodiversity on a Path of Recovery' and said that mainstreaming biodiversity consideration in all key sectors of development and promoting human well-being and inclusive growth is the main ‘mantra’ of our governance strategy.

Stating that the unifying fabric of biodiversity is integral to the traditional knowledge systems of India’s 1.35 billion plus human population, the Union Environment Minister said that the Country’s rich biological diversity is deeply interwoven with, and is a common thread to our diverse cultural history. India is one of the seventeen mega-biodiverse countries in the world.

The Minister further said, “We in India have respected and revered nature for thousands of years. With just 2.4% of the world’s land area, we harbour 8% of all recorded species and are recognized as one of the 8 centres of origin of cultivated plants. Several hundred species of wild crop relatives are also distributed all over the country.”

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with the National Biodiversity Authority of India and other statutory agencies ensure implementation of the objectives of conservation, sustainable use and fair and equitable benefit sharing through a tiered and federal network of sub-national formal and non-governmental agencies.”, said the Environment Minister.

Stating that, 2020-2021 is also giving the countries an opportunity at the global level to develop robust Post-2020 global biodiversity commitments and Indian Government is taking this very seriously and would like to work together with other countries to usher in a new deal for people and planet, while moving on a path of recovery, Mr. Yadav concluded his statement reiterating India’s commitments to

(1) Mainstream biodiversity across all sectors in order to conserve nature, reverse its loss and to secure a healthy planet for our current and future generations.

(2) Ensure that benefits of biodiversity conservation flow to the poor and resource-dependent communities, who are the true custodians of biodiversity and

(3) Put nature, climate and ‘One-health approach integrating animal, environmental and human health’ into the core of our Post COVID-19 recovery and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ strategy.

Niti Aayog - UNDP launch Handbook on Sustainable Management of Plastic Wastes for ULBs

12th October 2021, New Delhi

NITI Aayog and UNDP India launched a handbook to promote sustainable management of plastic waste in the country.

The report, titled ‘NITI Aayog-UNDP Handbook on Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management’, was released on 11th October, 2021 by NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Dr Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant, Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Secretary Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Special Secretary Dr K. RajeswaraRao, and Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India.

The report has been jointly developed by UNDP India and NITI Aayog, in consultation with eminent experts and leading organizations in the domain of plastic waste. The discussion for the Handbook was initiated in February 2021. This was followed by over 20 virtual stakeholder consultations, including Urban Local Bodies, Recyclers, Corporates, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, managed by UNDP. The format included expert interviews, focussed group discussions, and technical workshops covering 14 Indian cities and 4 South East Asian cities. The Handbook presents best practices and examples from cities in India and Southeast Asia which face similar infrastructure and plastic waste challenges.

Climate issues discussed in Modi - Johnson telecon

11th October 2021, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on telephone today with Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The two leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral relations since their virtual summit earlier this year, and expressed satisfaction at the steps already initiated under the Roadmap 2030 adopted during the virtual summit. They also reviewed the progress of the Enhanced Trade Partnership and agreed on the potential of rapidly expanding trade and investment linkages between both countries.

The leaders also discussed on issues pertaining to Climate Change, in the context of the forthcoming UNFCCC COP-26 meeting in Glasgow in early November 2021. Prime Minister conveyed India's commitment to Climate Actions, as seen in its ambitious target for expansion of renewable energy and the recently announced National Hydrogen Mission.

The leaders also exchanged views on regional developments, especially the situation in Afghanistan. In this context, they agreed on the need to develop a common international perspective on issues regarding extremism and terrorism, as well as Human Rights and rights of women and minorities.

Union Environment Minister asks Zoos to become Financially Independent with CSR and PPP

11th October 2021, New Delhi

The two-day National conference for Zoo Directors and Veterinarians organized by Central Zoo Authority and hosted by Sardar Patel Zoological Park, Kevadia, Gujarat concluded on Monday.

In his keynote address at the valedictory, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, BhupenderYadav, congratulated everyone for their efforts at species conservation and reiterated the importance of all round protection of wildlife, wild habitats and the natural resources.

Assuring that Zoos will be an important subject for discussion during the State Forest Ministers' dialogue henceforth the Union Environment Minister encouraged Zoos to become financially independent and consider CSR and public private partnerships and focus on local birds and animals as priority species for conservation.

Mr. Yadav highlighted the importance of conservation awareness and its value in conflict mitigation strategies and proposed an inclusive way forward for zoos and Nagar Vans with incorporating suggestions from zoo officials and using them to prepare short and long term action plans.

The primary aim of this national conference was to discuss and deliberate on the new frontiers in zoo management and ex-situ conservation in the country. As on today there are more than 150 recognized zoos and rescue centers in the country that adhere to the guidelines and high standards of wild animal welfare.

Urban Missions are components of India's response to Climate Change, immensely contributing in GHG emission reduction

11th October 2021, New Delhi

Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri has called for promoting new and innovative low-carbon technologies that ensure housing for all, service delivery for all, better mobility for all, and place people at the forefront of sustainable urban development. He was addressing an event to mark the UN World Habitat Day 2021 today, with the theme of “Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World”.

Puri said that today’s theme “Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World” is not only appropriate but also very relevant from India’s context. The increasing global urban footprint makes more energy demands in cities which are already responsible for 78 percent of global energy consumption and 70 percent of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The Minister said that the climate change makes human settlements vulnerable, especially the marginalised and urban poor, who are exposed to extreme weather events. India was the seventh most-affected country by climate change in 2019, with most of the impact being felt by its cities.

Speaking on the economic and environmental imperatives for Indian cities, the Minister said that India’s per capita emission of greenhouses gases is quite low as compared to developed countries. India’s cumulative CO2 emissions from 1870–2017 is very less- it is only 3%, as compared to the 25% of USA, 22% of the EU and UK, and 13% of China, the Minister said.

The Minister said that India aims to reach the kind of economic growth that the advanced economies have reached in the past through their heavy industrialisation patterns but India may not necessarily follow that path of development as we are aware of the environmental cost. India recognises the importance of its cities in the country’s transformation as India’s urban areas are expected to contribute to as much as 70 percent of the national GDP by 2030. We have to achieve both our economic aspirations and realise our environmental responsibilities. There can be no doubt that planning for low-carbon cities will be necessary to achieve the SDG goals in India, particularly Goal 11 and Goal 13. If SDG succeed it will be because India will succeed, he added. Global targets are not likely to be met without India’s contributions.

On the Indian Urban Mission’s contribution to climate action, Mr. Puri said that the Urban Missions like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Smart Cities Mission, Urban Transport, and AMRUT launched by Modi Government, have contributed immensely to reducing GHG emissions. Not only were these Missions part of the most comprehensive urbanisation programmes, they are also important components of our response to climate change.

On the use of sustainable and energy-efficient methods in building houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), he said that certified green buildings can deliver energy savings between 20-30 percent and water savings of up to 30-50 percent. More than 16 lakh houses being built under the Mission today are utilising green technologies and this will help in mitigating around 12 million tonnes CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions by 2022 under the PMAY Mission. PMAY prioritised the promotion of low-carbon building technologies through the Global Housing Technology Challenge, wherein six Light House Projects (LHP) consisting of about 1,000 houses each are being constructed.

The Minister said that India stands out in the comity of nations, as it is about to reach the target of 100 crore vaccinations shortly. During Covid-19, we were able to reach to lakhs of street vendors through SVanidhi scheme. The vision of Mahatma Gandhi to bring out cleanliness in the country, has culminated now, with the Swacch Bharat Mission-Urban making all the cities ODF. The second phase of SBM will make the cities garbage free. The Solid waste processing has already gone up to almost 70% and will achieve 100% through the SBM-2.0.

On Urban transport system, Hardeep Singh Puri said the government is expanding the robust public transport system such as Metro trains. He informed that currently, 721 km of metro line are operational in 18 cities and a network of 1,058 km of metro network is under construction in 27 cities across the country, thereby reducing emissions concerns.

On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2021, several e-Publications of the organisations under MoHUA viz HUDCO, BMTPC and NBCC were also released. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, Surendra Kumar Bagde, Additional Secretary, MoHUA, Senior Officials from UN Agencies, States and the Ministry attended the event.

With measures taken by both Central & NCR State Governments significant reduction of Paddy straw generation expected in Punjab, Haryana and U.P. this year

9th October 2021, New Delhi

Steps taken towards reduction in paddy straw generation is yielding positive results. The total paddy area in the states of Haryana, Punjab and eight NCR Districts of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) have come down by 7.72 per cent during the current year as compared to last year. Similarly, total paddy straw generation from the non-basmati variety is likely to be reduced by 12.42 per cent during the current year as compared to the previous year.

Both Central and State Governments of Haryana, Punjab and U.P. have been taking measures to diversify crops as well as to reduce the use of PUSA-44 variety of paddy. Burning of paddy straw from the non-basmati variety of crops is the prime concern. Crop diversification and moving away from PUSA-44 variety with short duration High Yielding Varieties are part of the framework and action plan for control of stubble burning.

As per data received from the State Governments of Haryana, Punjab and U.P., the total amount of paddy straw generated will come down this year. The total paddy straw generation is likely to come down by 1.31 million tonnes (from 20.05 million tonnes in 2020 to 18.74 million tonnes in 2021) in Punjab; by 0.8 million tonnes (from 7.6 million tonnes in 2020 to 6.8 million tonnes in 2021) in Haryana and; by 0.09 million tonnes (from 0.75 million tonnes in 2020 to 0.67 million tonnes in 2021) in the eight NCR districts of U.P. this year.

The total quantity of straw generated by the respective states was 28.4 million tonnes in 2020 which is now expected to come down to 26.21 million tonnes in 2021.

The decrease in non-basmati variety is expected to be even higher. Paddy straw generation specifically from the non-basmati variety of crops is expected to decrease from 17.82 million tonnes in 2020 to 16.07 million tonnes in 2021 in Punjab and from 3.5 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.9 million tonnes in 2021 in Haryana.

The Commission through a comprehensive framework had directed the respective State Governments to promote short duration and early maturing varieties of crops since they can be managed quite efficiently and provide a much wider window for paddy straw management. As per recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, CAQM had actively pursued with State Governments for promotion of the same.

Apart from this, the Crop Diversification Programs are also being implemented in the states of Punjab and Haryana along with the NCR Districts of U.P. to divert the area of water-guzzling paddy to alternate crops.

Green Hydrogen is the fuel of the future and is the only fuel to help achieving “Zero Carbon Emissions”, says Nitin Gadkari

1st October 2021

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari said the government is committed to shift public transport and logistics on 100% green and clean energy sources. Addressing the Symposium on International Automotive Technology he said the national hydrogen mission launched by the Prime Minister seeks to develop hydrogen technologies for the benefit of the mobility sector and make India the leader in production and usage of green-hydrogen.

The Minister said 70% of Green Hydrogen production costs come from electricity costs. Hence, surplus electricity from renewable energy sources can completely change economics of production of green hydrogen production. He said Green Hydrogen is termed as the fuel of the future and it is the only fuel which can help us achieve the mission of “Zero Carbon Emissions”.

Gadkari said this year is special as it marks the beginning of celebrations of 75 years of Independence of India. He said we are marching with our vision led by Prime Minister Modi with a focus on becoming AtmaNirbhar across all sectors. He said our automobile sector is the pride of India and he was sure that it will take India’s manufacturing towards new heights, matching and even better than International standards.

The Minister said recently launched Production Linked Incentive scheme aims to boost ‘Advanced automotive technology products’ in the Indian auto sector which help to lower fossil fuel emissions. Shri Gadkari said government expects the scheme would lead to a fresh investment of more than Rs. 42,500 crore and creation of additional 7.5 lakh jobs in the sector.

He said as far as public transportation is concerned, the need of the hour is to develop import substitute, cost-effective, pollution-free, and indigenous mobility solutions for India and dependence on imported crude oil needs to be reduced.

Gadkari said Government is also planning to introduce flex-fuel vehicles which allow operation of the vehicles on 100% ethanol and petrol. He said Flex engine-based vehicles are already running in the USA, Brazil, and Canada. He said technology is readily available, and it is just a matter of time to take that leap that will transform the transport landscape of India forever.

The Minister said safety scenario on Indian roads needs improvement as every year approx. 1.5 lakh people die on Indian roads in almost 5 lakh accidents. He said the concept of Zero Vision, that is achieving zero accidents and zero loss of life is being adapted in India similar to European countries.

Over 5 Crore Tap Water Connections provided since announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission

1st October 2021

Since the announcement of Jal Jeevan Mission in August, 2019, in just about 25 months, over 5 Crore families have been provided with tap water connection in their homes. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, its subsequent lockdowns and challenges, States/ UTs worked relentlessly to ensure assured tap water supply to rural homes. Assured tap water supply in homes relieves people, especially women and young girls, from fetching water, carrying heavy loads at a distance, etc. thus, reducing their age-old drudgery. The newfound time is being used for income generation activities, learning new skills, supporting children’s education, etc.

Jal Jeevan Mission was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 15th August, 2019 to provide Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every home by 2024. In 2019, out of about 18.93 Crore households in rural areas, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had tap water connections. Thus, 15.70 Crore households are to be provided with tap water by 2024. In addition, functionality of all existing water supply systems and tap connections is also to be ensured. The programme directly benefits more than 19 Crore rural families, bridging rural – urban divide and improving public health. As on date, about 8.26 Crore (43%) rural households have tap water supply in their homes.

The motto of Jal Jeevan Mission is that ‘no one is left out.’ Every rural household in 78 districts, and 1.16 lakh villages is getting tap water supply. With focus on health and well-being of children, last year on Gandhi Jayanti, a campaign was launched to provide tap water connections to all schools, anganwadi centres and ashramshalas (tribal residential schools) for drinking, cooking mid-day meal, hand washing and use in toilets. As on date, tap water supply has been provided in 7.72 lakh (76%) schools and 7.48 lakh (67.5%) anganwadi centres.

Following a bottom-up approach, JJM is being implemented as a decentralized, demand-driven and community-managed programme with Gram Panchayats and/ or its sub-committees, i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committees (VWSC)/ Pani Samitis playing a key role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems, thereby providing clean tap water to every household on regular and long-term basis.

The Pani Samitis/ VWSCs function as a legal entity as envisaged in the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. It consists of 10-15 members with at least 50% women members and proportionate representation from weaker sections. VWSC prepared a one-time Village Action Plan (VAP), co-terminus with 15th Finance Commission period by dovetailing different resources at village level, which is to be approved in a Gram Sabha. VAP comprises of 4 key components of drinking water source augmentation, drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse, and regular operation and maintenance of in-village water supply system.

Further, a cadre of 30-40 members in every village are being trained and skilled to build their capacities to manage their in-village water supply systems. 5 women from every village, viz. ASHA, Anganwadi teacher, SHG leaders, etc. are being trained to test water quality using Field Test Kits (FTKs). 5-10 members are trained as plumbers, masons, motor mechanics, fitters, etc. so that skilled resource are available in every village to address any requirement, and also increasing employment opportunities. GP/ VWSC members are being trained to act as service providers, function as local public water utilities. A silent revolution is taking place in the villages.

Honouring Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of ‘Gram Swaraj’, this Gandhi Jayanti, i.e. 2nd October, 2021, a special Gram Sabha is being convened across the length and breadth of the country to discuss and deliberate on issues related to drinking water in their villages in a move to attain ‘WASH Prabudh Gaon’. On this occasion, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will do Samvad, i.e address about 3.3 lakh Village Water & Sanitation Committees/ Pani Samitis from 10 AM to 12 PM. This interaction with the Prime Minister will boost the energy of the community and local leaders who worked throughout the pandemic and during lockdown ensuring tap water reached every household.

As part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and to help in developing a responsive and responsible leadership to make village a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) enlightened village, this Samvad intends to go a long way to bring vision of Gram Swaraj into a reality.

During the Samvad, Prime Minister Shri Modi will also release a progress report of Jal Jeevan mission, a manual for the utilization of 15th Finance Commission tied grant for RLBs/ PRIs and framework for Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance (WQMS). The Prime Minister will also launch Jal Jeevan Mission App that can be used by all stakeholders, and Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh. Any individual, institution, corporate, or philanthropist, in India or abroad, can contribute to help provide tap water connection in every rural household, school, anganwadi centre, ashramshala, panchayat, primary healthcare centre, etc.

CAQM mandates introduction of a robust online mechanism for monitoring dust mitigation measures in NCR

Project Proponents need to install reliabe PM2.5 and PM10 sensors at project sites

1st October 2021

In a move to curb and abate the air pollution levels arising from the Construction and Demolition (C&D) activities in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Commission for Air Quality and Management (CAQM) will periodically review compliance of dust mitigation measures at Construction & Demolition sites in the National Capital Region. Directions have been issued by CAQM to the State Governments of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and GNCTD to develop an online mechanism through a web portal for monitoring compliance of dust mitigation measures by the project proponents.

The introduction of a robust online mechanism for monitoring dust mitigation measures is a compelling necessity to ensure strict implementation of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules. As per the directions of CAQM, all the projects (on plot area equal to or greater than 500 square meters) of construction and demolition under the territorial jurisdiction of Urban Local Bodies in the NCR have to mandatorily register at the web portal. Along with this, provision for video fencing equipped with remote connectivity technology will be incorporated in the web portal for effective and round-the-clock monitoring of compliance of dust mitigation measures by the project proponents. Further, the project proponents are required to install reliable and low-cost PM2.5 and PM10 sensors at the C&D project sites.

This technological shift will not only help the project proponents to self-audit and certify compliance of stipulated dust control measures but will also strengthen monitoring of dust control measures at C&D sites. The project proponents are also expected to upload the self-declaration on a fortnightly basis. Further, directions have been issued to Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and other State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) of National Capital Region to strictly monitor compliance of dust mitigation measures by project proponents.

An exhaustive checklist will form the basis for monitoring compliance of dust mitigation measures in the NCR through this online mechanism. The list of dust control/ mitigation measures, include the use of anti-smog guns, water pills, water cannons, hoses, fire hydrants, sprinklers, etc. It is mandatory for the proponents to install reliable and economical PM2.5 and PM10 sensors at the project sites and link them to a platform with Live Dashboard accessibility for CPCB, government agencies as well as the administrative departments concerned to monitor the activities.

Notable that in January 2021, the CAQM had informed about setting up a Decision Support System (DSS). The system will be facilitated with a web, GIS, and multi-model based operational and planning decision support tool.

Major faults in key Industry sector EIA Reports

29th September 2021 by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

Dr. C N Pandey led Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) constituted by the Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is widely known for its nano-filtered decisions while recommending projects for Environmental Clearance (EC). The 44th meeting of the re-constituted EAC for Industry-I category projects was held on 13th and 14th September 2021. The 15-member EAC, including Sundar Ramanathan, Member Secretary and Dr. Vipin Gupta, a Scientist, both from the MoEF&CC deliberated on EC proposals received from Uttam Galva Ferrous Ltd., Bihar Foundry & Casting Ltd., Real Ispat & Power Ltd., Ardent Steel Ltd., JSW Utkal Steel Ltd., and Shyam Sel and Power Ltd., besides several applications for grant of Terms of Reference.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the proposal submitted by Uttam Galva Ferrous Ltd. regarding 6 MTPA Integrated Steel Plant along with Captive Power Plant of 893 MW at Villages Kuduthini, Veniveerapura,Yerangaligi and Kolagallu in Bellary District of Karnataka was prepared by Ampl Environ Pvt. Ltd. Reviewing the proposal the EAC listed out as many as 13 shortfalls Subscribe to read more

Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority Constituted by Govt. of India

19th September 2021, New Delhi

The Central Government has constituted the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority comprising of 13 members, vide a notification bearing S.O. 3794(E) Dated 15th September 2021.

The Principal Secretary to Government, Environment, Climate Change & Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu will be the exofficio Chairperson, and the Director of Environment, Panagal building, Saidapet, Chennai the Member Secretary of the 13-member Authority.

