Scope of Vertical Farming in India

Henna Gull

M. Tech. (Environmental Science and Engineering) 

Department of Civil Engineering

Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi-110025

  

According to the UN report, the world’s population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. It could be a challenge to feed such a huge population. In India, although there has been a huge increase in production of rice, wheat and other cereals, but their per capita net availability has not increased at the same level, due to population growth, food wastage and losses, and exports. India has made an improvement in rates of under nutrition and malnutrition children, as stunting in children from 2006 to 2016 had declined from 48% to 38%. Yet, India continues to have one of the world’s highest child undernutrition rates. With almost 195 million people, India shares a quarter of the global hunger burden, that means 4 out of 10 children in India are not meeting their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting. The government of India from time to time has provided large food security and anti-poverty programmes like the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), the Integrated Schemes on Oilseeds, Pulses, Palm oil and Maize (ISOPOM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, etc. The UN priority group partners like,  Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and World Food Programme (WFP) also support government of India to strengthen agriculture and livelihood dimensions of anti-poverty programmes, particularly the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. Though many schemes and policies were there, but there have been always critical gaps in terms of inclusion and exclusion errors. Despite the achievement of many goals, new challenges are emerging. Due to urbanization and industrial development, large tracts of arable lands are getting lost. Diminishing water supply, climate change, land degradation and shrinking biodiversity are other challenges. Large stretches of farmlands have become barren due to imbalanced fertiliser use.

Increasing food demand due to a growing population along with ever decreasing arable lands poses one of the greatest challenges. One of the ways to overcome this situation is innovation in agriculture like vertical farming, which involves greater use of technology and automation for land use optimization. The notion of vertical farms is not new. It was first devised by an American geologist, Gilbert Ellis Bailey in 1915. He recognised decenniums before that the only way to stave off the inevitable future crisis of food scarcity was to create farming practices that went vertically up rather than out. According to Bailey, “vertical farming enables the farmer to farm deeper, to go down to increase area, and to secure larger crops. Instead of spreading out over more land he concentrates on less land and become an intensive rather than an extensive agriculturist, and so learns that it is more profitable to double the depth of his fertile land than to double the area”. Also according to Dr. Dickson D. Despommier, an emeritus professor of microbiology and Public Health at Columbia University, “harvest made in 30 acres of open farmland by traditional farming methods can be obtained from an indoor one-acre Vertical Cultivation method, by taking into consideration a number of crops produced in a season”.

The main aim of the “vertical farms” is to significantly increase productivity of healthy and sustainable food sources and reduce the human demands on Earth’s ecosystem within a framework of indoor, urban and climate-controlled high-rise buildings. The control of light, temperature, humidity, water and gases artificially with the help of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology makes it possible. There are four critical areas in working of vertical farms: firstly, the crops are cultivated in a tower like structure in stacked layers. Secondly, with the help of rotating beds, combination of natural and artificial lights is used to improve lighting efficiency in the room. Thirdly, instead of soil, aeroponic, aquaponic or hydroponic growing mediums like peat moss or coconut husks are used. Finally, it uses various sustainability features to offset the energy cost of farming. In fact, about 90% water will be saved when using an aeroponics system and 65% – 75% water is saved through aquaponic system. The quality of yield is high as there are minimal attack of diseases and pests.

In India, other than problems like electricity supply, water scarcity, assurance of minimum support prices and acceptance by Indian farming community, vertical farming has to face challenges like public awareness, inclusiveness of farming community, technical knowledge, cost incurred in managing and mainlining the vertical farm systems, and also its economic viability. 

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Annual groundwater extraction for all uses 249BCM against annual groundwater recharge of 432BCM

by Nilamani Mishra

 (The author is a former State Cadre Officer in Panchayati Raj Dept., currently President of Society for Health, Environment, Water & Afforestation (SHEWA), President of Civil Society Balangir, and Member of Western Odisha Forum) 

  

Ground water is a replenishable resource which gets recharged every year through rainfall and other sources such as return flow from irrigation, canal seepage, recharge from surface water bodies etc. In addition, ground water is also available in deeper aquifers below the earth. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and State Governments jointly assess the Dynamic Ground Water Resources in India. As per the 2017 assessment, total annual groundwater recharge is 432 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM). As per latest assessment, India receives annual precipitation of about 3880 BCM. After accounting for evaporation and evapo-transpiration etc, the average annual water availability in the Country has been assessed as 1999.20 BCM as natural run-off. It has been estimated that owing to topographic, hydrological and other constraints, the utilizable water is 1122 BCM which comprises of 690 BCM of surface water and 432 BCM of total annual ground water recharge. The Country has an estimated live storage capacity of 257.812 BCM. This is an eye-opener, as only 11% of annual precipitation and nearly 22% of natural run-off is being recharged into the groundwater aquifers.


