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Romulus’ love for the King

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An American by birth and an Indian by heart, 73-years-old Romulus Earl Whitaker is a herpetologist and a wildlife conservationist. Because of his efforts, talks are on to establish the world’s first conservation reserve for King Cobras in Karnataka.One of deadliest species of snakes, King Cobras are widely found in South Asia and mostly in India’s Agumbe rainforest of Western Ghats, Karnataka. This region also records the second highest rainfall in the country.Who is Romulus?This Emmy award receiver is the founder of the Madras Snake Park, the Andaman and Nicobar Environment Trust (ANET), and the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. In 2005, he bagged Whitley Award for his work in environment conservation. After receiving this award, he founded Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) to study the habitat and behavioural patterns of King Cobra.The first encounter that Romulus had with a King Cobra was in 1971. He noted that Agumbe natives regarded the snake with reverence and care, although its one venomous bite can kill almost 20 people. He realised then that this was the perfect spot to set up a research centre.A research centre & a safe havenAnup Prakash, field director at ARRS said, “Functionally, the amount of respect and attention people here give to King Cobras compared to anywhere else in the world make it a sanctuary. However, officially there’s no such status designated as such but we are hoping that will be so soon. We have applied to the concerned authorities.” Discussions on sanctuary tag is on with stakeholders and forest departments, after which the proposal will be sent to the chief minister, who will need to sign it to make it official.According to Dhiraj Bhaisare, research administrator at ARRS, they have learnt the impacts and effects of translocation of the King Cobras. Apart from this they have observed, the reptiles’ feeding habits, scavenging & diving behaviour. “Besides this, we have followed their movement after dark when we found them feeding or hunting as late as two in the morning,” adds Dhiraj.(Have a story to tell? Write to us at [email protected])ARRS performs rescue operations tooARRS on an average receives two calls per day for rescue operation, often led by expert Ajay Vijay Giri, education officer.

West Delhi school kids move NGT for more green cover

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aggrieved by the poor air quality due to industries and lack of green cover that is affecting their health, six teenagers from Mundka-Kirari suburbs in West Delhi have moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to seek an increase in green cover and to oppose proposed expansion of industrial activity. The six teenagers — aged between 12 and 16 years — attend schools in the Mundka-Kirari industrial belt and their petition was admitted by the Tribunal last week.The industrial belt in question is spread across eleven municipal wards of Mundka, Nangloi Jat West, Nilothi, Pratap Vihar, Nithari, Kirari Suleman Nagar, Prem Nagar, Sultanpur Majra, Sultanpuri South, Pooth Kalan and Nangloi East. The petition claimed that pollution emitted from industries in this belt is severely affecting the health of “more than 1 lakh children studying in these schools,” and that several students are suffering from breathing problems, especially during winters.Quoting results from the Centre for Science and Environment pollution test of the area, the petition said that PM 2.5 level for 24 hour average was found to be 556 µg/m3, which was 3.8 times higher than rest of Delhi. The petitioners point out that even as the area is already facing poor air quality, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation has proposed to use 147 acres of vacant land for more industrial activity.“Of the 4,626 acres of land in 11 municipal wards, a mere 1 per cent is green whereas 1,400 acres or more than 30 per cent is an industrial area, 62 per cent is a residential area and rest is commercial area. As the area is already highly polluted… it is submitted that no further development of industries should be permitted in the area until existing pollution levels are brought down to permissible levels,” the petitioners prayed.Local residents also approached the Delhi Chief Minister’s office and the Delhi Development Authority with 5,000 signatures to convert the 147 acres into a biodiversity park, the petition claimed. Dewan Singh, a member of the Mundka Kirari Harit Abhiyan, Spoke to DNA said, “There are more than 50 schools in this area and whenever children go out for recreation, they are affected by the industrial pollution.”

Delhi: Brace yourself for foggier days ahead, says IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Delhiites gear up to usher in the New Year in style, weather might play a spoilsport, with dense fog and smog expected in the coming week. The national Capital was engulfed in a thick layer of fog on Sunday, resulting in a low visibility of around 300m.At 8.30am, visibility was recorded at 600m. It dropped down to 300m at 11.30am, before improving a bit three hours later. A shallow layer of fog enveloped the city till afternoon, while sun was not visible throughout the day. Maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at 24.5 degrees Celsius and 8 degrees Celsius, respectively.According to an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official, the maximum temperature was expected to rise in the coming week, with shallow fog likely to occur in Delhi-NCR, especially on December 29 and 30. The weatherman said the maximum humidity was recorded as 98 per cent, whereas minimum was at 91%. “Though the weather was quite pleasant on Sunday, the coming days might be a little warmer, as maximum temperature is going to increase,” said R Vishen, Scientist-In-Charge, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), IMD.Meanwhile, despite the weather helping, air quality in the Capital remained in the “very poor” category. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Sunday marked the Capital’s air under “very poor” category. “The winter has finally begun to set in and there will be more smog in the coming days. The air quality might even reach the “severe” category,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Head of the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) clean air campaign.In the neighbouring east and west Uttar Pradesh, moderate fog with isolated dense fog in many areas is expected to build up in the next few days. This weather spells trouble for people with asthma and a weak immune system.

NDMC schools’ records to be digitised soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon, records of all schools registered under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) will be available online.The Council is all set to launch the School Automation Software, digitalising records for admission, classrooms, timetable, and attendance of both teachers and students. “The project is in the final stage. The groundwork has been done and now the vendor has to be selected. The plan will come in to effect from the next session,” a senior NDMC official said. He further said it was becoming difficult to review schools’ performance due to shortage of manpower. “Records are maintained manually and registers are used to mark attendance, exam schedule, and so on for students. So, we came up with this idea as a part of Smart Classes,” he added. NDMC has set up 444 Smart Classes in its 30 schools, with e-learning facilities in Class VI-XII, to raise the standard of education.Computers, short throw projectors, white boards and CCTV cameras have been installed in several schools. Soon, students would also be given laptops to reduce the weight of school bags. The NDMC has roped in digital learning solutions provider Extra Marks Education for the initiative.Meanwhile, the Council is working to rope in retired education officers, who can adopt a school and mentor it in order to improve the quality of education. The Council had also organised a three-day School Science Fair with an aim to inculcate scientific temperament among schoolchildren.Over 500 students from 52 NDMC schools participated in the exhibition, where more than 155 models from four streams — science, work experience, mathematics and nursery exhibition — were displayed. Models were displayed on the theme of Food Security and Production, Disease Prevention and Cure, Research and Development in Industry, Sustainable Practices in Industry, Transportation and Communication, and Sustainable Environment and Green Energy.

Green Tribunal dismisses plea to ban Christmas tree, Santa Claus costumes

New Delhi: Communal issues cannot be raised in the garb of environmental concerns, the National Green Tribunal has said while junking a plea for banning the use of Christmas trees and prohibiting the making of Santa Claus costumes.

The green panel, however, asked the Delhi government to ensure that there is no violation of environment laws and no pollution is caused due to the festivities.

Representational image. Getty images

“We do not see any dispute arising about the relevant provisions of Environment (Protection) Act. Law is the same for everyone without any discrimination on basis of caste, creed or religion.

“However, communal colour is being given in the name of schedule-I Act to the apparent grievances raised in the present application. We hope and trust Delhi government shall ensure implementation of Schedule I of National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. Hence, dismissed,” a bench headed by Justice UD Salvi said.

The order came on a plea filed by a religious group Ojasvi Party seeking directions to the Delhi government to prohibit the use of Christmas trees to save the environment from degradation claiming it involved plastic. It had sought a ban on the making of Santa Claus dresses to save wool and cotton from being wasted.

The petition had also sought prohibition on noise pollution which may be caused due to bursting of crackers on the eve of New Year and the use of loudspeakers after 10 pm.

A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen conifer like pine or fir or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:41 IST

NGT slaps fine of Rs 50,000 on airlines dumping human waste from airplanes…no, really

New Delhi: Human waste being splattered on houses from airplanes while landing, on Monday led the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to slap a fine of Rs 50,000 on the airline whose aircraft empties toilet tanks on air.

The NGT directed aviation regulator DGCA to issue a circular to all airlines, whose planes are involved, to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar passed a slew of directions while disposing of a plea of a retired army officer alleging dumping of human excreta by aircraft over residential areas near the IGI Airport here.

Normally, the waste in the aircraft tanks is disposed of by ground handling personnel once the plane lands. However, there are cases where lavatory leaks occur in the air.

