Category Archives: Environment events

Waste Segregation – Need of the hour (World Environment Day, 2017)?

I was searching for inspiration on how I can play my part for the World Environment Day, 2017 (June 5). I could not do much; however, on my visit to Trivandrum, I discovered that the society we stayed in had robust waste segregation measures in place.

Every flat of the society was allotted two garbage bins – a green and a blue one, with lids. Rules regarding waste segregation were posted in the lobby area of each of the building of the society. Wet waste needs to be put in the green bin and the ‘other wastes’ in the blue bin. Clarification was provided regarding ways of disposal of the latter which included a wide range of household waste.

Among the rules was a critical line – the non-segregated waste will ‘NOT’ be picked up by the door-to-door waste collection personnel.

I was impressed with the efficacy of the system.

Further, I decide to see what happens to the segregated waste. I was further surprised that the society complex had an in-built waste treatment system in place. I was told that while the food waste is composted, the other waste (that which cannot be recycled) is incinerated. There was a sewage treatment plant as well, all built in the basement of the building. (See the pictures below) The use of incinerator for combustion of household waste can be debated; however, recycling is definitely a safe, sustainable option.

The bottom line is that pro-active, futuristic buildings have already starting doing their bit. Waste here is treated as a ‘resource’ as food waste generates manure for the up-keeping of the park area of the building. Further, the  recyclable waste fetches some revenue; and this way, the entire bulk of household waste is prevented from becoming an eye-sore in some part of the city, as well as a social and environmental nuisance (remember, gases from waste decomposition in landfills contribute to the dangerous ‘climate change’).

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan in India has already made ‘Waste Segregation’ a theme for this year’s World Environment Day. The real difference will be when this is done in every household and every building in our country. and our world..!

…Wishing a very happy and inspiring ‘World Environment Day’ to all!

 

 

Today, the 25th of March, 2017, is Earth Hour, 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Dear Friends, today, at the above mentioned hour, people from as much as 178 countries, may come together to switch off non-essential lights and power equipments. The idea is to show that we care for our planet and our sustainable living. It may be just a symbolic gesture, given the short span of ‘switching off’…It may lead to limited power savings, as some would argue; others would say that we would need to do much more that just this…I agree, but in this one hour, we get a time to ponder- how important it is to save electricity from fossil fuels; and how each one of us can directly reduce carbon emissions and limit Climate change.

So I am going to try switch off at 8:30 PM for an hour…!

‘Smoke’ in Mumbai air – Why and what it means for us!

(Please note the image above is indicative and does not specifically relate to Mumbai)

Startling it may be for most of us who live here in Mumbai. but we may be ignoring it in our daily chores – Whenever we check weather for the city (in any app – Google, Lenovo, iPhone), it shows temperature etc. and…’Smoke’. Why are we forced to breathe in smoke, day in and day out?

I just went through related posts on the Web.

Reasons range from burning trash, vehicular pollution, using coal for cooking, occasional big dump yard fires, industrial emissions and so on. All of this can be curbed with proper awareness and regulations.

If this continues,  what are the implications for Mumbaikars?

“…Industrial smog can in fact create major health risks, including asthma, lung tissue damage, bronchial infections and heart problems.” (Dawn, 2016)

“…Smog can irritate the eyes and throat and also damage the lungs—especially of people who work or exercise outside, children, and senior citizens. It’s even worse for people who have asthma or allergies—these extra pollutants only intensify their symptoms and can trigger asthma attacks.”(NRDC, 2016)

Also, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbons, which are major air pollutants, also aggravate ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Climate Change’.(NRDC, 2016)

Can we take the first step and acknowledge the problem?

Next, we can try find out the different reasons behind the air pollution.

Finally, we can try on different ways to get the air pollution reduced…!

Let’s do something about this.Thanks for reading!

References:

Dawn, 2016 – http://www.dawn.com/news/1159190

NRDC, 2016 – https://www.nrdc.org/stories/air-pollution-everything-you-need-know

Happy World Environment Day – June 5, 2016

http://www.wed2016.com/

Happy World Environment Day , Friends!

The most visible eco-phenomenon our world is facing today is Climate Change.

Over the last one month, I have written five blogs looking at this from different angles.

There is a lot to know and lot to be done, if climate change is to be reversed or at-least slowed down.

Each one of us need to do our part, for the sake of ourselves and our children.

Do visit the my recently written blogs,

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/blog-5-climate-change-series-the-waste-connection/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/blog-4-climate-change-series-need-to-act/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/climate-change-series-paris-dealleaders-of-187-countries-stamping-on-the-need-to-take-action/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/climate-change-series-relevant-facts-leading-to-solutions/

https://pratimapandey.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/climate-change-myth-fast-changing-to-reality/

Thanks for reading and stay Eco-conscious!

