Monthly Archives: January 2014

Out of India’s Trash Heaps, A Controversy on Incineration by David Ferris: Yale Environment 360

Out of India’s Trash Heaps, A Controversy on Incineration by David Ferris: Yale Environment 360.

Incineration for waste recovery in India – Is it a viable option? Lax laws, cheap quality of incinerators, low emphasis on air-pollution control – dioxins and furans in air…takes away regular income of waste pickers…

Saves landfill space and tackles other issues related to landfilling,  to see the other side…

Debate is that is it really the right thing to do, as of now?

Dubai Taxi Corp hails the hybrid | GulfNews.com

Dubai Taxi Corp hails the hybrid | GulfNews.com.

Hybrid of petrol and electricity…33% less fuel usage, thus reduced CO2 emissions…more and more companies coming up with such cars…Good start!

Environment Events in UAE and around the World in 2014!

Environmental Events

Source: Ministry of Environment and Water, UAE

Calendar of Local, Regional & Global Environmental Events

Sr. Event Date
1 World Wetlands Day 2 February
2 National Environment Day 4 February
3 Gulfian Environment Week 17 to 21 February
4 Afforestation Week 21 to 26 February
5 Arabian Water Day 3 March
6 World Water Day 22 March
7 Earth Hour 26 March
8 Earth Day 22 April
9 Regional Environment Day 24 April
10 International Day for Biological Diversity 22 May
11 Day Without Paper 2 June
12 World Environment Day 5 June
13 World Day to Combat Desertification 17 June
14 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer 16 September
15 Arab Agriculture Day 27 September
16 International Exhibition of Sea 25 to 30 September
17 Arab Environment Day 14 October
18 World Food Day 16 October
19 World Statistics Day 20 October

‘Why we waste…and what can be done to reduce it”? – Based on discussion held during UNESCO-IHE course on SWM

Talking about waste is crucial in these times – one because it follows us everywhere; and secondly, it can be treated as a resource!

Why We Waste and that too so much?

  1. We think ‘short-term‘: Future impacts of current resource use and waste generation on us and environment are not factored in the present costs of goods; raw materials and labor from certain communities of world is exploited for manufacturing of such goods; All these ‘externalized costs’ are not reflected in the price we pay.
  2. There is a change in the economic and cultural scene – ‘Use and throw’, ‘buy first, think later’, showing off of material wealth etc. is the essence of the prevailing consumerist culture; This is encouraged by the availability of cheap, inferior-quality goods meant for short use (Planned obsolescence – designed for the dump) and the rapidly changing trends in fashion etc. glorified in advertisements (Perceived obsolescence).
  3. Little or no institutional thrust (in terms of economics and legality) exists to make waste creation a negative activity and waste recovery a positive one –   Particularly in developing and under-developed societies; Laws and policies here can help for instance, incentives for recycled products and penalty for violators of waste-disposal code.
  4. Proper infrastructure for better storage of agricultural products is lacking – again, particularly in developing and under-developed nations.
  5. There is little or no awareness about ill-effects of waste

What can we do about it?

Solutions are hidden in the causes listed above –

  1. Attitudinal change related to our felt connection with nature is required – Need to be inculcated through education and awareness programs.
  2. Pro-active, long-term government policies are required – Through a ‘carrot-stick policy’, citizens and industries can be stimulated to own responsibility (also as discussed in point 3 above).
  3. Clear and focused legislation is the need of the hour – Legal enforcement of an agreed-to waste disposal code is required.
  4. Infrastructure creation for storage and processing of agricultural and food products, especially the perishable ones, through government and/or private initiatives is required.
  5. Public environmental education and awareness campaigns are crucial –  This is about ill-impact of waste on us, if left unattended to and untreated and the urgent need to address the issue of waste generation and management.

Source: Views shared by participants of Online Course of Solid Waste Management, UNESCO-IHE.

 

 

 

IS IT NOT CLIMATE CHANGE? PART 2

In this blog, I want to take the idea of ‘eco-conscious use of resources’ further…

By this idea, I mean that while we continue to reap the convenience of latest technologies and products, we give a periodic check to our consumption pattern – Are we using one resource/product way too much? Is that product/resource environmentally sensitive like plastics, water, paper, electronic items, electricity, petrol as fuel…?

If we feel we are (as reflected in our family/corporate budget or just an intuition), next thought can be ‘Can we rationalize the use of that product/resource’?

We DO make such assessments whenever a consumption pattern burns a hole in our pocket.

Costs of certain consumption patterns are not apparent today, but does that mean ‘they do not exist’?

And if there are such seriously high costs, would we still continue with the same old consumption pattern?

Hope this sets us thinking. More on ‘Costs of certain consumption patterns’ in the coming blogs…

Thanks for reading! 

IS IT NOT CLIMATE CHANGE?

What world is witnessing in the last one month or so, is it not ‘Climate change’? Europe’s Christmas party was spoiled by unprecedented chill wave n floods..resulting in mobility issues n power outages. In US, Christmas went thankfully fine, but a very Chilly new year eve n beyond followed…Canada is on ‘extreme cold weather alert’…Dubai is experiencing unusual cold n rains in the usually ‘pleasant season’ of December-January. Whole of North India is gripped in cold wave…not unexpected in winters  EXCEPT that dip in temperature n fog is breaking all records… and the list goes on!
It is the question of facing unprecedented climatic conditions…we are not fully prepared for the ‘uncertainty’.
It is truly now the question of coping with the unexpected on an increasing frequency.

Apart from facing the wrath of nature, what more can we do? Strike at the root of the issue…question is how.

What causes ‘Climate change’? Global warming (GW)…How can GW be abated? GW is due to trapping of heat in the atmosphere due to increased concentration of ‘greenhouse gases’. This increase in lower atmosphere’s temperature changes the movement of oceanic winds, causing weather patterns to change and stick for longer periods.
So where these greenhouse gases come from?
From the waste and manufacturing processes and fuel burning – all on the rise!
But increased consumerism and industrialization are bound to result in all of the above.
So what can be done?

Eco- conscious use of resources…less is more! (More on this in the coming blogs)