Category Archives: Environmental facts

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

Got something to repair?- Meet the new age ‘home services marketplace’ in India

This article is for all who are living in metros and big cities of India…who are tech-savvy, time-pressed, quality conscious – We all need to repair our stuff, be it appliances, plumbing, electrician work and so on. More often than not, we are forced to select the handymen who we know nothing about and who may charge a bomb for even low-quality work. Now sites like Urbanclap, Housejoy etc boast of providing trusted service providers at the click of a button for all our home needs including repair and maintenance.

In this article, I talk of 9 of such ‘super startups’ who have made a place from themselves in the field. Please go through this article and share if you like it!

Why Repair?
When we repair our broken-down stuff, it is good for our pocket and our larger pocket, ‘the Environment’. How? Repairing gives a second life to our stuff. This means that the stuff would not end up as waste as yet, so waste is reduced. And since the demand for a new stuff has not been created as yet, there would be lesser extraction of natural resources. This is good news for our Environment.
Fortunately, in today’s world, connecting to repair service providers is lot easier than before. Actually, it is online.

This blog gives the details of all the online service marketplaces in India.

Encyclopedia of Online Repair-service Marketplaces in India.
The firms listed below are web and/or mobile-based platforms in the business of connecting customers to verified, good quality repair service providers end to end. Another name of this class of firms is ‘On demand home services providers’. Most of the firms claim to have background-checked verified professionals as service providers; and through website and/or mobile application, customers can book the service provider for the desire service, and pay for transaction online or offline. Generally, the customer authentication is done through his/her mobile number.
However, the reach in terms of customers, the quality of service providers, the ease of transaction, pricing and new schemes or offers, differentiate one from the other. The order of companies in this article is purely alphabetical.
(Disclaimer – The facts quoted in the article are mostly from the Companies’ websites or from sources stated and readers are advised to cross-check the information before making decisions/judgements)

