Posted on 21 May 2013 by Nitin
VARANASI: Even as the world gets set to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) on May 22, the Ganga continues to be threatened by pollution.
The United Nations had declared May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Water is essential for life as no living being on the planet can survive without it. It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of environment. The theme ‘Water and biodiversity’ was chosen to coincide with the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation.
The polluting factors like municipal and industrial waste with toxic substances are damaging the river and its aquatic life, maintains BD Tripathi, noted environmental scientist at BHU and member of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). The decline in sight of Gangetic dolphin that is the indicator of clean water is an example, he adds. According to him, the increasing discharge of industrial effluents and other harmful matters are causing harm to the critically endangered species.
However, the census conducted in 2012 shoed an increase in the number of Gangetic dolphins in Uttar Pradesh from 600 in 2005 to 671. It may be mentioned here that a three-day census of the Gangetic river dolphins was held by the state forest department, WWF-India and 18 other NGOs. Once present in tens of thousands, the dolphin had dwindled abysmally to less than 2,000 during the last century owing to killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and barrages, indiscriminate fishing and pollution.
Posted on 18 May 2013 by Nitin
GUWAHATI: The state government has now been empowered by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to give environment clearance to small, ‘B’ category projects, which include hydroelectric projects up to 50 MW. Earlier, the clearance had to be obtained from the Centre, which delayed the start of projects.
Besides hydel power projects up to 50MW, other projects that fall in the ‘B’ category are thermal power plants up to 500MW, mining projects up to 50 hectares, state highways up to 30km in length, widening of state and national highways up to 20 metres, construction of projects up to 20,000 sq km and township projects up to 50 hectare.
State forest minister Rockybul Hussain said that the MoEF has given these powers to the state government through an extraordinary gazette. “This empowerment will ensure early clearance of projects proposals and there would be faster development in the state. Earlier project proponents used to be rushed to New Delhi for getting the environment clearance but now the same can be obtained from Guwahati, subject to fulfillment of the conditions of the MoEF,” he said.
The environment ministry has set up a three-member State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and an eight-member state expert appraisal committee (SEAC).
“These two committees will deal with the environment clearance for any ‘B’ category projects,” Hussain said.
Posted on 17 May 2013 by Nitin
12 workshops to train 500 paediatricians and health professionals under Safe Injection Environment campaign in six months.
In view of creating a safer environment for children across the country, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) is launching a nationwide Safe Injection Environment (SIE) Campaign.
The campaign aims at training over 500 paediatricians and health professionals from across the country in safe injection practices and protect children from infectious diseases.
Injections are the most commonly used procedure of administering vaccines, medicines and other related medication across the world. A child is introduced to injections when he is only a few days old by means of immunisation, which accounts for only about 5 per cent of the total number of injections a person is administered with. The rest 95 per cent are for therapeutic reasons.
Healthcare professionals often re-use syringes or needles, assuming that they are safe. They also recap the needles after use and throw the bodies of the syringes into a single container. Such practices need to be rectified. They need to be trained in sanitisation and other safe practices.
Posted on 15 May 2013 by Aashani Shah
Millions of children die every year as a result of environment-related diseases. Their deaths could be prevented by using low-cost and sustainable tools and strategies for improving the environment. In some countries, more than one-third of the disease burden could be prevented by environmental changes. According to a WHO study carried out in 23 countries, more than 10 percent of deaths are due to unsafe water and indoor air pollution, particularly from solid fuel used for cooking.
Children make up almost half the population of developing countries. Most of the deaths are among children under five, and are attributable mainly to intestinal and respiratory infections. People living in industrialized countries are also affected by environmental factors such as pollution, occupational factors, ultraviolet radiation, and climate and ecosystem changes.
The integrity of the global environment is being increasingly compromised by the deterioration of the atmospheric ozone layer and an ever-higher concentration of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. To the degree that these factors intensify, the health of populations will be seriously affected.
Environmental factors affect children’s health from the time of conception and intra-uterine development through infancy and adolescence. These factors can even exert an influence prior to conception, since both ovules and sperm can be damaged by radiation and chemical contaminants.
It has been widely demonstrated that children are more susceptible than adults to environmental factors because, among other reasons, they are still growing and their immune systems and detoxification mechanisms are not yet fully developed.