The Authority is constituted for a period of three year, and shall have its headquarters at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

DPCC finds only 7 out of 400 garbage godowns fit for sealing, to impose EDC

19th September 2021, New Delhi

Sanjaya K. Mishra

Hearing the Execution Application No. 27/2020 in case of Original Application No. 211/2019 in the matter of Sunil Kumar versus Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) & Ors. , on Date 17th September 2021 the National Green Tribunal (NGT) observed that in view of the compliance report submitted by the respondents including DPCC, no further order appears to be necessary.

The grievance in the application was against non-compliance of order dated 21st August 2019 issued by the Green Court in the matter of O.A. No. 211/2019. The Tribunal considered the allegations that there were 400 garbage godowns where garbage is continuously burnt and high decibel noise pollution is created. In the said godowns, there was breakage of iron and steel garbage, releasing dangerous oxides. Godowns were not have Consent to Operate under the Water Act and Air Act or registration under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and were in gross violation of general standards prescribed under Schedule VI, especifically under Serial. No. 100 (Common Hazardous Waste Incinerator) of Schedule I of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986.

In the hearing process, after considering the report filed by DPCC on 5th March 2021, NGT found that requisite action had not been taken., and fixed accountability of the Chairman and Member Secretary, DPCC.

Subsequently the DPCC filed another report on 15th September 2021 stating that a Joint team conducted door to door joint inspections of the Sonia Vihar-Sabhapur area from 15th to 17th June 2021. Total 166 premises were inspected, which included 7 premises sealed by DPCC for carrying out industrial activity in violation of the Water and Air Act, 16 premises sealed by EDMC for violation of the MCD Act. The field inspection ensured that no illegal activity has restarted, however 143 premises reported as vacant.

The report also states that the premises which were sealed by DPCC, have been issued show cause notices for imposing environmental damages compensation (EDC).

Another important point mentioned in the report is that most of the godowns are being used to store building material scraps such as tor steel, channels and shuttering material which are procured from dismantled building and are sold for re-use/ reprocess.

Rapid, sustained, and deep emission cuts, a must in this decade rather than distant targets says India at the MEF

17th September 2021, New Delhi

Sanjaya K. Mishra

Today, U.S. President Joe Biden convened the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate to urge fellow leaders of major economies to commit to faster climate action in this critical decade, with just 44 days left to the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

Representing India at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) convened virtually by US President, Joe Biden, on September 17, 2021, the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav stated that combating climate change is a shared global challenge and our response must be based on the fundamental principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The Minister in his remarks mentioned that though India’sshare of world population is 17% but the country’sshare in cumulative historical emissions is just 4% and even the current annual emissions are only 5.2% of the global emissions and the per capita emissions are about a third of the global average. “It is clear that we are not a part of the problem, but we want to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis.” emphasised the Minister at the meeting which aimed at facilitating candid dialogue among major emitters countries, both developed and developing, to garner political leadership to advance climate action.

Expressing India’s ambitious goals under the Paris Agreement, the Environment Minister highlighted India’s target of 450 GW of Renewable Energy by 2030 and mentioned that India’s solar capacity, drawing on the collaborative spirit of member countries through the International Solar Alliance, has increased fifteen times in the last six years.

The Minister of Environment concluded his remarks by echoing global sentiments for collective intent and concrete actions in tackling climate change. “The world needs rapid, sustained, and deep emission cuts in this decade rather than distant targets” said Bhupender Yadav underscoring collaborative and cohesive global efforts to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal within reach.

The virtual meeting built on the Leaders’ Summit on Climate conducted in April 2021 and was aimed at enabling dialogue and discussion and building consensus before COP26, which will set a precedent for climate efforts in the years to come.

According to a White House release Leaders from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, the European Commission, the European Council, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and the United Kingdom as well as the UN Secretary-General joined the virtual meeting. Leaders underscored the collective urgency of taking action to meet the global climate crisis. President Biden also announced, with the EU, a Global Methane Pledge that aims to cut global methane pollution by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030 through collective action. President Biden asked Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to chair a ministerial session immediately following with China, Germany, India, and Russia.

The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) was launched on 28th March 2009. The MEF is intended to facilitate a candid dialogue among major developed and developing economies, help generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the December UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

India observes 27th World Ozone day

16th September 2021, New Delhi

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Thursday said that India has successfully phased-out production and consumption of several major Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and met all the obligations of the Montreal Protocol so far, by accessing technical and financial assistance from the financial mechanism of the Montreal Protocol.

The Minister was chairing an event organized to observe the 27th Global Ozone Day in New Delhi.

Mr. Choubey said, one of the reasons to India’s success in phasing out of the Ozone Depleting Substances is the involvement of key stakeholders both at the planning as well as implementation levels. He said, Industries, research institutions, line Ministries, consumers etc. have been contributing significantly to the Ozone Depleting Substances phase out programme of the Montreal Protocol in India.

Referring to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which was recently ratified by the Government of India, the Minister said, issues relating to minimizing industrial obsolescence and adverse economic impacts should appropriately be addressed while developing a Hydrofluorocarbon phase down strategy for implementing it.

World Ozone Day is celebrated on 16th September each year to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental treaty for phasing out of production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances, which came into force on this day in 1987. The Day is celebrated every year to spread awareness among people about the depletion of Ozone Layer and the measures taken/ to be taken to preserve it. The Ozone Cell, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India has been celebrating the World Ozone Day since 1995 at the National and State levels.

The theme World Ozone Day 2021 is “Montreal Protocol - Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool”.

MoS Choubey released the Action Plan for implementing recommendations of the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) for the thematic Area Space Cooling in Buildings. The Action Plan has been developed after mapping of the recommendations given in the ICAP and after detailed discussions with various stakeholders including line departments and Ministries.

The India cooling action plan (ICAP), the first of its kind in the world to be developed by the MoEF&CC, addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand through synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. The ICAP aims to reduce both direct and indirect emissions.

The Minister also released a Study Report on Cold Chain sector in India for Promoting non-ozone depleting substances and Low- global warming potential Refrigerants and another Study Report on Public Procurement Policies for Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Equipment using non-Ozone Depleting Substances based refrigerants.

He also released the Winning Entries of Poster and Slogan Competitions held on the occasion across various schools in India. More than 3900 Students participated in the competition.

Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change R P Gupta, Atul Bagai, Head of UNEP in India, Shoko Nada, Resident Representative of UNDP in India and various representatives of Industries, Industrial Organisations, various stakeholders and over 3000 School Children participated in the event held virtually.

India and US launch the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)

13th September 2021, New Delhi

India and the United States of America (USA) today launched the “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)”. The CAFMD is one of the two tracks of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders' Summit on Climate in April 2021, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joseph Biden.

The dialogue was formally launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Bhupender Yadav and John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC), at an event held in New Delhi.

Speaking at the launch, Yadav said that the dialogue will not only strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment but will also help to demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.

“India and the United States are natural partners with shared values and our agenda encompasses all major pillars of our strategic priorities - including defence, security, energy, technology, education and healthcare,” said the Environment Minister emphasizing on the deep ties shared by the two mature and vibrant democracies. Speaking at the launch of Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD), Mr. Kerry applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for setting an ambitious target of achieving 450GW renewable energy by 2030 and congratulated India for already achieving 100 GW.

The US Climate envoy lauded India’s leadership role in demonstrating how economic development andclean energy can go hand in hand and stated that urgent Global Climate Action is the need of the hour.He stressed that India and US are working towards speedier deployment of clean energy.

The launch was preceded by a bilateral meet where both sides discussed at length a wide range of climate issues relating to COP26, Climate Ambition, Climate Finance, Global Climate Initiatives including International Solar Alliance (ISA), Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C).

Impact of Aerosols and Clouds on Solar Energy generation leading to financial loss

4th September 2021, New Delhi

Have you installed solar panels in your residence or office or industry premises? Or, are you planning to do so? If yes, this article has a great relevance to you.

A team of Indian and international researchers have found that aerosols, dust, and clouds reduce solar energy generation from photovoltaic and rooftop solar installations resulting in substantial economic impact. They estimated that the impact of total aerosol optical depth on Photovoltaic and rooftop installations amount to annual financial loss of upto 1.55 million Rupees, and the corresponding financial loss due to dust and clouds is 0.56 and 2.47 million Rupees. This estimation can help the Indian solar energy producers and the electricity handling entities for efficient transmission and distribution system operations and grid stability optimization.

Recently, solar energy generation has been widely used in developing countries such as India, which has sufficient solar resources. However, clouds and aerosols limit the solar irradiance causing performance issues in the PV and CSP plant installations. To achieve the large-scale development of a solar system requires proper planning, and there is a need to estimate the solar potential.

Researchers at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, an autonomous research institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Govt. of India and National Observatory of Athens (NOA), Greece, studied the impact of aerosols and clouds on the solar energy potential over a high-altitude remote location in the central Himalayan region with analysis and model simulations.

The study published in the journal of Remote Sensing show that on an annual basis, the total aerosol attenuation for the total solar radiation incident on a horizontal surface or global horizontal irradiance (GHI) was 105 kWh m-2 and 266 kWh m-2 for direct solar radiation received from the sun or beam horizontal irradiance (BHI); respectively. The effects of the corresponding cloud are much stronger, with an attenuation of 245 kWh m-2 and 271 kWh m-2 on GHI and BHI, respectively. The scientists also calculated the annual financial loss due to this loss in energy.

The research’s led by Dr. Umesh Chandra Dumka (Scientist, ARIES, Nainital, India) along with the contributions by Prof. Panagiotis G Kosmopoulos (Scientist, NOA, Greece), Dr. Shantikumar S. Ningombam (Scientist, IIA Bangalore, India), and Akriti Masoom (Faculty, IIT Roorkee, India) provide a comprehensive investigation of the impact of aerosols and clouds on solar energy production over the region. Furthermore, this study attempts a financial loss analysis by simulating a hypothetical scenario of a PV (photovoltaic) and concentrated solar power (CSP) system with nominal power of 1 MW assumed to be installed in the central Himalayan region.

The scientists are now planning to connect the solar energy production levels and distribution with the consumption at selected local administrative units across India and quantify the aerosol and cloud effects into the solar forecasting and energy trading principles for a decentralized energy ecosystem.

Indian Scientists present an integrated sewage and organic solid waste treatment technology

4th September 2021, New Delhi

Every Indiam city, town and village is facing the daunting challenge of treatment and disposal of the increasing volume of sewage and solid wastes. Sustainable technologies are indispensable to tackle the situation. Scientists in India have presented a new high rate biomethanation technology for the integrated treatment of sewage and organic solid waste and concomitant generation of biogas and bio manure, which can treat groundwater and wastewater and convert it to potable water. It can be used for sewage and organic solid waste treatment with decentralized applications in various parts of India.

Dr. A. Gangagni Rao, Chief Scientist, and Dr. S. Sridhar, Senior Principal Scientist, CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), have jointly developed this high rate biomethanation technology based on Anaerobic Gas lift Reactor (AGR) Technology for the treatment of organic solid waste and concomitant generation of biogas and bio manure along with Nanofiltration (NF) setup

This integrated and sustainable sewage and organic solid waste treatment system can be used for treating groundwater and wastewater and generating potable and reusable water, respectively. The technologies supported by the ‘Waste Management Technology’ program of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India have received national patents individually.

These AGR and NF membrane technologies at the Technology Readiness Level of 9 have been tested in the field. According to Dr. Rao and Dr. Sridhar, urban and local bodies and gated communities comprising around 50,000 to 1,00,000 population could benefit from this technology. Instead of sending the organic solid waste and liquid waste to the common bigger facilities in the city, the same waste could be treated at source only in decentralized manner.

An integrated model plant comprising of AGR and NF technologies has been established at CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad, for the simultaneous treatment of sewage (100 liters/day) and organic solid waste (250 kg/day) for the generation of value-added products such as biogas, bio manure, and reusable water. The integrated technology is field-tested and working continuously for the past two years.

This integrated approach of sewage and organic solid waste treatment could be exploited anywhere in India, where municipalities comprising around 50,000 to 1,00,000 population generate approximately 2 to 4 million litres per day of sewage and 5 to 10 metric tons per day of organic solid waste.

Sugar industries must ensure continuous running of ETPs even during the non-crushing season to avert shock load: NGT

1st September 2021, New Delhi by sk.mishra.ea@gmail.com

Citing reference of the criteria laid down by the Supreme Court in the Goel Ganga Developers India Pvt. Ltd. vs. Union of India, and M.C. Mehta Vs. Union of India, the NGT Bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel Chairperson stated that if the judgments applied and units are imposed 10% of the turnover as environmental compensation, it would have come to approximately ₹400 Crores, since the information shown on the website of Read more

BRICS Environment Ministers adopt the New Delhi Statement

27th August 2021, New Delhi

The 7thmeeting of the BRICS Environment Ministerial 2021 was took place on Friday under the Chair of India through a virtual platform. India stressed on the need for taking concrete collective global actions against global environment and climate challenge, guided by equity, national priorities and circumstances, and the principles of “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities(CBDR-RC)”.

The meeting was held virtually at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan, New Delhi, and was participated by the Environment Ministers from the BRICS nations. The meeting was preceded by the BRICS Joint Working Group on Environment meeting on 26th August, 2021.

Chairing the Meeting, Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change stated that India gives great importance to BRICS and said that 2021 is a very crucial year not only for the BRICS but for the whole world as well, as we have UN Biodiversity COP 15 in October and UNFCCC COP 26 in November and emphasized that BRICS Countries can play a very significant role in addressing the contemporary global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, air pollution, marine plastic litter, etc.

Referring to the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1 contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science”, Mr. Yadav said that report has given enough, may be the last signal, for taking concrete collective global actions against Global environmental and climate challenges.

The Environment Minister informed the BRICS Ministerial that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi how India is today leading by example by taking several robust steps in the field of renewable energy, sustainable habitats, creation of carbon sinks through additional forest and tree cover, transition to sustainable transport, e-mobility, mobilizing the private sector to make climate commitments, etc.

Mr. Yadav also mentioned about the importance of Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, Conservation of Wildlife and Marine Species or biodiversity, and concrete actions taken by India on climate change and biodiversity. “BRICS Countries being hotspots for biodiversity can tell the world how we have been conserving such mega diversity since time immemorial, and can also play a very significant role in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.”, stated the Environment Minister.

In the Meeting, the Environment Ministers adopted the New Delhi Statement on Environment, which is also aimed at furthering the spirit of Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus in Environment among the BRICS Nations. The key areas proposed in the BRICS Environment Ministers’ Statement, 2021 are guided by the issues, which may have primacy in COP 15 and COP 26.

NITI Aayog Releases North Eastern Region District SDGIndex and Dashboard 2021–22

26th August 2021, New Delhi

The first edition of North Eastern Region (NER) District Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index Report and Dashboard 2021–22 was released by NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MoDoNER), today. The Index measures the performance of the districts of the eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura on the Sustainable Development Goalsand their corresponding targets and ranks the districts based on the same. The index is based on NITI Aayog’s SDG India Index –the principal and official tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs at the national and State/ Union Territory levels and shares the common ethos of benchmarking performance and ranking on the SDGs to foster competition among the districts.

The index offers insights into the social, economic, and environmental status of the region and its districts in their march towards achieving the SDGs. It is a unique policy tool which has immense potential to measure district level progress, highlight critical gaps, facilitate resource allocation, and will be a handy toolfor policy makers in the eight North Eastern States, Ministry of DoNER and other Union Ministries.

NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson, Dr Rajiv Kumar; Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, G. Kishan Reddy; and Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, B.L.Verma,launched the report titled, North Eastern Region District SDG Index & Dashboard: Baseline Report 2021-22, in the presence of Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Dr. Inder Jit Singh, Secretary, Ministry of DoNER; Nadia Rasheed, Resident Representative (I/c), UNDP; and Sanyukta Samaddar, Adviser (SDG), NITI Aayog. The launch was also attended virtually by Chief Secretaries, Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and other senior State Governments officials of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. Designed and developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Ministry of DoNERwith technical inputs from UNDP, the preparation of the index followed extensive consultations with all the eight Northeastern States –who are the primary stakeholders of this tool.

The NER District SDG Index aims at delineating progress at the district level on a basket of indicators and enhancing analytical understanding of sectoral issues as well as data gaps, while assisting in designing future courses of action in the region. The modular nature of the index makes it a policy tool and a ready reckoner for gauging progress of districts on the expansive set of the Global Goals, including health, education, gender, economic growth, institutions, climate change and environment, among others.

The North East as a region has shown remarkable performance in Goal 15- Life on Land, across indicators on forest cover, wasteland, and wildlife cases, with 12 districts in the Achievers category and 86 districts in the category of Front Runners. The region has also fared well in Goal 6- Clean Water and Sanitation where more than 75 per cent of the districts are in the Front Runner category across indicators on sanitation and drinking water services.

Overall Results and Findings

Out of the 103 districts considered for ranking, 64 districts belonged to the Front Runner category while 39 districts were in the Performer category in the composite score and ranking of districts. All districts in Sikkim and Tripura fall in the Front Runner category and there are no districts in the Aspirant or Achiever categories.

East Sikkim [Score 75.87] ranks first in the region followed by districts Gomati and North Tripura [Score 75.73] in the second position. The score for the 103 districts ranges from 53.00 in Kiphire [NL] to 75.87 in East Sikkim [SK].

India stands committed to working with U.S. on clean energy

24th August 2021, New Delhi

Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC), John Kerry to discuss Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD) Track under India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, and other related issues.

According to a government release, both sides agreed that India and the USA, will engage for a constructive engagement under the “India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership”. The Environment Minister stated that these platforms provide greater opportunities for working together for climate actions and emphasized that India stands committed to working with the US on Clean Energy.

Notable that the India-U.S. climate partnership launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden aims to show the world how to combine rapid action against climate change with economic development, according to a joint statement by the two countries. Modi announced the launch of the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership April 22 at the Leaders Summit on Climate convened virtually by Biden with participation of leaders from 40 countries.

Mr. John Kerry, SPEC mentioned about the launch of Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD), as a part of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership (Agenda 2030 Partnership) to enhance actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

Mr. Kerry is likely to visit India in the month of September to further India-US partnership on Clean Energy.

Campaigns undertaken mirrors India's focus on Sustainable Development, Union Environment Minister

24th August 2021, New Delhi

The Twentieth annual and Birth Centenary Edition of Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture series was organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to commemorate TERI's founder Mr. Darbari Seth.

Delivering the Presidential Address, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav said that Seth was a champion of energy conservation and environment protection, besides being a champion industrialist. Mr. Yadav deliberated on how the Government of India has taken multidimensional approach to all pillars of sustainable development.

Mr. Yadav, who is also the Union Minister for Labour & Employment said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi India has undertaken various campaigns which mirror India’s focus on Sustainable Development Goals.

He reaffirmed that India is on track to achieve and even exceed our targets (Nationally Determined Contributions) under the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. Orating that climate change mitigation is necessary but not sufficient, the Minister stressed on climate change adoption with a clear road map for provision of finance and technology.

The annual Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture series was initiated by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in 2002 in the memory of the institute's visionary founder and noted technocrat-industrialist, Darbari S. Seth. Under his guidance, TERI emerged as one of the leading knowledge institutions in the field of sustainability and climate change.

NTPC's 25 MW floatovoltaics in Simhadri to do away with 46k tons of CO2-equivalent, besides saving 13,640 Lakh Liter water every year

21st August 2021, New Delhi

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC ) Ltd, has commissioned the largest floating solar PV project of 25MW on the reservoir of its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. This is also the first solar project to be set up under the Flexibilisation Scheme, notified by the Government of India in 2018.

Floating solar, sometimes called floatovoltaics, refers to a solar power production installation mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water.

The floating solar installation which has a unique anchoring design is spread over 75 acres in an RW reservoir. This floating solar project has the potential to generate electricity from more than 1 lakh solar PV modules. This would not only help to light around 7,000 households but also ensure at least 46,000 tons of CO2e are kept at arm’s length every year during the lifespan of this project. The project is also expected to save 1,364 million litres of water per annum. This would be adequate to meet the yearly water requirements of 6,700 households.