The tribunal asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to issue circular to all ground handling services and airlines to ensure that they do not release waste from human waste tanks while landing or anywhere near the terminals of the IGI Airport.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“DGCA shall also issue directions that aircraft on landing shall be subjected to surprise inspection to see that human waste tanks are not empty. If any aircraft is found to be violating such circular or (their) tanks are found empty on landing, they shall be subjected to environment compensation of Rs 50,000 per default,” the bench said.

The direction came on the plea of Lt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya who has sought action against the airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming their act as a violation of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.

While issuing directions, the green panel also said it was “surprised” to note the stand taken by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that on analysing the samples taken from the petitioner’s house, it could be ascertained that it was excreta but its source could not be known.

“We are surprised to note the stand of CPCB to the extent of coliform and the kind of splashes created on the houses of the petitioner as well as others clearly demonstrate that it was human excreta,” the bench said.

It added that the amount collected shall be deposited with CPCB for using it for environment protection and a quarterly report shall also be submitted by DGCA before it.

DGCA was also asked by the tribunal to set up a helpline so that similar complaints can be addressed and the helpline number, as well as email address, be kept in public domain.

During the hearing, DGCA told the bench it has issued a circular to constitute a committee to investigate the matter.

The NGT had earlier slapped a cost of Rs 5,000 on the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Aviation for their failure to file inspection report on the plea.

It had also directed CPCB to depute a senior environmental engineer to inspect the petitioner’s house and check the existence of human excreta on its walls and if excreta was found, samples should be collected for analysis and the report placed before the tribunal.

In his petition, Vasant Enclave resident Dahiya had sought the creation of a 24-hour helpline for immediate reporting of such incidents and a monitoring mechanism to check that no aircraft drops “human soil or excreta” while landing.

The Ministry had opposed the argument and said plane toilets stored the waste in special tanks which are normally disposed of by ground crews once the plane lands. However, aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 11:03 IST

Anupam Mishra, noted environmentalist and Gandhian ideologue, passes away at 68

Noted environmentalist Anupam Mishra wore many hats: he was an environmentalist, a journalist, an author and an authoritative voice in the field of water conservation in India. But after his demise, besides all these adjectives, he will be remembered as a true Gandhian ideologue and an effective communicator of his ideas, who emphasized on India’s ancient and traditional ways of water conservation.

Mishra, who belonged to Madhya Pradesh, died on Monday at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

Anupam Mishra. News18

Anupam Mishra. News18

A Pune-based environmentalist and Mishra’s namesake Anupam Saraph, who came in touch with the late environmentalist in early 1990, says, “We came to know each other through a common friend, Joan Davis, Director of Water Research Institute in Zurich, who wanted us to meet as we shared the common name and had been working for a common cause. First, it was through postcards and then emails. Finally, we met after three years and our friendship continued till he breathed his last.”

Mishra had a witty and wise way to address any problem. He always used to look at issues with a different perspectives. He would use a mix of simple language and emotions to explain the gravity of water related issues with remarkable optimism.

“During the workshops that we attended together, I found a rare quality in him — he was an excellent listener who, instead of talking about his ideas or blowing his own trumpet, used to build up others’ perspective and present it with simplicity. The best way of paying tribute to Anupam would be to recognize his body of work and follow his ancient and traditional way of water conservation and rain water harvesting model, rather than blindly following modern technology,” Saraph said.

Mishra’s friends and associates remember him as a person, who never had any ego and believed in simple living based on Gandhian principles.

“Throughout his life, his lifestyle reflected commitment to Gandhian principles. In one word, he was truly Anupam (unique/incomparable in Hindi). I never saw him getting angry. Even when his views were being strongly opposed, he used to sweetly register his protest, and became ironical when he was sad,” said Ravi Chopra, Director, People’s Science Institute, Dehradun.

“What made him different from his fellowmen? It was his consistent hard work. He would go to the remotest parts of the country, where we couldn’t, to pursue his mission of water conservation. His uniqueness lay in appreciating the local and traditional ways of rain water harvesting and conservation of water bodies,” he said.

Mishra was highly influenced by his father Bhavani Prasad Mishra, a Gandhian poet and litterateur.

A recipient of Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Amar Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad National Award and many others, Mishra was the editor of the bi-monthly ‘Gandhi Marg,’ published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation.

You don’t need money to protect environment; but you need to tell people about their tradition and they have to live up to it

Environmentalist Amla Ruia, Chairperson, Aakar Charitable Trust, which is also engaged in water conservation said, “It’s a great loss to India and to the cause of water conservation. He made immense contribution through his work, writing and guidance, and was a great human being.”

Referring to Mishra’s book titled Talab (Pond), which has been translated in many languages including French, Chopra said, “I owe a personal debt to him as I learnt so much from his works. I got immensely fascinated by his traditional ways of water harvesting.” Chopra feels that the country would miss Mishra’s sage advice on matters of environmental conservation.

“You don’t need money to protect environment; but you need to tell people about their tradition and they have to live up to it,” Chopra quoted Mishra as saying.

But, there is more to Mishra’s ideology.

Prof Anand Kumar, a leader of Swaraj Abhiyan and a close friend and associate for more than four decades, recalls Mishra’s staunch support to the anti-emergency movement and his association with Jayprakash Narayan.

“After his education from Delhi University, he got into Lohiya movement. He was close to Jaiprakash ji (Jaiprakash Narayan) and got to work with him in early 1970s during the surrender of dacoits. He wrote Chambal Mein Atmasamarpan (Surrender in Chambal), and through this work, people came to know about the historical contribution of JP.”

Kumar also states that during the emergency, when Jaiprakash Narayan was shifted to Mumbai for treatment, Mishra had even organised a secret meeting with him and other fellows on anti-emergency movement, a fact very few people know about him.

Mishra also played an instrumental role in scripting India’s first State of Environment report in 1980.

“He was a multi-dimensional personality, an effective communicator, an unassuming and humble person with remarkable clarity on the state of water resources and rivers in India. In the last 20 years, he helped me in my mission without any inhibitions. He attended his last public function on 28 November that was organized by us. Despite his falling health, he spoke extensively with alertness and was well informed,” summed up Himanshu Thakkar, Coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), an organization working for water resource development.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 20:00 IST

Citizens fight pollution the eco-friendly way

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s a heart warming tale. While Delhiites may be sitting huddled indoors complaining about the rising pollution levels, these group of people, an estimated 100 participants, are actually doing something about it.Flagged off from India Gate early Friday morning, these concerned citizens are taking part in a 300-km long cyclathon, in a bid not just to create awareness about pollution but to show how eco-friendly measures could be used to combat it. The cyclathon will end at Timber Trail, Himachal Pradesh.Organised by a Gurgaon-based group of cycling enthusiasts —Gurgaon Road Runners (GRR), the event entitled ‘Rolling Wheels to Timber Trail’ is being held for the second year in a row. Organisers of the event say that more such events are necessary to promote fitness and ensure a cleaner environment. “Cycling can do two things at a time — one is to save the environment and the other is to keep you fit. A cycle ride not just ensures an individual’s fitness but also helps to make the environment pollution free,” said Siddarth Choudhary, founder of GRR, ahead of the event.All the participants say that they have taken time out of their regular jobs to join the excursion. They add that they hope the event will serve as a message to others that they actively need to do their part if they are to save their city from being choked by pollutants.“I cannot think of a more creative way to publicise this pure message of conserving the environment,” said Anupam Tomar, 32. Sangeeta Shiledar, 41, a banker, and another participant, agreed. “This is my second expedition with GRR. I want to make the youth aware about the benefits of cycling and reviving the good old days when people would simply cycle to work,” she said.The message comes at a time when the Capital is simply gasping for air. Post-Diwali, air quality indexes have hovered around the ‘severe’ and ‘dangerous’ categories with doctors advising those with respiratory and heart-related problems to take special care. It’s not just pollution though; the fun element of the event is what has attracted people to the event. Devender Jain, another participant, says that the cyclathon came as a welcome break for him.“It’s an opportunity for me to take a break from my scheduled life to experience the fun of riding and to make people aware of the need to protect the environment,” he said.The participants who had been training for the last eight weeks to prepare for the event have now finally got a chance to show their cycling process. The event will conclude with a felicitation ceremony held in Delhi.