1.     Bro4U

2.     Helpr

3.     Hometriangle

4.     Housejoy

5.     Localoye

6.     Taskbob

7.     Timesaverz

8.     Urbanclap 

9.     Zimmber
Read below to see which of them cater to your city.

1.        Bro4U
https://bro4u.com/
This firm is in the business of providing a host of home services to the customers. On its website, ‘Repair and Home Maintenance’ is the first category of services. It was founded by Pramod Hegde and Rajath KR in 2015[1]. It currently serves in Bengaluru and plans to extend in some more cities. Repair services offered are Plumbers, Carpenters, Electricians, Computer Services, Mobile Repair, AC Repair and Services, Kitchen Appliances Repair and Home Appliances Repair. The contact number is 08030323232. The services can be availed through the website or the App. Latter can be downloaded from both App Store and Google Play. Payment can be made online before or after the service.
2.     Helpr
https://www.helpr.in/
Another on-demand home services market place, it is on both platforms – web and mobile (as an app). Co-founded by Vijay, Vignesh and Rajesh in 2015[2], it serves five cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and Coimbatore. It offers several home services, including which are repair services, which specifically include – Electrical, Plumbing, Appliances, Carpentry, Appliance Repair, Carpentry, Geyser Service, Vehicle Care and Computer repair. The contact number is 7676-000-300. Its app is available at both App store and Google Play.
Payments can be made either directly to the Provider upon completion of his/her services or through the Website/App. (According to their website)
For most services, it offers free guaranteed service in case of recurrence of issue within 10 days. It further claims ‘professional and highly experienced staff & transparent pricing’.
As a differentiating feature, it has several subscriptions, some of which are specific to ‘Home Repair’ and ‘Appliance Care’.
3.     Hometriangle
https://hometriangle.com/
This firm was co-founded by Ramesh Chincholi, Dhirendra Prasad and Manohar Negi in the year 2014[3]. It serves in 7 cities – Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
Focusing on home improvement services, this company also gives a range of repair services. Among the repair services offered are plumbing, carpentry, electricians, Appliance services and Handymen. The contact number is 7676000100.
Services can be availed both through Website and App (available currently on Google Play).
Their website very proudly claims to have their ‘professionals’ having gone through identity and criminal record checks. Also every job is insured up to Rs.10000. They also claim to have verified reviews which is not a feature with some other companies.
4.     Housejoy
www.housejoy.in
Co-founded by Sunil Goel and Arjun Kumar in 2014-2015[4][5], Housejoy offers a host of local home services.
Cities they serve in are Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi & NCR and Gurgaon.
Specifically, repair services include repair of appliances including refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines; car and motorbike servicing; Plumbing; Electrical and Carpentry & computer, laptop and printer repair.
Based in Bengaluru, the contact number is 1860-123-4569. To access the service, one can visit its website or the app (HJ app). App is available on Google Play and App store, which the company claims is more user-friendly.
Their ‘certified experts’ come up to doorstep and do the repair. Process according to them to avail the services involves ‘Book, Schedule and Relax’. The company offers a ‘Housejoy Guarantee’ – Insurance amount which varies from service to service.
Payment for services are to be made before or after the service, through cash or online payment options like including credit card, debit card and net banking.
Among the special features on their website are offers & deals.
5.     Localoye
www.localoye.com
This ‘services marketplace’ online firm is servicing currently in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Mumbai, New Delhi and Noida. Services are available over website and Android app available on Google Play. It was founded by Aditya Rao in 2013[6].
Among the host of local home and other services offered are also repair services. The latter include AC Repairs and Services, Apple Device Repairs, Car servicing, computer repairs and services, Electricians, Fridge Repairs, Laptop Repairs and Services, Microwave Repairs, Plumbers, TV Repairs and Services, Washing Machine Services and Water Purifier Repair and Services. Repair services for Offices include AC and Laptop Repair.
According to them, the process of availing services through them is ‘Give your requirements – Get customized quotes – Hire the Best’
They even give ‘1-week post service guarantee (not applicable on purchased materials)’.
6.     Taskbob
https://www.taskbob.com/
It is a Mumbai based start-up which offer repair services as a part of a basket of other home services. It provides services in different parts of Mumbai. It was founded by Aseem Khare, Abhiroop Medhekar, Ajay Bhatt and Amit Chahalia in the year 2015.[7] Among the repair services offered are Electrician, Plumber, Carpenter, Appliance Repair and AC Repair. The contact number is +91-8080809019. Services can be booked over the Website or the App. Latter is available on both Google Play and App Store.
It offers a couple of subscriptions to reward its loyal customers.
7.     Timesaverz
https://www.timesaverz.com/
Founded by Debadutta Upadhyaya and Lovnish Bhatia in 2013, this came early in the space of providing local services at the customer’s doorstep from the comfort of his/her home. Their tag hash is #savetheday. It currently serves in 6 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Delhi and also Thane and Noida. In the repairs category, services offered are the following – AC, Chimney, Computer, Fridge, Microwave, Mobile, water Purifier & Washing Machine. Among the Handyman services offered are Carpentry, Electrician, Mason, Plumbing, and Water proofing.
Customer contact number is 9022711888. Services can be availed through the website or mobile App, latter available both at App Store and Google Play. Payment can be made before or after the service.
They display offers/discounts on the website. Another interesting thing is the annual subscription packages – Diamond, Gold, Silver and Bronze which convert to discounts, free inspections, higher rated service partners etc. for regular customers. As the name indicates, they give emphasis to ‘Turn Around Time (TAT)’ and have introduced a reward program of ‘Earn Minutes’.
8.     Urbanclap 
www.urbanclap.com
Abhiraj Bhal, Raghav Chandra and Varun Khaitan founded this company in the year 2014. It is a mobile marketplace helping customers hire ‘trusted professionals’ for their repair and other local service needs. According to their website, this is how it works – ‘Choose the service’; ‘Browse and Book’ the professionals after exploring their photos, reviews and videos; Chat to finalize details with the professionals and hire; and that is about it! It is currently servicing in 16 Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Secunderabad.  
The Repairs domain includes Electricians, Plumber, Carpenter, Mobile Repair, AC Service and Repair, Laptop Repair, Microwave Repair, Refrigerator Repair, Washing Machine Repair, Water Purifier Repair, Apple Product Repair & Geyser/Water Heater Repair.
The Urbanclap mobile app is available in Google Play and App Store.
Payment Options are mainly online (debit card/credit card/Net Banking) or cash post service, before or after the completion of service according to their website.
They claim to have background-checked professionals to ensure safety and satisfaction of customers. For at-least some services, they offer a limited period service guarantee and monetary insurance against damages.
It is the fastest growing services marketplace[8]. (ET, 2016)
9.     Zimmber
www.zimmber.com
It was founded by Anubhab Goel and Amit Kumar in 2014. It is a web-based ‘aggregator platform’, which offers home services, including repair services. They specifically cater to Mumbai. ‘Zimmber champs’ as they call the service providers or professionals provide the repair services for washing machine, refrigerator, Microwave, PC & Laptop, Geyser and AC servicing along with services like carpentry, Plumbing and Electrical service.
The process of availing the service according to them involves ‘Select a service – Select Date, Time & Address – Get Confirmation and Relax’.
The app is available at Google Play and App Store.
Contact number is 8080-824-824.
After 3 days of non-complaint from customer, the request is considered closed.
Payment can be made through Zimmber web-based services (Freecharge wallet) post the service.