Interventions both at the community and the national level can significantly improve the environment, including promotion of safe-water treatment and storage, and the reduction of air pollution. The last measure by itself could save almost a million lives a year.
Posted on 23 April 2013 by Nitin
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has urged small-scale sponge iron units in Bengal to adopt a co-operative model by using the solid waste (dolochar) generated by them to produce captive power. Dolochar contributes significantly to environmental pollution.
“In our last meeting held on April 19, we asked the Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association to take the initiative. Three or four small units can come together and build a captive plant. Dolochar has high calorific value. Big units have the ability to bear the cost of installing systems for captive power generation such as these,” WBPCB chairman Binay K. Dutta said.
“For units that are small, it will be difficult. Costs may cross Rs 15-25 crore based on the capacity of the unit. They have said they will respond within a month,” he added.
Dutta was speaking on the sidelines of a CII-organised meeting to discuss the fiscal instruments for climate-friendly industrial development in Bengal, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.
There are 59 sponge iron manufacturing units in Bengal, of which around 12 have shut down. Around half of the facilities operate on a small scale. Sponge iron is obtained from the direct reduction of iron ore. Some units dispose coal/dolochar in nearby agricultural fields, which has a far-reaching and adverse impact on the environment.
Dutta said there was a need to draw on international experiences and focus more on generating power from the waste to solve the waste management issue. “In Calcutta alone, we get 4,000 tonnes of solid waste a day, while solid waste from the entire state crosses 12,000 tonnes per day,” he added. Meanwhile, the project to develop financial instruments for low carbon industrial development, with support from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has come up with five specific instruments focusing on power plants, sponge iron industry, waste management and building sector.
It has proposed a cess or surcharge based on the carbon content of the fuel used by the power plants. Incentives to bring down the level of carbon used by power units are also on cards.
Posted on 15 April 2013 by Vynavii
Conservation of environment reads like a fashion statement these days or so it seems. We celebrate the Earth Hour one Saturday every year to let ourselves believe we have done our duty toward saving the planet. We definitely need to be a little more involved in the environment saving project.
Charity begins at home they say, so why not decorate our homes in a way that does not threaten but protect the ecological system from collapsing? By simply choosing the right fabric, non-toxic paints and other decor articles that are eco-friendly and encourage use of recycled materials, we can make a difference by going organic in home decor.
Interior designer Meenakshi Agrawal tells us how to design our homes while keeping our eco-consciousness intact. She gives out useful tips on selecting wooden furnishing, wallpapers, flooring and centrepieces for an overall classy home decor while promoting the mantra of going green as well. She talks to us about a unique eco-friendly wall decor concept, ‘DecorCoat’ that she with her partner has introduced in the market as a viable alternative to paints and wallpapers for home renovation.
Posted on 09 April 2013 by Nitin
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A four-member team of pollution control board led by chief engineer G K Viju will visit the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala on Monday based on the latest directive from high court to assess the environmental impact and pollution hazards by the functioning of garbage factory.
The team is expected to reach the factory around 10am. A police team will also accompany the officials. The team will later submit a detailed report at the high court next eek.Meanwhile, the Samyukta Samara Samithi will observe a hartal in protest against the visit of PCB team at Vilappil panchayat on Monday. The members of Vilappil panchayat will also boycott the visit of PCB team. “This visit is totally unwarranted. At present no garbage is being brought here and how can you assess the impact of pollution,” said Vinod Raj, vice-president, Vilappil panchayat.
The members of Janakiya Samara Samithi will conduct a sit-in on the road that leads to the factory as a mark of protest.
Posted on 06 April 2013 by Vynavii
KANPUR: During the national seminar named PACT Vision-2013 at the campus of HBTI, GN Tewari, alumnus of HBTI, informed that the solvent-based paints pollute the environment while the water-based paints have least affect on the environment. The water-based paints are also known as green paint or eco-friendly paints.
“The vapours or fumes from the solvent-based paints applied on walls or other surfaces evaporate and harm the environment. The painters who apply the solvent-based paints often fall prey to diseases like tuberclosis, asthma by inhaling the toxic solvent vapours. While there is no such harm to a painter applying the water-based paint. We, therefore, want the masses to do their bit in saving the environment,” said GN Tewari, senior paint technologist.