The Annual Extractable Ground Water Resource is 393 BCM, which is about 91% of the annual groundwater recharge. However, according to the information given by the Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria in Rajya Sabha on 10th February 2020; the annual groundwater extraction for all uses is 249 BCM, which slightly above 57% out of the annual groundwater recharge. Out of total annual groundwater extraction, 221 BCM (89%) is for irrigation use and 25 BCM (10%) is for domestic uses. This implies, only 1% is used for various other purposes, especially for industrial and commercial use. This data needs a review to reassure. There is hardly any technology to search existing bore wells operating inside any premises, including industry and business. The EIA, Consent and environmental audit data needs to be put together along with facts of water supply by designated authorities to find out the near-exact share of groundwater utilization in industry and business.


It would be noteworthy that Shri Umakant Umrao, IAS, spoke in the 6th Water Talk on 23rdAugust 2019 on the topic ‘The Dewas Initiative:  An economically viable and environmentally sustainable water conservation Model.’ In his presentation he reminded that Dewas is the place, where nearly 20 years ago, water was brought by train for the first time. The water table was varying up to 80 to 800 ft. In search of water up to 70 to 80 numbers of borewells were drilled per family.


Replying to another in Lok Sabha on 11th February 2020, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar that the net sown area in the country is 140.13 million hectare. The net irrigated area in the country is 68.3 million hectare, which includes 41.08 million hectare irrigated by wells and tube wells. Though there are instances of depletion of ground water in some regions of the country, yet it has had no significant adverse impact on food grain production. As per available information, the production of food grain in the country has increased from 252.03 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 284.95 million tonnes during 2018-19 (4th advanced estimates).


CGWB periodical monitors the ground water levels throughout the country on a regional scale, through a network of monitoring wells. In order to assess the decline in water level on a long-term basis, pre-monsoon water level data collected by CGWB during pre-monsoon 2019 has been compared with the decadal average (2009-2018). Analysis of water level data indicates that about 61% of the wells monitored have registered decline in ground water levels, mostly in the range of 0 – 2 m. Decline of more than 4 m has also been observed in pockets of most of the States/ UTs except Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Puducherry and Tripura. The States/UTs where more than 10% of monitoring wells show decline of more than 4m are - Delhi, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand.


The Minister also enlightened that Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed location specific rainwater harvesting measures, technology for ground water recharge, conjunctive use of surface & ground water, and micro-irrigation for sustainable management and judicious use of groundwater resources in agriculture. The Council also imparts training and organizes frontline demonstration on these aspects.


On 12th February 2020, through a twitter message, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister for the Ministry of Jal Shakti; informed that water conservation is encouragingly progressing throughout India, under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan. As of now, 17137 Check Dams created, 16308 Canals constructed and 72495 ponds made workable under the programme.


Again, as stated by Shri Umakant Umrao, IAS; throughout India, more than 4 crore people drilled bore wells, because of the profit motive. During the last three decades, Rs. 8 to 10 Lakh Crore must have been spent on bore well drilling. If this amount could have been spent in rainwater harvesting, the scenario could have been different. On an average, India receives 35 crore hectare liter of rainwater, every year against a demand of 12 to 15 crore hectare liter water. Thus, India is a water surplus country. 75% of groundwater has been exhausted within the last 30 years, which was created naturally in a span of lakhs of years. And the remaining 25% could help us sustain for barely another 10 to 15 years.


Shri Tomar further informed the House that the Central Government supports construction of water harvesting and conservation works primarily through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Watershed Development Component (PMKSY-WDC). Micro Irrigation viz. Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation is being promoted under Per Drop More Crop component of PMKSY (PMKSY-PDMC) for enhancing water use efficiency at farm level. Crop diversification programme is also being implemented for encouraging water guzzling crops to be grown in more appropriate agro climatic regions and be replaced by less water intensive crops. 


Now, time is apt. Most part of the country has more than three months left before monsoon, which could be utilized for creation of new water conservation structures and rejuvenation of existing ones. Special focus should be given to water stress districts those were left away, including Balangir district in Odisha, in the last year of Jal Shakti Abhiyan. 

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Emission Limit, Noise Limit and other legal aspects of Generator sets running with NG and LPG Fuel

According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Natural Gas (NG) is the cleanest fossil fuel among the available fossil fuels. It has wider commercial and industrial application. With the growing focus on cleaner fuel, natural gas is also used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purposes in industrial and commercial units. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has brought a Notification vide G.S.R. No. 281(E) dated 7th March 2016 with regard to the emission limits for dedicated NG or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) fuel-driven engine for the Genset application. The limit is specified up to 800 kW Genset with effect from 1st July 2016. The applicability of the standard is for a generator set starting and operating with only one fuel NG or LPG NG or LPG. 

About the Columnist

by Sunita Mishra

I Can Be a Change Maker

by Inaayat Passi

 Student, Grade 10, Vasant Valley School, Resident of Sunder Nagar, New Delhi 

  

I was on my way to Delhi from Ghaziabad and I crossed a huge landfill, almost the height of the Qutub Minar. It was so disturbing to pass by and see children of my age handling and separating wastes with their bare hands. Rather than going to school for an education that can help them grow, and thereby the nation; they are cleaning up the mess that has largely been created by us. And, some of these, we have inherited, called legacy waste. Do we want to be known for our historical culture of the Qutub Minar or for the height of the landfills? Aside from deeply impacting young children, these landfills also have a major impact on our health. Firstly, they emit greenhouse gases consisting mostly of methane and carbon dioxide – leading to global warming, and the widespread air quality issues that we all are suffering from. Secondly, these landfills have toxic wastes, whose chemicals can seep into the ground and mix with our water supply, contaminate soil and groundwater. Stealing childhoods, harming our air quality, causing water pollution, and soil pollution – isn’t enough a list of dangers to doing away with the landfills?
 

