Scientific Management of E-wastes & Hazardous Wastes indispensable

 14th January 2020, Gurugram: E-waste or electronic waste is formed when an electronic product is discarded after the end of its useful life. Outdated, impaired or irreparable smartphones, mobile phones, LED lights, discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device, electronics, television sets, refrigerators, other electrical appliances, switches, and wires are some examples of e-waste. This includes used electronics that are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal as well as reusable and secondary scraps such as copper, steel, plastic, etc. The rapid expansion of technology means that a very large amount of e-waste is created every minute. 

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‘Salt Therapy’ from Tata Salt to help Delhiites battle ill-effects of air pollution

Delhi, 13th January, 2020: It has been a regular feature that every winter, Delhiites struggle against the wrath of air pollution. But according to a Tata Salt Press Release, this year, the ‘Salt Therapy’ from Tata Salt will help battle the ill-effects of air pollution using the therapeutic benefits of salt. As per reports, Delhi’s air quality is reaching alarmingly toxic levels, causing or aggravating health problems such as allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchitis. Tata Salt, being a catalyst in building a healthy nation has gone a step ahead to reverse the effects of air pollution by installing ‘Salt Therapy’. Now, Delhiites can get respite from air pollution and protect themselves from the harmful effects at unique mobile ‘Salt Therapy’, which are set up at Hauz Khas, Janak Puri District centre, and other prominent locations in Dehi.

Salt Therapy, also called as Halo, is a completely natural, non-invasive and drug-free treatment for relieving symptoms caused by congestion, inflammation, and allergies of the respiratory system and skin. In halo, micronized dry salt is inhaled in a chamber that mimics a salt cave environment. Research has shown that halo has an anti-inflammatory effect and has a beneficial effect on the symptoms of bronchial asthma, bronchitis and COPD.

Dr. Nikhil Modi, Consultant, Department of Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep medicine at Idraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, said, “Inhaling salt naturally open airways for easier breathing loosening the mucus so that it is more readily cleared, reducing infection risk and providing relief of symptoms. Studies have documented salt therapies have aided in improved respiratory function and improved immunological status in patients. This makes it especially beneficial for those who suffer from respiratory diseases. For people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, allergies and COPD, salt is a natural treatment option to consider. These conditions usually are brought on or aggravated by air pollution. The mobile ‘Salt Therapy’ provide people with a convenient option to fight the ill-effects of air pollution and prevent exacerbation of respiratory conditions. Salt has a lot of therapeutic benefits and can also be availed at home in many ways. Some of the most common are by inhaling the saline steam or gargling with salt water.”

The Salt therapy session generally lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour. During the session, one has to just sit back and relax in the chair and breathe normally. The tiny salt molecules penetrate deep into the lungs for far reaching and long lasting effects thus opening the airways for easier breathing.

Mr. Sagar Boke, Head, Marketing, Consumer Product Business, Tata Chemicals Ltd. said, “Air pollution is a serious issue not just in Delhi but also in neighbouring areas of the national capital. It affects individuals when they are outdoors as well as in their homes and offices. The ‘Salt Therapy’ initiative is in line with the brand philosophy, ‘Desh ki Sehat, Desh Ka Namak’, and offers a respite to Delhiites from the harmful effects of air pollution while reiterating the therapeutic benefits of salt.”

According to a survey by the State of Global Air Report 2019, air pollution is considered to be the fifth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide. It is believed to be deadlier than malnutrition, alcoholism and physical inactivity. Each year, more people die from air pollution-related diseases than from road traffic injuries or malaria.

Haryana Government Initiates Efforts to Conserve Environment through Confluence of Experts

Judiciary, Administration, Technocrats, Educationists & Civil Society Leaders gathered in the Two-days Regional Conference on Environment in Gurugram

11th January 2020, Gurugram: A Regional Conference on Environment was organized by the Government of Haryana in Gurugram. Including Haryana, the Host State, two other States – Delhi and Uttar Pradesh also participated in the two days Conference. Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairman, National Green Tribunal (NGT), in his keynote address on second day of the Conference, today, emphasized on various aspects of environmental issues and their effective management. He orated that environment protection is inherent in every law and keeping balance between what we are taking from the nature and that we are giving to it. An imbalance in this give and take with the nature, would be detrimental, as earth also has limits in terms of capacity and resource availability. Realising this, the Stockholm Conference was organised in 1972 and the concept of Sustainable Development emerged. Emphasizing Inter-generational Equity, the NGT Chairman said that we should leave enough of the nature and natural resources for the next generations. 

Justice Goel illustrated that Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s slogan ‘Sabka Saath Sab ka Vikas’ is not merely a slogan, but a part of our culture. Clean environment is a fundamental right of citizens. ‘Right to Life’, as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution, must be ensured by the States. He also clarified that having said State, he meant all the people and stakeholders of a State, and not just the government functionaries alone.  The state governments should create such provisions that people get motivated to keep the environment clean.