This winter Delhi will see a rapid rise in pollution, says executive director of CSE

Public health emergencies of the previous century, such as cholera, malaria and TB have all been tackled with antibiotics and vaccines. But what about the biggest public health emergency of contemporary times? That’s the pollution in the air we breathe which has reached unprecedented life-threatening levels — recall Delhi’s situation post-Diwali — yet we are not prepared to deal with it. It may worsen with the advancing winter.

However, things may change with the notification that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is soon going to issue to Delhi-NCR, and subsequently to other states, on implementation of Graded Response Action Plan. That is a system based on the Air Quality Index (AQI), designed to take effective steps to combat public health emergencies due to pollution.

To decode the plan and understand its efficacy, Debobrat Ghose of Firstpost speaks to Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (Research and Advocacy) and head, air pollution and clean transportation programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), one of the stakeholders in the planning process.

Firstpost: What’s the Graded Response Action Plan all about?

Answer: Last week, the Supreme Court directed the MoEF to notify the graded response action plan for Delhi-NCR and once it’s notified, the government has to implement it at the earliest. The plan prepared jointly by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), CSE and others, charts a detailed strategy on what kind of action is needed for a certain level of pollution defined by the AQI. There are various categories of pollution — moderate, poor, very poor, severe and above that, the emergency level. The actions listed in the poor category need to be implemented throughout the year. But during months when weather conditions turn more adverse, there is need for greater scrutiny of enforcement. It’s the first-of-its-kind measure to be implemented in India. This will slow down the peaking up of the pollution level.

It’ll also catalyse long-term action because the kind of measures they have listed as per the levels of pollution would help us to get better results. Besides, it’ll also help us put in place more systemic solutions urgently needed to give benefits of sustained quality air throughout the year.

FP: What kind of actions has been recommended in the plan vis-à-vis the levels of pollution?

A: Based on AQI that shows air pollution levels — from moderate to severe — various measures have been recommended like shutting down of brick kilns and coal-based power plants; maximizing generation of power from existing natural gas based plants; mechanized cleaning of roads and sprinkling of water; stopping the use of diesel and kerosene generator sets; stopping construction activities, and entry of truck traffic into Delhi (except essential goods); removing polluting vehicles from the road; putting an end to burning of wastes and garbage, etc.

Anumita Roy Chowdhury. Photo courtesy: Naresh SharmaAnumita Roy Chowdhury. Photo courtesy: Naresh Sharma

Anumita Roychowdhury. Photo courtesy: Naresh Sharma

FP: Immediately after Diwali, Delhi witnessed an emergency like situation due to high-level of air pollution. But, again with the advent of winter, the air quality has begun to deteriorate.

A: During winter due to calm and cool weather condition, air gets trapped close to ground level and along with it pollution already present in the city also gets trapped. This winter too, we are witnessing this situation of rapid building up of pollution. We are going to see several episodes of smog and this condition will prevail till mid-February. This happens due to this severe anti-cyclone situation. There will be ups and downs, with the pollution level hitting the severe level continuously.

FP: What steps need to be taken to prevent this onslaught of pollution?

A: We should have the winter plan in place where emergency measures should be implemented with absolute stringency. The implementation of graded response action plan will ensure that if weather condition is adverse, pollution in air doesn’t get worse. The measures mentioned in each category need to be strictly followed.

FP: What factors aggravate the pollution level in Delhi-NCR?

A: Vehicular pollution, burning of waste and garbage, construction debris, emissions from coal-based power plants, dust, burning of crop stubble, etc are the major culprits. However, stubble burning is a temporary phenomenon, because it takes place during October and November, before the new crop.

FP: Where have we faulted and what needs to be done?

A: In the area of public transport system, we’ve really slipped a lot, because except Metro rail, no investment has been made in this sector. Now, the priority should be to have an integrated public transport system, where Metro system and highly improved bus system are integrated physically and through a common ticketing system. Simultaneously, a well organized para-transit system needs to be in place, supported by a good walking and cycling infrastructure. Odd-even scheme is an emergency measure and can’t be a permanent solution.

Besides Delhi-NCR, other states too have to follow the same template of the action plan with absolute stringency, because things aren’t happening in a systematic manner. When a plan gets delayed, we lose momentum. We have to be extremely careful – even post-winter — to keep momentum going by adopting all measures—short term, medium term and long term.

FP: Delhi children are being deprived of a carefree childhood due to this pollution…

A:
Very true! There is one death per hour due to air pollution; lungs of every third child are impaired. They are being recommended indoor activity and are discouraged from outdoor activities when pollution is severe.

FP: Delhi’s pollution can’t be seen in isolation. To contain it, active cooperation from states and central agencies is needed. Is there any common authority to deal with inter-state issues and enforcement related to pollution control?

A: No, there is not. Rather it’s not required as MoEF and CPCB are already there as central agencies to supervise the whole process and then the state governments should implement measures. The CPCB has to take the lead as the most legitimate body.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 13:25 IST

FIR against Kapil Sharma for destroying mangroves, violating Environment Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Andheri court on Wednesday directed Versova police to register an FIR against popular stand-up Comedian Kapil Sharma under section 187 of the Indian Penal code for alleged violation of the Environment Act.The Versova police will book the actor under Environment and MRTP act too.Sharma allegedly dumped the debris near mangroves behind his bungalow in suburban Versova.A controversy erupted after Sharma alleged that he had been asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 lakh by an official of the civic body Kapil had levelled the bribe allegation in tweets in which he tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking if this was the “achche din” he had promised.
ALSO READ BMC defends its stand of issuing notice to Kapil SharmaSection 187(Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance) of the Indian Penal code would be registered against Sharma.”The allegations that BMC official demanded bribe should be named by Kapil and if he fails to do so which means he is protecting the corrupt person”, said Abha Singh, Advocate and social activist.”Also the case under MRTP and Environment act would be registered against Kapil for destroying mangroves and illega constructions”, said Singh.

Patients choke as air pollution hits record high in Capital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The onset of winter has been terrible for 30-year-old Ashish Singh. Over the last few days, he has been coughing so badly that blood is coming out from his saliva. Singh claims that he faces this horrible experience every year but this year has been the worst.”Till last year, I used to take an inhaler once a day. But this year, doctors have asked me to take it thrice a day, thanks to the pollution levels which have only got worse. In the last few days, I can feel congestion inside my chest,” said Singh, who works as an HR professional in a private firm in Gurgaon.Singh’s condition is symptomatic of the respiratory and other health-related problems in the capital this winter. Doctors said that they have witnessed an increase in the number of cases of respiratory illness this year. Cases of viral infection, cough, sneezing, respiratory tract infection and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have also gone up this year.”The number of cases of respiratory illness have gone up by 20 per cent. This is the worst phase for those who have prolonged illnesses. Even cases of viral fever have gone up while those having a history of asthma and COPD are at their worst. Our out-patients department (OPD) is witnessing a large number of patients,” said Dr JC Suri, Professor and Head of Pulmonary Medicine at Safdarjung hospital.The problem has been made worse for patients with the onset of smog. A mixture of fog and air pollutants, smog has been especially harsh on those having a history of respiratory illness, and on children and heart patients who are advised to take special care this year. But doctors say that they are not just getting cases of respiratory illness; cases of sudden cardiac arrest and viral fever are also going up this winter.”Pollution levels have suddenly increased in the last few days, and, as a result, cases have started to come earlier, as compared to last year. We expect that the level of pollution will be higher this year, which will have an adverse affect on people’s health,” said Dr SP Byotra, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.The Air Quality Index (AQI) prepared by US embassy in Delhi gives a better idea of just how bad pollution levels are in the capital. The AQI, which provides data from the embassy and consulate air quality monitors, along with additional data from the Centre and local government-monitoring stations — in New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai — showed levels of 527, 459, 458 and 420 at RK Puram, ITO, Anand Vihar, and Siri Fort, respectively.These levels are classified as hazardous as any reading above 150 is considered unhealthy, with the range 351-500 being classified as ‘hazardous’. “This can lead to serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly and respiratory problems for the general public,” said a doctor.A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report last year said that air pollution kills 10,000-30,000 people every year.