References

[1]http://indianstartups.co/2015/06/hyperlocal-startup-bro4u/
[2] LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vijayramkumar-veeraraghavan-13353110
[3] https://profiles.yourstory.com/organization/hometriangle.com
[4] https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunil-goel-5938616
[5] https://yourstory.com/2015/11/housejoy/
[6] http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/local-services-at-the-click-of-a-mouse-116011100017_1.html
[7] https://yourstory.com/2016/02/taskbob-funding-series_a/
[8] http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/startups/16-startup-founders-india-2016/50401747

Thanks for reading! Do Like and share it with like-minded people!

Can We Do it – A Cleaner & Safer Diwali?

Some intuitive ways of celebrating a “Cleaner, safer and Fun Diwali” – Prayers, Sweets, meeting family members and friends, holidays and…

  • Minimizing use of fire-crackers, especially those which produce lots of smoke and noise
  • Resisting the need to over-buy – better for pockets of ourselves and Mother Nature
  • Resist over-lighting – after all, power is precious…

Can we do it? This is the question to all of us Indians. Diwali, the big festival of India, has in recent history, been associated with massive bursting of crackers, and massive pollution of air, soil and water as an aftermath. It is something which we have seen through our own eyes, in most of our lifetime.

diwali-pollution-2diwali-pollution-1

Courtesy: Pumirror.com, The Hindu

However, if we pretend we do not know about it, here are some news reports of Diwali last year.

On Diwali night, India gasped for breath – http://www.thehindu.com/data/pollution-on-diwali-night/article7872344.ece, November 13, 2015

The level of pollution reaches ‘severe’ in several cities of India where healthy people also start getting affected, leave alone people with pre-existing conditions.

Diwali: Delhi pollution ‘hits hazardous levels’ – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34795305, November 12, 2015

Pollution in Delhi during Diwali: The harmful pollutants and their result on human lives – http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/pollution-during-diwali/1/518634.html, November 7, 2015

Is that the only and best way to celebrate – by choking ourselves & our fellow people? That too, when the environmental balance is getting more and more fragile by the day? Can we have a “cleaner  & safer  Diwali”, this time?

diwali

Blog 1 – Climate Change – Myth fast changing to reality…!

Hello,

To me, and I am sure, to many others, every passing day is proving that ‘Climate Change’ is a ‘real thing’…Still, not all are convinced…and to change their view, I am writing this post! Because, I believe that as we, the World, take longer to be convinced, we are losing precious time to reverse the ‘Change’. Also through my posts leading up to June 5, th World Environment Day, I would be highlighting its different facets as well as steps that need to be taken to save ourselves and our future generations of its disastrous effects.

Only today, I heard the news of ‘Canada Wildfire’ covering 8oo square km of Alberta province of Canada. Wildfires occur, but not in this scale, both distance and time-wise, in this area. Increasing temperatures and dry winter, created the conditions for fire of this scale.

_89613577_fortmcmurray-burntoutcars

Scene of devastation caused by Wildfire in Canada (Pic: Courtesy BBC.com)

Back home in India, a unseasonal and severe heat wave has claimed several lives as early as in April 2016. Worst hit is the southern state of Telangana. In several other parts, record high temperatures have been observed leading to early school vacations and changed office timings, caution statements for citizens being issued by State Governments and several other adjustments.

heatwave_2802188f

Heat wave in India (Pic: Courtesy The Hindu)

In the coming posts, we will look further into such unseasonal occurrences across the World. Also in the next post, I would focus on how each one of us can become a part of the Solution to combat Climate Change. Do stay with me on that…!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Sparkling and Clean Diwali to fellow Indians who celebrate it!!!

Diwali is a festival of lights – of recalling virtues and being religious…of having a great time with family and friends…of having and sharing sweets…of exchanging gifts…so far, so good!

But today, Diwali is synonymous with crackers and fireworks…And further, to the ‘pomp and show’ factor…No real harm if it is done in an environmentally and socially responsible way…but unfortunately, Diwali night has become a mark of enjoyment of a few, and plight of many!

Just to specify, the noise, the smoke, the filth on the ground after the crackers burst, the unsafe outdoors on that Night, is that what we call ‘celebration’ or ‘Festival’??? This negative side-effects persists for at-least the next few days of the Diwali Night…!

Are we so insensitive to what we are doing to the air we breathe, ground we walk on, and people we live with?

While can’t we celebrate Diwali the way it is enjoyable to us (we as a social group) at this moment and next moment?

Lets start a new trend – Compensate crackers with Lights…pollution with purity, within and without!

Towards a ‘Sparkling Diwali and Swachh India”…Happy DEEPAWALI!