The NGT Chairman deliberated that two types of wastes, solid and liquid, are posing serious challenges to the environment. Citing reference to the data from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) website, he said that water quality in 351 river stretches in the country are so polluted that it is not even fit for bathing purpose. The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) concentration of water in these stretches of the rivers exceeds more than 30 milligram per liter (mg/L, which is also called ppm). Similarly, in terms of ambient air quality, there are 122 non-attaining cities across the nation. And, 100 industrial areas are critically polluted based on Comprehensive Environmental Performance Index (CEPI). He further described that the data reveals the seriousness of the situation. Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asserted confidence that “We have the capacity to solve these problems.” He further added that “Be it Ambikapur Model or Indore Model, solid waste must be disposed of in a scientific methods. There is a need to segregate the different types of wastes from the garbage, at source, because their disposal methods are different. The state governments require to create facilities for waste disposal.”

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also stressed upon the spreading of awareness of sewage treatment technologies to villages and Panchayat level. 

Appreciating the initiative of the Government of Haryana to organise such a unique conference, Justice Goel expressed that Gurugram is the city of Guru that has a highest place in our civilization. A forward step has been taken here. It would bear good fruits. Gurugram will become an example amongst the cities. Haryana should become model for others to emulate.

Earlier, Hon’ble Justice Pritam Pal, Chairman of the NGT appointed Executive Committee on Ghaggar and Solid Waste Management said that what he has seen is a huge gap in the ground reality and the digital presentations shown by Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Most compellingly he asked, how many polluting industries have been jailed for 5 years as per available provisions? And, how many officials were punished under section 17 in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986? When this has not taken place, why do the black rivers persist? He further deliberated the reasons for these problems as there is lack of sensitivity among the stakeholders, and also a lack of will to do. He also opined that involvement of civil society is essential to overcome the problems. He said that when the Judiciary, Government are serious about environmental issues and pollution, and financial allocations available; there should be speedy improvement. He enlightened the gathering that plans are available on the website of NGT about how the district level authorities should implement these plans on environment protection. Justice Pritam Pal also initiated a pledge that in order to build Haryana a model state, garbage will not be visible on the sides of National Highways, State Highways and Railway Tracks passing through Haryana within 30 days.

Justice S P Garg, Former Judge of Delhi High Court, deliberated on various arrangements and ways adopted to tackle pollution in Delhi. 

CPCB Chairman, Shri SPS Parihar highlighted the number of good days in terms of air quality during year 2019 as compared to 2016. He mentioned that social and economic leaders should be absorbed into the government system to work on the economics of not doing what should have been done. He also stated that rural areas should not be left out in environment planning and execution.

While apprising on the steps taken by Haryana government for pollution mitigation, Chief Secretary, Government of Haryana, Smt. Keshni Anand Arora told that 16 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) have been installed with capacity to treat 1600 MLD sewage. She also informed that Haryana has formed the Septage Policy. ACS Environment Smt. Dheera Khandelwal welcomed the guests and participants and the environment concerns in present times. Principal Secretary of Urban Local Bodies Shri V Umashankar briefed about the breakout sessions held on first day of the Conference. He also deliberated on the need to look beyond industries in order to attain better hazardous waste management. He also emphasized on the sector level STPs and reuse of treated wastewater in local areas. He informed about the Haryana Wastewater Recycling Policy, 2019 that came into being on 30th October 2019.

On the occasion Sanjiv Khirwar, Municipal Commissioner of East Delhi, Utsav Sharma, Regional Officer, Ghaziabad Region of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, and Manish Singh, Deputy Secretary, Indore Model for Solid Waste Management gave presentations. Those present included Hon’ble Justice Jasbir Singh, Chairman NGT appointed committee for Punjab, Dr Anup Chandra Pandey, Chairman, NGT appointed oversight committee for UP, Subodh Chandra Aggarwal, Member EC, NGT appointed Committee for Punjab, Mrs Urvashi Gulati, Member NGT appointed Committee on Ghaggar & Solid Waste Management, Swami Sampoornanda among others.

Chairman, Member Secretary and other officials of Haryana State Pollution Control Board as well as Municipal Commissioners and Senior Officers, Engineers from Municipal Corporations and Pollution Control Boards of districts of UP and Haryana falling in Delhi NCR region – were present in the programme. 


Positive Outcome in Conservation of Environment, as NGT Accepts Grievance through Registered Post

8th January 2020, Delhi: It is widely known that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) accepts public grievances through registered posts and brings justice for people in far distant places in the country. A similar grievance was submitted by Shri Ganeshwar Singh from Mayurbhanj in Odisha, a place reckoned as under developed, through registered post. The NGT considered the application for a hearing on 25th September 2019 and ordered the District Magistrate, Mayurbhanj to look into the matter, and take appropriate action in accordance with law and furnish a factual and action taken report in the matter within one month by e-mail. The Collector and District Magistrate, Mayurbhang, Baripada has reported through a letter dated 6th January 2020, which reveals unauthorized, and illegal transportation of minor minerals were taking place; as the report states collection of penalty in the tune lakhs of rupees. 

According to the enquiry report submitted by the Collector and District Magistrate, the sairat sources (river sand bed) at Kumbharmundi, Jamunapal and Rugudisahi have been settled on public auction under the provisions of OMMC Rules-2014 with a term of five years for the period from 2015-16 to 2019-20 in favour of the lessee Sri Bikash Kumar Agarwalla. The lessee have commenced operation of the source after obtaining clearance from SEIAA, Odisha, Bhubaneswar, permission of the competent authority and on execution of necessary agreement. The lessee have been issued with transit passes for extraction of minor mineral (sand) in compliance with the Mining Plan from the said Sairat Sources.