Versova beach cleanup man Afroz Shah wins UN award

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was just a month ago when the massive air pollution in the national capital Delhi had raised serious concerns globally, over our preparedness to keep the environment safe amidst development. On Saturday, Afroz Shah, a Mumbai-based young lawyer made the country proud by winning United Nations Environment Award which underlines that alert citizens can make a difference in protecting the environment. Shah is in Cancum, Mexico at present where he received the award during a global conference on biological diversity. Shah is among five people and one agency in the world bestowed with the ‘Champions of the Earth’ award this year. He won under the ‘Action and Inspiration’ category for kick-starting a volunteer campaign to pick up, by hand, the leftover plastics, bottles, shoes and other garbage that covered the entire 2.5 km stretch of the Versova Beach in Mumbai. United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) has lauded the Shah’s efforts to lead the largest beach cleanup drive in the world as an example of the key role of citizen action in protecting the environment. Shah and his neighbour Harbansh Mathur (84) had started manually cleaning Versova beach in October 2015. The cleanup work soon grew into a massive movement getting hundreds of volunteers joining hands together. They segregated over 4,000 tons of garbage in a year. Shah and Mathur, who has since passed away, inspired volunteers to join them – from slum-dwellers to Bollywood stars, from school children to politicians. “Shah’s efforts, and the hundreds of volunteers he’s inspired, is a wonderful example of citizen action and reminds the rest of the world that even the most ambitious, global agreements are only as good as the individual action and determination that brings them to life. His outstanding leadership is drawing global attention to the devastating impacts of marine litter,” said UNEP chief Erik Solheim, who had joined Shah in the clean-up for a day in October. Shah now wants to clean up the coastline’s rubbish-choked mangrove forests, which act as a natural defence against storm surges, and to inspire similar groups across India and beyond to launch their own clean-up movements.

Environmentalists and activists irate at minister’s new dam solution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra State Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam’s plans of building a new dam in the upper Godavari stream above the Gangapur dam, to resolve the problem of pollution has environmentalists up in arms.Kadam visited river Godavari at Gharpure ghat, Ramkund, Tapovan and also the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Tapovan while he was in Nashik to address the Godavari pollution issue.While he suggested building a dam, the activists said that he appeared oblivious to facts. “The minister was perhaps not informed that according to the water sharing plan, Gangapur dam built in 1956 has the first right to water of the Godavari,” pointed out Devang Jani who has filed a PIL in High Court demanding de-concretisation of the bed of the river.Jani also stated that it was very disappointing that the minister did not speak of workable solutions like de-concretisation or strengthening of STPs.Rajesh Pandit, who is fighting a PIL regarding the pollution in Godavari said, “It was expected that the minister would ask the authorities to follow the orders of the court regarding freeing Godavari of the pollution. However solution of a new dam seems only illogical. De-concretization, recharging of aquifer, and 100 percent water harvesting are proper means to reduce pollution.”Activists also state that there is no permission to build a dam bigger than five TMC in the upper Godavari basin. Under the equal justice for distribution of water, the water of the Godavari is to be shared with Marathwada, the project affected people of the earlier built weirs above Gangapur – Kashyapi and Kikawi are still fighting for compensation for past eight years.Parineeta Dandekar, Associate Coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People said it was ironic that the suggestion came from a minister when the State Government has banned building of dams upstream Jaikwadi dam in the upper Godavari basin. “The release of environmental flow from the Gangapur dam itself will be more important than ensuring flow from a new dam. Steps should be taken to ensure that the Godavari is not harmed any further than it already has been,” she said.

Is a stray animal’s life worth just Rs 50?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An outraged group of animal lovers have launched a unique online campaign entitled #NoMore50. The campaign, which is being run by a group of nature and animal enthusiasts known as the New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS) seeks to draw attention to the fact that currently the penalty for someone killing a stray is a paltry Rs 50. The initiative entitled ‘Speak for Animals’ can now be seen on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others.Speaking to DNA, Verhaen Khanna, founder NDNS, says that its time that everyone— be they animal lovers or not— speak up to change this outrageous law. “Recently, there have been many cases where animals have been tortured and murdered. In spite of this, these criminals pays only Rs 50 as fine, and then walk freely,” he said.A nature activist, based in the capital’s New Friends Colony, Khanna is determined to see change on this issue. The organisers will work on their online campaign where signatures will be collected asking for change. This will then be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).”Most people were not aware about the fine. This is also the reason that nobody makes a noise when incidents of cruelty with animals come to the fore. We hope through the campaign we are able to create knowledge on the issue,” said Anubhuti Mishra, one of the volunteers at NDNS.The organisation also points to Article 51 a (g) of the Indian Constitution which states that it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to take care of the environment, plants, and animals. Through this, they hope that more people will feel bound to act.Khanna also points out that volunteers from the society have gone around colonies and other major recreational spaces in the city including Deer Park, Hauz Khas village and Lodi Gardens in the Capital to raise awareness on this issue.”Our target is to reach more and more people on the issue. This is crucial for it will take a large mass of people writing to the MoEF to raise the penalty from Rs 50 to a substantial amount. It is an age-old provision under the law, which has not been revisited even after six decades of Independence,” said Khanna.It’s not just about changing the law. The campaign also looks to create awareness on laws protecting animals and raising sensitivity towards stray animals, amongst the public at large.

Trucks from other states to be allowed in Delhi only post midnight: LG Najeeb Jung

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As part of measures to curb air pollution in the capital, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Tuesday ordered that trucks coming from other states will be allowed to enter Delhi only after midnight till January 31 next year. Although the LG has lifted a ban on construction and demolition activity imposed last week, the ban on firecrackers and diesel generating sets will continue in the city.Jung held a review meeting on Tuesday on condition of air pollution which was attended by PWD minister Satyendar Jain, Environment minister Imran Hussain and others. The last meeting had been chaired by him on November 7 where LG had ordered to de-register diesel vehicles older than 15 years. “The LG has ordered Transport Department to allow entry of trucks in Delhi only after midnight till January 31, 2017 to bring down air pollution level,” an official said.At present, trucks coming from other states are allowed in the national capital from 11 PM onwards. In Tuesday’s meeting, the Lt Governor was informed by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPPC) that it has recorded 1/3rd fall in PM 10 levels and 1/4th in PM 2.5 level in the last week. “In view of loss of income to daily wage labourers, the LG has lifted the ban imposed in construction and demolition activity in the city. However, ban will continue on firecrackers and diesel generators sets. “Jung has instructed to take action against violators of ban on firecrackers, particularly during marriage season,” the LG office said in a statement.
ALSO READ Pollution in Delhi: Transport dept has no idea what to do with impounded diesel vehiclesThe Lt Governor was informed that over Rs 1.5 crore revenue was generated from violators of construction/demolition activity in the last one week. The Special Commissioner (traffic) informed that construction has been stopped at 539 sites and 29 cases have been registered.On de-registration of diesel vehicles older than 15 years, Jung was apprised that 763 vehicles have been deregistered and 1,795 challans issued. In view of impounding of large number of vehicles, he has directed DDA will loan space/pits to Traffic Police to temporarily park these vehicles.Jung directed the Transport Department to submit a comprehensive proposal in the next meeting to scrap the impounded vehicles. 2,625 non-destined vehicles have been turned back which amounts to more than 90% of non-destined vehicles being returned back even since the last meeting chaired by the LG on November 7.The Special CP traffic informed 3,033 visibly polluting vehicles and vehicles not carrying PUC certificate have been challaned. In addition, 42 diesel commercial vehicles older than 15 years have been detained. North MCD informed that one excavator and four bulldozers have been deployed at Bhalaswa landfill site and daily construction waste material in about 200 trucks is being spread on the site.The DPCC has closed 33 polluting units in confirming areas and 146 in Redevelopment areas. East MCD has also closed 13 polluting industries and issued 196 challans. The Lt Governor will be holding a review every 10 days at Raj Niwas on this matter.

PM Modi for mandatory online filing of babus’ performance reports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has tweaked service rules to allow online filing of officers’ performance reports from the next fiscal.The move, which comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive in this regard, will help check delayed submission of employees’ confidential report which often comes as a hindrance for promotion.It has also been decided that an officer can be assessed solely on the basis of his/her overall record and self-assessment for a year if his Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) is not recorded by December 31 of the assessment year.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has written to all cadre-controlling authorities like the Home Ministry (for Indian Police Service), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (for Indian Forest Service), Department of Public Enterprises (for central public sector enterprises) and the Department for Financial Services (for public sector banks, financial and insurance companies) in this regard.The letter referred to instructions issued last year by the DoPT in which the authorities concerned were asked to ensure online filing of APARs.It is expected that by now sufficient progress would have been made towards the compliance with the earlier directive and the departments would be in a position to roll out mandatory online filing of APARs/Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) from the financial year 2017-18, said the letter written by Rajiv Kumar, Establishment Officer.A meeting of representatives of the ministries concerned has been called on Thursday to review the progress made in this regard “so as to ensure implementation of mandatory online filing of APARs from financial year 2017-18 onwards”, it said.Non-submission of employees performance reports had often came in the way of timely empanelment and appointments of officers, a senior DoPT official said.”Now it has been decided to ensure online filing of annual performance reports of all officers of 36 central civil services including those in Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS).The National Informatics Centre has been asked to develop an online module in this regard,” the official said.The new measure is based on the direction of the Prime Minister, who wants that the officers’ performance reports are filed online for greater transparency, he said.