The 2000MW coal-based Simhadri Station is the first power project to implement an open sea intake from the Bay of Bengal which has been functional for more than 20 years.

NTPC is also planning to set up a hydrogen-based micro-grid system on a pilot basis at Simhadri.

According to a research article floating type solar photovoltaic panels have numerous advantages compared to overland installed solar panels, including fewer obstacles to block sunlight, convenient, energy efficiency, higher power generation efficiency owing to its lower temperature underneath the panels. Additionally, the aquatic environment profits by the solar installation because the shading of the plant prevents excessive water evaporation, limits algae growth and potentially improving water quality.

In Italy the first registered patent, regarding PV modules on water, goes back to February 2008. This technology has had a rapid growth on the renewable energy market since 2016. The biggest operational floating solar power plant in 2021 is in China. While China and India together account for six of the world’s ten biggest floating solar projects in various stages of development. As per Power Technology India's largest floating solar plant is 600MW Omkareshwar Dam floating solar farm.

Cabinet approves Ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on ODS for phase down of HFCs

18th August 2021, New Delhi

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phase down of Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by India, adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October, 2016 at 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol held at Kigali, Rwanda.

HFC phasedown is expected to prevent the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, helping prevent climate change and would benefit the people.

The Montreal Protocol on Ozone layer depleting substances, is an international environmental treaty for protection of the Ozone Layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS). According to scientific evidences, the stratospheric ozone layer protects humans: and the environment from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. India became a Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer on 19th June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Though the present approval of the Cabinet, India will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons. Notable that India has successfully met the phase out targets of all the ODSs as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule.

Under the Kigali Amendment; Parties to the Montreal Protocol will phase down production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons, commonly known as HFCs. HFCs were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternative. later it was found that though HFCs do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000, which have adverse impact on climate. Recognizing the growth in use of HFCs, especially in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning sector the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) held in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to add HFCs to the list of controlled substances and approved a timeline for their gradual reduction by 80-85% by the late 2040s.

India will complete its phase down of HFCs in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.

According to a government release, the industry producing and consuming HFCs will be phasing it out as per the agreed schedule under and transition to non-HFC and low global warming potential technologies. National strategy for phase down of HFCs as per the applicable phase down schedule for India will be developed after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023. Amendments to the existing legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.

Major Impact, including employment generation potential:

Phasing out Hydrofluorocarbons. is expected to prevent the emission of up to 105 million tonne of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) equivalent of GHGs, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. Implementation of HFC phase down under the Kigali Amendment through the adoption of low-global warming potential and energy-efficient technologies will achieve energy efficiency gains^ and CO2 emissions reduction - a "climate co-benefit."

HFCs phrase down implementation will involve synergies with on-going government programmes and schemes of the Government of India with the objective to maximize the economic arid social co-benefits, besides environmental gains. There would be scope for domestic manufacturing of equipment as well as alternative non-HFC and low-global warming potential chemicals to enable the industry to transition to the low global warming potential alternatives as per the agreed HFC phase down schedule. In addition, there would be opportunities to promote domestic innovation for new generation alternative refrigerants and related technologies.

India extends full support to UK for a successful COP26 scheduled in November 2021

18th August 2021, New Delhi

Around the world storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution sadly affects the health of tens of millions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods too. But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, despite the opportunities the world is not acting fast enough. To avert this crisis, countries need to join forces urgently.

In 2009, rich countries promised they would work towards raising $100bn each year by 2020 to help these countries tackle climate change. This remained a mere declaration. International climate summits are complex. But COP26 can't be just yet another international summit.

Stating that India is always committed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) Framework and its Paris Agreement, and will work constructively for successful and balanced outcome at COP26, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav extended India’s full support to the UK for COP26 to be held in Glasgow in November this year.

The Environment Minister had a detailed meeting with Alok Sharma, COP26 President-Designate, UK in New Delhi today wherein they discussed on various issues pertaining to climate change, COP26, India-UK 2030 Roadmap, and other related matters.

“India believes that Climate actions must be nationally determined and strongly advocates that the differentiation and operationalization of flexibility provided in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement for developing countries should be at the core of decision-making” emphasized Mr. Yadav reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on climate justice while fighting climate change.

The Environment Minister also mentioned about the global initiatives spearheaded by India under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for tackling climate change viz. Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), Coalition on Coalition Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and International Solar Alliance (ISA).

COP26 President-Designate, UK, Alok Sharma sought the support of India on the COP 26 Initiatives launched by the UK and for a successful COP at Glasgow and acknowledged India’s leadership role. Both the leaders also exchanged views on important climate negotiation agenda items to be deliberated in the upcoming COP26 at Glasgow.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted Environmental Security in his Independence Day Speech

15th August 2021, New Delhi

India celebrates its 75th Independence Day. On the auspicious occasion, while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that environmental security is getting the equal importance in the world as national security. He said, India is a vibrant voice of environmental security, today, whether it is biodiversity or land neutrality, climate change or waste recycling, organic farming or biogas, energy conservation or clean energy transition. Citing the increase in forest cover, number of national parks, increase in number of tigers and Asiatic lions as a matter of happiness, the Prime Minister said that India’s efforts in environment are giving results today.

Stating about the commencement of India's water conservation campaigns, Mr. Modi reminded emphasized that saving water should be a habits of every individual. He also stated for a complete stop on the use of single use plastic to make India a plastic-free country. In his address, the Prime Minister also mentioned countrymen's duty not to throw dirt in our rivers, keep our sea shores clean.

As India is not yet energy independent, and spends over 12 lakh crore rupees annually for energy imports, the Prime Minister stressed on gas based economy. He said there should be a network of CNG and PNG across the country. Besides, he said there should be a target of 20 percent ethanol blending. India is moving ahead with a set goal, he informed.

Stating Green Hydrogen as the future of the world, the Prime Minister announced setting up of National Hydrogen Mission. Mr. Modi said "We have to make India a Global Hub for Green Hydrogen Production and Export in the 'Amrit Kaal'. This will not only help India to make a new progress in the field of energy self-reliance but will also become a new inspiration for Clean Energy Transition all over the world. New opportunities from Green Growth to Green Job are opening up today for our start-ups & youth."

Prime Minister Modi said, "India has also made a move towards Electric Mobility and the work on 100% electrification of Railways is also progressing at a fast pace. Indian Railways has set a target of becoming Net Zero Carbon Emitter by 2030. Besides these efforts, the country is also emphasizing on Mission Circular Economy. Our Vehicle Scrap Policy is a great example of the same. Today, India is the only country in the group of G-20 countries, which is moving fast towards achieving its climate goals."

He further stated "India has set a target of 450 GW of renewable energy by the end of this decade - 450 GW by 2030. Of this, the target of 100 GW has been achieved by India ahead of schedule. These efforts are also instilling confidence in the world. The formation of the International Solar Alliance on the Global State is a great example of the same."

Deliberating on Blue Economy, Mr. Modi said, "The Deep Ocean Mission is the result of our ambition to explore the unlimited possibilities of the ocean. The mineral wealth which is hidden in the sea, the thermal energy which is in the sea water, can give new heights to the development of the country."

Prime Minister also highlighted on the manufacturing to be of high quality standards in order to sustain in the global competition. Attainment of quality product and meeting global competition, could be vital in waste reduction,, and thereby natural resources conseravtion, which ultimately leads to better environment.

The Prime Minister also stated that the government has abolished over 15,000 unnecessary compliances. This should help industries and non-industry businesses to stregthen environmental compliances and reporting.

Terming India's youth as the 'Can Do' Generation, the Prime Minister has given a tremendous responsbility to them, which obviously is not just about activism. Youth in every responsible position has to bear the onus of sustainable development of the nation.

Four more sites of India in Ramsar list as wetlands of International importance

With 46 Ramsar sites, India is 3rd in Asia

14th August 2021, New Delhi

Four more wetlands from India get recognition from the Ramsar Secretariat as Ramsar sites. These sites are Thol and Wadhwana from Gujarat and Sultanpur and Bhindawas from Haryana.

With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India are 46 and the surface area covered by these sites is now 1,083,322 hectares. While Haryana gets its first Ramsar sites, Gujarat gets three more after Nalsarovar which was declared in 2012.

The aim of the Ramsar list is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits”.

Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. They are, in fact, are a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.

Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 412 hac, the largest wetland in Haryana is a human-made freshwater wetland. Over 250 bird species use the sanctuary throughout the year as a resting and roosting site. The site supports more than ten globally threatened species including the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, and Black-bellied Tern.

Sultanpur National Park from Haryana sprawls over 143 hac. supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles. More than ten of these are globally threatened, including the critically endangered sociable lapwing, and the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Black-bellied Tern.

Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary spreading across 699 hac. from Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here. The wetland supports more 30 threatened waterbird species, such as the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture and Sociable Lapwing , and the vulnerable Sarus Crane, Common Pochard and Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Wadhvana Wetland from Gujarat, which sprawls over 630 hac. is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway. They include some threatened or near-threatened species such as the endangered Pallas’s fish-Eagle, the vulnerable Common Pochard, and the near-threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Grey-headed Fish-eagle and Ferruginous Duck.

In a Press Release, Government of India has said that the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) would be working closely with the State Wetland Authorities to ensure the wise use of these sites. Earlier, on the occasion of the World Wetland Day, the MoEF&CC had announced the establishment of a Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM), as a part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, an institution under the Ministry.

Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav expressed happiness and stated that it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special concern for the environment, which has led to overall improvement in how India cares for its wetlands.

Asia has 372 Ramsar sites, out which China has 64, followed by Japan 52 and India has 3rd most number of wetlands listed as Ramsar sites.

Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 notified

New Rules prohibit identified SUPs by 2022

13th August 2021, New Delhi

In the 4th episode of “Mann Ki Baat 2.0” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that it is a matter of pride for India as well as the whole world, while we are celebrating ‘Gandhi 150, our 130 crore countrymen have pledged to be rid from the menace of Single Use Plastic (SUP). He had expressed confidence that all the countrymen will be a part of the campaign for liberation from the menace of SUP on 2nd October. Earlier, in 2018, India had celebrated Beat Plastic Pollution. And, India started a movement to shun SUP by 2022.

In line with the clarion call given by the Prime Minister to phase out single use plastic by 2022, keeping in view the adverse impacts of littered plastic on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, which prohibits identified single use plastic items which have low utility and high littering potential by 2022.

Pollution due to single use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries. India is committed to take action for mitigation of pollution caused by littered Single Use Plastics. In the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution, recognizing the urgent need for the global community to focus on this very important issue. The adoption of this resolution at UNEA 4 was a significant step.

The manufacturing, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st July 2022 are; (1) ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration; (2) plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.

In order to stop littering due to light weight plastic carry bags, with effect from 30th September, 2021, the thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy five microns and to one hundred and twenty microns with effect from the 31st December, 2022. This will also allow reuse of plastic carry due to increase in thickness.

The plastic packaging waste, which is not covered under the phase out of identified single use plastic items, shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility of the Producer, importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. For effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility the Guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility being brought out have been given legal force through Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.

The waste management infrastructure in the States/UTs is being strengthened through the Swachh Bharat Mission. The following steps have also been taken to strengthen implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and also to reduce the use of identified single use plastic items:(i) the States/UTs have been requested to constitute a Special Task Force for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. A National Level Taskforce has also been constituted by the Ministry for taking coordinated efforts to eliminate identified single use plastic items and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The State /UT Governments and concerned Central Ministries/Departments have also been requested to develop a comprehensive action plan for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, and its implementation in a time bound manner. Directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, have been issued to all States/Union Territories inter alia for setting up for institutional mechanism for strengthening enforcement of Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016.

The Government has also been taking measures for awareness generation towards elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. A two month long Awareness Campaign of Single Use Plastic 2021 has been organized. The Ministry has also organized pan India essay writing competition on the theme for spreading awareness amongst school students in the country.

To encourage innovation in development of alternatives to identified single use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021, has been organized for students of Higher Educational Institutions and startups recognized under Startup India Initiative.

MoEF&CC initiates evaluation of eleven NAFCC projects

10th August 2021, New Delhi

The Government of India has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) for the work of Evaluation of Eleven Projects under National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC), which are scheduled for completion during the FY 2021-22. NAFCC is a Central Scheme got operationalized in FY 2015-16 and will be continuing beyond 12th Five Year Plan. The Fund was created to assist National and State level activities to meet the cost of adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate Change. NAFCC supports concrete adaptation activities which are not covered under on-going activities through the schemes of State and National Government that reduce the adverse effects of climate change facing community, sector and states.

The adaptation projects contribute towards reducing the risk of vulnerability at community and sector level. The activities under this scheme are in a project mode basis. The projects on adaptation in agriculture, water, forestry, infrastructure etc are being implemented under this Scheme at National and State level.

It also proposes various conferences workshops, awareness and information dissemination programmes, Research and Development activities, and establishment of a coordination and monitoring units to enhance adaptive capacity.

The scheme envisages availability of improved water and food security, improved livelihoods, improved ecosystem services, risk and vulnerability reduction and increased adaptive capacity in the project areas. Possible outputs of the project are enhancing adaptive capacity to reduce the magnitude of risk and vulnerability of climate change for maximizing multi-sectoral, cross-sectoral benefits/co-benefits to reduce key risks and adverse impacts of climate change in water and agriculture sectors. Further. integrated traditional knowledge and good practices will be inventorised; human development, poverty alleviation, livelihood security would be achieved, community awareness on climate change matters at the state-level would be enhanced. These outputs could be considered as indicators for evaluation of projects on annual and planned basis.

As per an Office Memorandum of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, till date 30 projects, including a regional project and a multi-state project, have been approved at a total cost of Rs. 847.82 Cr. 11 projects in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Pondicherry and Uttar Pradesh are completing in FY 2021-22 for which the Ministry intends to conduct a third party evaluation of these projects.

IPCC releases 6th Assessment Report on Climate, India welcomes

9th August 2021, New Delhi

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, released its latest Climate Report on Monday, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis. The report is the first major review of its kind since 2013, ahead of the COP26 summit in November.

The IPCC sixth assessment report, which runs over 3900 pages, said that it is not just about temperature. Climate change will increase global heat. Some areas will witness intense rains and flooding while others will face severe drought. The report has noted that a "strong and sustained" deduction in carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases will benefit the environment as air quality will improve quickly while global temperatures could take 20 to 30 years to stabilize.

India has welcome the report, in which several Indian Scientists have also participated. Union Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav said in his tweet message that the report is a clarion call for the developed countries to undertake immediate, deep emission cuts and decarbonisation of their economies.

Developed Countries have usurped far more than their fair share of the global carbon budget. Reaching net zero alone is not enough, as it is the cumulative emissions up to net zero that determine the temperature that is reached. This has been amply borne out in the IPCC report. It vindicates India’s position that historical cumulative emissions are the source of the climate crisis that the World faces today.

The report notes that the Carbon dioxide has been and will continue to be the dominant cause of global warming under all greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

The Environment Minister further said that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi India has taken numerous steps to tackle the global problem of climate change and is well on the path of decoupling its emissions from economic growth.

India notes that the climate change is impacting the South Asian Monsoons. The report brings out that the monsoon rainfall is expected to intensify in all ranges of the projected scenarios. Intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall events are projected to be on the rise. India notes that the rising temperature will lead to increased frequency and intensity of extreme events including heat waves and heavy rainfall.

India also notes that the GHG warming is assessed to be partially offset by aerosol cooling by almost 30%. India’s cumulative and per capita current emissions are significantly low and far less than its fair share of global carbon budget.

In a release, the Government of India stated to have taken tremendous actions under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tackle the global collective action problem of climate change by taking several initiatives including, inter-alia, setting up of International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, raising the domestic renewable energy target to 450 GW by 2030 and putting in place an ambitious National Hydrogen Mission and continuing efforts to decouple its emissions from economic growth. India’s actions to address global climate change are 2°C compliant and rated highly by several independent agencies of the world.

The report is a ‘reality check,’ giving a clearer picture of the climate in the past, present and future, says the IPCC. It has deliberated that climate change is widespread, rapid, & intensifying. It has emphasized on scientific observations about changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system.

"Today’s IPCC Working Group I Report is a code red for humanity... Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible", said United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

"Nobody is safe and it's getting worse faster. We must treat climate change as an immediate threat", said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Inger Andersen.

Two more reports are scheduled in 2021. In September 2021, the Working Group III Report on Mitigation of Climate Change, and in October 2021, the Working Group II report regarding Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability shall be released. The Synthesis Report is due to be finalized in the first half of 2022 in time for the 2023 Global Stocktake by the UNFCCC, when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to well below 2°C while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and UNEP to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCC does not conduct its own research. It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion and where further research is needed. It is a partnership between scientists and policymakers and it is this that makes its work a credible source of information for policymakers. IPCC assessments are produced according to procedures that ensure integrity, in line with the IPCC’s overarching principles of objectivity, openness and transparency. IPCC has stated that its reports are policy relevant, but not policy-prescriptive.

ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India drops all projects but 12MTPA Pellet Plant in Odisha, EAC recommends EC

7th August 2021, New Delhi

Dr. C N Pandey led Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) recommends Environmental Clearance (EC) to ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India's proposal for completion of balance work of 6 MTPA Pellet Plant (Unit-2) of 12,000,000 TPA Pellet Plant at Udayabata, Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha. The Rs. 1450 Crore project site is located within Paradeep Severely Polluted Area, which has CEPI Score 60.61.

The existing EC was originally issued to Essar Steel Orissa Ltd. on 29th May 2008 for installation of Integrated steel plant 6 MTPA (including Pellet plant 12 MTPA) along with 225 MW captive power plant. The EC was transferred to the ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India Ltd. on 24th June 2021.

Three rivers flow within 5 km from the project; Mahanadi River at 0.2 km towards North, Athrabanki Riverat about 2.7 km towards South and Nuna River at about 4.02 km toward North West of the project.

The report shows that total water requirement for the project is estimated as 20,448 kilo-liter per day (KLD), out of which 17,856 KLD of fresh water requirement will be obtained from the slurry pipeline and the remaining requirement of 2592 KLD will be met from the Taladanda Canal. The permission for drawl of groundwater / surface water is obtained from Mahanadi South Division, Jobra vide Lr. No. 6598/WE, dated 16.07.2020 having validity till March 2021. Application for rephrasing of allocated water is submitted to Mahanadi South Division vides Lr. No. AMNS/PDP/03 dated 12th March 2021, which is under process.

According to information provided, the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, which was issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) vide S.O.1601 (E) dated 16th June 2015, the ESZ varies from 560 meters to 2 kms width from the boundary of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. It is stated that the project site is located at a distance of 5.39 km from the boundary of the ESZ and permission from Standing Committee for National Board of Wildlife is not applicable.

All other units except for the 12 (2x6) MTPA Pellet plant from the original EC of 2008 have been dropped. In view of this, the total project area has reduced to 61.132 ha. The project has dropped several scopes from its Phase-2, such as; Blast Furnace with Pig Casting Machine, Basic Oxygen Furnace, Steel Melting & Continuous Casting shop, Ladle Furnace, RH-TOB, Slab Caster, Oxygen Plant (BOO Basis), Lime Point, Dolomite Plant, Captive Power Plant and Sinter Plant.

It is stated that a greenbelt will be developed in an area of 60.57 acre, which is about 40% of the total project area. 62,200 samplings shall be planted in 2 years with a density of 2500 trees per hectare. However, in the condition specified by EAC states that the greenbelt area also includes green belt development of 20-meter-wide towards Udayabata Village which is 600 m from the plant boundary. In addition to the 40% greenbelt mentioned above, green cover shall be developed in 16 acres of buffer area created between plant boundary and Mahanadi River as committed by the project proponent. The EAC has also asked the industry to prepare GHG emissions inventory for the plant and submit the programme for reduction of the same including carbon sequestration including plantation.