Further, in order to check unauthorized, illegal transportation of minor mineral by unscrupulous persons and prevent leakage of the Government revenue, a squad comprising concerned Tahasildar and revenue field staff have been constituted at Tahasil level. 

Regular surprise raids being conducted by the squad during the year 2019-20 up to October, 2019, an amount of Rs. 4,73,187/- have been collected towards penalty in Saraskana Tahasil. 

According to the Tahsildar’s report the lessees were Bikash Ku. Agarwal and Krupasindhu Singh respectively, who have started operationalization of the source after obtaining clearance from SEIAA, Odisha and also consent to operate from the competent authority followed by the execution of agreement for the same. 

NGT Seeks Quantifiable Information from CPCB to Review Compliance Status of SWM Rules, 2016

7thJanuary 2020, Delhi: The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by Chairperson Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel considered the reports submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in pursuance of NGT order dated 12th September 2019 on the issue of status of compliance of waste management and other issues in different States/UTs. The matter relates to the Original Application No. 606/2018 regarding compliance of Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. CPCB submitted a detailed report on 6th January 2020. 

It is important to note that the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide order dated 02.09.2014 in Writ Petition No. 888/1996, Almitra H. Patel Vs. Union of India & Ors., transferred proceedings pending before it on the subject of waste management. Operative part of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court reads: “Enforcement of the Rules and efforts to upgrade the technology relevant to the handling of solid municipal waste is a perennial challenge and would require constant efforts and monitoring with a view to making the municipal authorities concerned accountable, taking note of dereliction, if any, issuing suitable directions consistent with the said Rules and direction incidental to the purpose underlying the Rules such as upgradation of technology wherever possible. All these matters can, in our opinion, be best left to be handled by the National Green Tribunal established under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.The Tribunal, it is common ground, is not only equipped with the necessary expertise to examine and deal with the environment related issues but is also competent to issue in appropriate cases directions considered necessary for enforcing the statutory provisions.” 

In view of the CPCB report dated 6th January 2020, the Principal Bench of NGT, on 7thJanuary 2020, observed that the reports give information about States who have given some information but the nature and extent of information which was required has not been furnished. Available information with regard to sewage generation and treatment shows huge gap. Grading made by the CPCB into ‘good’, ‘average’, ‘poor’ and ‘no information’ is not based on any qualitative analysis but extent of information furnished. 

The NGT further stated that, what is least expected is information on: (i) solid waste management, including remediation of legacy waste in terms of earlier orders of the Tribunal, (ii) sewage treatment and restoration of 351 polluted river stretches and (iii)air quality management in 102 (122) non-attainment cities.

It was further deliberated by the NGT that with respect to serial no. (i), the information is required with regard to the quantity of MSW generated, segregated and treated; gaps in the waste processing in terms of generation and treatment and enforcement of statutory timelines and orders of this Tribunal for bridging the gap; number of sites, and quantity of legacy waste therein and timelines for its remediation. With respect to serial no. (ii), quantity of sewage generated and treated in the State, gap in the sewage treatment and timelines to bridge the gap including strategy for use of treated water for secondary purpose. Further, with regard to restoration of 351 polluted river stretches, the States need to furnish information about the compliance of directions including in-situ and ex-situ remediation by way of phyto-remediation/artificial wetlands, bio-diversity parks or any other appropriate measure to supplement load reduction on recipient river systems. With respect to serial no. (iii), the Chief Secretaries need to monitor and compile information on the subject of execution of action plans for containment of air pollution in terms of orders of this Tribunal and furnish the quantifiable progress/achievement to the CPCB.

The NGT has ordered that CPCB needs to redesign formats and secure relevant quantifiable information from the Chief Secretaries under different heads so that the Chief Secretaries are able to respond to the Tribunal on their appearance as per schedule of appearance already notified. Chairman and Member Secretary, CPCB may remain present on the dates of appearance of Chief Secretaries with relevant data. 

Your Room AC temp. set by default at 24 deg. C from 1st Jan as per New Energy Performance Standards

All Room Air Conditioners to have Default Temperature Setting of 24°C from 1st January 2020

Change from 20°C to 24°Cwill lead to savings of about 24% of electricity

6th January 2020, Delhi: The 24°C default setting has been made mandatory from 1st January 2020 for all room air conditioners covered under the ambit of BEE star-labelling program vide this notification. The default temperature setting doesn’t mean that AC users will not be able to change the settings and lower the temperature up to 16°C. Default temperature simply means the temperature at which the AC turns on. One can reduce or increase the temperature like always. 

According to reports, very few AC users in India, tweak settings in ACs and mostly run on the default auto mode. This will help people in saving power effortlessly. Also, this will help promote energy and climate awareness among AC users. “It is estimated that by increasing the temperature of room by 1°C, we can save about 6% of electricity. Typically, room temperature is set between 20-21°C whereas, as per standard comfort conditions, ideal temperature is 24-25°C. Considering change from 20°C to 24°C, there is potential to increase at least 4 degrees Celsius, which will lead to savings of about 24% of electricity,” Ministry of Power explained.

The Central Government in consultation with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has notified new energy performance standards for Room Air Conditioner (RACs) on 30th October 2019.BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India that assists in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.

Additionally, the Indian Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ISEER) as per the new standards will range from (3.30 - 5.00) for split and (2.70 – 3.50) for window air conditioners, which will be applicable from 1st January 2021 onwards.