Blog 5 – Climate Change Series – The ‘Waste’ Connection

Hello.

‘REduce, REuse, REcycle’, the 3 Rs, is the consensus mantra to reduce the effect of waste and waste management practices on Climate Change. How does Waste impact Climate Change?

“The climate benefits of waste practices result from avoided landfill emissions , reduced raw material extraction and manufacturing, recovered materials and energy replacing virgin materials and fossil-fuel energy sources, carbon bound in soil through compost application, and carbon storage due to recalcitrant materials in landfills. In particular, there is general global consensus that the climate benefits of waste avoidance and recycling far outweigh the benefits from any waste treatment technology, even where energy is recovered during the process. (UNEP)

As we know, Green House Gases (GHGs) are a major cause of Climate Change as they trap the heat radiating from the earth back to space, resulting in global warming. One such GHG is released from the breakdown of Organic waste in landfills – Methane. (GRID UNEP)

In 2016, Deonar Dumping Ground in the Indian metropolitan city of Mumbai caught fire recurrently. This is a 300 acre ground (largest in Asia) used since 1927 to dump at-least half of  garbage (untreated) of Mumbai.(NDTV) . Among other reasons for this is emission of methane, a flammable GHG.

(Pic: Courtesy, NDTV)

If less waste is generated, less spontaneous emission of methane would be there and therefore less warming due to its ‘greenhouse effect’.

Another dimension of the same is lowered GHG emissions as reduced need of production & distribution of goods due to greater application of 3Rs, result in lesser need of energy from burning of fossil fuels.  This point is well illustrated in the following diagram. (EPA)

Diagram: Life-cycle of a Product (EPA)

Further, even waste management practices like anaerobic decomposition result in GHG emissions. Traditional “waste” management represents 1 to 5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.(EPA)

Conclusion – At our level, greater  application of 3Rs is a significant way to avoid waste and reduce emissions leading to Climate change.

Thanks for Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 4- Climate Change Series – Need to Act…!

Hello,

‘The global community is badly prepared for a rapid increase in climate change-related natural disasters that by 2050 will put 1.3 billion people at risk’ according to the World Bank. Urging better planning of cities before it was too late, a report published on Monday from a Bank-run body that focuses on disaster mitigation, said assets worth $158tn – double the total annual output of the global economy – would be in jeopardy by 2050 without preventative action.

(Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/16/climate-change-puts-13bn-people-and-158tn-at-risk-says-world-bank)

Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer of Zurich Insurance Group, said: “Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks.“Meanwhile, geopolitical instability is exposing businesses to cancelled projects, revoked licences, interrupted production, damaged assets and restricted movement of funds across borders. These political conflicts are in turn making the challenge of climate change all the more insurmountable – reducing the potential for political cooperation, as well as diverting resource, innovation and time away from climate change resilience and prevention.” – this comment was in context of the Global Risks Report 2016 produced by World Economic Forum in collaboration with Marsh and McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group.

(Source: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/14/climate-change-disaster-is-biggest-threat-to-global-economy-in-2016-say-experts)

(Source: http://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/

details/original/786_march_2016_sig_climate_events_noaa.gif)

Conclusion – Climate Change is affecting our planet like never before, and the impact could be wide-ranged. Timely, concerted action is required to reverse it or at-least slow it down.

In the next blog, we will discuss the ‘Waste Connection’ of Climate Change.

Thanks for Reading!

 

 

 

Blog 2 – Climate Change Series – Relevant facts leading to Solutions

Hello,

Use lesser electricity and water, plant more trees…these are the most direct ways to reversing Climate change…!!!

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators…its long-term state and average temperature are regulated by the balance between incoming and outgoing energy, which determines the Earth’s energy balance.”(Govt. of Canada)

The change can be induced by natural factors as well as human factors. Natural factors comprise primarily volcanic eruption and solar activity. While the effect on climate of former is for a shorter period, the later can influence in a longer period; however its effect is much less in the past century as compared to that of human activity. Human factors mostly are related to burning of fossil fuel and change in the land-use pattern. This leads to increase in levels of carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An enhanced ‘greenhouse effect’ results has resulted in warming of the Earth.  It is to be noted that carbon dioxide and nitrous dioxide are long-lived ‘climate forcers’, i.e. they stay in the atmosphere and  impact the climate change for a long time.

(Source: http://climatechange.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=65CD73F4-1)

So here comes the Solution – anything which reduces the carbon dioxide emission in the air, is the best way to fight Climate change!!! 

Do come back for more on Paris Climate Deal, more examples of Climate change around the World…and more facets of Climate Change…

Thanks for reading!