Hi…I was so happy to see the view from our balcony—only natural beauty and no smoke fumes coming from between the trees.
This is a rare sight, I must tell. Our house lies beyond the Municipal range in Trivandrum, Kerala. In this area, people in stand-alone houses burn their household waste in the open.
This practice is so prevalent that it can potentially be a major air pollution issue.
Further, it is not so only in the areas outside the Municipal range. Even in the main city, this practice is followed. Even though it is an age-old practice to burn waste in the open, the issue becomes serious in today’s times as waste has a dangerous mix of wet items and plastics, among others. When burnt in open conditions, it releases gases and particles – it can adversely affect the respiratory system and contribute to global warming, respectively.
The more the practice is followed, the more implications it will have for public health as well as environment. It needs to be replaced by an alternative waste management strategy.
The question is that how can individuals be convinced to change to an eco-friendly waste management way? The municipal corporations or gram panchayats need to step in.
Waste segregation, and thereafter, collection and disposal, is the way out. A ‘carrot and stick policy’ will help.
While the first step needs to be performed at the household level, the remaining two steps must be performed by public sector, private sector, or both.
Both, public and environmental health need to be accorded top priority.
When the national emphasis is rightly placed on “Swachh Bharat”, thanks to our PM, we need to have a “Swachh Trivandrum” as well.
Posted in air pollution, Climate Change, Environmental facts, My take, Sustainability, swachh bharat mission, Waste Management
Tagged carrot and stick, CORPORATION OF TRIVANDRUM, gram panchayat, Modi, municipal corporation, municipal solid waste, Narendra, PM, recycling, swachh bharat mission, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, TRIVANDRUM, waste, waste segregation
‘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!
Posted in Climate Change, Environment events, My take, Sustainability, Waste Management
Tagged 2016, 3Rs, climate change, DEONAR, DUMPYARD FIRE, EPA, fire, fossil fuels, GHGs, green house effect, India, land management practices, landfill, lifecycle, methane, Mumbai, NDTV, organic waste, Recycle, reduce, reuse, US, waste, waste management
Hello, before we go to the details of the Paris Climate Conference 2015, we may summarize its result as a first-ever confluence of global political will to acknowledge and tackle Climate Change.
If leaders of 187 countries are stamping on the importance to act on Climate Change, how can you and me still deny it?
This is quite significant…but action is more important.
Coming over to the details…Signed on December 12, 2015 with United Nations taking the charge, 187 countries came together to commit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius before Pre-industrial level in the Paris Climate Conference, (also called COP21)
A series of fund-raising pledges by countries and cutting down of global emissions have been agreed to. Salient points are as follows:
- Long-term global goal for ‘net-zero emissions’ – The time-frame agreed to for this global pledge is second half of this century. However, the significance of this lies in the fact that a clear economic message has been passed on to the markets, hopefully driving action.
- Pledges of cut in carbon emissions- Although not legally binding, 187 countries have submitted this pledge (Intended Nationally Defined Contributions, or INDCs)
- Stock-taking every five years – First global stock-taking in 2023, and then after every five years to stay firmly on track
- Funds – Members in a non-legal way, are required to mobilize funds to help developing countries to adapt to climate change and move on to cleaner economy.
(Source: Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-key-points#img-2)
Well, no strict deadlines…no fixed fund flow from one country to another…but a clear realization that Climate Change is Real, and we need to act as One. Action of one not only affects that country but the world as a whole…and so the Paris Agreement…
A step in the right direction…!
In the next few blogs, discussion on the urgency to Act, several ways in which we as individuals can be a part of Solution, the Waste Connection to Climate change……..
……………Please come back for more…Thanks for reading!
(Source: Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-key-points#img-2)
Posted in Climate Change, My take, Sustainability, Waste Management
Tagged 1.5 degree celsius, 2015, carbon emissions cut, climate change, conservation, cop21, December 2015, environment, Environment conservation, global warming, Green, INDCs, net-zero emissions, Paris Climate Deal, UN climate conference, waste, waste management, world
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!
Posted in Climate Change, Environmental facts, My take, Sustainability
Tagged air pollution, clean, crackers, Deepawali, Diwali, fireworks, India, lights, noise pollution, SWachh, waste
Food for thought: 1. Almost 80 per cent of all products sold in the world end up as waste within six months of purchase. 2. The average plastic bag takes one second to make, is used for around 20 minutes and takes … Continue reading
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?
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Proper infrastructure for better storage of agricultural products is lacking – again, particularly in developing and under-developed nations.
- 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 –
- Attitudinal change related to our felt connection with nature is required – Need to be inculcated through education and awareness programs.
- 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).
- Clear and focused legislation is the need of the hour – Legal enforcement of an agreed-to waste disposal code is required.
- Infrastructure creation for storage and processing of agricultural and food products, especially the perishable ones, through government and/or private initiatives is required.
- 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.
Posted in Sustainability, Waste Management
Tagged awareness, conservation, consumerism, education, environment, Environment conservation, IHE, infrastructure, obsolescence, policy, UNESCO, waste, waste disposal, waste management