The notification states, “All brands and types of star labelled room air conditioners, namely, Multi-Stage Capacity Air Conditioners, Unitary Air Conditioners and Split Air Conditioners which are rated from one star to five star, based on their relative energy efficiencies up to a rated cooling capacity of 10,465 Watts (9,000 kcal/hour) and manufactured, commercially purchased or sold in India, shall ensure default setting of temperature in the room air conditioners at 24°C with effect from the 1st January 2020.”

BEE launched the voluntary star labelling program for fixed-speed room air conditioners (RACs) in 2006, and this program became mandatory on 12th January 2009. Thereafter, in 2015, voluntary star labelling program for inverter room air conditioners was launched and which was made mandatory with effect from 1st January 2018.  The BEE star labelling program for Room Air Conditioners now covers both fixed and inverter RAC up to a cooling capacity of 10,465 watts (2.97 TR). Continual enhancement in performance levels has resulted in substantial energy efficiency improvement of about 43% in the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for split units, which are the most popular RACs sold in the market. ISEER (Indian Seasonal Energy efficiency ratio) is the energy performance index used for Room Air Conditioners (RACs) and its assessment is based on the bin hours defined in ISO 16358. 

Swarna Jayanti Fellowships Awards 2018-19 for Scientists working on Clean Environment & Water Saving

Swarna Jayanti Fellowships have been awarded to 14 Scientists on 2nd January 2020. The Scientists are associated with projects containing innovative research ideas and with potential of making impact on research and development in the respective disciplines. The scientists, selected for the award through a rigorous three-tier process, will be allowed to pursue unfettered research with freedom and flexibility. 

Dr. Jitender Giri from National Institute of Plant Genome Research is interested in understanding molecular regulation of low phosphate adaptations with focus on finding novel genes and understanding their functions in cellular signaling. His proposed work includes generating new rice varieties with improved P-use-efficiency & low water requirements.

Dr. Kanishka Biswas from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru works on Renewable Energy & Clean Environmental solutions. He aims to design and synthesize new lead free inorganic solids, which will possess ultra-low thermal conductivity and high thermoelectric performance and are expected to be nearly maintenance free and environmental friendly. They can also be used in waste heat recovery and in electricity generation.

The Swarna Jayanti Fellowships scheme was instituted by Government of India to commemorate India's fiftieth year of independence. Under this scheme, a selected number of young scientists, with proven track record, are provided special assistance and support to enable them to pursue basic research in frontier areas of science and technology.

The awardees are supported by Department of Science & Technology, for fellowship and research. This will cover all the requirements for performing the research and include a fellowship of Rs 25,000/- per month as well as a research grant of 5 lakh Rupees for 5 years in addition to their salary.  Out of the 443 applicants, 14 scientists have been finally selected this time for this scientist specific fellowship. 


Jal Jeevan Mission Survey Progressive in Rural Gurugram

6th January 2020, Gurugram: Haryana Government is preparing action plan to provide potable water to every household in rural areas of the state. For this, a survey is being conducted in the rural areas including district Gurugram by March 31 under the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ which was launched by Prime Minister Mr Narender Modi on Independence Day.  

Under this mission, all illegal water connections in rural areas will be regularized and the houses not having connections, would also be issued new water connections, but before that information would be gathered through a survey with the help of Saksham Yuva and Gram Sachivs by 31st March, 2020.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr Prashant Panwar told about this survey following orders given by Haryana Chief Secretary Keshani Anand Arora through video conferencing today. After the video conferencing meeting of Chief Secretary, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr Panwar held a meeting with the officers of the concerned departments  and directed them to prepare an action plan to provide Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) in every household in the rural areas of the district. Under this mission, 55 liters of water per person per day will be supplied to every household in villages. During this, quality of potable water would also be ensured. He said that the Prime Minister has set a target of providing safe potable water to every household in the country by the year 2024 but the Haryana government is aiming to complete the task by 2022.

Mr Panwar informed that under the program, Public Health Engineering Department will issue new drinking water connections to those households not having connection or regularize the illegal water connection at a fee of Rs 500 under the Mission. During this time, the illegal water connections will be regularised and new connections will be issued to houses not having a water connection. A consent form will be taken from the house owner and he can pay the fee of Rs 500 in either of two ways. One can pay this amount affront lump sum or  pay in installments by adding Rs 10 to their monthly water bill.  Presently, the water bill for General Category households is Rs 40 per month while Rs 20 per month for Scheduled Caste category. After adding Rs 10, the consumer of General Category will have to pay a bill of Rs. 50 per month while a consumer belonging to SC category Rs. 30 per month. He also clarified that under the Jal Jeevan Mission, the amount of two thousand rupees for road cut has also been waived off by the government.

The ADC said that a committee headed by  Sarpanch in each village. 3 panches of the gram panchayat will be its members, one each from women, a scheduled caste and a general category. Apart from this, four other members will also be included in the Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC), of which none should be a Panch and Sarpanch. These four members would be from Anganwadi workers, Asha workers, Self-Help Groups, retired teachers, ex-servicemen etc. Apart from this, the Junior Engineer of Development and Panchayat Department Haryana would also be a member of this committee and the Gram Sachiv will be its Convener. Junior Engineer of Public Health Engineering Department has been appointed a technical member of this committee. At least 50 percent members in it should be women. This VWSC would do planning for giving water connection in every household of their village, prepare estimate, do tendering and supervise the work and also make payment to the contractor.