I have been greatly inspired by Greta Thunberg. She is an ordinary student-turned activist who has urged global efforts to deal with the climate crisis. As a 16-year-old girl, she has the attention of world leaders; her efforts make me believe that it is the strength of the cause and sincerity behind it that can lead to making a difference. The need of the hour is for each person to take their future into their hands. We really need to think about future generations, otherwise, our children will blame us and only us.
 

Along with some residents of my residential community, Sunder Nagar, I have taken the initiative to come forward and form a group called Mission RGB (Red, Green and Blue). Our waste segregation programme launched on 28thSeptember 2019. It has been sponsored by the ITC Wow Esree Foundation. With the enormous help from Madhusudan, Sushma, Babita, and Vishaka the process has taken its course in the right direction. It has taken a significant amount of hard work and brainstorming for all of us to come together. The aim of our programme is to make sure that every household in the colony segregates its waste to ensure environment-friendly disposal. We campaigned door to door to educate residents on the segregation of different wastes and the impact it can have on the environment, if not segregated.
 

My mother took the initiative first to join mission RGB. At first, I was told to do it but now I feel that each and every one of us needs to realize that this is important. If we don’t start now, there will be no life left on Earth. Parents should be teaching their children. I cannot thank my mom enough for opening my eyes. We, the kids will be the future leaders and it is up to us to make sure we and the future generations live a good life. So many children from my colony are willing to go to extents to help with waste segregation. 


Aside from segregation, our programme has also convinced Sunder Nagar residents to stop lining their garbage bins with plastic bin liners. 70% of this has already been achieved. Through this, we have prevented a significant amount of plastic from reaching the landfills. If this is what a small community like Sunder Nagar has achieved in just a few months, imagine what could happen if all communities adopted this!
 

It is important to know that plastic harms the environment as it is non-biodegradable. Therefore plastic never goes away, taking years to degrade. We need to respect the planet and have gratitude for all the things that God has provided us with. As a necessary lifestyle change, we must also purchase only environment friendly items. Recycling of cans, paper, and other items can also greatly help our cause.
 

The impact of our programme could eliminate 1600 tonnes of waste from going into landfills. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) could save nearly ₹32 lakh, every year, just from garbage transportation. There could be many other direct and indirect savings, for example, staff health expenses. We avoid the same by making our own compost pits and doing community composting. We have achieved 70% of this and wish to complete our mission soon. For this, the combined effort of the whole Sunder Nagar community is highly appreciable. All the mothers and children of Sunder Nagar have worked really hard to ensure that the solid waste in the society is segregated and biodegradable waste is taken for composting.
 

To overcome health hazards, each one of us has to render a helping hand and do our bit irrespective of gender, age, status, and position. Shame is not in clearing your own filth but in letting others do it for you. We have already reached a point where the criticality and seriousness of the damage to our environment are unavoidable. We should be obliged to leave our children as much we received from our forefathers – if not more. This is the need of the hour. There is no point in talking about education and jobs unless we have a clean environment for us to thrive in. Recently, I was reading Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), who illustrated that “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. Having said State, I mean all the people and stakeholders of a State and not just the government functionaries alone.” 

I want to make a difference and if we work together, we can make Delhi a cleaner city to live in.
Would you like to join me? 

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The Stubble Trouble – Huddle up to water it down

by Madhusudan Hanumappa

The author is a Post Graduate educated in Economics & Environment law has been a Social Development Practitioner for the past 30 plus years working on infrastructure, policy and outreach advocacy, environment management, training capacity building, solid waste management, etc. His experience spreads across Asia, Pacific and South Africa

 

Stubble burning has been a curse for the capital city, Delhi. The neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana have been equally responsible in their contribution as much are the other factors of industrial and vehicular pollution addition to the chaos we are facing on a daily basis as citizens of Delhi.


This is the quality of life we do not deserve after being faithful tax payers. Where do we go from here? Who will address our concern about air pollution? Are we at a stage where we would be bumped off for the curse of choosing to live in Delhi?


Read More


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Deliberating Conservation of Soil Properties

Soil is an integral part of the environmental components. It has huge significance for the wellbeing of human and other lives on the earth, Soil degradation is a severe problem in countries like India with high demographic pressure. For preventing and restoring soil degradation, the main issues will be controlling soil erosion and sedimentation with the associated risks of eutrophication of surface water and contamination of groundwater, combating desertification and enhancing soil carbon sequestration to improve soil quality/productivity and mitigate the greenhouse effect. 