During appraisal of the project on 29th July 2021 in its 41st meeting, the EAC also laid a condition that the project has to switch over to Natural Gas fuel from LSHS/LDO by December, 2022.

MoEF&CC amends discharge and emission standards for Pharmaceutical industry

7th August 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has amended the standards for effluent discharge and air emissions Bulk Drug and Formulation (Pharmaceutical) industries. The new standards prescribed by the Ministry vide its notification bearing GSR No. 541(E) dated 6th August 2021 shall come into force after one year from the date of publication.

COD and Ammoniacal Nitrogen are the two compulsory parameters are added in the new effluent discharge standards. So, according to the the new effluent discharges, an industry shall have to maintain pH between 6.0-8.5, BOD less than 30 ppm, COD within 250 ppm, TSS and Ammoniacal Nitrogen, each should be less than 100 ppm, and Oil & grease with in 10 ppm. The Bio - Assay Test of the effluent should result 90% survival of Fish after first 96 hours in 100% effluent.

The effluent discarge standards cited above shall not be applicable to the industries discharging to CETP, and shall be applicable to all discharge to land and surface water bodies including use of treated wastewater for horticulture or irrigation purposes.

Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR), Benzene, Xylene, Methylene Chloride and Chlorobenzene are added to the previous list of additional parameters. The additional parameters shall be prescribed by State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or Pollution Control Committee (PCC) depending on the process and product. The monitoring frequency shall be monthly/quarterly as decided by SPCBs /PCCs. The limits specified for Benzene, Xylene, Methylene Chloride and Chlorobenzene shall be applicable only if the industries use these chemicals.

The discharge norms for industry connected with CETP and of CETP shall be governed by MoEF&CC notification S.O. 4 (E), dated the 1st January 2016. SPCBs shall prescribe additional relevant parameters as per 6th August 2021 notification as per needs and discharge potential of member industries and specify the frequency of monitoring considering the receiving environment conditions.

The new GSR does not mention about the standards for air emissions and effluent discharge from incinerators, which was available in earlier standards. However, a new emission standard has been prescribed for "Tank farm Vents". The parameters specified are Chlorine (15 mg/Nm3), Hydrochloric acid vapour (35 mg/Nm3), Ammonia (30 mg/Nm3), Benzene (5 mg/Nm3), Toluene (100 mg/Nm3), Acetonitrile (1000 mg/Nm3), Dichloromethane (200 mg/Nm3), Xylene (100 mg/Nm3), and Acetone (2000 mg/Nm3).

It is also specified that tThe total cumulative losses of solvent should not be more than 5% of the solvent on annual basis from storage inventory.

One more important standard is that Chemical and Biological sludge or any residue, reject, concentrate generated from wastewater treatment or its management facility at Industry or CETP catering to industries engaged in manufacturing of bulk drug or formulation of Pharmaceuticals, shall be classified as Hazardous Waste as per the provision of clause 17 of sub-rule (i) of rule 3 of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 and shall be subject to the provision made therein.

India's Green Port initiatives

5th August 2021, New Delhi

Besides, Green Highway, Blue Beach certifications of Sea Beaches, Government of India has undertaken green port initiatives in the major ports so that their environmental performance can be improved.

The green port initiatives include acquisition of equipments for monitoring environmental pollution, acquisition of dust suppression systems, setting up of sewage/ waste water treatment plants, setting up of garbage disposal system for ports and ships, developing shore reception facility for wastes from ships, setting up projects for energy generation from renewable energy sources, providing shore power to ships at berths, creating Oil Spill Response (Tier-1) capabilities at all ports, taking actions to improve harbour water quality, inclusion of sustainable practices in terminal design, development and operation, increasing green cover within port premises etc.

Chemicals and dangerous materials are handled by different ports following guidelines of Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO) and International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) codes.

Utilization of idle and vacant land at several ports in the country is ongoing process including development of port-led industrialization. Allotment of these land is done as per the Policy Guidelines for Land Management by Major Ports. The Government of India simplifies the procedure of allotment of land from time to time.

This information was given by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Water Month starts in Ladakh

5th August 2021, New Delhi

The Union Territory of Ladakh launched a month-long campaign- ‘Pani Maah’ (Water Month) to increase the pace of implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the UT, also to inform and engage village communities on the importance of clean water. Water Month will run at the Block and Panchayat level in two phases. The first phase will run from 1st to 14th August and the second phase will run from 16th to 30th August 2021. The campaign will adopt a three-pronged approach- focussing on water quality testing, planning and strategizing water supply, and seamless functioning of Pani Sabha in villages.

Launching the campaign on 25th July 2021, during a four-day workshop on the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Ladakh, Lt. Governor R K Mathur, emphasized upon the objective of the ‘Pani Maah'. He said that an efficient service delivery brings transparency and ensures good governance. Through this month-long campaign, village communities will be encouraged to send water samples to water quality laboratories for quality checks and monitoring.

In the first phase of ‘Pani Maah’, the focus will be on Swachhta Sarvekshan and Sanitation drives by Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti members. During this phase water sample will be collected from all identified sources and service delivery points for testing. The first phase will also include awareness and sensitisation campaigns.

Phase two of ‘Pani Maah’ will focus on organizing the Pani Sabhas/ Gram Sabhas/ Block level meetings and door to door visits for effective communication on water quality and service delivery under JJM. During this phase, Jal Jeevan Mission implementation, water quality test reports and analysis will be discussed with the villagers in an open forum. A village/ block-wise schedule has also been prepared for water sample collection and the Gram Sabhas to ensure maximum participation of villagers in the campaign.

The Union Territory of Ladakh has also announced an award of Rs. 5 lakh per village for the first 5 ‘Har Ghar Jal’ villages of each district in UT and Rs. 25 lakh to the first ‘Har Ghar Jal’ block in each district. Outstanding PRI members, BDOs, AEEs and other concerned stakeholders will be honoured on Republic Day 2022 for their contribution towards making villages, blocks and districts, ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

On 15 August, 2019, at the time of launch of Jal Jeevan Mission, out of 18.98 Crore rural households in country, only 3.23 Crore (17%) had tap water connections. Despite Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown disruptions, Jal Jeevan Mission provided 4.65 Crore tap water connections in last 23 months. As a result, today, 7.89 Crore (41.27%) households have tap water supply. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, and Puducherry have achieved 100% household connection in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

Following the principle of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, the motto of the Mission is that ‘no one is left out’ and every household in a village should be provided with tap water connection. At present, 78 districts, 906 blocks, over 53 thousand Gram Panchayats and more than 1.06 lakh villages have achieved the target of ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

DRIP To Make Existing Dams Safe & Resilient

4th August 2021, New Delhi

In order to strengthen water security in the country and support sustainable development, the Government of India today signed a US$250 million loan agreement with World Bank for the Second Phase of Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP Phase II) to make existing dams and communities safe and resilient across India. The Ministry of Jal Shakti, ten (10) States namely Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu and the Central Water Commission attended the loan signing ceremony. The balanced US$250 million external funding from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is under consideration.

This DRIP Phase II is the first phase of externally aided DRIP Phase II and Phase III, approved by Government of India in October 2020. The Scheme has the participation of nineteen (19) States and three (3) Central Agencies. The Budget Outlay for both Phases is ₹10,211 Cr for an implementation period of ten (10) years. The Scheme will be implemented in two Phases, each of six years’ duration, with two years’ overlap.

The agreement was signed by Rajat Kumar Mishra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India; Ministry of Jal Shakti was represented by Debashree Mukherjee, Additional Secretary and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank as well as official representatives of concerned States.

This new Scheme will reinforce dam safety initiatives taken by Government of India through physical rehabilitation of selected dams by addressing various concerns to improve safety and operational performance, institutional strengthening in various ways, incidental revenue generation for sustainable operation & maintenance of dams etc. The Scheme is designed to infuse global know-how, innovative technologies in dam safety. Another major innovation envisaged under the project, that is likely to transform dam safety management in the country, is the introduction of a risk-based approach to dam asset management that will help to effectively allocate financial resources towards priority dam safety needs. Also, Scheme implementation will equip the Indian dam owners to gear up their human resources to comprehensively handle many important activities envisaged in proposed Dam Safety Legislation.

The programme is expected to enable states and dam owners to extend these safety protocols and activities beyond the selected dams to all other dams within their jurisdiction, overall enhancing the culture of dam safety in the country. This programme complements the provisions in the Dam Safety Bill 2019, by ensuring capacity building of the dam owners as well as the proposed regulators, as well as creating necessary protocols for dam safety. It is likely to generate employment opportunities equivalent to approximately 1,000,000 person days for unskilled workers, and 250,000 person days for working professionals.

India ranks third globally after China and the United States of America, with 5334 large dams in operation. In addition, about 411 dams are under construction at present. There are also several thousand smaller dams. These dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the Country. Indian dams and reservoirs play an important role in the economic and agricultural growth of our country by storing approximately 300 billion cubic meter of water annually.

These dams present a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety. Due to deferred maintenance and other health issues, these dams have associated risks in case of failure. The consequences of dam failure can be catastrophic, in terms of loss of human life and property, and damage to ecology.

The first phase of the DRIP programme, which covered 223 dams in 7 states, improved the safety and operational performance of selected dams, along with institutional strengthening through a system wide management approach, has been recently closed in March 2021.

In order to carry forward the momentum gained through ongoing DRIP, and expand it vertically and horizontally, the new Scheme, DRIP Phase II, co-financed by World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with US$250 million each, covers large dams in 19 states of the country.

This Scheme is especially focused on mitigating the risks of dam failure and ensuring safety of people, riverine ecology and property located downstream of these selected dams, through structural as well as non-structural measures like physical rehabilitation, preparation of Operation and Maintenance Manuals, Emergency Action Plans, Early Warning System and various other measures.

Life of these selected reservoirs will be extended further by addressing health and safety concerns of these selected dams; in turn, these assets will provide planned benefits efficiently for longer period to public at large in terms of various direct benefits like irrigation, drinking water, hydel power, flood control etc.

In addition to physical rehabilitation, as mentioned before, equal emphasis has been given for capacity building of dam owners in order to ensure availability of trained and skilled manpower for better operation of dams during all seasons in a year. Customized training programmes for various technical and managerial aspects will assist dam owners to create a pool of knowledge to deal with matters of dam safety confidently and scientifically.

Tiger Conservation, a symbol of Forest Conservation: Union Minister Bhupender Yadav

29th July 2021, New Delhi

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupendra Yadav today said that Tiger Conservation is a symbol of conservation of forests and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the approach of the Government of India has been an inclusive one integrating scientific & traditional knowledge along with people’s participation which is vital for the conservation of Flora and Fauna of the country. Mr. Yadav was speaking at a virtual event on the occasion of Global Tiger Day.

The Environment Minister also released the report ‘Status of Leopards, Co-predators and Megaherbivores-2018’ stating that the report is a testimony to the fact that conservation of tigers leads to the conservation of entire ecosystem.

During all India tiger estimation 2018, leopard population was also estimated within the forested habitats in tiger occupied states of the country. The overall leopard population in tiger range landscape of India in 2018 was estimated at 12,852 (SE range 12,172 - 13,535). This is a significant increase from the 2014, figure that was 7,910 (SE 6,566-9,181) in forested habitats of 18 tiger bearing states of the country.

The event also showcased, the 14 Tiger Reserves in India which received the accreditation of the Global Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards (CA|TS). The 14 tiger reserves which have been accredited are Manas, Kaziranga and Orang in Assam, Satpura, Kanha and Panna in Madhya Pradesh, Pench in Maharashtra, Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar, Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh,Sunderbans in West Bengal, Parambikulam in Kerala, Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka and Mudumalai and Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu.

Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) has been agreed upon as accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts. Officially launched in 2013, it sets minimum standards for effective management of target species and encourages assessment of these standards in relevant conservation areas. CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.

The event was also attended by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment who emphasized the age old tradition of living in harmony with nature and all forms of life and said that as a top predator, tiger plays a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystem and exhorted all to come together and join hands to save our tigers and their natural habitat.

In the presence of both the Ministers, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) felicitated some of the forest frontline workers as ‘BaghRakshaks’, to recognize their outstanding contribution towards the protection of tigers and forests. “Our forest force continued to toil day and night; protecting forests and wildlife even during the deadly Covid-19 pandemic” said the Union Environment Minister and congratulated all the frontline forest staff for their undying spirit which continues to protect our natural heritage.

The Government of India took a proactive step to classify forest and wildlife protection as ‘essential services’ during lockdown. The Country’s forest force continued to toil day and night; protecting forests and wildlife even during the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

The event also saw the release of a special edition of National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) quarterly newsletter ‘STRIPES’, commemorating Global Tiger Day, by both the Ministers, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, R P Gupta and other senior officials of the NTCA.

Manuals on Management of Grey Water, Plastic Waste, Faecal Sludge, Biodegradable Waste & IEC released

28th July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Food Processing Industries, Prahlad Singh Patel released the ODF Plus Manuals under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase -II at an event here today organized by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS). The launched manuals pertain to key components of ODF Plus, which include Grey Water Management, Plastic Waste Management, Faecal Sludge Management, Biodegradable Waste Management and IEC. The document also provides detailed information on technologies, technical specifications of assets, estimated costs and possible O & M arrangements. DDWS has developed manuals to support states, districts, and rural local bodies implement solid and liquid waste management initiatives.

Addressing the media after the release of Manuals, Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that taking forward the extraordinary success, Phase -II of the SBM (G) aiming at achieving ODF Plus goal was launched early last year, which focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) aiming at comprehensive cleanliness in villages.

The Union Minister stressed 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. The manuals launched today will contribute significantly towards capacity building and knowledge enrichment at various levels strengthening SBMG Phase II initiatives.

Shekhawat also added that for FY 2021-22 as part of the approved Annual Implementation Plan (AIP); SBM (G) Phase -II is poised to support over two lakh villages achieve solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) arrangements through an investment of over Rs. 40,700 crores. While the Central share would be around Rs. 14,000 crores, the States shall spend over Rs.8300 crores. Funds to the tune of Rs. 12,730 crores will be made available through the Fifteenth Finance Commission and over Rs.4,100 through convergence with MGNREGS. Programme Implementation this fiscal year will see construction of over 50 lakh Individual Household toilets (IHHLs), one Lakh Community toilets, Plastic Waste Management Units in over 2400 Blocks of India, Grey Water Management in around 1.82 lakh villages, Gobardhan projects in 386 Districts, and Faecal sludge management arrangements in over 250 Districts.

Addressing the media, Minister of State, Prahlad Singh Patel said India achieved the massive challenge of ODF declaration of all villages in mission mode in five years (2014-19). As Swachhata is an eternal journey, the Phase II of SBM (G) aims at achieving the goal of complete cleanliness or Sampoorna Swachhata by addressing ODF SLWM issues. This can be achieved by ensuring collective responsibility and commitment. The manuals released today will equip all with relevant and necessary technical information, technologies, and references.

NGT appointed Joint Committee Report suggests drone surveillance in stone quarry

24th July 2021, New Delhi

A Tamil daily newspaper, Dinamalar, on 5th February 2021 reported about a landslide took place in a private quarry near Uthiramerur of Kancheepuram District. The accident occurred at the time when workers were engaged in loading quarried stones from the quarry in the trucks, in which one life was lost. According to the newspaper report, no safety measures were adopted and the lease conditions were not properly complied with, which led to the incident.

On the basis of the newspaper report, the matter was SuoMotu registered by South Zone of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). In its 17th February 2021 Order on the matter registered as O.A. No.69/2021(SZ) Justice K. Ramakrishnan, and Expert member Saibal Dasgupta appointed a Joint Committee comprising of The District Collector, Thiruvallur District, a Senior Scientist from Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board as designated by its Chairman, and a Geologist from the Department of Geology and Mining, Chennai, in order to ascertain the genuineness of the allegations made in the newspaper report, and whether there was any violations of the conditions and lack of any safety measures or the manner in which the quarrying was done in an unscientific manner causing environmental degradation. The committee was also asked to assess the environmental compensation, if there is any violation found and excess mining done and submit a report to the Tribunal. The committee is also directed to consider the question of cost required for restoring the damage caused to the environment and the remedial measures to be taken, while submitting the report.

The Joint Committee inspected the site on 23rd April 2021 and has now submitted a report to the NGT. In its report, the Committee has recommended initiation of penal action for illegal and unlawful quarrying and transportation of 1,704,532 cubic meter rough stone and gravel. The recommendation cites reference to G.O. 170 dated 5th August 2020 of Industries Department penal action and also Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

The Joint Committee has found violation of lease deed, for which they have suggested for a hearing to the lessee, D. Sarathkumar, as per Rules 36(5) (h) of Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

The committee’s recommendations also mentions that further quarrying may be allowed only after taking remedial measures and after getting concurrence from the Director General of Mines Safety and District Collector.

The report also recommends drone surveys by existing and proposed quarries by the expense of lessee, once in year through the empaneled agencies. And the Environmental Compensation worth ₹8,675,000 has been suggested by the 3 membered Joint Committee.

Don't shift Goalposts and bring new benchmarks for global climate ambition: India at G20 Climate Summit

23rd July 2021, New Delhi

On the second and concluding day of the G20 summit, Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change stressed that the G20 must respond to the call of science for urgent global climate action in this decade.

The G20 Energy and Climate Joint Ministerial Meeting held today at, Naples, Italy was attended virtually by the Indian delegation from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Power.

Speaking at different sessions on Climate Change, the Union Environment Minister underlined the need to cut absolute emissions rapidly while taking into account the Paris Agreement which emphasised on respective historical responsibilities, delivery of promised climate finance and technologies at low cost keeping in perspective per capita emissions, differences in per capita GDP and the unfinished agenda for sustainable development.

Yadav stated that India remains steadfast in its commitments to join and lead efforts to combat climate change within the multilaterally agreed convention and its Paris Agreement.

The Minister mentioned about the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi , installing 450 GW (Giga Watt) of RE (Renewable Energy) by 2030, enhanced ambition in bio-fuels, India’s NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and various other initiatives taken by India on Urban Climate Action.

The Minister stressed, common but differentiated responsibilities to combat climate change, as per respective capabilities and national circumstances, lies at the heart of the UNFCCC & its Paris Agreement. “We should not be shifting goalposts and setting new benchmarks for global climate ambition”, said Yadav and informed that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has exhibited exemplary resolve by achieving its pre 2020 voluntary commitment of reducing emission intensity.

“With increase in urbanization, it is important to create and preserve green spaces and protect biodiversity in urban areas” said the Environment Minister and informed that India’s Urban Climate Actions include Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, National Mission on Sustainable Habitat, Climate Center for Cities, Climate Smart Cities Alliance, Climate Practitioners India Network, Urban Forestry, etc.

India also welcomed the G20 works on Sustainable Recovery, Cities, Financial Flows, etc.

Developing Countries need more support than ever before, says Bhupender Yadav in his address to G20 countries

22nd July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav today said that India is committed to work with the G20 countries for a better world leaving no one behind, and stands together in solidarity with the global community in mounting a strong and effective response that secures the health of the planet and its people.

Leading the Indian delegation at the G20 Environment Ministerial the Environment Minister underscored the need for a collective global action to tide over the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and that the Developing Countries need every possible support more than ever before. The G20 Environment Ministerial Meeting held today at, Naples, Italy was attended virtually by the Indian delegation led by Bhupender Yadav.

On ‘Nature Based Solutions’ (NBS) and Sustainable Finance, the Indian Environment Minister said that the contexts and perspectives should be guided by the stage of economic development, national circumstances and priorities, and must not come at the cost of developing countries’ competitiveness, equity and development.

The Minister stressed on that ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns through sustainable natural resource management, waste reduction and promoting resource efficiency has been a priority and is reflected in policies of Ģovernment of India.

For tackling marine litter, the Minister emphasized that India have been taking voluntary regulatory measures on plastic waste management, and also recalled that in the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in 2019, India had separately piloted a resolution No. 4/9 in the 4th UNEA on “Addressing single- use plastic products pollution”.