Superintendent Engineer of Public Health Engineering Department at Gurugram Pradeep Sharma said that so far survey in 31397 households has been completed in district Gurugram, which is 33.68 percent of the target. He informed that village water and sewage committee has been constituted in 201 out of 203 gram panchayats of the district. Due to suspension of Sarpanch in village Nainwal and absence of any Sarpanch in village Bargurjar, VWSCs have not been formed in these two villages, but now after the instructions of the Chief Secretary, the person who takes charge of Sarpanch or Block Development and Panchayat Officer would head the VWSC. Under the Mission, work will be completed in three phases in Gurugram district. In the first phase, 70 percent will be completed by 30 June 2020, 80 percent by 30 June 2021 and 100 percent by 30 June 2022.

The Deputy Commissioner would review the progress regularly with the officers of Public Health Engineering Department. For this, a dashboard has been created by the state government on which progress will be seen by the Deputy Commissioner. Monitoring committees will be constituted at the sub divisional level also under the chairmanship of SDM, the ADC added.


Govt of India sanctions 2636 EV Charging Stations in 62 Cities acorss 24 States/UTs

3rd January 2020, New Delhi: In a major thrust to clean mobility in Road Transport sector, the Department of Heavy Industries has sanctioned 2636 charging stations in 62 cities across 24 States/UTs under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) scheme phase II.  Out of these 2636 charging stations, 1633 Charging Stations will be Fast Charging Stations and 1003 will be slow charging stations. With this, about 14000 Charging Stations will be installed across the selected cities. 

A maximum of 317 EV charging stations have been allotted in Maharashtra. Further, 266 in Andhra Pradesh, 256 in Tamil Nadu, 228 in Gujarat, 205 in Rajasthan, 207 in Uttar Pradesh, 172 in Karnataka, 159 in Madhya Pradesh, 141 in West Bengal, 138 in Telangana, 131 in Kerala, 72 in Delhi, 70 in Chandigarh, 50 in Haryana, 40 in Meghalaya, 37 in Bihar, 29 in Sikkim, 25 each in Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, 20 in Assam, 18 in Odisha and 10 each in Uttarakhand, Puducherry and Himachal Pradesh. 

The Minister of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that in future at least one charging station will be available in most of the selected cities in a grid of 4 Km X 4 km. He said it will boost the confidence of users of Electric Vehicles and also encourage the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to launch the new electric vehicle models due to the lack of charging infrastructure.


Frost & Sullivan and TERI to Honor Sustainable Development Practices across Industries in 2020

Frost & Sullivan and India's leading think tank on sustainable development, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to jointly host the 11th edition of ‘Sustainability 4.0 Awards’ to recognize the efforts of companies on a national platform setting the standards for the future of organizations. The awards are scheduled on June 11, 2020, in Mumbai. The awards process aims to recognize excellence in sustainable development among organizations by providing a measurable and verifiable framework for sustainability.

Companies interested in participating in this edition of the awards need to submit their nominations on or before January 25, 2020, by clicking here. 

Talking about companies moving towards a structured sustainability agenda, Raghavendra Rao, Associate Partner & Sr. Vice President, Frost & Sullivan, said, “Sustainability is no longer a ‘good to have’ aspect in business, instead is an essential tool for long term value creation for stakeholders. It has evolved as the most discussed boardroom agenda amongst Corporates. Investors globally have been reviewing companies’ sustainability performances for making responsible investments. By launching the eleventh edition of Sustainability 4.0 Awards, we intend to widen the spectrum by having numerous companies driving the common agenda of making businesses more sustainable. Our partnership with TERI has provided the right impetus to this commitment as we continue to leverage this partnership for increased adoption of sustainability practices in business.”

Speaking about its association with Frost & Sullivan over the years, Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, said, “Success breeds more success and nothing amplifies successful behavior more than recognition in a framework of aspiration. We at TERI are proud to partner with Frost & Sullivan in this initiative to recognize best practices in sustainability. The Sustainability 4.0 Awards reflect our common commitment to provide a measurable and verifiable framework for sustainability and to honor the efforts of businesses to meet and to better these benchmarks. We look forward to having you with us on this journey, which would lead to a better future for all of us.”


Total Forest and Tree Cover in India grows to 24.56% of country’s geographical area

30th December 2019, New Delhi:  The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar released the biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019”, on 30thDecember 2019 in New Delhi. Announcing the findings of the report the Union Minister said that India is among few countries in the world, where forest cover is consistently increasing. Shri Javadekar told that in the present assessment, the total forest and tree cover of the country stands at 80.73 million hectare, which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country. 

The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which has been mandated to assess the forest, and tree resources of the country including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping in a biennial cycle. While India has only 2.5% of the world’s land area, where it habitats 17% in world’s human population and 18% of world’s animal population; forest plays a vital role. Therefore, India is the only country that has adopted biennial survey of forests. Starting 1987, 16 assessments have been completed so far. ISFR 2019 is the 16th report in the series. 

The Environment Minister further said that as compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country. “Out of this, the increase in the forest cover has been observed as 3,976 sq. km. and that in tree cover is 1,212 sq. km; Range increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and moderately dense forest and the top three states showing increase in forest cover are Karnataka (1,025 sq. km) followed by Andhra Pradesh (990 sq km) and Kerala (823 sq km).”, said the Minister.