Posted on 05 April 2013 by Vynavii
While the state government has announced an allocation of Rs 975 crore in the budget for sewage water, drinking water, drainage, urban transportation and solid waste management in urban areas.
The city is witnessing serious problem of garbage disposal in different areas. Piles of garbage can seen scattered and dumped on main roads not only near regional collection centres at Sonia, Beniabagh, Sonarpura, Maidagin but are also found dumped negligently near parks, river beds, ponds and residential areas.
Posted on 19 March 2013 by Vynavii
People living in Arctic areas can be more sensitive to pollutants due to their genetics, says researcher Arja Rautio at the Centre for Arctic Medicine in theUniversity of Oulu, Finland. This is unfortunate since the northernmost areas of Europe are receiving more harmful chemicals.
Scientists believe climate change may be a culprit as air and water mass movements push some of these undesirable chemicals towards the Arctic. “In real life, people are exposed to lots of chemicals,” says Rautio, who leads studies into the human health effects from contaminants and the influence of climate change in a EU-funded project called ArcRisk, “and I think the people of the north are exposed to higher levels than for example the general population in Europe.”
Posted on 12 March 2013 by Vynavii
Global warming increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems, because extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, draughts and torrential downpours become more frequent.
Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100-1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion.
A research team in theoretical biology at Linkoping University has, with the help of mathematical modelling and simulation, studied how the dynamics of different types of ecosystems may be affected by significant environment fluctuations.
“However at the onset of increased environmental fluctuations, such as extreme weather, we see that extreme species-rich ecosystems are the most vulnerable and this entails a greater risk for a so-called cascading extinction”.
Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nitin
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) has recognized an important link between health and development. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization declared that health is a “precondition for, an outcome of, and an indicator of sustainable development”. This is also demonstrated by the fact that one of the biggest challenges of this century has been to counter increase in incidence of non-communicable diseases as the world moves towards development.
Experts suggest embracing green technologies in terms of transport, housing, energy requirement as a solution towards the creation of societies that are not just economically productive but also healthy. Experts from the city believe that the recognition of the interrelation of health and environment is an important milestone and a step in the right direction. Some, however, expressed concern about the implementation of these ideas.
Posted on 12 July 2012 by Nitin
The risk of flooding for many English homes and businesses could increase fourfold by 2035 if more action to deal with the impact of climate change is not taken, government advisers said on Wednesday.
As severe floods continue to batter parts of Britain after the wettest June since records began, around one in seven homes and businesses face some kind of flood risk, the climate advisers said.
Around 160,000 properties would be at risk by 2035 if better planning and more investment were made in flood defences, compared with 610,000 at risk if no action was taken, they said.
Posted on 11 July 2012 by Nitin
The power industry is waiting for a federal appeals court to rule on proposed emissions controls for coal-fired power plants, a decision with implications for energy sectors ranging from natural gas to coal to tradeable pollution permits.
The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is expected as soon as Tuesday to issue its decision on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR. It delayed the decision on December 30, just two days before the rule was to enter force.
In making the delay, the court sided with industry groups, companies and some states that opposed compliance deadlines and said the rule could make the power market less reliable.
The EPA and environmental groups contended that the CSAPR rule would improve air quality for 240 million people across the eastern United States.
Posted on 10 July 2012 by Nitin
On July 13, 2009, the environment department of state government framed new rules for conservation of state’s 20 notified rivers and gave a period of three years to all civic bodies to stop sewage from flowing into these rivers. Nagpur Municipal Corporation has done precisely nothing to implement these directives and the condition of Nag and Pili rivers in city has only worsened in this period.
The environment department framed the new policy for improving quality of water in notified rivers. The department classified the 20 rivers into four categories- A-I to A-IV. Nag river is one of the 20 and was classified as A-IV, the lowest among all categories probably due to it now almost entirely carrying city’s sewagfe.
Nag river basin is listed among state’s river basins that includes such major rivers as Krishna, Godavari, Tapi, and Wainganga etc. The name of Pili river is too mentioned in the list as a tributary of Nag river.