About the Columnist

by Sunita Mishra

A Gold Medalist in Masters of Agricultural Statistics, Soil Laboratory Professional & Columnist

The Residents’ Welfare Associations – The Proactive Approach

by Madhusudan Hanumappa

The author is a Post Graduate educated in Economics & Environment law has been a Social Development Practitioner for the past 30 plus years working on infrastructure, policy and outreach advocacy, environment management, training capacity building, solid waste management, etc. His experience spreads across Asia, Pacific and South Africa


The resident or the citizen I would like to address is generally empowered by being a part of the city. More so in the context of a city of Delhi which has withstood the test of time for centuries we feed proud to be residing here. Like any other city, Delhi also has its set of challenges that the city poses to its residents and how we address them is up to us in partnership with the government and its agencies to make a better quality of life.  Read more

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Delhi Air Pollution: Too Many Actions, Zero Outcome?

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) is reeling under the rage of air pollution. Individuals to Activists, Government to NGOs, and Media to the Apex Court; a serious concern prevail, everywhere. Delhi is not unfamiliar to this piquant situation.  Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in order, has described this as a blatant and grave violation of the right to life of the sizeable population. 


An article “The impact of air pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across the states of India: The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017” was published in Lancet Planet Health 2018 on 6th December 2018 funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. According to the article, 77% of India’s population was exposed to mean PM2.5 more than 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Delhi had the highest annual population-weighted mean PM2.5 in 2017, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Haryana in North India, all with mean values greater than 125 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Also as per the article, 26% of global Disability-Adjusted-Life-Years (DALYs) were attributable to air pollution. 

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Another South Delhi Colony, Sarvapriya Vihar, goes Zero Waste to Landfill

 It started with a “no plastic” drive in Sarvapriya Vihar by a group of residents. In July 2017, they approached the shops in the colony market and the vendors in carts, urging them to stop giving plastic bags to their customers. Regularly for a month, they met the vendors and shop owners early in the morning, to educate them about the perils of plastic. Various communication efforts were made by placing standees with various anti-plastic slogans on the carts of the vendors and in the shops. It included slogans like, “humare bachchon ka bhavishya humare haath, chhoro plastic ka saath” and, “plastic hatao, duniya bachao”. 

Cloth bags were made from bed sheets and bed covers donated by the residents. These bags were given to the vendors, free of cost, to replace the plastic bags. The Sarvapriya Vihar RWA also came up to support this initiative by taking punitive measures against those vendors who were not complying and their passes were confiscated, until they promised to comply. This move was taken seriously by the vendors.


During the same time, visits to Mayfair Gardens and Defence Colony, two nearby colonies, and meeting with Mrs. Shammi Talwar, the pioneer of community composting, based in Defence Colony, brought about the idea of community composting among some of the residents, who later went on to form the “green team”.


The next thing was to get hold of physical place for composting. There were both DDA and MCD parks in the colony, but the problem was that DDA had no policy to lend their land for such (composting) activity and MCD parks were far from the houses. One MCD park, which was being restored by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to be handed over to MCD and colony, was finalized. Green Team approached Mr Vishwendra, Dy. Commissioner SDMC for use of this land as composting site, who readily agreed. This strip of 27 meters x 8 meters land was handed over to RWA Sarvapriya Vihar for composting purpoes, although the ownership of the land remained with the Horticulture Department MCD. 

Hon’ble MLA Shri Somnath Bharti extended his valuable support and arranged Sarvapriya Vihar’s composting site with boundary wall and gate. 

Green team members approached DMRC to dig pits in the space with the help of their cranes and other equipment. DMRC assisted to construct 3 pits (6 ft x 5 ft x 4 ft approx). Residents pooled in for bricks, cement and labor. The Green Team successfully convinced some residents who had the ominous concerns about smell and the place turning into a dump yard. 


On 6th January 2018, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Hon’ble M.P., New Delhi, inaugurated 3 composting pits. 


In parallel, effort was being made to beautify and landscape the site through a plantation drives around the composting site. Ashok, Ficus, Tulsi, Mint, Champa trees are planted around and at the entrance of the site. DMRC also contributed to the drive by giving us Ashok and Ficus saplings. 


Green team with Syawam Swachatta Initiative Limited (SSIL) conducted workshops and sessions with domestic workers and household helps on why and how to segregate household waste. Every household was communicated by the RWA explaining that Supreme Court had made it mandatory to segregate household waste before it was handed over to the garbage collector. This was later complemented by a 4-month door-to-door supervision and campaign by the waste collectors together with ITC WOW that turned Sarvapriya Vihar into 100% segregation colony. 


The first lot of compost, about 120 kg, got ready by end of January 2019. By September end the site has churned out 6 batches of compost. It is sold to the residents at a nominal rate of Rs. 10 per Kg. Another befitting example of Waste to Wealth. 

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LANDFILL & DUMPING SITES IN DELHI

Henna Gull

M. Tech. (Environmental Science and Engineering) 

Department of Civil Engineering

Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi-110025


Mason Cooley, an Aphorist had rightly quoted, “human society sustains itself by transforming nature into garbage”. These garbage piles covers acres of land and their heaps reach significant height. Furthermore, as population density increases, heaps of garbage grows taller as taller, sometimes reaching to those fractions which are hard to believe. 


