Tag Archives: waste

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 3 – Climate Change Series – Paris Deal:Leaders of 187 countries stamping on the need to take action

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Pledges of cut in carbon emissions- Although not legally binding, 187 countries have submitted this pledge (Intended Nationally Defined Contributions, or INDCs)
  3. Stock-taking every five years – First global stock-taking in 2023, and then after every five years to stay firmly on track
  4. 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!

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(Source: Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-key-points#img-2)

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Aside

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

‘Why we waste…and what can be done to reduce it”? – Based on discussion held during UNESCO-IHE course on SWM

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Proper infrastructure for better storage of agricultural products is lacking – again, particularly in developing and under-developed nations.
  5. 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 –

  1. Attitudinal change related to our felt connection with nature is required – Need to be inculcated through education and awareness programs.
  2. 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).
  3. Clear and focused legislation is the need of the hour – Legal enforcement of an agreed-to waste disposal code is required.
  4. Infrastructure creation for storage and processing of agricultural and food products, especially the perishable ones, through government and/or private initiatives is required.
  5. 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.

 

 

 

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’!

Am I ‘Green’ enough?

I sometimes go to obsessive levels to do something I believe in. Regarding environmental conservation, my family members sometimes point it out! Though it does not dampen my spirit and resolve to be ‘green’, I do feel the need to be a ‘smart, easy-to-follow champion’ of Greenness, rather than a ‘compulsive environment enthusiast’, if you understand where I am coming from…!

Now I want to list out all things I do on a day-to-day basis, with a view to promote sustainability…Being a home-maker, let me start from the kitchen and then move on to other activities…

  1. I regulate tap flow to optimize water use.
  2. I plug-out most of the appliances in kitchen (and elsewhere also like laptop, tv etc), after their use, and surely at night
  3. I try to segregate plastic and paper waste from normal household waste, and periodically, dump the collection in the appropriate recycle bins.
  4. If I have a choice, I pick up food items from departmental store, with basic packaging.
  5. For shopping, I mostly carry ‘reusable bags’ to minimize use of ‘single-use’ bags.
  6. Also I do bulk-shopping (weekly, fortnightly, or monthly as the need be) for non-perishables to avoid daily trips, and reduce use of shopping bags and packaging material.
  7. We use AC in our home only when necessary, otherwise use fans.
  8. We teach our little one, the importance of saving water and power and recycling waste.

Now, what do you think? Am I ‘Green enough’…obsessive…or can do more?

Thanks for reading!