How much lead have you inhaled from your wall paint?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), in its recent notification, has prohibited manufacture, trade, import as well as export of household and decorative paints containing lead or lead compounds in excess of 90 parts per million (ppm).Activists, who have been highlighting the dangers of lead in paints used in households, have welcomed the new mandatory ‘Regulation of Lead Contents in Household and Decorative Paints Rules, 2016’ that was notified by the MOEFCC on November 1.They also claimed that lead paints were a significant cause of lead exposure especially in children, and the new regulation will help in safeguarding the health of vulnerable children and mothers.Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link, which had identified lead in paints as a very critical issue of toxicity in 2006, and published research papers, shared that this was an extremely progressive standard, enabling manufacturers to make the shift from lead to no-lead paint possible.”While our campaign resulted in larger paint companies removing lead from paints by 2014, a study conducted by Toxics Link in 2015 indicated that even today, paints manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises had high lead levels, way above the prescribed limit of 90 ppm by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS),” said Sinha.According to World Health Organisation (WHO), lead exposure is estimated to account for 6,74,000 deaths per year, with the highest burden in low and middle-income countries, and globally, lead in paint has been disallowed in Europe and the US for several decades, while it is still used in many developing countries.Scientific evidences have also established that children and pregnant women are most vulnerable as low levels of lead in the bloodstream can also be harmful. Lead exposure has significant effects on the nervous system, the potential to cause brain damage and even death.”For decades the paint industry has been ignoring the irreversible impacts of lead on the health of children. Finally, India joins the world in making it mandatory for paint companies, and products which use them, to comply with global practices of lead-free paints,” said Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Link.Now, decorative and household paints manufacturers have to label their paints, stating that the lead contents do not exceed 90 ppm, and the label should contain the name and address of the manufacturer or importer and date of import.Meanwhile, every manufacturer or importer shall subject its product for testing of lead content every year before selling its product in the market

Delhi pollution: Old diesel vehicles to be de-registered, crackers banned except religious festivals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government on Monday started a process of deregistering 15-year-old diesel vehicles in the city and also imposed a ban on use of fire crackers except for religious functions, following directions from Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to bring down air pollution.Jung today chaired a high-level meeting attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Environment Minister Imran Hussain and representatives from other agencies. A senior official at the LG office said decisions taken today will be reviewed in the next meeting on November 15. Apart from that, ban on construction and demolition activities will continue till November 14 and overloaded trucks and such non-destined will not allowed in the national capital.The LG has also issued strict action against polluting industries running in Delhi particularly in non-conforming areas and directed MCD and Delhi Police to jointly launch operations to shut down all such industries. Due to deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles, about 2 lakh such vehicles will go off the capital’s roads. The move comes a day after Kejriwal announced closure of all schools till Wednesday, ban on construction and demolition activities for next five days and temporary closure of Badarpur Power Plant.In its July order, National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed Delhi government to de-register diesel vehicles older than 10 years. Later, the NGT had directed the city administration to deregister 15 years old diesel vehicles in first phase. Today’s meeting was intended to discuss the serious condition of air pollution in city and directed all agencies concerned to ensure immediate measures required to mitigate air pollution in Delhi are strictly implemented. “Deregistration of 15-year-old diesel vehicles started from today. Directions have been issued to all registering authorities/MLOs to start deregistration of diesel vehicles which are more than 15 years old in a phased manner.”This will bring about a reduction of 2 lakh diesel vehicles on the roads in Delhi,” LG office said in a statement. Ban has also been imposed on fire crackers in the national capital in marriages and other events, except for religious functions. “Strict enforcement of ban on construction/demolition activities will be in place from November 7 to 14. Municipal authorities and Delhi Police will ensure its strict implementation and prosecute violators,” the statement said.Jung said that all authorities concerned must come together on a war footing while assigning responsibilities to various agencies for strict implementation of decisions.MCD has been asked to take all measures to control fire in landfill sites, particularly Bhalaswa. They will be doing so by using PWD construction and demolition malba and sludge generated by water treatment plants of DJB.Delhi Transport Department and police have been directed not to allow entry of overloaded trucks and non-destined trucks in the city entering from Rajasthan, UP, Haryana etc with immediate effect.

Delhi 80% to blame for its worsening air quality: Union Environment Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on Monday said Delhi is responsible for the 80% of the worsening air in the city and that there is a need for ending the blame game over the issue.At a meeting of the environment ministers of Delhi-NCR states to find a solution to combat the problem, he said crop stubble burning contributed just 20% of the pollutants. Neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab also put the blame on Delhi.”Stubble burning is 20% of the problem. Delhi’s responsibility is 80%. Burning of petrol/diesel, coal, wood, dry leaves and of garbage at a waste disposal ground led to pollution in Delhi. Burning of crackers can be added to that as well,” Dave said. Dave stressed the need to end the blame game and focus on resolving the problem at hand. “I always make an attempt to put an end to blame game.Sensationalism and blame game have become a strategy. People get affected by this. They are having trouble breathing. Deal with that first. I want that the states carry out their responsibilities,” he said.The minister said an “Environment Protection Calendar”, listing measures to be adopted by all states on a monthly basis, will be prepared in January. Haryana Environment Minister Vipul Goel said vehicular emission was the root cause of the problem. “It is definitely not due to stubble burning. Moreover, its rate has dropped to extremely low levels. There is neither wind nor pollution in the areas where the stubble is being burned.”Pollution in Delhi is due to traffic in the NCR region. On our part, we have banned construction activities in Gurgaon and Faridabad, and intensified drive against old vehicles,” Goel said. He enumerated steps the Haryana government is taking, including a ban on vehicles causing pollution and added it was contemplating shifting thermal power plants.Punjab Agriculture Minister Tota Singh said, “This is aimed at tarnishing the image of Punjab and Haryana. We have statistics to prove that the situation in Delhi is its own doing. Pollution in Delhi affects other states. Crop burning is not a reason at all.”

NGT slams four govts. including centre over looming Delhi pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Green Tribunal( NGT) on Monday slammed the Centre and the Delhi government of Aam Aadmi Party on waking up late on the deadly air pollution issue, moved quickly to engage all stakeholders in the fight against smog.While the Delhi Culture Minister Kapil Mishra appealed to citizens to come up with suggestions to tackle Delhi’s pollution, health minister Satyendra Jain hinted a return of the odd-even policy to curb vehicular pollution. Union Minister for Environment Anil Dave also separately held a meeting to discuss the pollution in the national capital.With the visibility on roads showing some improvement on the first day of the week after the dust and smog choked the capital with worst levels in 17 years, the weather and pollution experts hoped that the situation will show some improvement on Tuesday. Although the ambient air quality measurement showed no significant change in the levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10. The national green tribunal on Monday slammed Delhi government, Centre, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on the rising levels of pollution. The tribunal asked all the governments, “What have you done till now to curb pollution” NGT asked, “Why haven’t you started sprinkling water on roads to reduce dust? What happened to the proposal of sprinkling water using helicopters?”Coming down heavily on the local municipal bodies in Delhi, the NGT asked,? Isn’t it your responsibility to curb pollution? What is Nagar Nigam doing, they were asked to use machines for cleaning purposes earlier?” Meanwhile, environmentalist Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) also petitioned Supreme Court on Delhi pollution. The apex court will hear her petition on Tuesday. A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday after Sunita Narain of Centre for Science and Environment told the court that there was no effective implementation of the directions issued by the apex court last year. Sunita Narain told the court that it had, in the past, issued several directions but their effective implementation and enforcement was lacking.She sought from the court monitoring of the implementation of its directions.The apex court was also given the report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR on the state of air pollution in the national capital territory. Narain also told the court that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were diverting the heavy vehicles and other traffic so that they don’t pass through the national capital but because of shortage of manpower the diversion of traffic was not upto the desired levels. The schools have been shut in the capital and all construction work has also been put on hold in view of the dangerous pollution levels.