The Minister also mentioned about the initiatives taken by India on Resource Efficiency (RE) & Circular Economy (CE), and that the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue should also strengthen exchange of ideas, knowledge and best practices on RE & CE and support the transition to sustainable and equitable resource use for a better future.

During the course of the day long meeting, India welcomed global initiatives like UNESCO’s International Environmental Experts Network; protecting at least 30% of global land area and oceans by 2030; Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030; Third Report on the G20 Implementation Framework for actions on Marine Plastic Litter; etc.

India also welcomed the G20 Dialogue on Water but reiterated taking into account national circumstances and priorities, and underlined the need for effective and implementable post 2020 biodiversity framework.

“G20 Environment, Climate and Energy”, Italy’s great ambition: to reconcile environmental protection with progress and human wellbeing, placing the ecological transition at the centre of the political agenda, and promoting a coordinated and global response to pandemics that is based on science.

The key topics of the discussion are combating climate change, accelerating the ecological transition, making financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives, opportunities for sustainable and inclusive recovery enabled by innovative technological solutions of the energy sector, and building smart, resilient and sustainable cities. #G20 #Italy

In Environment Sustainability sector, Infosys remains top CSR Funding company

20th July 2021, New Delhi

During the financial year 2019-20 a total number of 21,349 companies spent ₹21,231 Crore towards CSR funds. EA learnt that the amount spent was across 36 States and Union Territories in India in 30,987 CSR projects. The number of companies decreased by more than 14% from 24,965 during FY 2018-19, while the amount spent has increased by more than 13% from previous data of ₹18,728 Crore.

EA also learnt that 2,249 companies, which is nearly 10.5% of the total number of companies, spent in the development sector of Environment, Animal Welfare, Conservation of Resources ₹1,521 Cr during 2019-20, which is slightly above 7% of the total CSR expenditure. Out of the four sub-sectors - agro forestry, animal welfare, conservation of natural resources and environmental sustainability; the last one got the maximum share. If the whole sector is taken in to account, ITC Ltd. was the top most contributor with ₹11,684 Lakh. However, when the sub-sector of Environment Sustainability is considered, the top contributor remains Infosys with an expenditure of ₹8,040 Lakh, as compared to previous year’s ₹14,307 Lakh; followed by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. ₹7,537 lakh.

DG - NMCG inaugurates AGI report on Potetntial of Geospatial Technologies for Water Sector in India

20th July 2021, New Delhi

Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra on Tuesday released a detailed report on the opportunities in the Water sector that can benefit from the use of Geospatial technologies. Outlining key water sector programmes and projects in the country, the report provides an overview of how each of these programmes is currently using geospatial technologies, and how to improve technology adoption in the future. Over 60 water and geospatial technology experts from across the country provided inputs for this report.

As per the report a plethora of Geospatial and Digital technologies, like Satellite based Remote Sensing, Surveying and Mapping, GPS based equipment and sensors, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Spatial Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things, 5G, Robotics and Digital Twin, can be effectively used to combat the water crisis.

With a considerable population density of about 424 people per square kilometer, and agricultural water requirement, India is heavily dependent on groundwater and is one of the worst hit countries as far as the water crisis is concerned. Government is making a lot of efforts to tackle this situation. To support the Government, combat this pervasive challenge and to ensure better water management in the country, the Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI) – a geospatial technology industry body, has prepared this report titled, “Potential of Geospatial Technologies for the Water Sector in India”.

D.P. Mathuria, Executive Director (Technical), NMCG and Peeyush Gupta, Real Time Information Specialist, NMCG were also present. The DG - NMCG expressed happiness to see this initiative and said it is critical for us to use the latest and best digital and spatial technologies to make data-based informed decisions. He explained the various applications of the technologies in the Namami Gange Mission for mapping of different attributes of the Ganga basin. Various other missions such as Jal Jeevan Mission, Atal Bhujal Yojna, also have set up projects using these technologies. Mr. Mishra emphasised on the need for collaborating with stakeholders in the entire ecosystem such as Geospatial organizations, academics, Policy makers, funding agencies etc.

In the introduction, emphasizing the essence of the report it mentions that of the 189 million households in Rural India, only 51 million (26%) have household tap water connection. However, the latest data shows that with the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission, the Government has connected nearly 78 million household, which is little over 41% of rural population of India.

Several recommendations have been given in the report to strengthen the adoption of technology to realise better outcomes. As a quick resource meant for the professionals in the water domain, as well as technology enthusiasts, the report has also listed several case studies highlighting the use of geospatial technologies in different contexts related to water problems. It has also shared a list of those openly available. #NMCG #water #agi #GPS #GIS

More than Rs. 1439 Crore released during 2020-21 by Union Govt. to clean Rivers

19th July 2021, New Delhi

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in collaboration with the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) is regularly monitoring the water quality of rivers & other water bodies in the country through a network of monitoring stations. As per CPCB report of September, 2018, 351 polluted river stretches have been identified on 323 rivers based on monitoring results in terms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand(BOD) levels, an indicator of organic pollution.

Cleaning and rejuvenation of rivers is a continuous process and Central Government is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments and Union Territories in addressing the challenges of pollution of rivers by providing financial and technical assistance through schemes like National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and Namami Gange.

For conservation of rivers, the Ministry of Jal Shakti has been supplementing efforts of the States/UTs by providing financial and technical assistance for abatement of pollution in identified stretches of rivers in the country through the Central Sector Scheme of NamamiGange for rivers in Ganga basin, and Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) for other rivers. In a reply to Rajya Sabha today, the Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs, Bishweswar Tuduin informed that during 2020-21 Rs. 1400 Crore was sanctioned, while the total funds released was Rs. 1439.84 Crore.

However, funds are reported to be not optimally utilized for various reasons, including delay in award of works, land acquisition issues, prevailing site conditions, contractual and labour problems, approvals/clearances required from regulatory agencies, etc. leading to delays in project implementation.

According to a Government of India release of 8th March 2021, NRCP had covered polluted stretches of 34 rivers in 77 towns spread over 16 States in the country with a sanctioned cost of Rs.5965.90 crore and sewage treatment capacity of 2522.03 million litres per day (MLD) was created by then. Under Namami Gange programme, a total of 335 projects were sanctioned at a cost of Rs.29,578 crore till that day, of which 142 projects have been completed and made operational. Out of 335 projects, 156 projects were in the sewerage sector for creation of total sewage treatment capacity of 4867mld, and sewerage network of 5066 kms.

In addition, sewerage infrastructure is created under programs like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission of Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

As per the Provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution), Act 1974, industrial units are required to install effluent treatment plants (ETPs) and treat their effluents to comply with stipulated environmental standards before discharging into rivers and water bodies. Accordingly, CPCB, SPCBs and PCCs monitor industries with respect to effluent discharge standards and take action for non-compliance under provisions of these Acts.

C N Pandey led EAC finds 18 deficiencies in NABET accredited consultant's EIA Report

17th July 2021, New Delhi

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for Industry Projects (Industry-1 Sector) constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) while appraising the application for proposed expansion in production from 30,000 TPA of MS Ingots to 120,000 TPA of MS Ingots/ Billets from 48,000 TPA to 120,000 TPA of Twisted and ribbed bars by Prime Gold International Ltd. located at Kalugondapalli Village Denkanikotta Taluk, Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu, observed that the Public Hearing was represented by a consultant called Pollucare Engineers while #EIA report is prepared by Pridhvi Envirotech.

Deliberating on the quality of reporting, several technical deficiencies enumerated and non-submission supporting documents alongwith the EC application,, and Public Hearing confusion, the EAC has recommended issuacne of Show Cause Notice to the consultant Pridhvi Envirotech with Accreditation Certificate No. NABET/EIA/1922/RA0132 valid up to 3rd June 2022.

A compliance report with regard to the conditions laid in existing Consent-to-Operate is required to be obtained from Regional Office of State Pollution Control Board, which was not submitted.

EAC also noted tha the recent water withdrawal permission from Gram Panchayat was not been submitted along with the EIA clearance application.

In the EIA Report, the cover page of was found to be not as per August 2009 Office Memorandum. The EIA Report talks about 12 chapters in some part, while EAC found 11 chapters in it. Further, the EAC observed that chapter wise contents are not as per the format given in Appendix III of EIA Notification 2006.

According to August 2009 Office Memorandum issued by the MoEF&CC, a declaration by Project proponent is required to be placed on 2nd Page of the report, which was missing in the EIA Report prepared by Pridhvi Envirotech for Prime Gold International Ltd.. It was also stated that the signature of the team involved in EIA were not original but scanned and fixed type.

The EAC also observed that the Analysis Report of Groundwater as well as Surface water and Soil presented in the Executive Summary was not complete.

There were further deficiencies noted by the EAC on the Public Hearing part. The action plan to address the issues raised during public hearing as per MoEF&CC Office Memorandum dated 30th September 2020 was not furnished.The proceedings of Public Hearing should have been reported under section 7.1, while it was submitted as Annexure.

The EIA report mentions use of bag filters only to control Particulate Matter emissions, and not wet scrubbers, yet the section indicates the wet scrubber diagram. This shows that the EIA report was not prepared with due focus and provided impertinent and irrelvant information.

It was also noted that the interpretation of base line data for physical parameters, environment baseline and socioeconomic environment was not done. The Chapter 4 was a generic text book presentation without any quantification of impacts and mitigation measures. Data from Chapter 2 and 3 was not used to quantify the impacts except the AAQ data used in modelling.

The EIA report also contained flaws in Social Impact Assessment part. Composition of the Environment Cell was found inappropriate. The Corporate Environment Policy was not complied.

NABET, in its list of accreditated consultants should also show more information about the consultants, such as the date of first accreditation, scope of accreditation, and contact details as shared by the NABL, which is another QCI organization.

Green Court relentlessly dealing with pollution matters in Indira Gandhi Canal for over last seven years

16th July 2021, New Delhi

Disposing the Original Application No. 167/2021 in the matter of Yuva Mandal Sansthan Mithdiya versus State of Punjab & Ors. the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that the very same issue has been dealt with by the Tribunal for seven years.

The applicant, Yuva Mandal Sansthan Mithdiya, stated that there is pollution of Indira Gandhi Canal (INC) starting from Harike Barrage, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in State of Punjab and it flows through the Ludhiana City. The canal is source of drinking and irrigation water in the north and western Rajasthan but on account of pollution flowing from Sutlej and Beas into the Indira Gandhi Canal, people living around INC have developed various health complications such as skin diseases, gastroenteritis, indigestion, loss of eyesight to name a few. The water in the canal has apparently turned black in color due to the presence of pollutants in it. The toxic water now flows through the 65-kilometer stretch putting the lives of people living around the canal on the verge of serious health perils. Failure to prevent pollution by the States of Rajasthan and Punjab is also violation of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti v. Union of India, 2017 5 SCC 326.

In the hearing on 14th July 2021, the Principal Bench of the Green Court, chaired by Justice Adarsh Kumal Goel stated that the same matter was first taken up by the Tribunal in OA 101/2014, Sobha Singh & Ors. v. State of Punjab & Ors. and thereafter in OA 916/2018 (the new number assigned to the same matter). The NGT has also issued an Order in this regard 24th July 2018 in OA 101/2014.

In the light of previous deliberations, the NGT Bench said the problems already stand identified and directions issued. What survives is continuous monitoring which is primary responsibility of the State Authorities. In its 2nd January 2021 Order, the Tribunal has directed the Chief Secretary, Punjab to take initiative in the matter in coordination with the River Rejuvenation Committee headed by Environment Secretary in continuation of 5th report of the Monitoring Committee. The Tribunal also directed the Chief Secretary to submit quarterly reports to the Central Monitoring Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) in terms of order dated 21st September 2020 in OA 673/2018 which deals with the subject of restoration of 351 polluted river stretches, including the rivers in question.

The Principal Bench of NGT directed Secretary, MoJS to take follow up action in the matter in coordination with the States concerned.

The States concerned were also directed to make available relevant information about the status of compliance of environmental norms and in case of violations, remedial action including requisite operational ETPs meeting with the standards, water quality at interstate border, arrangements for remedying impact in downstream areas, setting up of Real time water quality systems.

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for over the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that 129 cities were monitored, as against 135 of yesterday. The number of cities where ‘Good’ category AQI prevailed dropped to 53 from previous day's 62, and number of cities with ‘Satisfactory’ AQI remained at 67. In nine cities ‘Moderate’ air quality prevailed.

None was in Poor, Very Poor, or Severe category of AQI.

Shillong quoted the least AQI value of 14 with SO2 as predominant pollutant. AQi was noted to be 18 in Aizawl and Davanagere, while it was 82 in Gadag.

Rajasthan's Alwar was noted to be the worst polluted, though in moderate category AQI value of 158, which was less than yesterday's 166 in Bhwadi. PM10 observed to be the most dominating pollutant in Alwar.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, #Delhi quoted highest value, followed by Chennai and Kolkata, while Mumbai quoted the least AQI. With data from a 37 monitoring stations AQI in Delhi increased from yesterday's 83 to 90 today. AQI in #Mumbai with data from 17 monitoring stations remained unchanged at 42. #Chennai, which has got reports from 7 monitoring stations quoted 48, while AQI in #Kolkata with data from 6 monitoring locations registered AQI value to be 48. Thus in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata AQI was in Good Category.

Out of the cities surrounding Delhi, Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh quoted the lowest AQI 52, while in an industrial township in south west Haryana noted the highest AQI value 130. The most prevalent pollutant in Dharuhera was PM2.5.

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".

NMCG approves new projects for rejuvenation of polluted river stretches in UK

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Rajiv Ranjan Mishra on Friday chaired the 36th Executive Committee meeting of #NMCG and approved new projects for rejuvenation of 6 polluted river stretches in Uttarakhand.

The proposals from State Mission, Uttarakhand for these polluted stretches have been under review by NMCG and were finalised and taken up for consideration by the EC today. It has approved the project of “Interception & Diversion (I&D) and STP work of 06 nos. Polluted River Stretches to Rejuvenate Rivers Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Kosi, Nandhore, Pilakhar and Kashipur. Sewerage (I&D) Scheme (Dhela River) Phase-1 of District Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand” under Namami Gange Programme at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 199.36 Crs. The project will ensure tapping of a total of 17 Nalas which will be intercepted and diverted to 9 STPs to be constructed under this project for a total treatment capacity of 30.30 MLD.

The project shall cover the 6 polluted river stretches in the Kumaon region. Out of the rest 3 polluted stretches, project of Ganga at Jagjeetpur, Haridwar has already been commissioned and on the remaining two, Namami Gange projects are already under execution. With this project, all the polluted stretches in the state of Uttarakhand have been covered under pollution abatement projects.An important and progressive feature of the project is comprehensive sludge management arrangements and provision for co-treatment of septage in all these STPs.

The progress of action plan of states for polluted stretches are being reviewed by the central monitoring committee. The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, also recently reviewed these projects and the state government at Ministerial level also made a representation to him.

Sewerage Projects for Ganga Towns in Uttarakhand have already been completed in the state for pollution abatement along the Ganga under the Namami Gange program and the Mission has been focussing on rejuvenation of tributaries of the Ganga with priority on the polluted stretches. As per the report of Central Pollution Control Board identifying polluted stretches of the rivers in the country, there were a total of 9 polluted stretches in Uttarakhand state and 6 of them were in district Udham Singh Nagar on various tributaries or small rivers such as Bhela, Dhela, Kichha, Nandor, Pilankha and Kosi and 02 (Two) stretches were on Rispana-Bindal and Suswa, which are being covered in the I&D Rispana_Bindal project which is under execution under the Namami Gange Programme, while 01(One) stretch was on main river Ganga (downstream Jagjeetpur) already covered by the Jagjeetpur STP project.

Union Government Issues two Gazette Notifications for Jurisdiction of Krishna & Godavari River Management Boards

16th July 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Jal Shakti through Gazette Notification dated 15th July 2021 has notified the jurisdiction of Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board, which provide the required authority and power to the two Boards in terms of administration, regulation, operation and maintenance of listed projects in Godavari and Krishna rivers in the two States. This step is expected to ensure judicious utilization of water resources in the two states.

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014 (APRA) contains provisions for the effective management of river waters in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Constitution of the Godavari and Krishna River Management Boards and the constitution of an Apex Council for the supervision of the functioning of these Boards, is laid down in this Act.

The Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 85 of the APRA, 2014, constituted the two River Management Boards effective from 2nd June, 2014 for the administration, regulation, maintenance and operation of such projects on Godavari and Krishna rivers, as may be notified by the Central Government.

The long pending issue of notifying the Jurisdiction of the two Boards was addressed in the 2nd meeting of the Apex Council held in October, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Union Minister, Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. In this meeting, it was decided that the jurisdiction of GRMB and KRMB will be notified by Government of India.

In accordance with the provisions under Section 87 of APRA, 2014, Government of India has issued two gazette notifications, one for the jurisdiction of GRMB and the other for KRMB, for administration, regulation, maintenance and operation of projects in Godavari and Krishna river basins respectively, in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

This decision of the Union Government for notifying the jurisdiction of two Boards would go a long way in enabling the River Boards to discharge their responsibilities to the fullest as mandated in the APRA, 2014 and bring about efficiency in management of water resources in the two States. The Centre expects the wholehearted cooperation and assistance of both the State Governments in the smooth functioning of the two Boards, to ensure equitable benefit to the people of both the states.

US to impose Carbon Tax on Imports from Polluting Countries

16th July 2021, New Delhi

According to NYT Report, Democrats have agreed to include a tax on imports from nations that lack aggressive climate change policies as part of a sweeping $3.5 trillion budget plan stocked with other provisions aimed at ratcheting down fossil fuel pollution in the United States. The move to tax imports was made public Wednesday, the same day that the European Union outlined its own proposal for a similar carbon border tax , a novel tool that is designed to protect domestic manufacturing while simultaneously pressuring other countries to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet. The two actions in concert suggest that government leaders are turning toward trade policy as a way to attack climate change. Top Democrats called the timing coincidental but said both the United States and Europe must work together to put pressure on China and other heavy polluting countries to reduce emissions.

Will this cause impact in Indian regulations? Lately, India has shown quite a consistent liniency towards industries and businesses. Significant changes were made in consent management rules, groundwater resulations, plastic waste management rules and so on. Also, the EIA Notification is under process for a major overhauling. Will these support India's claim as a less polluting country? Whether, the import fee to be levied on the basis of a specific carbon certification? Time will tell. But one thing is clear that the developed countries are swiftly changings their positions from donors to receivers.

Delhi CM urges Center for Bharat Ratna to Bahuguna

15th July 2021, New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday unveiled a commemorative stone portrait, and took part in a tree plantation drive at the Delhi Legislative Assembly in memory of the revered environmentalist Late Sunderlal Bahuguna, who was famous across the globe for spearheading the Chipko Movement. On the occasion, the CM appealed to the Central Government to honour Bahuguna with the Bharat Ratna award saying that giving this award upon a towering personality like Bahuguna will be an honour for the Bharat Ratna award itself.

Arvind Kejriwal also presented a cheque of Rs. 1 lac to Bahuguna's family in honour of the vast legacy he has left behind. On this occasion Kejriwal said that Bahuguna’s fight will not just be remembered by Uttarakhand and India but the entire world.

The ceremony was held in the presence of the Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly Ram Niwas Goel, Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as well as the family and children of Sunderlal Bahuguna.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “It is an honour for us to have installed the portrait of Sh. Sunder Lal #Bahuguna Ji in the Smriti Gallery as well as to have this opportunity to spend time with his family. Most of us were born during the time when the Chipko Andolan was going on or we must have read about this movement as students. As much as I remember, I read about this movement when I was pursuing journalism. I was always interested and overwhelmed to know more about Bahuguna Ji and his work. Although I could never meet him, I had the privilege of seeing him from afar at an event.”

Ram Niwas Goel, Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly described that words would fall short to express Sunderlal Bahuguna's vast legacy. Goel said "His farsighted vision to take up the cause of environmentalism through the #Chipko Movement that later made huge impact through out globe. He made the entire world realise how essential it is to protect the environment.”