Area-wise, Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra. The top three states showing increase in forest cover are Karnataka with 1025 Sq. Km., followed by Andhra Pradesh 990 Sq. Km. and Kerala with 823 Sq. Km. In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%). The recent report depicts reduction in forest cover in the north-east.

Percentage of geographical area under Very Dense Forest (VDF) is 3.02%, Moderately Dense Forest (MDF) is 9.38%, and Open Forest (OF) is 9.26%. The total mangrove cover in the country stands at 4,975 sq. km., with an increase of 54 sq. km. (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment of 2017. Gujarat with 37 sq. km. tops the states showing mangrove cover increase followed by Maharashtra 16 sq. km. and Odisha 8 sq. km.

The total growing stock of India’s forest and TOF is estimated 5,915.76 million cum of which 4,273.47 million cum is inside the forests and 1,642.29 million cum outside. There is an increase of 93.38 million cum of total growing stock, as compared to the previous assessment. Out of this the increase in growing stock, there is an increase of 55.08 million cum inside the forests and 38.30 million cum outside the forest areas. 

Total bamboo bearing area of the country has been estimated 160, 037 Sq. Km., which registers an increase of 3,229 Sq. Km. as compared to the last assessment of ISFR 2017. The total estimated green weight of bamboo culms is 278 million tonnes, slowly an increase of 88 million tonnes as compared to ISFR 2017.

Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) represents the largest pool of carbon stocks in forests, which has been estimated 4,003.6 million tonnes. The SOC contributes 56.19% of the total forest cabon stock of the country. Under the current assessment the total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated 7,124.6 million tonnes and there an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2017. The annual increase in the carbon stock is 21.3 million tonnes, which is 78.2 million tonnes CO2 eq.

Wetlands within forest areas form important ecosystems and add richness to the biodiversity in forest areas, both of faunal and floral species. Due to importance of wetlands, FSI has carried out an exercise at the national level to identify wetlands of more than 1 ha within RFA.  There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.8% of the area within the RFA/GW of the country.

The present report also gives information on the fire prone forest areas of different severity classes, mapped in the grids of 5km x 5km based on the frequency of forest fires in the last 14 years that would enable the SFDs to manage and control forest fires effectively in the respective States. 

Shri C K Mishra, Secretary, MoEF&CC said that the report helps to understand the forest and forest ecosystems. ISFR 2019 adds value to the knowledge for policy formulation. It also reflects how India emphasizes the quality of Trees and Forest, he added.

The ISFR 2019 has been structured into two volumes. The Volume I pertains to national level assessment, and special studies. This volume contains three new chapters. Volume II is dedicated to the information about each State and Union Territories of the country. This time, a soft version of the report in a memory stick was also released for the first time, which reduces the paper consumption in digital India. 


Atal Bhujal Yojana launched by Prime Minister

Drinking water through taps will be provided to every household: Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat 

Atal Bhujal Yojana will be implemented through Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in 8350 villages in seven States

25 December 2019, New Delhi:  On the Birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), in an event held in New Delhi on 25th December 2019. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi highlighted that the subject of water was very important to Atal ji and very close to his heart. Our Government is striving to implement his vision. Atal Jal Yojana or the guidelines related to the Jal Jeevan Mission, are big steps in proving the resolve to deliver water to every household in the country by 2024, the PM added. He said that this water crisis is worrying for us as a family, as a citizen and as a country also it affects development. New India has to prepare us to deal with every situation of water crisis. For this, we are working together on five levels. 

The Prime Minister emphasized that Jal Shakti Ministry freed the water out of Compartmentalized Approach and laid stress on a Comprehensive and Holistic Approach. In this monsoon, we have seen how extensive efforts have been made for water conservation on behalf of the society, from the Jal Shakti Ministry. He said that on one hand, Jal Jeevan Mission, will work towards delivering piped water supply to every house, and on the other hand Atal Jal Yojana, will pay special attention to those areas where groundwater is very low. Shri Modi said that a provision has been made in the Atal Jal Yojana, in which better performing gram panchayats, will be given more allocation. He said that in 70 years, only 3 crore out of 18 crore rural households have access to piped water supply. Now our Government has set the target to deliver clean drinking water to 15 crore homes in the next five years through pipes.

Prime Minister Modi deliberated that water-related schemes should be made according to the situation at every village level. This has been taken care while making the guidelines of the Jal Jeevan Mission, he added. He also said that both Union and State Governments will spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on water related schemes in the next 5 yrs. He requested the people of every village to make a water action plan and create a water fund. Farmers should make a water budget where groundwater is very low.

The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, in his address said that under Atal Bhujal Yojana, the government is committed to provide safe drinking water to every household in the country. He further said that largely we are dependent on ground water and it is fulfilling 85% of drinking water requirements in the country. There is every need to take steps to increase the ground water level, he added.

A total outlay of Rs. 6000 crore to be implemented over a period of 5 years (2020-21 to 2024-25), out of which 50% shall be in the form of World Bank loan, and be repaid by the Central Government. The remaining 50% shall be through Central Assistance from regular budgetary support. The entire World Bank's loan component and Central Assistance shall be passed on to the States as Grants.

The Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. 