Out of ten largest landfill sites in world, six of them are to be found in Asia. Out of these six, two are from India, Delhi Landfills in New Delhi and Deonar Landfill in Mumbai. 


Delhi Landfill is the 7th largest in the World, 3rd largest in Asia and largest in India. The sites are Narela Bawana (North Delhi), Bhalswa (North Delhi), Okhla (South Delhi) and Gazipur (East Delhi). They have combined area 316 acres. 

Narela Bawana is the newest and India’s first scientific landfill site which is still under construction and is expected to get completed in August 2019 and get started by November 2019 and reduce the burden on the already three existing landfill sites where garbage piles are more than 30 meter as against permissible limit of 20 meter. The landfill will cover the area of Rohini and Civil Lines. In this landfill, 13MW electricity would be generated from 1300 MT of solid waste. Only 25% of the total garbage will be dumped at site, 10% would be used for composting, and rest would be processed. It is the only landfill lined with two layers of clay and high density polythene layer in between to prevent from ground water contamination. Also this landfill will be having provision for gas trap. The life span of this Public-private partnership model (PPP model) is said to be 25 years.


Bhalswa landfill, the second biggest dumping ground was created in 1984. Today it occupies an area of 52 acres with a height of 62 meters. The site reached its saturation point in 2006 but it still receives a mixed waste of 2000 metric tons per day. Baroda-based company prepared detailed project report (DPR) which shows landfill has 60% inert waste, 30% waste not decomposed and 5% metals, glass and hazardous waste such as sanitary napkins. On 20th October 2018, fire started and lasted for few days and sent thick smoke with toxic mass of polluting particles in the air and degraded the air quality of the surrounding air more. Over 13 fire tenders and a dozen truckfuls of construction and demolition waste were used to contain the fire. However, overuse of construction debris in such cases could create methane pools that could lead to explosions. Bhalswa landfill has experienced fires most frequently among the three landfills. They are caused by an accretion and leakage of methane gas from the landfill. Tens of thousands of residents near site are being affected. The narrow lanes of the jhuggi-jhopdi or slum cluster are bordered with open drains, which see a constant flow of leachate that seeps out from the landfill. If the wind is too much, then the garbage topples and falls right into their houses. The NDMC has now floated a tender for remediation of the Bhalswa landfill.


Okhla Landfill was commissioned in 1996 and covers an area of 40 acres. The SDMC has now stopped dumping waste on landfill since February 2018, after eight years of its exhausted life span. The site was declared exhausted in 2010.  The height of the landfill has been reduced from 58 metres which was almost thrice than the permissible limit to 38 metres. Also the civic body, along with an expert from IIT Delhi, are converting the over-saturated landfill site into a green mound. Since then, 70 percent of the work has been completed and around 7,000 square meter of ground has been planted with grass. The tests of the stabilised dump, carried out by Shri Ram Institute of Industrial research revealed that after stabilisation, the garbage consists of 93.72% of sand, earth, soil, bricks, concrete etc, 1.97% organic matter, 3.77% plastic and 0.54 glass and metals, the report states. The test also noted that the process reduced the height of the Okhla landfill by 30%.


Ghazipur landfill, the oldest and largest landfill site of Delhi was started in 1984. It is spread over 70 acres which is the area of more than 40 football pitches and has a height of 65 meters which is just 8 metres less than that of Qutub Minar's height. At its current rate of growth, it will be taller than the iconic Taj in Agra, some 73 metres high, in 2020.It is still in use despite planned site life of 25 years. The site reached its capacity in 2002, but each day 2000 tonnes of garbage is dumped at site. Residents of Gharoli, Khoda, Gharoli Extension, Kalyanpuri, Kaushambi, Ghazipur and Kondli have impacts of site on their lives. Methane gas coming from the dump causes fires break out regularly which take days to extinguish. It adds the concentration of toxic pollutants to air and smashes the quality of air badly. In September 2017, two persons were killed when the portion of landfill collapsed. Dumping was banned after the deaths, but the measure lasted only a few days because authorities could not find an alternative. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is now seeking help from global experts of the field to tackle with this problematic situation. The PMO has asked the principal advisor to the government to find an authoritative answer to the question. According to a request for proposal (REF) seen by Economic Times, the principal advisor has been entrusted with resolving the two challenges of Ghazipur dump site. One is, removal and valorisation (recycling or composting waste) at the open landfill site and the second is management and treatment of the continuous flow of 2200 tonnes of fresh waste per day. Good results, in longer term, are expected from the rigorous working initiated by the Municipal Bodies on waste management at point source, like group housing, hospitals, institutions and hotels, etc. 

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Emerging Role of RWAs in Conserving Environment

Sanjaya K. Mishra


Participation of the community plays a vital role in efficient governance. Involvement of citizens inculcates the feeling of empowerment which helps communities to grow into the healthier living atmosphere. Such strong citizen groups result in sustainable solutions.


A Resident Welfare Association (RWA) is an elected body that represents residents of a colony and forms an essential part of modern societies.  With hundreds to thousands of residents living together in a society, an RWA is a voluntary body that works in the interest of its resident members.