How sustainable is flyash handling at Sasan Power?

15th July 2021, New Delhi

Recently, Sasan Power Ltd. has submitted a 257 page document before the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the matter of Hiralas Bais versus Union of India, Original Application No. 148 of 2020. The submission has been uploaded in the website of NGT. The document incorporates a list of concrete action taken or being taken by the company Sasan Power Ltd. for its 6x660 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project. The document shows that the ash content in the coal utilized by the company is 28%. And the total fly ash generated by the company during 2019-20 was 5,244,591 MT, out of which only 2,746,403 MT was utilized. This is little more than 52%, against the requirement of 100% utilization. Interestingly, out of the 2,746,403 MT flyash utilized more than 98% is used in low lying land filling. A mere 1,264 MT was utilized in fly ash bricks, 880 MT in ready mix concrete and 45,280 MT in cement. Is this a concrete step as claimed by the company? Notable that only 1.77% of total flyash generated was utilized during 2013-14.

Another significant point is whether the report submitted by Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi is a conclusive one, based on the scope of study and findings? Whether the emergency preparedness plan requires a review by any expert who has ever been associated with an organization like National Disaster Response Force? This needs serious attention of the authorities and judiciary. Because, this time six lives lost, which was managed very cheaply with a petty amount, though it is highlighted as ₹125.3 Lakh. The one time settlement against the one life lost due to an accident by the project was ₹10 Lakh, at best. It should be ensured that such incidence does not occur again. Because, the loss to environment can’t be accountable by such companies and their reporting. #Sasan #Reliance #Power #Thermal

Increasing Forest Coverage would be a priority: Ashwini Choubey

12th july 2021, New Delhi

Ashwini Kumar Choubey has today assumed his charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India.

The Minister planted a tree sapling at the premises of Environment Ministry in New Delhi today. He also holds the position of Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Speaking with the media on the occasion, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving the responsibility and said that in the last seven years the Environment Ministry has done many unprecedented works and emphasised that increasing the forest cover further would be a priority area.

Jal Jeevan Mission strengthens preventive measures to curb JE-AES spreading in 61 priority districts

11th July 2021, New Delhi

Jal Jeevan Mission has provided tap water supply to more than 97 lakh households in 61 Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) affected priority districts in a short span of 22 months. This is a significant achievement in strengthening the preventive measures to reduce spread of JE-AES by providing clean tap water supply to economically poor households in the affected districts of Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

On 15th August 2019, when Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) was announced, only 8.02 lakh (2.67%) households in 61 JE-AES affected districts across the five States had tap water supply. In the last 22 months, tap water connections have been provided to additional 97.41 lakh households in these districts. Now, 1.05 Crore (35%) household have assured tap water supply in JE-AES affected districts. This32% increase in household tap water connections in JE-AES priority districts is about 12% higher than the national average increase of 23.43% in tap water supply across the country during the same period.

Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) is a serious health hazard. The disease mostly affects children and young adults which can lead to morbidity and mortality. These infections particularly affect malnourished children of poor economic backgrounds. As many as 61 high priority districts in five States are identified for strengthening prevention and control measures through five Union ministries with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as the nodal ministry. Jal Jeevan Mission is a key programme in reducing the burden of disease in these districts.

Among these five States, Bihar has performed well in providing tap water supply to rural households in its 15 JE-AES affected priority districts. On an average 85.53% tap water connection have been provided in these districts. Nalanda with 96% tap water supply connections, followed by Saran and Gopalganj 94%, Vaishali and Siwan 91%, Paschim Champaran 84%, and Purvi Champaran 80% are the leading performers in the State.

Specific funds for JE-AES affected priority districts are allocated on the basis of drinking water sources and the extent of water contamination. 0.5% budget under the Mission is allocated to carry out activities for providing potable drinking water in every rural household of JE-AES affected priority districts. Rs 462.81 Crore has been allocated to these five States as JE-AES component for 2021-22.

Jal Jeevan Mission announced by the Prime Minister on 15thAugust 2019 from the Red Fort is under implementation in partnership with States/ UTs to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024. Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household connection in rural areas and has become ‘Har Ghar Jal’. At present, 69 districts and more than 98,000 villages have tap water supply connection in every household.

NGT Orders Teva API to pay 10 Crore Environmental Compensation

9th July 2021, New Delhi

The National Green tribunal (NGT) has found violations of environmental norms by Teva API Pvt. Ltd., Chandpur Road, Gajraula in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh, resulting in incidents of gas leak on 7th June 2020 and 10th June 2020.

Teva API is stated to be a global pharmaceutical company and the largest supplier of generic medicines worldwide. The Principal Bench of NGT has said in its 6th July Order that on the basis of the principles for assessment of compensation laid down in M.C. Mehta v. UOI & Ors., Sterlite Industries (India) Limited & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., and Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi v. Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy & Ors., the environmental compensation pegged at Rs. 10 Crores. The amount has to be deposited within one month time, in the office of the District Magistrate, Moradabad, which shall be a separate account to meet the expenses towards restoration of the environment by preparing an action plan for augmentation of the groundwater, afforestation, landscaping, restoration of the drain and offsite emergency plans.

The Tribunal has also directed to prepare an action plan for utiliszation of the compensation amount. The utilization may be ensured within six months.

The Green Court has also ordered the joint Committee of CPCB, UPPCB, and District Magistrate, Moradabad to ensure that requisite measures are adopted by Teva API to avoid violation of safety norms in future.

Disposing the Original Application No. 89/2020, I.A. No. 171/2020, and I.A. No. 429/2020, the NGT has directed Shalabh Mathur, DIG, Muradabad to submit a factual report to the Oversight Committee with regard to death of one Mohit Ranjan on account of gas leakage on 7th December 2020. If death is found to be attributable to the activities of the unit, the unit may ensure payment of requisite compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 within one month, failing which the District Magistrate, Moradabad may ensure payment of compensation of atleast Rs. 20 lacs to the next of the kin of the deceased, which amount may be recovered from the unit. If the unit is aggrieved by the report of DIG Moradabad on this aspect, it will be open to it to move this Tribunal in the matter by way of an interim application. The statutory authorities may maintain strict vigil to prevent such occurrences.

Union Cabinet Minister Bhupender Yadav takes charge of MoEF&CC

8th july 2021, New Delhi

New Cabinet Minister, Bhupender Yadav, has today assumed his charge as Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Speaking with the media on the occasion, the Minister thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving him an opportunity to work for the Government. The Minister said he would make all efforts to deliver on the responsibilities given to him by the Prime Minister.

Before assuming charge, the Minister planted a tree sapling at the premises of Environment Ministry in New Delhi today. The Minister was welcomed by Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Secretary EF&CC along with other senior officials of the Ministry.

The 51-year-old Yadav, serving his second term as a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, was sworn in as Union Minister on Wednesday.

Union Cabinet Minister R. K. Singh takes charge of MoP and MNRE

Bhagwant Khuba assumes as MoS, MNRE

8th July 2021, New Delhi

Raj Kumar Singh assumed charge as Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement for the Period 2021-2030 envisage reduction of the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level; to achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from Non-fossil fuel based and energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international nuance.

Considering this, both the Ministries have significant roles in attainment of climate goals.

In his brief interaction with media after assuming charge , The Minister further added that we have achieved targets of electrification set by the Prime Minister well before the schedule and will strive to ensure that the benefits of power and energy sector reach the common man.

Bhagwanth Khuba took over as Minister of State for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

#RE #renewable

Women can drive Renewable Energy and Sustainability

8th July 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in collaboration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), organized a webinar on “Women in Renewable Energy and Sustainability” on 7th July. Delivering the welcome address, Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, Secretary, MNRE said Renewable Energy(RE) has a special significance for improving the status of women. He opined greater participation of women in RE sector can bring more positive outcomes. He also highlighted various aspects of the interrelationship between RE sector and the empowerment of women. He assured that the government will seriously and sincerely look into the outcome of the event.

Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance also deliberated on how women can play pivotal role in RE sector through leadership, entrepreneurship and consumerism.

The webinar featured two panel discussions. The theme for the first panel was “Women Leadership in Renewables: Envisioning a New World” and it saw the participation of Ms. Gauri Singh, Deputy Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Ms. Mahua Acharya, CEO, EESL Convergence, Ms. Sullajja Firodia Motwani, Kinetic Green and Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The theme for the second panel was “Women Entrepreneurs in RE: A gateway to innovation and economic growth” and the panelists included Ms. Reema Nanavaty, Secretary General, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Ms. Meagan Fallone, Barefoot college, Ms. Ajaita Shah, CEO, Frontier Markets, Ms. Cecile Martin Phipps, Director Communication and Strategy, ISA, Ms. Suhela Khan, UN-Women and Mr. Praveen Saxena, CEO, Skill Council for Green Jobs.

The webinar was joined by audiences from around the world. This was an opportunity to open a consequential dialogue towards bringing more and more women to the forefront and in leading positions in the Renewable Energy sector as well as making entrepreneurial opportunities available to them. The webinar was also a part of India’s global advocacy efforts in the role of a Global Theme Champion for the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy which is set to take place in September 2021.

India gets one more Tiger Sanctuary

5th July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar sanctioned one more tiger Sanctuary, Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary in Rajasthan. The Minister said it will link Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in the Northeast and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve on the southern side. He further mentioned that "Increasing numbers of Tigers and other apex predators certify our robust biodiversity."

Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary acts like a buffer for Ranthambore National Park, one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in India. It is located almost 45 kilometers on Bundi-Nainwa Road and covers an area of 252 square kilometers approx. It is rich in biodiversity and is home to various kinds of wild animals. Ranthambhore – Ramgarh Vishdhari – Mukundra hills, is one of the three corridors of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, which was in need of restoration.

Daily AQI:Gadag least polluted for 3rd day in a row, Nandesari most polluted among 126 cities

5th July 2021, New Delhi

The daily air quality data published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the last 24 hours as reported at 4 PM today shows that Gadag in the state of Karnataka is least polluted for third day in a row, among the various cities monitored. Alike the previous day's impact CO remained as the most impactful pollutant in Gadag.

‘Good’ category AQI prevailed in 30 cities, while in 50 cities AQI was ‘Satisfactory’. The number of cities where ‘Moderate’ air quality prevails increased from yesterday' 32 to 42 today.

AQI was reported to be in Poor category in four cities, viz - Greater Noida, Mandi Gobindgarh, Moradabad, and Nandesari. With AQI value 231, Nandesari stood the worst polluted city in the last more than 24 hours. The most polluting parameter was PM2.5. Nandesari has a large notified industrial area consisting of large amount of chemical factories. It is said to home Gujarat's first GIDC with concrete roads and storm water drains.

None of the 126 cities monitored was in Very Poor of Severe category of AQI.

Among the four Metropolitan cities, #Delhi with 35 monitoring stations recorded to have 149, the worst AQI, due to multiple polluting parameters - PM2.5, Ozone, PM10. #Mumbai with 21 monitoring stations registered 64, which is in satisfactory category of AQI. Major pollutants in Mumbai were SO2 and PM10. #Chennai, which has 8 monitoring stations quoted 51, while #Kolkata which has 7 monitoring locations recorded to have 52. So, in none of the metro cities, AQI was in Good category. There were multiple predominant air pollutants affecting air quality in all the four cities.

In cities adjacent to Delhi, Greater Noida with AQI 209 was found to be Poor, attributed to Ozone as the major pollutant. In all other cities it was in moderate category. Except, Greater Noida, Faridabad, and Gurugram, in all other cities the air pollution was attributed to PM10. In #Faridabad PM2.5 and Ozone also contributed to the AQI, while in #Gurugram, PM2.5 in addition to PM10 contributed to the air quality.

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". #Bhiwadi

Land of Agriculture to Highway Culture

4th July 2021, New Delhi

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, New Delhi, has issued a notification dated 2nd July, 2021 vide S.O. 2685(E) with regard to land acquisition for National Highway No. 149B.

In the brief description the notification shows that 10.902 hectare of land to be acquired, with or without structure, falling within the stretch of land from 12.000 Km to 38.200 Km. in the Champa-Korba-Chhuri-Katghora section, Package-I of the National Highway No. 149B in the Chhattisgarh.

Out of the 10.902 hectare of land, 10.321 is stated to be agricultural land.

Haryana and Rajasthan to undertake first of its kind Aquifer Mapping

GMDA's GIS Technology to be deployed in Heliborne Survey

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat appreciated the use of GIS Technology by Gurugram Mahanagar Development Authority (GMDA). He said this technology will be used for a High Resolution Aquifer Mapping of Haryana and Rajasthan states. This kind of survey will be conducted for the first time in the country, to map water aquifer up to 400 meters below the ground level. This Heliborne survey will be completed in a year.

Shekhawat said that GIS can provide a platform to all stakeholders working in the field of water. He lauded the efforts put in by the GIS division of GMDA in creating a data of available state wide components like ground water, surface water, drainage, ponds etc. which will be useful for the ‘National Water Informatics Centre’ (NWIC), an organisation made by the Union Government similar to that of National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Ratan Lal Kataria during his visit to the GIS Division at GMDA also interacted with the officials about the potential of GIS technology in water resource management.

The Chief Executive Officer of GMDA Sudhir Rajpal while welcoming the Chief Guest briefed about the GIS Infrastructure setup and informed how GIS and Satellite technologies are helping the Authority in better planning and management of projects at GMDA. He also briefed about various works being carried out by GMDA.

Head GIS at GMDA cum Principal Scientist HARSAC Dr Sultan Singh demonstrated the GIS Database and Applications developed by GIS Division related to available water infrastructure including ground water, surface water, drainage, canal network, ponds, water harvesting structure created at the State level. This data of water has been collected from Satellite using GIS technology, which is now made available on ‘One Map Portal’. He also informed that the available information about all types of water is very useful for various stakeholders like Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Haryana Pond Authority, bodies and organizations working as per the Haryana Water Resources (Conservation, Regulation and Management) Authority Act 2020. This Water Resource Information can be used for creating a facility, a combined solution for the water resource management in the state of Haryana.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Haryana covers above 95% rural households

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Haryana is one of the most progressive states in India. Recently, The glorious land has a rich history of social justice, Mahabharata, in which a bow from the great warrior Arjun brought sprinkle of drinking water for one of the most disciplined hero Bhishma. Those were different days. Now, no Arjuna is needed. The Haryana government has made remarkable contribution towards the success of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Till the latest report, it has completed above 95% of rural household with tap water supply. After attainment of “Har Ghar Jal” status for districts Bhiwani, Sonipat and Charkhi Dadri, 12 out of 22 districts in the State have achieved the target under JJM.

The remaining nine districts, which have already achieved the “Har Ghar Jal” target are Ambala, Faridabad, Gurugram, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panchkula, Panipat and Rohtak. Apart from this, 6 out of the remaining 10 districts have also achieved more than 98 percent of the target and these 6 districts are expected to declare themselves as “Har Ghar Jal” districts shortly.

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria, who hails from Haryana, expressed pleasure on achievement 100% target in Bhiwani, Sonipat and Charkhi Dadri districts of Haryana. He mentioned his hopefulness about 100% target achievement, in all the districts of the state, much before the deadline - 2024. He lauded the efforts put in by the officials of Ministry of Jal Shakti for closely monitoring the progress of the scheme in all the states.

Notable that 38.15% household have been provided tap water since the beginning of the JJM.

The “Jal Jeevan Mission” was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the eve of 15th August 2019. Under this scheme, every rural household of the country is targeted to get 55 liters per capita per day drinking water through functional tap water connection by 2024. At the time of launch of this scheme, out of total 18.94 crore rural households in the country, only 3.23 crore households had access to tapped water connections. It has now reached to 7.63 crore rural households that means additional 4.40 crore rural households have been provided with pure drinking water in the desired quantity as well as quality, in a short period of less than two years. So far, 100% target has been achieved in Goa, Telangana, Andaman Nicobar and Puducherry. Total 67 districts of the country have also been fully covered till date under this scheme.

Plastic Bag Free Day: Can Municipal Bodies come out with plastic wastes data & disposal info?

3rd July 2021, New Delhi

Plastic Bag Free Day is an annual international awareness campaign held on 3rd July. This global initiative aims to eliminate the use of single-use plastic (SUP) bags. On July 3 each year, people all over the world are encouraged to not use plastic bags and to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution.

Globally, million plastic bags used every minute, most of which goes to trash after about 25 minutes of use. Depending on the type of plastic, it takes between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade. A thought provoking study by academics from the University of California and Santa Barbara and others has put together the world’s first material balance of plastics. They estimate that the world has produced some 8.3 billion metric tonnes (bmt) of plastic from 1950 — when large-scale production began — to 2015. Of this 6.3 bmt, or 80%, is plastic waste. Of the 6.3 bmt of plastic waste generated in the world, as little as 9% has been recycled, out of which a mere 10% has been recycled more than once; 12% of the waste has been incinerated. The rest, as much as 79% of the plastic manufactured in the world, is in landfills or in the environment — our oceans and waterbodies.

In India, despite the existence of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 for nearly 5 years, we still need credible data on plastic waste. However, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Annual Report for FY 2018-19) shows that Maharashtra produces maximum plastic waste. But Goa has the maximum per capita plastic waste generation 61.2 grams per day, followed by Delhi 36.7 grams per day. India started a movement to shun SUP by 2022. Recently, reiterating government’s commitment to phase out SUP items, though identified ones only, and not all, which have low utility and high adverse environmental impact, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that plastic was a useful innovation of 20th century, which has emerged as a serious threat to the environment of today, if not managed properly. Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call to phase out single use plastics by 2022, Javadekar said that considering the adverse impacts of littered SUP items on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the government has taken effective measures to manage plastic waste.

Since then, plastic waste is again on high. Committees are being formed. Discussions to go on. But is there a target? On the eve of Plastic Bag Free Day whether the Municipal bodies in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and other places have stopped plastic bag production for a day? Whether milk selling companies like Amul and Mother Dairy formulated any special campaign for those who procure milk packed in SUP?

Building narratives to influence personal contribution will not work so soon, unless plastic production is lowered, and rule implementation agencies do not display diligent working. Some municipal bodies are showing up data that some amount of plastic waste collected and handed over to an agency linked with UNDP. Where is the disclosure of disposal? And what is the impact of that further processing on the environment. People have the right no know these things.

Govt. focused on Combating Pollution & Indigenous Technological Innovations for EVs, Nitin Gadkari

1st July 2021, New Delhi

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Nitin Gadkari has said that the government's priority is to combat pollution and develop Indian technology and innovation towards e-vehicles. Addressing the India Global forum 2021 on ‘Climate Action; Electric Mobility Now’, the Minister said Indian research is working aggressively towards pursuing green hydrogen.

Gadkari said that the government is trying its best to convert all construction material to greener options. He said warm response is being received from the public on the adoption of Electric Vehicles. He also informed he himself and many other ministers use electric car(s).

The Minister said futuristic development is very important. He said two-wheelers and autorickshaws are very popular and through the FAME II government scheme there are many incentives on offer for them to convert to electric.

Gadkari said in the road sector has great opportunities for FDI. He said there is a huge domestic market potential available in India. The Minister said India will be an example to the world as far as e-vehicles are concerned. #EV #MoRTH #FDI #road #pollution

REC Dehradun observes violation in Felling of 9884 Trees, 372 Saplings in Highway project

1st July 2021, New Delhi by Sunita Mishra

The Regional Empowered Committee (REC) at Dehradun Integrated Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has found felling of 9884 trees and 372 saplings in NH-21 road project without prior approval. In a proposal, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been seeking diversion of 69.9761 hac forest land for widening and strengthening of existing 2 lane shoulder to 4 lane with paved shoulder Kiratpur to Nerchowk NH21 road in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh.

The total number of tree to be chopped is 11,114 besides 15,546 saplings. While discussing the matter in a meeting held on 11th June, under the Chairmanship of Pankaj Agrawal, Addl. PCCF, it was found that there has been illegal muck disposal in 0.6877 hac area, besides violation in 0.3602 hac area of the surrendered land. The REC also noted that there was a change in alignment without prior approval of the Government of India.