Delhi Pollution: Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

Delhi Pollution: Suprme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a plea on the alarming state of air pollution in Delhi as it was told that it had, in the past, issued several directions but their effective implementation and enforcement was lacking.

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTIVehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday after Sunita Narayan of Centre for Science and Environment told the court that there was no effective implementation of the directions issued by the apex court last year.

She told the court that as of now the direction issued in the past were sufficient but if the need arose they would urge the court to issue further directions.

She sought from the court monitoring of the implementation of its directions.

The apex court was also given the report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR on the state of air pollution in the national capital territory.

Narayan also told the court that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were diverting the heavy vehicles and other traffic so that they don’t pass through the national capital but because of shortage of manpower the diversion of traffic was not upto the desired levels.

Delhi pollution: Govt ignored IIT Kanpur study; evacuation may be an option, say experts

Night of 2-3 December, 1984: World’s worst industrial disaster — the Bhopal gas tragedy — occurred after deadly Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked out of the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal. Thousands died on a single night and the air got so poisonous that many more died thereafter and thousands had to be evacuated from the city.

November 2016: Unfortunately, Delhi’s air quality this winter has almost reached its nadir. It might sound as an exaggeration but the Delhiites are witnessing symptoms quite similar to the Bhopal gas tragedy — coughing, severe eye irritation, sore throat, irritation in the respiratory tract, nausea, salt-bitter taste in mouth, uneasiness, etc. Children are the worst victims. According to the environmental experts, it’s a stage, where evacuating the city seems to be an alternative option.

And, why not?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) has crossed the hazardous mark of 500+. The level of particulate matter PM10 on Sunday reached at 1690 umg/m3 at 8 am in Anand Vihar and 1,300 umg/m3 at 6 pm in central government employees’ residential colony RK Puram. It’s multiple times higher than the permissible limits (50-100).

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“The air pollution level in Delhi has reached a stage where people should evacuate the city. The AQI has crossed the hazardous level of 500 and now touching almost 1,000. It’s unimaginable,” said Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link, an environmental NGO.

Will it eventually help the city to breathe easy?

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a slew of measures to combat the emergency situation like closing of schools for three days, ban on construction work for five days, shutting down Badarpur power plant for 10 days, etc. The meteorological department has predicted that weather condition will improve after three days.

Despite these measures, will the residents of the national capital be able to breathe easy?

No, say experts.

“No, it’s not possible. Following the measures announced by the Delhi government and weather condition getting better after three to five days, the air quality in Delhi may come down to around 500, which has now become an average for Delhi, from 900+ mark. Everyone will be happy and the situation will continue to be as usual,” quipped Agarwal.

“The measures taken are fine, but unless there’s restraint on the numbers of vehicles, including trucks, it won’t be helpful. Toxic emissions from vehicles contribute to Delhi’s air pollution in a big way and impact people’s health,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Delhiites want to know:

– Do the politicians irrespective of political ideologies and parties not live in Delhi?
– If they do, why the pollution issue has been politicised?
– Why both the central and Delhi governments have failed to act?

“It’s not a political issue. Environment is a concurrent subject. Both the Ministry of Environment and Delhi government should work in coordination to combat this menace. The Central Pollution Control Board has the authority to exercise its power on Delhi. After all, the citizens including the leaders cutting across political spectrum are suffering and Delhi is getting a bad name,” Agarwal observed.

A big question: Why did the government ignore the IIT Kanpur study?

It’s still unclear why the government failed to act on the measures suggested by the government-commissioned study of IIT Kanpur?

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The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi sponsored a project ‘Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and Green House Gases in Delhi’ to IIT Kanpur last year to effectively address the air pollution problem in Delhi.

The study recommended a comprehensive year-wise action plan (2016 to 2023) to check all the sources of air pollution. Despite recommending implementation of the plan from 2016 (precisely July) so as to deal with the crisis during winter, the government failed to initiate any action, barring introduction of odd-even scheme, which eventually stopped.

“The IIT Kanpur report mentioned a wide range of short-term and long-term measures. Despite, the study being commissioned by the government, why did it fail to initiate any action is questionable. Right from the central government agencies to Delhi government — all have the data but why there’s lack of coordination?” questioned Agarwal.

Roychowdhury added, “Delhi government got one full year to plan and act, but we failed to hear anything from them. It’s a lost opportunity. Delhi has reached an alarming stage and it has become a regular practice in Delhi every winter and citizens, especially the children have to face the brunt.”

Delhi Pollution: Centre to convene emergency meeting of states today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Centre will convene an emergency meeting of Environment Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh on Monday to tackle the alarming level of pollution in Delhi.Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave will chair the meeting to chalk out an action plan to control the rising pollution levels.Talking to media in New Delhi yesterday, Dave said that no one should indulge in a political blame-game to fight pollution in the national capital. He appealed for a united response to tackle the problem. He said that the ISRO images show that the role of neighbouring states and their contribution is only 20% and blaming them would not work.Meanwhile, the Delhi Government has decided to close all schools for the next three days and shut down all constructions and demolitions for five days. Addressing media after holding a Cabinet meeting to discuss the issue yesterday afternoon, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that he won’t point fingers at anyone and stressed on the need to sit down and come out with a solution. He sought the Centre’s support, saying the Delhi Cabinet has discussed about artificial rain. He said, emergency measures are the need of the hour instead of politicising the Delhi’s pollution issue.The Delhi Government has announced several emergency measures to tackle the unprecedented level of pollution plaguing Delhi and the NCR. Water sprinkling on roads will begin tomorrow and vacuum cleaning measures to deal with dust pollution will start next week. Badarpur thermal power plant will be closed for ten days from Monday. Landfill sites fire will be extinguished and transportation of fly ash will be stopped for 10 days. City government is also planning to bring back Odd Even scheme soon and preparations are already on. Delhi residents have been advised to remain indoors and not venture outside unnecessarily.The MeT department has forecast little improvement in the current weather condition for the next three days. Cases of respiratory problems have risen in the city with people rushing to medical stored to buy air masks.

To control Delhi’s pollution problem, we need stringent enforcement of emergency measures: CSE

New Delhi: Lauding the Delhi government’s announcement of taking emergency steps to tackle the severe air pollution, a green body on Sunday said these will need strict enforcement and vehicle restraint measures, including odd-even scheme, for effective impact.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said for enduring impact, the government must also step up inter-state coordination to control fires in neighbouring states and take action to strengthen short and medium term measures for all pollution sources.

The severe pollution peaks that have persisted for about a week, pose serious health risk for children, the ailing and the people in general, it said.

“This emergency situation demands emergency action. These measures will now require stringent enforcement. However, vehicle restraint measures including odd and even, and parking restraints must be included immediately for effective impact,” CSE’s executive director Anumita Roychowdhury said.

A smoggy view of the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

A smoggy view of the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

CSE said odd-even scheme and parking restraints must be implemented simultaneously and diesel vehicles should be controlled.

In Delhi, there has been no respite from the choking haze since Diwali.

Analysis of air pollution data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee shows that on Diwali day (30 October) the air was already saturated. The 24-hour average level of PM 2.5 was 347 microgramme per cubic metre and was at ‘severe’ level which is the worst category according to the air quality index.

This increased significantly post-Diwali when on November 2, the 24-hour average levels shot up to 577 microgramme per cubic metre. Yesterday, almost a week later, it was far worse at 639 microgramme per cubic metre.

The peak levels were even more horrendous and not breathable.

On Saturday, the four hour averages (12 noon to 4 PM) of peak levels were as high as 732 microgramme per cubic metre in Punjabi Bagh, 762 microgramme per cubic metre in Mandir Marg and 566 microgramme per cubic metre in R K Puram, CSE said.

“Delhi has become a gas chamber. It may be recalled that the infamous London smog that had killed 4,000 people within a week during the December of 1952, had an average particulate level of about 500 microgrameme per cubic metre mixed with high level of sulphur dioxide,” said Roychowdhury.

CSE said emergency action needs strong enforcement and zero tolerance to ensure that the newly announced emergency measures are effective enough to lower the severe peak levels.

“For more lasting and enduring impacts on air quality, step up short and medium term measures to reduce pollution from vehicles, power plant, industry, waste burning, construction and farm fires in a time-bound manner.

“Step up inter-state coordination to address the smoke plumes from the farm fires in Punjab and Haryana,” CSE said.