SAIL Corporate Sustainability Report for the FY 2017-18: A Review on Environmental Parameters

Sanjaya K. Mishra


Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is an Indian state-owned steel making company. SAIL is one of India's fastest growing Public Sector Units, with an annual turnover of Rs.  58,297 Crore for fiscal year 2017-18. A review of the SAIL Corporate Sustainability Report for the FY 2017-18 was carried out on the basis of selected environmental parameters.


In his message SAIL’s Chairman stated “The Company firmly believes in a sustainable approach for its business that is in equilibrium with the three bottom lines-financial, social and environmental. Achieving financial and environmental excellence as well as honouring social responsibility has been the ‘key mantra’ for SAIL since inception.”

Hiware Bazar Water Budgeting Model & Dewas Initiative discussed in NWM’s sixth Water Talk

National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti organized the 6th Water Talk on 23rd August 2019 at Andhra Pradesh - Telangana Bhavan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi. Two new speakers presented their case studies in the program. 


Shri Popatrao Pawar, Sarpanch, Hiware Bazar, Maharashtra delivered an inspiring Talk through a thoroughly absorbing presentation on the topic ‘Hiware Bazar – A Water Budgeting model’. 


Shri Umakant Umrao, IAS, Secretary, P&RD Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh and CEO, MPRRDA, Madhya Pradesh delivered a very powerful Talk on the topic ‘The Dewas Initiative:  An economically viable and environmentally sustainable water conservation Model. 

Have you examined your agreement on Hazardous Waste TSDF?

“During monsoon season, hazardous wastes may not be accepted at the TSDF site and occupier needs to store it for a minimum period of four months” contravenes the provisions of 8 (1) of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016; needs deliberation


Sanjaya K. Mishra


In a legal agreement document, M/s Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure (Haryana) Pvt. Ltd. (GEPIL) describes itself as it leads the Consortium of Members has been awarded the work for the development of the above TSDF. The work has been awarded by HEMS, which is acting as a nodal agency of the Government of Haryana. The agreement dated 7th November 2014 was found to be a tool to offer complete protection to GEPIL and all responsibilities and questions lie on the shoulders of a legitimate member of HEMS. There are several conditions specified in the agreement, which could have been simplified with one line that the onus of compliance with regard to the conditions of an authorization granted by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) lies on the part of the industry, except the condition pertaining to transportation and disposal; which is in the part of GEPIL.

One of the conditions in the agreement reads that the Client (which is referred to an industry or any other establishment generating hazardous wastes) shall maintain records of hazardous wastes generated, stored and sent for treatment and disposal to GEPIL (Haryana). Such records are subject to check and physical verification by authorized representatives of GEPIL (Haryana) through a visit to Clients’ premises. This dictatorial condition differs from HEMS statement “Many people hear ‘environmental management’ and immediately think of two things: bureaucracy and expense. But the effort on environmental protection for us has yielded opportunities of real-world, long-term cost savings in areas like reduced power and water use in every type of industries. Perhaps even more significant is the possible positive impact in the face value to obtain a better image. A section of our members had created a workplace that was less likely to generate injuries or serious environmental accidents. Less risk means greater opportunity for return on investment. We’re told the potential impact of our initiative, taken with other factors, is a point for improvement. Now, that’s the kind of savings that makes industrial leaders and the public both very happy.” As such according to all the rules pertaining to hazardous waste management requires maintenance of records those are subject to verification by the SPCB officials. In this case, the condition of GEPIL (Haryana) needs to be clarified and not be dictatorial.


(This article was published in the 36th issue of Enviro Annotations)

Climate Change and Kashmir Valley

 

Farooq Ahmad Bakloo, Research Scholar Department of Political Science SSJ Campus, Almora

Asma, UGC SRF Scholar, Department of Education, SSJ Campus, Almora

Climate change has been the biggest challenge to the world as it has adverse effects on the green planet. Third world countries are fall prey to this jeopardy as these countries have twin challenges one is to alter their economic development another is to curtail the carbon emissions. In the past, this climate change had shown the number of repercussions which has consumed many lives in the various parts of the map. It is the reason the International community is solemn about the matter and have taken the cluster of steps to mitigate this problem. Freshly the Paris agreement was part of this exercise how to deal with the Climate change in the world.

This article has been printed in the 37th Issue of Enviro Annotations

India's Faulty Mining Policy

Pradeep Kumar Panda Contributor

Economist, New Delhi

This article was published in the 35th issue of Enviro Annotations

With several mineral deposits, India ranks first in the production of coal, iron ore, chromite, mica and bauxite. Besides, it has large deposits of building stones such as granite, marble, limestone etc. in addition to huge deposits of cement and steel grade limestone. India has thousands of illegal unorganised mines, which can be as small as twentieth portion of a hectare. However, most of these minerals will last for merely 50 to 100 year at the current rate of production. 