The REC also discussed another proposal regarding diversion of 16.36 hac of forest land for the construction of College of Horticulture and Centre of Excellence for Horticulture Research and Extension in Thunag, Mandi district. The proposal involves felling of 113 out of 3047 trees. The tree felling is sought to establish Seed Production Areas (SPAs) in those patches of land, which has good vegetation of Deodar and Oak trees. The REC is however not convinced on the proposal, as the land does not possess horticultural species, and the SPAs for forestry species are identified by the Forest department, on technical grounds.

The REC advised the forest department to divide the proposed are in grids of 1 hac each and prepare separate tree enumeration list. This should further reviewed for the justification of utility of the patches for the proposed Horticulture University. The REC also suggested for alternative lands from private and non-forest land sources within 5 km as per ICAR norms.

Unavoidable tree felling is undoubtedly acceptable based on justified clearance procedures. Why violations? After all, Forest Conservation Act is not new that one does not know about it. Failure in compliance with government rules and regulations of one department by other government departments is certainly discouraging. Does not set example of good governance. Oftentimes, the existing rules are diluted to support speedy accomplishment of projects, sidelining various scientific, logical and legal aspects. This is completely unjustified. Rules, especially pertaining to the scientific and technical works, institutionalized by the governments are made on certain basis. Violation and dilution of these rules are certainly not going to ensure sustainable development of the nation. Felling trees and clearing forest land also means huge impact on wildlife species, besides direct income loss. Impact on wildlife species should also be enumerated and discussed on the line of human rehabilitation and resettlement provisions.

Joint Committee Report incomplete in the matter of Omaxe's ravages in Sisvan River: Applicant

29th June 2021, New Delhi

In the matter of Harminder Singh & Anr. Versus Union of India & Ors., Original Application (OA) No. 980/2019 (I.A. No. 63/2021) before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Applicant has raised objections to the Joint Committee Report. It is claimed by the applicant that the report prepared by the Joint Committee comprising of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) fails to take into consideration of the illegal acts by Omaxe Ltd. in village Kansala. It is also said that may be due to paucity of time or Covid challenges, the Joint Committee could not visit Kansala, which is unavoidable part of the entire matter.

The applicant has raised substantial questions pertaining to environment and man made damages to natural flow of river Sisvan by a building construction company in the name of Omaxe Ltd. The builder allegedly has filling-up and closing a part of the river in village Bharounjian and diverting it at another nearby place in village Kansala in SAS Nagar, Mohali. The application further alleges that builder company, #Omaxe Ltd. has thrown all cautions and rule of law to winds for its group housing project "The Lake", which has caused massive environmental damage besides severe flooding in the area damaging crops and village properties.

As the next hearing is scheduled on 2nd July 2021, the applicant has presented Objection before the NGT seeking the Green Court's direction to Monitoring Committee to visit Kansala village and examine the actual situation on the ground, before final Judgement by the #NGT.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA dumping MEG in India?

29th June 2021, New Delhi

India Glycols Ltd. (IGL) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) have alleged dumping of Mono Ethylene Glycols (MEG) originating from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA. They have raised concern of the consequent injury to the domestic industry, hence, requested the Government of India for imposition of the anti-dumping duties.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies, Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a notification on 28th June 2021 regarding initiation of anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of MEG from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA.

Both IGL and RIL have claimed that the goods produced by the domestic industry are like articles to the imported MEG from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and USA. The companies have claimed that the two are not of significant difference, and technically as well as commercially substitutable. IGL and RIL have also stated that they have not imported MEG from the countries concerned, and are not related to any exporter of the alleged dumped goods or any importer in India.

MEG is primarily used as chemical intermediate in the production of polyester fibres, polyester films, and resins such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is converted into plastic bottles which are used globally. Further, MEG is also used in the fibre treatment of textiles, the paper industry, and in adhesives, inks, and cellophane. It is also a used as a dehydration agent in natural gas pipelines where it inhibits the formation of natural gas clathrates before being recovered from the gas and reused.

The period of investigation shall be from 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020. The injury period under investigation will, however, cover the periods of three fiscal 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and the period of investigation. #MEG #dumping

Andhav, Ufrainkhal village water conservation model in Prime Minister's 78th MKB

27th June 2021, New Delhi

Oftentimes, water and environment has got importance in various speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his 21st Episode of Mann Ki Baat (MKB) 2.0, he told water 34 times. Water as a single word was there 28 times in the address. In his 78th signature programme, the Prime Minister said called the nation to adopt Rainwater Harvesting. He said, rain water collected during monsoon replenishes the underground water level. The Prime Minister emphasized deeds on Satchidanand Bharti, a teacher from Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. He said that due to hard work of Bharti, the huge water crisis in the Ufrainkhal area of ​​Pauri Garhwal has come to an end, where people used to pine for water, today there is continuous supply of water throughout the year.

The Prime Minister further elaborated about Chalkhal, a traditional methods of water conservation in the hills. It involves digging a big pit to collect water. Mr. Modi said "Bharti ji also added some new methods to this tradition. He regularly got small and big ponds dug. Due to this, not only the hills of Ufrainkhal turned green, but the problem of drinking water of the people was also solved. You will be surprised to know that Bharti ji has got more than 30 thousand such water tanks constructed. 30 thousand! This monumental work of his continues even today and is inspiring many people".

Mr. Modi also shared achievements the people of Andhav village in #Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, where the campaign – 'Khet ka pani khet mein, gaon ka pani gaon mein' was the principle. Under this campaign, high bunds have been raised in several hundred bighas of fields of the village. As a result rain water started collecting in the field, and started percolating into the ground. The Prime Minister also informed that the people of Andhav village are now planning to plant trees on the bunds of the fields. That is, now farmers will get all three - water, trees and money!

The Prime Minister stressed on taking inspiration from efforts of people from #Andhav and #Ufrainkhal, and conserve water, throughout the nation, whatever way possible. Mr. Modi said "We must not to miss this crucial period of the monsoon season."

Orating about the plants on earth, the Prime Minister highlighted about the miraculous medicinal properties of Giloy and many other plants, which got people's attention only after the outbreak of Corona. He shared example of Ramlotan Kushwaha from Satna of Madhya Pradesh, who has built a museum of indigenous plants in his farm. In the museum, he has collected hundreds of medicinal plants and seeds. And he has brought them here from far flung regions.

Pursuing Sustainability NTPC targets 60 GW of RE capacity installation by 2032

27th June 2021, New Delhi

NTPC Limited has become first company in energy domain in India to declare its Energy Compact goals as part of UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE). India’s largest energy conglomerate under the Ministry of Power with roots planted way back in 1975. From fossil fuels it has forayed into generating electricity via hydro, nuclear and renewable energy sources. This foray will play a major role in lowering its carbon footprint by reducing green house gas emissions. To strengthen its core business, the corporation has diversified into the fields of consultancy, power trading, training of power professionals, rural electrification, ash utilisation and coal mining as well.

NTPC has set a target to install 60 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032. India’s largest power producer is also aiming at 10% reduction in net energy intensity by 2032. NTPC, which is ranked No. 2 Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company rankings, is among the few organisations globally to declare its Energy Compact goals.

Further, NTPC has declared that it will form at least 2 international alliances/groups to facilitate clean energy research and promote sustainability in energy value chain by 2025.

The targets were unveiled in the recently held ‘Ministerial Thematic Forums for the HDLE’ event. The commitment from NTPC has been made public on UN’s website as well.

United Nations is set to convene a high-level dialogue in September, 2021 to promote the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

NTPC has been taking various steps in increasing its green energy portfolio by adding significant capacities of Renewable Energy (RE) Sources. The Company had earlier planned to have a minimum of 32 GW capacity through RE sources constituting nearly 25% of its overall power generation capacity by 2032. This development will prove to be huge boost for nation’s largest energy producer that will catapult its position in the green energy map of the country. #NTPC #sustainability

Union Environment Minister releases DPR of LiDAR based forest survey

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a popular remote sensing technique to be used in 10 States now, 16 more in future

25th June 2021, New Delhi

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today released the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of LiDAR based survey of forest areas in 10 states. The states are - Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, and Tripura.

On the eve of virtual launch, Mr. Javadekar informed that the project which was awarded to WAPCOS, a PSU under the aegis of Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Government of India is a first of its kind and a unique experiment using LiDAR technology.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a popular remote sensing technique used for measuring the exact distance of an object from the Earth’s surface. LiDAR technology will help augment water and fodder in jungles areas thereby reducing human-animal conflict, help in groundwater recharge, help local communities and also asked state forest departments to use CAMPA funds towards implementation of these projects in right earnest and in accordance with the ‘Ridge to Valley’ approach of watershed management.

WAPCOS has prepared these DPR’s using LiDAR technology in which the 3-D (three dimensional) DEM (Digital Elevation Model), imagery and layers of the project areas are used for recommending different types of Soil and Water conservation structures such as Anicut, Gabion, Gully Plug, Mini percolation tank, Percolation Tank, Field bund, Sunken pond, Farm pond etc. These structures will help in catching the rain water and prevent stream run off, which will help in recharging of Ground water.

WAPCOS with the participation of State Forest Departments identified one major ridge inside a forest block in these states with average area of 10,000 ha selected in each State for preparation of Detailed Project Reports for planning and identifying locations and structures for construction of appropriate and feasible micro soil and water conservation structures consistent with site specific geography, topography and soil characteristics.

States/UTs identified one major ridge inside a forest block with the criteria that area selected should have average rainfall of the state, and the area requires assisted natural generation which means the density of forests should be less than 0.4 or below, but should have reasonable potential to regenerate with the ANR interventions.

The project was awarded to WAPCOS in July 2020 at a cost of Rs.18.38 Crore for implementation in 26 states covering over 261,897 hectare. The DPRs for the remaining 16 states will also be released shortly. #lidar #wapcos #forestsurvey #forest #javadekar

ARCI develops Cost-effective Catalyst for metal-air batteries

New dynamics envisaged in EVs & Renewable Energy Storage

25th June 2021, New Delhi

Batteries are an indispensable part of mobile age people. Mobility is not limited to mobile phones. It is also about transportation. A new non-precious metal-based bi-functional electrocatalyst (capable of catalyzing two different types of reactions) can decrease cost and increase the efficiency of metal air batteries. Bifunctional oxygen/air electrodes are used in electrically rechargeable metal–air batteries. They are also relevant in the so-called regenerative fuel cells.

With growing demand for different energy sources, worldwide efforts are being made to develop various types of energy devices, such as lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, redox flow batteries, lithium-air batteries, zinc-air batteries, etc. sodium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and super capacitors. Metal-air batteries are the most promising high energy density batteries. They are electrochemical cells that use metal as anode and ambient air as a cathode with aqueous electrolyte. Some of the most common metal-air batteries include lithium-air, sodium-air, magnesium-air and zinc-air batteries.

Zn-air batteries have drawn significant attention among all varieties, because of low cost and high energy density. They are compact power sources for portable electronics and electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage devices to manage energy flow among renewable energy generators, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, electric grids, and end-users. However, a major challenge for such batteries is catalyst development. A bi-functional catalyst works for oxygen reduction while discharging the battery and the same catalyst helps in oxygen evolution reaction during the charging cycle. Most of the conventional catalysts available consist of noble metals in their composition, making the batteries costly.

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, has developed the cost-effective electrocatalyst by anchoring transition metal ions into the sulfur-doped carbon framework via carbonization of a polymer called sPEEK (sulphonated polyether ether ketone). This catalyst synthesis method can also be used to recycle used ionomers (polymer composed of both neutral repeating units and ionized units).

The scientists have used an ion-exchange strategy that positions the metal ions in the carbon framework homogeneously, limits the particle size and offers control on composition and size at a very low loading of transition metal. Cost-effectiveness is thus achieved by low loading of transition metal, high activity, and high cycling stability compared to many of the catalysts earlier reported in the literature.

The catalyst also leads to reduced voltage polarization, enabling higher energy efficiency and a stable charge-discharge characteristic. The results obtained were comparable to that of conventionally used noble metal-based catalysts with metal loading of 20% or higher. The research has been published in ACS Applied Energy Materials. #EV #Battery #energy

E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Taxonomy

23.June 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has invited applications from taxonomists with outstanding contribution in the field of Plant Taxonomy, Animal Taxonomy, and Microbial Taxonomy under the scheme of E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Taxonomy for the year 2020.

The three awards by MoEFCC will be known as ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Plant Taxonomy’, ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Animal Taxonomy’ and ‘E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award on Microbial Taxonomy’. Eash awar carries ₹500,000/= cash alongwith citation, scroll, and Medallion.

It is important note that earlier, there was only one award on Taxonomy covering all the three fields of Botany, Zoology, and study of Micro-organisms.

MoEFCC has extended the last date of receiving nominations till 31st July 2021. Detailed information about eligibility with application formats is available on the Ministry’s site moef.gov.in. #Taxonomy

BRICS Green Hydrogen Summit

23rd June 2021, New Delhi

To attain net zero carbon emission it is essential to bring down the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from all sectors such as; transport, heating, manufacturing and refining, farming and land use, shipping and aviation; as close to zero as possible. Green hydrogen is of great topical interest to all the countries including BRICS as it has a great amount of potential to ensure sustainable energy supply, increase the level of energy availability and minimize the negative impact on the environment.

NTPC Ltd, India’s largest energy integrated company under Ministry of Power anchored a two day workshop on Green Hydrogen, one of the most popular and demanding fields in the current times and considered to be the next carrier of energy.

Many leading experts from the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) countries shared insights and professional views on the subject as well as the latest developments going on in their countries in the area of green hydrogen.

Alok Kumar, Secretary Ministry of Power, in his key note address said that Government and industry must work together to ensure existing regulations are not an unnecessary barrier to investment. Trade will benefit from common international standards for the safety of transporting and storing large volumes of hydrogen and having appropriate certificate of origin. BRICS countries could work together on these aspects.

He further said that India has launched an ambitious National Hydrogen Mission to introduce hydrogen purchase obligations for fertilizers, refineries involving private sector in transparent and competitive manner to produce green hydrogen.

During the welcome remarks, Gurdeep Singh, CMD, NTPC said that BRICS countries share a common vision of sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. Strengthening energy cooperation and ensuring affordable, reliable, accessible and secure energy for all, has always been a strategic area of importance in the agenda of BRICS countries.

He added that for India, the transition to a hydrogen economy will not only reduce India’s import dependency on hydrocarbon fuels but also provide clean air to its citizens, reduce GHG emissions in absolute terms and fulfil India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat vision. #hydrogen

Major Land Loss envisaged in Chetlat, Amini Islands due to Climate Change

18th June 2021, New Delhi

More than one-third of the world’s heat deaths each year are due directly to global warming, according to the latest study to calculate the human cost of climate change reports US Today.

But scientists say that’s only a sliver of climate’s overall toll – even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought – and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures.

Sea level will rise around the Lakshadweep Islands in the range between 0.4 mm/year to 0.9 mm/year, shows a study conducted projecting different greenhouse gas scenarios.

The study highlights that the worst possible inundation scenarios projected for Lakshadweep Islands are almost similar under different emission scenarios projected and all the islands in the archipelago would be vulnerable to impact from sea-level rise.

One of the major threats in the coming years is rising sea level and its significant impact on small islands and this is for the first time, that climate model projections were used to assess the potential areas of inundation over the archipelago of Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

A team of scientists including Aysha Jennath, Athira Krishnan, Saikat Kumar Paul, Prasad K. Bhaskaran jointly from the Department of Architecture & Regional Planning and Department of Ocean Engineering & Naval Architecture, IIT Kharagpur, with support from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India under the Climate Change Programme (CCP), studied the Climate projections of sea level rise and associated coastal inundation in atoll islands, a ring-shaped coral reef or island.

The study estimated that smaller islands Chetlat and Amini are expected to have major land-loss. Projection mapping indicated that about 60%-70% of existing shoreline would experience land-loss in Amini and about 70%-80% in Chetlat. The present work highlights that, larger islands Minicoy and the capital Kavaratti are also vulnerable to sea-level rise, and expected to experience land-loss along 60% of the existing shoreline. Sea-level rise effects are seen to have the least impact on Androth Island under all emission scenarios.

The research that was published in the journal ‘Regional Studies in Marine Science, Elsevier recently showed that the coastal inundation could have wide socio-economic impact. According to the team, projected inundation due to sea-level rise can impact the islanders as residential areas are quite close to the present coastline. Also, the only airport in the archipelago is located at the southern tip of Agatti Island, and has a high likelihood of damage due to inundation from sea-level rise.

The authors have suggested that keeping in view the impacts from projected sea-level rise for Lakshadweep, it is necessary to have appropriate coastal protection measures and best-practices to formulate planning guidelines.

This study also opens up a new outlook and dimension on future research to assess the directional nature of wave energy, impact of storminess in the Arabian Sea region, islands that are exposed and sheltered and amenities such as potable water, sanitation and so on.

This noteworthy study has practical value and can be immensely useful to policy makers and decision making authorities for both short and long-term planning that benefit the population in #Lakshadweep Islands.

India & Bhutan agree to cooperate on environment

18th June 2021, New Delhi

India and Bhutan today inked an MoU for developing cooperation between two countries in the area of environment. The MoU was signed virtually by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar from the Indian side and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the National Environment Commission Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji from the Bhutanese side.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said, the MoU will open new vistas of bilateral co-operation in the area of climate change, waste management etc. Describing the relationship between the two countries as symbolic, he said, India wants to engage with Bhutan on environmental related issues including climate change.

The MoU is a platform to further enhance Indian and Bhutanese partnership and support, exchange best practices in areas like prevention of Air Pollution, Waste Management, Chemical Management, Climate Change, etc. It also provides the possibility to have joint projects in areas of mutual interest. The MoU will also strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities and expand the areas of cooperation in the field of environment to promote a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

EIA Notification 2006 amended to boost Ethanol Blending Programme

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers. The Central Government has scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP). The Government has resolved to meet the target of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, which is preponed by 5 years.

Pursuing modern thinking and modern policy for 21st century energy, the Union Government has amended some provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006. The amendments have been introduced through a notification bearing S.O. 2339(E) dated 16th June 2021.

Expansion of sugar manufacturing units or distilleries for production of ethanol, having Prior Environment Clearance (EC) for existing unit, to be used completely for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme only, as per self-certification in form of an affidavit by the Project Proponent, shall be appraised as category B2 projects. This was done as the sugar manufacturing units or distilleries seeking expansion were unable to comply with the requirements of obtaining certificate from the competent authority relating to certification that the distillery is producing or shall produce ethanol for blending with fuel in a timely manner, and this was stalling the entire process of EBP programme.

Further, if it is found that the ethanol, produced based on the EC granted as per this dispensation, is not being used completely for EBP Programme, or if ethanol is not being produced, or if the said distillery is not fulfilling the requirements based on which the project has been appraised as category B2 project, the EC shall stand cancelled.

Grain based distilleries projects producing ethanol, solely to be used for EBP Programme of the Government of India without Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) shall be treated as Category A projects.

The amendment creates a new provision in paragraph 4 after sub-paragraph (iii) by inserting (iii a) Such Category ‘B’ projects, as notified by the Central Government on account of exigencies such as pandemics, natural disasters, or to promote environmentally friendly activities under National Programmes or Schemes or Missions, shall be considered at the Central level as Category ‘B’ projects.

This provision is applicable for those projects which file application for grant of EC up to 31st March 2024 or till further notification whichever is earlier provided that any subsequent amendment or expansion or change in product mix after 31st March 2024, shall be considered as per the provisions in force at that time. #Ethanol #EIA

Environmental Lab Recognition by CPCB now, on the basis of NABL Accreditation and ISO 45001 Certification

16th June 2021, New Delhi

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has brought a landmark notification into the process of recognizing Environmental Laboratories. According to the notification dated 16th June 2021 issued by the MoEF&CC, recognition of private laboratories under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 12 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, as well as recognition of their Analysts as Government Analysts under section 13 of the Act shall be done by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Earlier, the private environmental laboratories were recognized by the MoEF&CC, while the government laboratories were dealt by the CPCB.