India's First Long Distance CNG Bus unveiled by Shri Dharmendra Pradhan

24 December 2019, New Delhi:  Exemplifying the walking of talk on making India a gas-based economy and CNG as the eco-friendly option for long distance transport in the country, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, on 24th December 2019, unveiled India's first long distance CNG bus fitted with composite CNG cylinders, which can travel around 1000 kms in a single fill. The project has been executed by Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) and has been achieved through pioneering design of Type IV Composite Cylinders in buses, replacing traditional very heavy Type-I Carbon Steel cylinders.

Shri Pradhan described it as a milestone in ease of living for the people of country. He said that these CNG buses are being run on pilot basis, but soon they will be scaled on commercial basis. “Delhi has witnessed revolution in shift towards cleaner, gas based fuels. Over 500 CNG stations are operating in Delhi NCR today and about 12 lakh piped natural gas connections have been provided. Over 1,000 PNG connections are being provided daily in the NCR. Long haul CNG buses originating from Delhi to other locations will further drive this shift towards cleaner gas based fuels. This will improve overall ease of living of people by mitigating the problem of air pollution, ensuring a cleaner environment and reducing waiting time at CNG stations.”, Shri Pradhan said. 


Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal announces Delhi Government's ambitious Electric Vehicle Policy

Electric vehicles to contribute to 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2024: Arvind Kejriwal

This would avoid emissions of 4.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, equivalent to CO2emissions from nearly 100000 petrol cars over their lifetime& about 159 tonnes of PM2.5 emissions. 

Delhi Chief Minister, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, on 23rd December 2019, announced that the cabinet has given its approval to the Delhi government's ambitious Electric Vehicle Policy, which aims to reduce air pollution levels in the city, alongside employment generation in the transportation sector.  

Kejriwal said, "To tackle the issue of air pollution in Delhi, the cabinet has decided to pass the ambitious Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy. We aim to transform the national capital into the EV Capital of India. Vehicles are the biggest source of pollution in the capital and amount to 40% of PM2.5 air pollution levels and 80% of Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the air. The first draft of the Delhi EV Policy came out in November 2018 and was put on the public domain. Several rounds of discussion with the experts and the general public were held to invite suggestions. We received comments from various associations such as the United Nations Environment Program, International Council on Clean Transport, and industry bodies such as CII, and Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles and non-profit organizations such as CSE, etc. The comments were taken into purview and incorporated in the formulation of the policy." 

Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy 2019 aims to induct electric vehicles which shall contribute to 25% of the newly registered vehicles across Delhi. "Along with reducing pollution levels in the city, the policy also aims to generate employment in the transport sector. The maximum emphasis is laid on two-wheelers, public transport and shared vehicles, and goods-carriers," said Delhi Chief Minister. 

Briefing the media about the details of the EV Policy, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, "Currently, the percentage strength of electric two-wheelers is less than 0.2% and that of three-wheelers is almost zero. We hope that 35,000 electric vehicles will be inducted in Delhi within the next one year, and 250 charging stations will be constructed across the city. We also hope that within the next five years, five lakh electric vehicles will be registered in Delhi. Over their lifetime, these electric vehicles are estimated to save approximately Rs 6,000 crores worth of oil and liquid natural gas consumption. They will also avoid emissions of 4.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is equivalent to avoiding CO2emissions from nearly one lakh petrol cars over their lifetime. They will also help avoid about 159 tonnes of PM2.5 emissions." 

Under the EV Policy, the Delhi government is providing a subsidy of Rs. 5,000 per kWh of battery capacity on the purchase of two-wheelers. Scrapping incentive up to Rs. 5000 will be offered for the scrapping of a non-electric two-wheeler vehicle and switching to an electric vehicle. A special provision has been made for ride-hailing service providers such as Ola and Uber, wherein they will be allowed to operate electric two-wheeler taxis. All two-wheelers engaged in last-mile deliveries, such as food delivery vehicles, courier services, and e-commerce logistics, will be expected to transition 50% of their fleet to electric by March 2023, and 100% of their fleet to electric by March 2025. Likewise, the purchase subsidy on electric autos, e-rickshaws, and e-carriers is up to Rs.30,000 and loans on a subsidy of 5% will be provided to them. 

Chief Minister, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, "The purchase subsidy of four-wheelers is Rs.10,000 per kWh of battery capacity for the first 1000 cars subject to a cap of Rs.1,50,000 per vehicle. All leased/hired cars used for the commute of GNCTD officers will be transitioned to electric vehicles within a period of one year. The Delhi government also aims to transition 50% of the newly purchased buses into electric buses by the year 2024 and 100% by the year 2030. There will be no road tax on registration fees on electric vehicles."

CM Kejriwal said private charging stations will be built and building by-laws will be changed for the induction and operation of the electric vehicles. He said, "Workplace and residential parking will have 20% of the parking or vehicle holding capacity as EV enabled. The Delhi government will provide a 100% subsidy for the purchase of charging equipment up to Rs. 6,000 per charging point for the first 30,000 charging points at homes/workplaces. The subsidy is to be routed through DISCOMS who will be in-charge of charger installations. We are also aiming to provide public charging infrastructure after a distance of every 3 km in Delhi." 

For the policy implementation, a dedicated EV cell will be established within the Transport Department for the effective day-to-day implementation of the Delhi State EV Policy. CM Kejriwal said, "Funding for the various incentives under Delhi EV Policy will be obtained from multiple sources such as Pollution/Diesel Cess, Road Tax, Environment Compensation Charge (ECC), etc., which will be monitored under the newly established ‘State EV Fund’. A State EV Board shall be constituted as the apex body for the effective implementation and monitoring of Delhi EV Policy 2019." 