Water Harvesting Movement: A Need of the Hour

Contributors: Farooq Ahmad Bakloo (PhD Scholar at Kumaun University Nainital S.S.J Campus Almora Uttrakhand, Internship at Parliament of India )  & Saima Tabassum, (Graduate in Fishers from G.B. Pant University of Agricultural and Technology Pantnagar Uttarakhand)


Water  is an essential indigent of the human life from the history it is well  recorded that the famous civilisations of the world were resided near  the water sources because of this these civilisations were named as  water civilisations. These civilisations are Mesopotamia Civilization  (Tigris and Euphrates Rivers) Harappa Indus Valley civilisation (Indus  and Ganges) Egypt Civilization (Nile River), and China civilisation  (Yellow and Yangtze River). 

Water availability across the nation could ensure sustainable progress

Hon’ble Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat’s promise on piped water coverage to increase from 18 to 100% by 2024 is highly laudable and also truly inspiring. In the downtrodden districts like Balangir, in the western part of Odisha more than 70% people are not accessible to safe drinking water. Even in the district head quarter piped water supply, which has augmented to a great deal, does not reach to more than 60% of the population. 

Eco-friendly Elections

By Leena Patidar 

(The writer is a freelancer in the field of Education, Environment and a strong believer of life-long learning)  Published in Editorial Column of 25th Issue of Enviro Annotations on 15th May 2019


It was an unusual sight at polling booths across Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) on 12th May 2019, the polling day. No banners, no posters, no handouts & no loudspeakers.


While elections and mode of election campaigning has changed with time, there has been a visible difference in making elections more friendly to the environment.


Since the first prototype of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was demonstrated by Bharat Electronics Limited (BHEL) in 1977, EVMs have slowly replaced paper ballots and have become norms for conducting polling despite various questions raised by political parties from time to time.


According to some estimates, 7000-8000 tonnes of paper was required to print ballots if elections were using paper ballots, which meant felling of nearly 1.2 lakh fully grown trees.  This is in addition to the other impacts on the environment due to transportation, storage, and disposal of such a large number of paper ballots.


Activists, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Judiciary, Election Commission, Press, and Media have made sustained efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastic and also lessen the use of loudspeakers in 2019 General Elections.


Use of plastic and other non-bio-degradable material in campaigning was another concern. The World Wide Fund for Nature-India, in a letter to the EC in 1999, had stated that it was “very perturbed over the excessive and non-sensible use of plastic by political parties”, which not only caused “choking of drainage systems in major towns and cities” but also contaminated agricultural fields.


The Election Commission had asked all political parties and contesting candidates to desist from using environmentally hazardous material like plastics in banners, hoardings, cut-outs and other poll-related articles during upcoming general elections.

Election Commission and Haritha Keralam Mission jointly came out with rules to observe green protocol during elections in Kerala.


Punjab and Haryana High Court has also taken a serious note of the impact of usage of PVC flex boards and other harmful material being used by the candidates during the elections based on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Rohit Sabharwal.

Gone are the days when loudspeakers of candidates ran through the streets disturbing people all through the day. Now, it seems that elections have become quite noiseless. Use of sound limiters to reduce the decibel level of loudspeakers and restricting hours of use of loudspeakers have helped bring down the decibel level of election campaigns. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its order categorically said that poll campaigns are not exempt from its order of using sound-limiter.  


While technology such as the Internet and mobile phones have helped change the mode of the campaign to personalize and focus the campaigning using the technology, evolving election protocol, increasing awareness and activism have also helped to make elections eco-friendly. 

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Jubilant Life Sciences Limited Sustainability Report, 2018: A Review

Sanjaya Kumar Mishra 


The sustainability report cites Chairmen message that reads, “We are pleased to share with you 16th Corporate Sustainability Report prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards ‘Comprehensive’ option. This year we have tried to present how we have imbibed the principles of ‘Creating Value Sustainably’ which are reflected in our regular business actions. We drive to create and share lasting value to our stakeholders, which is integral to our long-term business success. The confidence entrusted upon us by our stakeholders: investors, customers, employees, community and others have made us what we are today and we have tried to meet their expectations sustainably in the past 40 years of our existence. We invite you to learn more about our initiatives towards creating value for our stakeholders in this report”.


In the sustainability report Jubilant Life Sciences has declared “Climate change and its impact on the planet is very evident and is a global phenomenon. Our company is no exception to this. Jubilant understand the damage potential this can bring to our business. Management is continuously gauging the changes in global, regional and national level policies and regulations on climate change and its mitigation. To be a partner to this global drive for climate action the Company is striving to reduce its carbon footprint in all possible means. Growing cost of energy and its linkage with climate change impact is a major business concern at Jubilant like any other industry. To tackle this issue, Jubilant has decided to focus on improving process energy efficiency, find alternate sources of uninterrupted low cost energy and increasing the percentage of renewable energy in present energy mix.”


Under the key highlights of the report it is mentioned that the revenue in the financial year 2017-18 grew by 26% and the figure reached Rs. 75578.1 million as against Rs. 60063.3 million during 2016-17. The company has approved investment of Rs. 822.5 million towards environmental Pollution Control and Management. Alongside, 37 million was spent on CSR initiatives. However, the report says that all Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs of JLL are taken care by Jubilant Bhartia Foundation (JBF) which is a “not-for-profit” organization established in 2007 by Jubilant Bhartia Group. In the CSR Performance Improvement Trend Assessed by EcoVadis the score for the element environment has remained same at 60% for last three years that is from 2015 to 2018, despite the company has approved capital expenditure projects worth more than Rs. 822.5 million for environmental pollution control and management measures in Indian operation. The element sustainable procurement improved from 40% to 50%. 