All environmental laboratories shall have to obtain accreditation from the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), as per ISO 17025:2017 for all criteria of testing parameters as defined by CPCB along with ISO 45001:2018 certification for Occupational Health and Safety Management System before applying to CPCB. This is applicable to fresh or renewal of recognition of a laboratory or in case of changes in the name of Government Analysts; and also in the event of shifting of laboratory premises.

CPCB's recognition shall be granted for the validity period of accreditation under ISO 17025:2017 and ISO45001:2018 for the same premises of its operation for which the application is made. The environmental laboratories shall be recognized by CPCB for the testing parameters accredited by NABL.

The processing of application including disseminating the information on status of applications for recognition of environmental laboratories or Government Analysts shall be made operational by CPCB within three months from 16th June 2021. The web portal shall also have the provision for online submission of compliance report submitted by the recognised laboratory.

The laboratory or Government Analyst seeking recognition shall have to submit self-declaration of compliance of the requirements and submission of supporting documents for all requisite information as stipulated by the CPCB for grant of recognition by the Board. The recognised laboratories shall have to submit Compliance report, as defined by CPCB, bi-annually.

The notification mandates that CPCB shall conduct Proficiency Test (PT) and Inter-Laboratory Comparison exercise either of its own or in collaboration with National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) or such research institutes having proven capabilities for undertaking such exercise, for all recognised laboratory bi-annually, covering all parameters annually, and the cost associated in conducting such exercise shall be borne by the participating laboratories, and records and reports of such exercise shall made available in public domain.

CPCB shall make provision for surprise inspection for verification of conditions imposed on the environmental laboratories recognised under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by constituting a joint committee comprising members of the MoEF&CC, CPCB, concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committees (PCCs). Such inspection reports shall be made available in public domain.

The CPCB shall constitute an expert committee comprising of members from the MoEF&CC, SPCBs, NABL, NEERI and experts as deemed appropriate, to review and revise the existing guidelines for laboratory recognition including defined criteria testing parameters, procedure, process and cost estimate for PT and ILC exercise, compliance condition for recognition and corresponding information required for online submission of compliance report by laboratories, etc., within three months from 16th June 2021. Based on the recommendation of expert committee, the CPCB shall recognise the laboratory and the Government Analysts

The expert committee shall review and reassess the procedures, guidelines and other process annually and make necessary recommendation for consideration of #CPCB. #NABL #lab #laboratory #recognition

One-time exemption for Import of Used Critical care Medical Equipment for re-use

16th June 2021, New Delhi:

Used critical care medical equipment for reuse listed against Basel No. B1110, under Schedule VI of hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 and prohibited for import. In a significant move in the pandemic time, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has exempted the import of such items.

In its order dated 14th June 2021, the MoEF&CC has stated that it has received several requests for the relaxation in the import of used critical care medical equipment for re-use. The order also cites that there are several legal cases pertaining to the matter, pending in various Courts in India. In view of COVID situation prevailing in India, the Ministry has decided to allow one-time permission for import of used critical care medical equipment for re-use. The exemption is also applicable to such equipment already imported and lying at different ports and airports in India as on 8th June 2021.

The rule defines critical care medical equipment as life-saving equipment and includes such equipment as specified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time. #Medical #criticalcare

Prime Minister Modi addresses Opening Segment of UNCCD meeting

Banni region in Rann of Kutchh exemplifies land restoration & land degradation neutrality through grasslands creation: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

14th June 2021, New Delhi

Land is the foundation of our societies and is a cornerstone to global food security and environmental health. Globally, 1/5th of Earth’s land area, which stands to be more than 2 billion hectares – is degraded. This includes more than half of all agricultural land. Each year, more than 12 million hectares of land are lost to desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). Approximately 95% of our calories from food come from soil, yet topsoil erosion has accelerated by tenfold due to human activity. The world loses 24 billion tons of fertile soil annually due to dryland degradation, with significant negative impacts on food production and economic activity.

A high-level meeting with the support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to assess the progress made in fighting land degradation, and map the way forward on global efforts to revive and restore healthy land took place today. The virtual event was hosted at UN Headquarters in New York. The Dialogue was convened in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 74/220 and 75/218.

Delivering keynote address, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi described land as the fundamental building block for supporting all lives and livelihoods, and called for reduction of the tremendous pressure on land and its resources.

Speaking at the Opening Segment of the event, in his capacity as the President of the 14th Session of the Conference of Parties of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Prime Minister Modi listed steps taken by India to deal with the land degradation issue. He said that India has taken the lead to highlight land degradation issues at international forums. The Delhi Declaration of 2019 called for better access and stewardship over land, and emphasised gender-sensitive transformative projects. In India, over the last 10 years, around 3 million hectares of forest cover has been added. This has enhanced the combined forest cover to almost one-fourth of the country's total area, the Prime Minister informed.

The Prime Minister conveyed that India is on track to achieve its national commitment of Land degradation neutrality. “We are also working towards restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. This would contribute to India's commitment to achieve an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent”, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister cited example of the Banni region in Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to illustrate how restoration of land can start a virtuous cycle of good soil health, increased land productivity, food security and improved livelihoods. In Banni region, land restoration was done by developing grasslands, which helped in achieving land degradation neutrality. It also supports pastoral activities and livelihood by promoting animal husbandry. “In the same spirit, we need to devise effective strategies for land restoration while promoting indigenous techniques”, the Prime Minister stressed.

In the spirit of South-South cooperation, India is assisting fellow developing countries to develop land restoration strategies. A Centre of Excellence is being set up in India to promote a scientific approach towards land degradation issues, informed the Prime Minister. “It is mankind's collective responsibility to reverse the damage to land caused by human activity. It is our sacred duty to leave a healthy planet for our future generations”, the Prime Minister concluded.

G7 to end international funding for coal projects by 2022

14th June 2021, New Delhi

On the second day of the Outreach Sessions of the G7 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in two sessions titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’ and ‘Building Back Greener: Climate and Nature’.

Invited as a Lead Speaker in the session on Open Societies, Prime Minister Modi recalled that democracy and freedom were a part of India’s civilizations ethos. He shared the concern expressed by several Leaders that open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks, and stressed the need to ensure that cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting it. Highlighting the non-democratic and unequal nature of global governance institutions, PM called for the reform of the multilateral system as the best signal of commitment to the cause of Open Societies. The leaders adopted the ‘Open Societies Statement’ at the end of the meeting.

In the session on climate change, PM highlighted that the planet's atmosphere, biodiversity and oceans can not be protected by countries acting in silos, and called for collective action on climate change. Speaking about India's unwavering commitment to climate action, he mentioned the commitment by Indian Railways to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2030. He stressed that India is the only G-20 country on track to meet its Paris commitments. He also took note of the increasing effectiveness of the two major global initiatives nurtured by India i.e. the CDRI and the International Solar Alliance. Prime Minister stressed that developing countries need better access to climate finance, and called for a holistic approach towards climate change that covers all dimensions of the problem- mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, climate financing, equity, climate justice and lifestyle change.

Prime Minister's message of global solidarity and unity, especially between open and democratic societies and economies, in tackling the global challenges of health, climate change and economic recovery was well received by the Leaders at the Summit.

David E. Sanger and Michael D. Shear write in The New York Times that the leaders unanimously promised to cut their collective emissions in half by 2030, a striking contrast with the statement issued by the same group three years ago in Charlevoix, Canada, where the United States refused to sign onto the pledge to combat climate change.

They also mention, on climate, energy experts said the inability of G7 nations, which together produce about a quarter of the world’s climate pollution, to agree on a specific end date on the use of coal weakens their ability to lean on China to curb its own coal use.

The Group of 7 did promise that their nations would end by 2022 international funding for coal projects that do not include technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions. They also promised an “overwhelmingly decarbonized” electricity sector by decade’s end. And they promised accelerated efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

PM participates in G-7 Summit first outreach session

Group finds ways to cooperate with China in areas like climate change, while competing in other realms and contesting China’s actions where required

13th June 2021, New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the first Outreach Session of the G7 Summit on Saturday.

The session, titled ‘Building Back Stronger - Health’, focused on global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and on strengthening resilience against future pandemics. Washington Post reports that “Build Back Better for the World” infrastructure development plan is a values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership led by major democracies, involving millions of dollars, and private industries, to offer nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere options to say no to China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road program.

During the session, Prime Minister expressed appreciation for the support extended by the G7 and other guest countries during the recent wave of COVID infections in India.

He highlighted India's ‘whole of society’ approach to fight the pandemic, synergising the efforts of all levels of the government, industry and civil society.

Prime Minister Modi also explained India’s successful use of open source digital tools for contact tracing and vaccine management, and conveyed India's willingness to share its experience and expertise with other developing countries.

While committing India's support for collective endeavours to improve global health governance, the Prime Minister sought the G7's support for the proposal moved at the WTO by India and South Africa, for a TRIPS waiver on #COVID related technologies.

He said that today's meeting should send out a message of "One Earth One Health" for the whole world. Calling for global unity, leadership, and solidarity to prevent future pandemics, Prime Minister emphasized the special responsibility of democratic and transparent societies in this regard.

PM will participate in the final day of the G7 Summit tomorrow and will speak in two Sessions.

It also reports that the group aired ways that the members could cooperate with #China in some areas, such as climate change, while competing in other realms and contesting China’s actions where required. Britain and Italy will co-chair a major international climate conference this year and are seeking China’s help to meet targets.

Noted Environmentalist & Educationist Prof. Radhamohan passes away

11th June 2021, New Delhi

Noted environmentalist and educationist Prof. Radhamohan has breathed his last in a hospital in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, today. He was 78.

Prof Radhamohan was an educationist by profession and an ecologist by passion, well known for his pioneering works on organic farming in Odisha. Also known for his social service and a former Information Commissioner in the State Information Commission of Odisha, Prof Radhamohan had been awarded with the prestigious Padmashree. Radhamohan and his daughter Sabarmatee were conferred with prestigious Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country, in 2020 for their contribution to agriculture sector.

The retired professor had also opened a social organisation-‘Samvab’ aiming at educating farmers regarding organic farming and exchange of seeds.

Odisha Government had also awarded him with Utkal Seva Samman for his outstanding social service. Similarly, UNEP had conferred ‘The Global Roll of Honour’ for his distinguished work for environment.

Many dignitaries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled his sad demise. In a tweet, the Prime Minister has said, Prof Radhamohan was deeply passionate about agriculture, especially adopting sustainable and organic practices. The prime minister has said he was also respected for his knowledge on subjects relating to the economy and ecology. #Radhamohan

Consultants Consortium of Chennai Celebrates WAD 2021, deliberates Sustainable Business

9th June 2021, New Delhi

To mark the World Accreditation Day (WAD) 2021, the Consultants Consortium of Chennai (CCC) has been organising series of webinars from 8th June till 11th June 2021. Two sessions scheduled every day, one from morning 11 AM to 1 PM and evening 4 PM to 6 PM.

WAD is a global initiative established by International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to promote the value of accreditation. This year’s theme focuses on the use of accreditation in supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are at the core of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a broad and ambitious plan of action with the overarching objective of leaving no one behind. Accreditation, in collaboration with other quality infrastructure institutions, provides the technical foundations that are critical to the functioning of developed and developing societies. It enables industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, and health and environmental protection. In CCC programmes most of the topics, sessions have been created for all sectors. There are some sessions which are sector specific too.

The sessions are widely participated by Management Systems Consultants, Technical Experts, Industry Experts, Professionals, Industry Members, Academia, Students, Members of Trade & Industry Associations, and Government Organizations etc. Industries and professionals from various sectors as such as Paper, Wood, Toy Industries, Pharma, Biotech Medical Devices, Healthcare attending the programme.

The first session on 8th June 2021 deliberated on SDGs and ISO Standards with focus on applicable regulations and various Government Schemes. Waste Management with greater focus on composting and plastic waste was deliberated during the second session of 8th June 2021.

Sustainable Forest Management was the topic for discussion in the first session on 9th June 2021. Avani Kumar Varma, Retd. IFS and Co-Chairman NCCF delivered a talk on NCCF and PEFC Scheme for Forest Management. Parth Munshi from SGS India, Dr. T.R. Manoharan, a Sustainability Professional presented on various Forest Management and Certification schemes. V. Premkumar of Jayvin Management Systems and Solutions spoke of implementation perspectives of various forest management certification.

The topic in the post-lunch session on WAD, the 9th June 2021 was “Commitment and goals set for addressing Climate Change in Paris Agreement”. Col. Shashikant Dalvi (Retd.), National Coordinator – Water Conservation, The Climate Reality Project India, and Vinay Deodhar from Clean Tech Solutions addressed in the session.

Anil Jauhri, Ex-CEO, NABCB, and International Conformity Assessment Expert; Dr. Harish Nadkarni, ex-CEO, NABH; Dr. Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO NABH; Dr. Bhupendra Rana, CEO, QAI; Dr. Rohit Jain, Secretary, Practising Pathologists Association, Rajasthan; Malini Aisola, Co-convenor, AIDAN; Rajiv Nath, MD – Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices and also Forum Coordinator – AiMED; Arpit Bajpai, Director, Category Management Govt. E marketplace – GeM, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India; Dr. V. Kalaiselvan, Sr. Principal Scientific Officer, IPC, MoHFW; G S Sathyendra, Expert & Consultant, MDQMS, Founder – Qmart Global and Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, MDQMS, Regulatory & Technical Consultant Intrust Consulting are some of the eminent speakers to address in the 4-days programme.

Rama Venugopal, Founder Member and President of CCC said, businesses have to go the sustainable way. ISO has released many sustainable standards for implementation in businesses. It is a matter of delight that there is a huge increase in the awareness of quality and accreditation among people in general and business in particular. Sustainable Businesses is the way forward, she added.

Registration details are available at http://ccc-consultants.org/wad-2021-celebrations.

PAT needs a pat as it saves 87 million ton CO2

9th June 2021, New Delhi

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. The May 2021 monthly average figures of CO2 in the atmosphere at Mauna Loa - this one particular site - was 419.13 parts per million (ppm); that’s up from 417.31 ppm in May 2020. It is notable that world's benchmark atmospheric monitoring station is the Mauna Loa Observatory, in Hawaii. CO2 is the well-known greenhouse gas (GHG) on our planet Earth. Rapid increase in its concentration in atmosphere is major cause of global temperature rise which in turn leads to many environmental and healthcare problems. The ‘greenhouse effect’ works in case of CO2 when solar radiation hits the surface of the earth, part of the heat escapes the atmosphere while balance heat gets trapped which in turn, raises the earth’s temperature. This is a phenomenon popularly known as global warming. This primarily results in severe impact on climate change, which has a ripple effect over all natural ecosystems, and by extension, all industries and people around the globe.

In the Government of India, the Ministry of Power is implementing measures to save energy with an objective to reduce CO2 emission levels in the environment from industries, establishments and by using equipment/ appliances. In this regard, Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme is a key programme for large industries and establishments. PAT scheme aims to enhance the cost-effectiveness of energy savings by upgrading technologies or by taking in-house actions to minimize energy consumption. The scheme provides mandatory targets for the identified Large Units and the excess energy saved by them is issued as Energy Saving Certificate, which are tradable instruments. The different industries and establishments are assigned separate energy efficiency targets based on their levels of energy consumption and the potential for energy savings.

By the year 2020 the scheme coverage has been extended to 13 most energy intensive sectors in the country including Cement, Iron and Steel, Fertilizer, Thermal Power Plants, Refineries, Petrochemicals, Railways and others. This initiative is currently leading to energy savings of about 17 MTOE (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent) and has resulted into mitigation of about 87 million tonnes of CO2, per year, a figure close to total CO2 emissions of country like Bangladesh.

Appliances are the main points for electricity consumption at household level and non-industrial establishments such as office and commercial places. In view of the rapid growth in high energy consumer goods, the demand for electrical energy has been increasing every year. This rising demand can be optimized, if the consumers prefer high efficiency appliances. To enable market transformation of efficient products, Standards and Labeling (S&L) Program was introduced by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). The objective of S&L is to provide the consumers, an informed choice about the energy savings potential and thereby the cost saving due to the products available in the market. The scheme includes display of energy performance labels on key energy consuming equipment & appliances, with stipulation for minimum energy performance standards. The scheme has now included 28 appliances till March 2021 and over 15000 models of energy efficient products have been awarded Star labels, a popular symbol among the consumers for endorsing energy savings. The impact of using a huge number of efficient products by the citizens have resulted into an estimated electricity savings of 56 Billion Units during 2020-21, worth over Rs. 30000 crore. This initiative has been effective in reducing the CO2 emissions by about 46 Million Tonnes every year. Such steps have become very effective and a simplified approach is considered more useful to promote energy efficiency globally.

Useful in 20th Century, Useless Now

8th June 2021, New Delhi

In the 4th episode of “Mann Ki Baat 2.0” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that it is a matter of pride for India as well as the whole world, while we are celebrating ‘Gandhi 150, our 130 crore countrymen have pledged to be rid from the menace of Single Use Plastic (SUP). He had expressed confidence that all the countrymen will be a part of the campaign for liberation from the menace of SUP on 2nd October. Earlier, in 2018, India had celebrated Beat Plastic Pollution. And, India started a movement to shun SUP by 2022.

Reiterating government’s commitment to phase out SUP items, though identified ones only, and not all, which have low utility and high adverse environmental impact, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar today said that plastic was a useful innovation of 20th century, which has emerged as a serious threat to the environment of today, if not managed properly.

Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call to phase out single use plastics by 2022, Javadekar said that considering the adverse impacts of littered SUP items on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the government has taken effective measures to manage plastic waste.

The Environment Minister emphasized that Government of India has already banned import of plastic waste in the country. He further recalled that, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the first time brought out Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, to handle the plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner. “Under the rules plastic carry bags below 50 microns have been banned. Many states/UTs have also banned identified single use plastic items. Further, the Ministry has issued a draft notification in March 2021 for amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, with respect to prohibiting identified 12 single use plastic items such as disposable plastic cutlery etc.”, stated Javadekar.

Stressing the importance of public participation in elimination of SUP items, the Environment Minister said that awareness generation on plastic waste management and reduction in use of single use plastic items is vital in bringing about behavioural change. With this mission the minister launched a two-month awareness generation campaign on plastic waste management and elimination of identified SUP items.

Jaypee Cement plea to avoid public Hearing turned down by Expert Committee

7th June 2021, New Delhi: The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for the proposal involving violation of EIA Notification, 2006 held its 47th meeting on 2nd June 2021. The nine-member EAC chaired by Dr. Satish R Wate reviewed a proposal of Jaypee Cement Corporation for mining of Limestone from Shahabad (Bankur) Limestone Mine within mining lease area of 328.34Ha located at Villages , Tehsil Chitapur, District Gulbarga, State Karnataka.

The EAC noted that Jaypee Cement has now submitted the required details in line with the observation of EAC during the 44th EAC meeting. EAC also deliberated on the company's request regarding exemption of Public Hearing. After detailed deliberation on the project proposal including Public Hearing requirement, EAC reiterated its recommendations made in the 44th EAC meeting i.e. recommended the proposal for issuing Standard Term of Reference along with the specific Term as prescribed in the 44th meeting held during 18th – 19th February 2021, for undertaking EIA and preparation of Environmental Management Plan (EMP) along with conduct of Public Hearing. #EIA

Government has identified 11 sectors which can make good use of resources by recycling : PM

6th June 2021, New Delhi: On the eve of World Environment Day 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the event jointly organized by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through a video conference. During the event the PM interacted with a farmer from Pune who shared his experience of organic farming and use of biofuel in agriculture.

The Prime Minister released the "Report of the Expert Committee on Road Map for ethanol blending in India 2020-2025". He also launched the ambitious E-100 pilot project in Pune for the production and distribution of ethanol across the country. The theme for this year’s event is ‘promotion of biofuels for a better environment’.