"The regular employees of the DTC have also started getting transport allowances up to Rs.4000 per month, which was earlier only available to other transport department employees," added the Chief Minister.  


10th Water Talk organized by National Water Mission

21st December 2019, New Delhi:  The National Water Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti organized 10th Water Talk, yesterday, at Ambedkar International Centre, New Delhi. 

Dr. Mihir Shah, an Indian Economist and former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission and an expert on water and rural development, gave a insightful presentation on various aspects of water management. Dr. Shah, who is also involved in the reshaping of National Water Policy, stressed upon considering water as an infrastcucture. Dr. Shah also raised the point that in a country like India, which consumes 90% of water in agriculture should have agronomists in appropriate positions in the departments looking into water.

Shri U.P. Singh, Secretary, Do WR, RD & GR, MoJS apprised the gathering about the interventions being made by the Ministry.  Shri Singh along with Dr. Mihir Shah also interacted with the audience in the questionnaire session.


SDMC South Zone working in full swing for A Swachh Delhi

21st December 2019, New Delhi: A program was held yesterday at SDMC, South Zone office, Green Park, in which, the winners of Swachh Survekshan 2020 second quarter winners in various categories were felicitated. First, Second and Third prize winners from Residents Welfare Associations, schools, hotels, hospitals, Market Traders Association, Government offices were awarded certificates by the Deputy Commissioner, SDMC, South Zone, Mr. Aman Gupta, and chairperson, SDMC, South Zone, Mrs. Tulsi Joshi. Senior officials from SDMC like Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Harish Kashyap and Deputy Health Officer, Dr. (Capt.) N. R. Tuli was also present.

Mrs. Joshi appreciated the efforts put in by these associations and requested them to spread their work far and wide. She also requested everyone to gear up and fight against the single-use plastic menace.

Mr. Aman Gupta, who has very recently taken the charge at South Zone, assured them of full support from SDMC. Read more


India considers the outcome of COP 25 a balanced outcome : Shri Prakash Javadekar

20th December 2019, New Delhi: The 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held under the Presidency of Chile in Madrid, Spain from 2nd December to 15th December 2019. The conference, which was expected to conclude on 13th December, was extended till 15th December 2019 to arrive at a consensus on a range of issues, particularly Article 6 of Paris Agreement, Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts and climate finance.

Addressing a Press Conference in New Delhi today, Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that with the exception of climate finance issues, overall, India considers the outcome of COP 25 a balanced outcome which addresses concerns of all Parties, especially the developing countries and provides the necessary building blocks for successful implementation of the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.

 “India engaged constructively in the negotiations while protecting India’s key interests including consideration of principles of  equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC); need for enhanced means of implementation, including climate finance, technology transfer at affordable costs and capacity building support, from developed to developing countries in accordance with their obligations under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.”, said Shri Javadekar.

The COP 25 decision, titled Chile Madrid Time for Action, emphasizes the continued challenges that developing countries face in accessing financial, technology and capacity-building support, and recognizes the urgent need to enhance the provision of support to developing country Parties for strengthening their national adaptation and mitigation efforts. The decision also recalls the commitment made by developed country Parties to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing country Parties. On the issue of global ambition for combating climate change, the decision adopted provides for a balanced and integrated view of ambition that includes not only efforts for climate change mitigation, but also for adaptation and means of implementation support from developed country parties to developing country parties.  


Timely completion of all projects relating to Sewage Treatment be ensured: NGT

 "Avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into Ganga, interim remedial measures”: NGT

NMCG & States concerned may close all establishments near river banks being run without necessary STPs till compliance

While reviewing the progress of compliance of directions to prevent and remedy pollution of river Ganga in the light of orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 29.10.2014 and 24.01.2017 in W.P.(C) 3727/1985 the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal in its order published on 18th December 2019 has reiterated that as already directed vide order dated 22.08.2019, timely completion of all projects relating to sewage treatment be ensured by 31.06.2020 in respect of ongoing projects and by 31.12.2020 in respect of others failing which compensation has to be paid in terms of the said order, apart from action against the erring officers. Till then, to avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into Ganga, interim remedial measures have to be adopted and for the default after 01.11.2019 compensation has to be deposited in terms of order dated 22.08.2019. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) may make necessary calculation within one month from today and raise demands with the Chief Secretaries of the concerned States which may be complied within one month from the date of such demand failing which accountability will be of the Chief Secretaries personally.

The bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson, Hon’ble Justice S. P. Wangdi, Judicial Member and Hon’ble Dr. Nagin Nanda, Expert Member also directed that the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and concerned States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal may take further steps as per directions already issued for various aspects including (1) Preventing discharge of industrial effluents in Ganga and its tributaries/drains by ensuring installation of proper functioning of ETPs/CETPs. (2) Utilization of treated sewage, use of sludge as a manure and septage management. (3) Demarcation of flood plain zones and preventing encroachments thereof. (4) Steps for conservation of groundwater particularly with reference to critical, semi-critical or over-exploited areas. (5) Monitoring and displaying of water quality. (6) Closing, till compliance, all establishments near river banks being run without necessary STPs and compliance of environmental norms and so on.