Category Archives: Environment events

Delhi Smog 2017 – What we need to know?

It is very much in news, and yet people out there, seem to be ignorant about it.

What is it? Illegal crop burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, vehicle exhaust emissions in a city with limited public transport, and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis, which arises every year. (NDTV, November 9, 2017)

Delhi pollution level

Air quality index (AQI) at 7.30 am, November 9, was recorded at 468 (Severe category)

These steps have been taken so far:

Source: Economic Times, Nov 9, 2017

  1. The Delhi government has brought back odd-even plan to check rising pollution level in the capital. It will be implemented from Nov 13 and will end on Nov 17, and like last time two-wheelers and women drivers will be exempt.
  2. National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR till November 14 , 2017.
  3. NGT has also directed directs civic bodies to constitute teams to ensure there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR. The green panel has also asked authorities to implement EPCA’s directions to improve ambient air quality.
  4. It has also directed sprinkling of water where PM 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre.
  5. Schools in Delhi and Punjab remain shut till Sunday.

Source: Hindustan Times, Nov 9, 2017

  1. Environment ministry forms seven-member committee to monitor short-term and long-term solutions to air pollution, reports PTI (5:48 PM today)
  2. The odd even scheme will be implemented from 8 am to 8 pm.
  3. Banning trucks and closing schools have been taken in response to the worsening Delhi air quality.

Source: The Hindu, Nov 9, 2017

  1. Hike in parking fee by four times has been done to discourage own vehicle use.
  2. Issuing a slew of directions as immediate measures to control pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Delhi High court banned felling of trees, ordered sprinkling of water on roads to control dust and strict enforcement of construction code to ensure that the air is not polluted further.

Source :NDTV, November 9, 2017

  1.  A Delhi government advisory has urged anyone with breathing difficulties to remain indoors and said everyone should avoid strenuous activity.
  2. PM 2.5 is particulate matter about 30 times finer than a human hair. The particles
    delhi-smog1

    Delhi Smog 2017 (Source: Indian Express, November 9, 2017)

    can be inhaled deep into the lungs, causing heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseasesDelhi registered levels of over 600 today – 12 times over the safe limit.

Source : Indian Express, November 9, 2017

  1. The National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) has sent notices to the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana in view of “life-threatening” pollution levels in the national capital and nearby regions. The rights panel criticised authorities for not taking proper steps to tackle the “hazard”, amounting to violation of right to life and health.

How to protect oneself from the harmful effects of smog?

Source: Economic Times, November 9, 2017

Indian Medical Association declared a ‘public health emergency’ in Delhi on November 7, 2017.

  •  Avoid cardio workout
  • Get the right mask – Get a respirator that is rated N95/N99/FFP3 or is ‘NIOSH Approved’ that filters out more than 95% of particles (larger than 0.3 microns)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Don’t ignore sustained symptoms – Keep the allergy kit ready with required medicines, inhalers and nebulisers if you have a family member with respiratory illness.
  • Invest in an air purifier
  • Plant some natural air purifiers in your surroundings, like Aloe Vera and Spider Plant which suck up all the pollutants
  • Consult doctor if symptoms persist – Exposure to bad air quality may lead to initial symptoms like coughing, irritation in eyes and nose, sore throat, asthma or wheezing, and tiredness. But prolonged exposure may have serious consequences on health causing stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even lung cancer. Asthmatic patients should carry their inhalers at all time.

Stay informed, stay protected.

This information has been taken from reliable sources. Therefore, it would be nice if you share it further.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

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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!