Another information shared in the sustainability report is that Walkathon event raised over Rs. 2.1 million funds through collective effort of over 1600 individuals. This stands unclear as the industry or corporate ought to spend towards community development, while here the company has gathered funds, and here is no data on where and how it was spent.

Furthermore, the report declares that 25% increase in recycle and reuse of water. But the data is limited to Life Sciences Ingredients (LSI) unit only and does not talk about other units. The company has claimed that 913 million saved through resource saving projects estimated saving of 224 TJ equivalent of energy and reduction of 21326 MT of CO2 equivalent. As compared to 2016-17, 8% reduction in Specific Energy Consumption for Solid Dosage Formulations business. The total direct energy consumption from Renewable energy is merely 3.74%.


Overall 10% increase in fly ash utilization, when there was an increase in consumption of coal has increased by over 7.2% from 401339 MT to 430371 MT. Also, the generation, reuse, and disposal data reflect that there is still a storage of some 6000MT of flyash. The company must have chalked out strategy to handle this, although it was not mentioned in the report. The company has declared that the specific GHG emissions reduction was 13% in APIs Business, and 5% in Solid Dosage Formulation (SDF) business. Total GHG emissions stood at 959000 Ton of CO2 equivalent, which is nearly 12.56% up as compared to the previous fiscal. As per the report, use of Furnace Oil, which is reckoned as a high level of pollution-generating fuel, has increased from 5081 MT to 7882 MT.


According to the report co-processing of hazardous waste improved in Indian operations to 4935 MT in FY 2018 from 1355 MT in FY 2017.


The report states that Compliance with respect to various statutes, rules and regulations applicable to the Company is managed by the Secretarial Department. Status of compliance is governed through an intranet based application- Statutory Compliance Reporting System (SCRS). Respective control owners certify their compliances on a quarterly basis and a compliance report is prepared through SCRS. The objective of the SCRS certification is to ensure that the compliances are effectively managed and controlled supporting the Company’s business objectives and corporate policy requirements. Under the heading “Principle for Defining Report Content and Context” it is stated that the Company focuses on data accuracy, balance, clarity, comparability, reliability and timeliness. To ensure such report quality, the company undergoes several internal audits along with dedicated sustainability assurance audit by independent third party every year.


In order to track timely closure of environmental issues ‘Jagriti’- an in-house developed software has been deployed for tracking environmental related observations and analysis. This helps us to identify and implement preventive measures. But it doesn’t share any confirmation regarding installation of the Online Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems (OCEMS), a real-time air and water pollution monitoring system, which is legally required to be installed as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) letter dated 05.02.2014. This is a major compliance required to be attained as the industry falls in one of the 17 categories of highly polluting industrial sectors. 


According to the report, the company does not manufacture products containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). All banned ODS have been phased out as per applicable regulations of the land. At Jubilant, emission of ODS is primarily from ODS based refrigerants in air-conditioners and chilling plants. During 2017-18 total ODS emission was 174 kg CFC 11 equivalent against 114 kg CFC 11 equivalent in FY 2016-17.

The report also states “To the best of our knowledge no material impact envisaged in the water sources due to withdrawal of water by the Company”. But the claim needs to be substantiated with data and information. The report informs that the group has implemented 5 new rain water harvesting facilities this year to recharge groundwater. However, it doesn’t specify the quantity or volume. Around 60 village ponds adopted as an initiative to recharge large scale potential to recharge the groundwater table by about 3 million cubic meter per year. However, whether this act is linked to the requirements of Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) or a pure CSR initiative, is not mentioned clearly, if the company’s facilities have obtained approvals groundwater abstraction with due permission from CGWA .


Analysis of the report raises another question, why the combined quantum of effluent has significantly increased, despite less water consumption. Furthermore, when air pollution has been a major point discussion, the report has given no reference to ambient air quality in the vicinity of industry premises, although it is generating and having storage of a huge quantity of flyash, and other gases. The sustainability report should share the data of PM2.5, PM10 and H2S gas.


Under the heading of compliance – it doesn’t cite the name of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and none of its compliance reporting. It is understood that the industry must have sought environmental clearance from the MoEF&CC, which requires submission of six-monthly compliance reports, regularly. Such reports should also be displayed on the websites. It was also found that the sustainability report of Jubilant Life Sciences Limited has not stated the name Press or Media in the list of stakeholder groups or anywhere. 

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Jubilant Life Sciences Limited is an integrated global pharmaceutical and life sciences company engaged in Pharmaceuticals, Life Science Ingredients and Other businesses including Drug Discovery Solutions and India Branded Pharmaceuticals. The Company claims as being well recognized as a ‘Partner of Choice’ by leading pharmaceuticals and life sciences companies globally. Jubilant Life Sciences Limited (JLL) has been publishing its sustainability report since 2003 following GRI guidelines and its principles. An effort was made to review the company’s sustainability report for the period 2017-18.