Tag Archives: reuse

Air Pollution in Trivandrum – Issues and Solutions

What is air pollution?

“Air pollution consists of chemicals or particles in the air that can harm the health of humans, animals, and plants.” (National Geographic)]

Trivandrum’s Air Quality Index for November 7, 2018 is 134. (AQICN.org)

How is it harmful?

Apart from the obvious breathing issues it can cause, including bronchitis, “conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and lung disease can be made worse by exposure to air pollution”; further, it can cause “long-term damage to people’s nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs.”

Having observed the issue keenly during my stay in this city, I have identified three main sources of localized air pollution :

  1. Open burning of waste
  2. Dust from unkempt and broken roads and muddy lanes
  3. Exhaust fumes from diesel trucks, carriers, buses, and other vehicles.

These three sources, if left unchecked, have tremendous potential to pollute the city to the level people feel uncomfortable walking in the open. This is despite the green cover, that this city, has at present.

Another upcoming source of air pollution is the unmanaged and ever increasing construction activities.

As Kerala is being rebuilt and the state endeavors to retain its natural charm, it is very important for administration and residents to be aware of these dangers.

What are the solutions at hand?

  1. To minimize burning of waste, people need to be made aware of the harms of open burning of waste and be incentivized to separate recyclable waste.
  2. Buyers of recyclable waste needs to be roped in to collect it from the residential and commercial units at regular intervals.
  3. A separate community awareness drive needs to be initiated towards reducing use of one-time plastic.
  4. People need to be educated on composting of wet waste.
  5. Municipal corporation/municipality/village panchayat needs to step in to enforce rules for stopping open burning of waste.
  6. To minimize dust from unkempt roads and muddy lanes, municipal corporation/ municipality/village panchayat need to ensure watering of roads and regular cleaning. At a comprehensive level, scientific planning and construction of roads needs to be undertaken.
  7. To minimize exhaust fumes from diesel trucks, carriers, buses, and other vehicles, regular inspection of vehicles (made possible through yearly or biannual registration check) and imposing fines at the spot by traffic police personnel (or better, a specially deployed “pollution control personnel”) on erring vehicles are possible solutions.
  8. At the government level, all subsidies on diesel should be reduced (except a few sensitive categories like water pumps for farmers) as it is the most polluting fuel. Specially for public carriers, such engines must be designed which are low maintenance, high performing, and least polluting.

All need to work towards it…individuals, private players, administration, and Government.

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link

Story of Stuff – Breaking old patterns!

Story of Stuff – Breaking old patterns!

It shows the route followed by our Material economy…
At almost every level of the chain, from extraction to disposal, natural resources, communities, personal time and leisure has been mis-used…Phrases and terms like ‘bumping into our limits’, ‘having only 1 planet’, ‘planned obsolescence’ (designed for the dump) and ‘perceived obsolescence’ (fashion, ads), ‘externalized costs of production‘ and more…drive home the point which is:

‘The present culture of materialism and consumerism did’nt just come on its own…People created it (the old system)..and we are also people – so let us create something new…!’

Read it to convince yourself and tell others of the need to ‘reduce , reuse, recycle and recover’…That is the only ‘practical way going forward’!