‘Be solution to pollution’: Delhiites take to streets for their right to breathe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the pall of smoggy gloom suffocates all and cripples life in the national capital, the people from all walks of life geared up to carry out a series of protests beginning Sunday to fight for their right to breathe. The national capital, considered to be the world’s most polluted city, hit a new low the past week. As millions struggle with hacking coughs and burning eyes, many schools across the city have either shut down or ended all outdoor activities.Several mask-clad children and concerned citizens were seen protesting at the Jantar Mantar here against the rising pollution level. They were seen holding placards which read “Be the solution to the pollution”, “Don’t Let Our Future Go Up In Smog, Go Green 2 Breathe” and so on.”My grand children have recently shifted from America. They used to play football but now they can’t play it here. The pollution is affecting the children. Unless we do something, this won’t get resolved. Unhealthy citizen is an unhealthy nation. This problem is there for years. If today we stand up for this then we might get some result in the coming days,” Sanjiv Kumar, one of the protestors, said.
ALSO READ Delhi pollution: Arvind Kejriwal calls emergency meet to take stockEquating breathing in Delhi with that of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day, another protestor said the air in the national capital is getting worse day by day. “Till now, it has never happened that schools have to be closed in Delhi. The air in Delhi is getting worse day by day. We can’t raise our children like this. There has to be combined efforts from both government and individual citizens. This is becoming from bad to worse. Breathing in Delhi is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day,” she said.”This is happening due to the government. During the time of Sheila Dikshit, it was a complete clean environment. Here we have little children, who are suffering from diseases like asthma. It has become an emergency situation for Delhi,” she added.
ALSO READ Delhi pollution: Kejriwal says schools to be closed for 3 days, Odd-Even may returnAnother protestor said that they would hold such protests every Sunday. “Everyone in Delhi is getting affected with this air pollution. We need a committed and consistent effort for this. This is an emergency, a crisis. The politicians need to listen to us,” he said.Meanwhile, social activist Nafisa Ali voiced her opinion against the use of crackers during the festival of lights Diwali and said the situation of rising level of air pollution in Delhi will change if everybody contemplates over the same. “This situation will change only when we ponder over this. One should not use crackers during Diwali. The Odd-Even scheme was very much successful for change. We should support that. I would request everyone not to use cars and use cycle, metro or just walk for three days,” she added.
ALSO READ Emergency situation in Delhi, Centre says about alarming pollution levelDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for an emergency meeting this afternoon to take stock of the recent measures announced to combat the soaring pollution-level in the national capital. Technologies like jet sprinkling and the dust sweep machine will be discussed at length during the meeting to be held at Kejriwal’s residence.This development comes in the wake of the Centre calling a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to put an end to crop burning as Delhi’s pollution rises to alarming level. Kejriwal had met Union Environment Minister Anil Dave on Saturday and sought the Centre’s intervention following which the latter declared an emergency situation in Delhi.Dave said the present circumstances are quite bad, particularly for children, patients, women and the elderly. Kejriwal has, however, blamed the practice of crop burning in Haryana and Punjab for the pollution in the national capital, as air quality in the city dips to its worst in 17 years.Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high-level meeting on the issue on Monday during which immediate, short-term and long-term measures to combat the growing air pollution in the city are to be discussed. Earlier on Saturday, the first day’s play of two Ranji Trophy games in New Delhi was cancelled due to poor light caused by smog. The players complained of irritation in eyes and breathing problems. The matches cancelled were Group A league encounter between Bengal and Gujarat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium and Group C match at Karnail Singh Stadium between Tripura and Hyderabad.

AAP govt diluting environment protection laws: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing grave concern over Delhi witnessing an emergency situation due to alarming pollution level, Congress leader Ashwini Kumar on Sunday said the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government has failed to take remedial measures to tackle the same.Kumar told ANI the single most important challenge apart from the situation in Kashmir and terrorism is the issue of climate change and environmental pollution. “It is absolutely true that the environmental pollution in Delhi was never as grave as it is today and despite the fact that the Standing Committee of the Parliament had unanimously junked the TSR Subramanian Committee report that has sought to further liberalize the environmental protection laws the situation seems to be going from bad to worse,” said Kumar. “This government instead of tightening the environmental laws is seeking to further dilute the environment protection laws in negation of the unanimous recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Parliament,” he added. The Congress leader further said the Supreme Court should take suo moto cognizance in public interest and issue binding instruction to all concerned authorities. “The reason for pollution is not limited to situation to Delhi alone it has a direct baring with reference to the stubble burning in the states of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh,” he added. Kejriwal today announced a list of measures to be enforced by the state government to curb the soaring pollution in the national capital, including putting all construction projects across the city on hold for the next five days and ordering the shutdown of all schools for the next three days. Meanwhile, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave stated that according to the satellite images by ISRO, it was clear that the neighbouring states were responsible for only 20% of the pollution, whereas the remaining 80% was strictly from Delhi and mainly due to its garbage problem.However, the Delhi Government remained adamant on its stand that crop burning by the neighbouring states was the main contributor towards the ‘gas chamber’ like situation in the city. Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain stated the source of pollution is not from within Delhi but from its neighbouring states.

Delhi pollution: Arvind Kejriwal calls emergency meet to take stock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday called for an emergency meeting to take stock on recent measures announced to combat the soaring pollution levels in the national capital.The meeting will be held at Kejriwal’s residence at 12:30 p.m. where technologies like jet sprinkling and the dust sweep machine will be discussed at length.This development comes in the wake of the Centre calling a meeting of environment ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to put an end to crop burning as Delhi’s pollution level rises to alarming levels.Yesterday, Kejriwal had met Union Environment Minister Anil Dave to ask the central government to intervene, following which the latter declared an emergency situation in Delhi, adding that the circumstances are quite bad, particularly for children, patients, women and the elderly.Kejriwal has, however, blamed the practice of crop burning in Haryana and Punjab for the pollution in the national capital, as air quality in the city dips to its worst in 17 years.”I saw smoke across Punjab, Haryana during my visits. We need Centre’s help. We are hiring an agency in a week or two to study the sources of pollution in Delhi afresh. The Centre needs to intervene,” he said.Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has also called a high level meeting tomorrow on the issue in which immediate, short-term and long-term measures to combat the growing air pollution in the city are to be discussed.Delhi Chief Minister, PWD Minister, Environment and Forest Minister, Chief Secretary, NDMC Chairman and all three Municipal Commissioners are among those attending the meeting.Meanwhile, a thick blanket of haze continued to cover the national capital with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places.

Delhi: Pollution level over 17 times the safe limit; Centre terms it ’emergency situation’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is witnessing an “emergency situation” due to alarming pollution level, said the Centre and called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday to curb stubble burning by farmers which has made Delhi a ‘gas chamber’.As a blanket of haze continued to cover the city with pollution level remaining very high and breaching the safe limit by over 17 times at several places, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Environment Minister Anil Dave and sought Centre’s urgent intervention to deal with the challenge.Kejriwal likened the city to a “gas chamber” with main reason being smoke from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana and appealed to people to minimise use of vehicles.After the meeting, Dave said he has called a meeting of Environment Ministers of all neighbouring states on Monday and will request them to curb stubble burning in their states as it increases level of smog in Delhi.”There is an emergency situation in Delhi. The situation is bad, particularly for children, patients, women and elderly. We need to take immediate steps to deal with the situation,” Dave told reporters, adding he was also exploring the possbility to call a meeting of chief ministers of all neighbouring states on the issue.On his part, Kejriwal appealed to people to restrict use of private vehicles and use public transport.Earlier, addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said vehicle restriction measures like odd-even will not be able to bring down smog as initial studies suggest that the “large scale” influx of pollutant-laden smoke from Punjab and Haryana has aggravated the situation.”Pollution has increased to an extent that outdoors in Delhi are resembling a gas chamber. Prima facie the biggest reason seems to be burning of stubble in agricultural fields in Haryana and Punjab in huge quantity,” he said.Dave said the situation has been “very alarming” and that there was a need to take short-term measures to deal with the situation immediately, adding he discussed with Kejriwal “emergency measures” including ways to contain dust pollution and crop burning.”There are five reasons triggering air pollution that include use of firewood, coal, diesel, petrol and burning of agricultural waste. We have to find solution to address the problem”We should imbibe self discipline in our routine life style. If I don’t minimize use of my four cars and expect other people to use cycles, that should not be happen. We should collectively come under self regulation,” he said.Both Dave and Kejriwal were in agreement that shutting down schools was not the solution when asked about the decision of the civic bodies to keep schools run by it closed for a day in view of pollution.Kejriwal pitched for providing alternatives and incentives to farmers so that they discard the traditional practise of burning farm stubbles.Air Quality Index (AQI) of all the eight monitoring stations of Centre’s SAFAR blinked red, indicating severe levels of pollution. CPCB stations had severe AQI as well.The Delhi High Court had last year observed that living in Delhi was akin to living in a “gas chamber” as it directed the Centre and the city government to present comprehensive action plans to combat it.

Pollution levels back to Diwali days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It could have been mistaken as an aftermath of an intense dust storm or even a dystopian future. But, on Saturday, Delhi resembled both. The Capital woke up to a sun diminished behind a shroud of acrid air that refused to clear off through the day and evening. While some thought that the worst was behind them after Diwali, air quality was as bad, if not worse, on Saturday.Pollution of particulate matter smaller than 10 (PM10) and 2.5 (PM2.5) micrometers, respectively, soared as the day progressed and touched a peak of 17-18 times above the safe limit.The alarming levels of pollution prompted the Centre to convene another meeting with neighbouring states on Monday. The earlier meeting was on Friday. After the Union Environment Secretary met top officials from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Environment Minister Anil Dave is now slated to meet Environment Ministers from these states.On Saturday, there was a slight drop in daytime temperatures and still wind exacerbated concentration of pollutants and led to a ‘smoke haze’ condition. According to the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Met office and the Met department’s regional weather centre, visibility dropped to a low of 200m on Saturday morning, though it was not worse than 50m recorded earlier this week.When visibility is less than 1 km and relative humidity is less than 75%, it is reported as smoke haze or dust haze, depending on the type of pollutants. At Safdarjung, the maximum visibility during the day was 400 m and at Palam it was 700 m.Usually, it has been seen that PM2.5 and PM10 levels peak early morning and reduces gradually. But, on Saturday, particulate matter remained high early morning and soared mid-day, real-time pollution data showed. At Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram and Anand Vihar, PM10 levels soared beyond 1000 micrograms/metre cube (ug/m3), reaching a peak of 1,700 ug/m3 at Mandir Marg and Anand Vihar between 2pm and 4pm. This was 17 times the same limit of PM10, 100ug/m3.Similarly, PM2.5 levels peaked mid-day and were 12 times above safe limit. At Mandir Marg, PM 2.5 levels touched 820 ug/m3, while at Punjabi Bagh and RK Puram, it was above 795 ug/m3 and 770 ug/m3, respectively.Many scientific studies have indicated that there is a close, quantitative relationship between exposure to high concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 and increased mortality and disease conditions. PM2.5 poses several health hazards upon inhaling as they are able to penetrate into lungs and enter the bloodstream.It can also cause short-term eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, running nose and shortness of breath. Doctors also claim that exposure to PM 2.5 is associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. Met officers, though, said that conditions may improve after Monday.”We expect improvement in air quality after Monday as a change in wind pattern will facilitate dispersion of aerosols,” said a Met officer from the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, Delhi.(With inputs from Neetu Chandra Sharma)

MCD schools to remain closed tomorrow due to heavy smog

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Schools running under the three municipal corporations of Delhi have been ordered to be closed on Saturday in view of the heavy smog, the worst the national capital has faced in 17 years.”All municipal schools under the three corporations will be closed tomorrow due to the heavy smog and pollution. The order for closure is only for a day as of now. As per the situation, we may decide to close them later as well,” Leader of Opposition in SDMC, Subhash Arya said.About 10 lakh students are enrolled in the schools administered by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).”The decision was taken today at a meeting held in the wake of severe pollution Delhiites are reeling under. And, since the smog is worse during the morning, it was decided to close the schools,” said Arya, also the former Mayor of south Delhi.The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said on Thursday, while asking the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors as there is a state of health emergency due to peaking air pollution.Peak level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM10 had also violated the safe limits by over 15 times at places like R K Puram. The prescribed standard of PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, but it touched 955 in real-time during early morning hours.Admitting that the enforcement of rules for tackling air pollution was “weak”, the Environment Ministry today asked states to “strictly” implement a host of measures, including checking spread of fly ash from Delhi’s Badarpur plant and shutting down of old brick kilns.

Delhi-NCR pollution: MCD schools to be closed on Saturday due to heavy smog

New Delhi: Schools running under the three municipal corporations of Delhi have been ordered to be closed in view of the heavy smog, the worst the national capital has faced in 17 years.

“All municipal schools under the three corporations will be closed on Saturday due to the heavy smog and pollution. The order for closure is only for a day as of now. As per the situation, we may decide to close them later as well,” Leader of Opposition in SDMC, Subhash Arya said.

New Delhi: A view of New Delhi street covered with dense smog on Friday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI11_4_2016_000040B)New Delhi: A view of New Delhi street covered with dense smog on Friday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI11_4_2016_000040B)

The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years. PTI

About 10 lakh students are enrolled in the schools administered by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Nouth Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

“The decision was taken on Friday at a meeting held in the wake of severe pollution Delhiites are reeling under. And, since the smog is worse during the morning, it was decided to close the schools,” said Arya, also the former Mayor of south Delhi.

The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said on Thursday, while asking the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors as there is a state of health emergency due to peaking air pollution.

Peak level of respirable pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 had also violated the safe limits by over 15 times at places like RK Puram. The prescribed standard of PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, but it touched 955 in real-time during early morning hours.

Admitting that the enforcement of rules for tackling air pollution was “weak”, the Environment Ministry today asked states to “strictly” implement a host of measures, including checking spread of fly ash from Delhi’s Badarpur plant and shutting down of old brick kilns.

Delhi faces worst smog in 17 years, crop burning could be a major factor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national capital is facing the worst smog in 17 years, a green body said on Thursday while asking the Delhi government to issue health alerts and convey that children should stay indoors as there is a state of health emergency due to peaking air pollution.Four days after Diwali, the city’s air quality also remained in the ‘severe’ category as suspended particulates (PM2.5 and PM10) mixed with moisture leading to the formation of a thick cover of smog in the absence of local wind movement. The Delhi government’s inter-ministerial task force headed by PWD Minister Satyendar Jain to combat the pollution menace also met and identified crop burning in Punjab and Haryana as one of the major factors behind the spiralling level of pollutants.Peak level of respirable pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 also violated the safe limits by over 15 times at places like RK Puram. The prescribed standard of PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, but it touched 955 in real-time during early morning hours. Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain wrote to his Union counterpart Anil Madhav Dave requesting strict action against crop burning in the neighbouring states.
ALSO READ Delhi remains covered in smog, air quality ‘severe’On Friday, the Delhi government will raise the issue in a high-level meeting called by the Union Environment Ministry. All the monitoring stations of SAFAR had air quality in the ‘severe’ category. As visibility remained poor and the city choked due to a haze, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) asked the Delhi government to roll out stringent plans for controlling winter pollution from all sources of pollutants and issue daily health advisory to the people.”This demands emergency response to protect the vulnerable – those who are suffering from respiratory and heart diseases and children. The government should aggressively inform all and advise them to stay indoors and avoid outdoor exercises. At the same time, it should roll out stringent winter pollution control for all sources along with emergency action,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s air pollution and sustainable mobility teams.
ALSO READ Delhi wakes up to severe smog, worst air quality, post DiwaliCSE said that according to the Indian Meteorological Department, this is the worst smog with very poor visibility in 17 years and the Indira Gandhi International Airport recorded the worst levels of smog in 17 years on November 2, with visibility as low as 300-400 metres. It said the analysis of data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee shows that the levels of PM2.5 have increased by 62.7% on November 2 as compared to that on Diwali (October 30) and the levels were 9.4 times the standard on November 2.Similarly on the night of November 1, PM2.5 concentration had hit 548 microgramme per cubic metre (cum) — nine times the standard, while the following day, PM2.5 concentration increased to 696.25 microgramme per cum — 11.6 times the standard. According to air quality monitoring network SAFAR, PM2.5 levels are in severe category and are expected to remain in this category for more than three days, it said. “Delhi needs strong action to protect people from such deadly exposure. Immediately step up action and put out hard health evidences and heath alerts in the public domain to sensitise people about the harmful effects of smog and push action.”Delhi needs an effective winter pollution mitigation plan that can make a difference. Without strong action smog is only expected to get worse this winter at serious public health costs,” Roychowdhury said.

Centre stops Kerala dam across Siruvani river, claims TN govt

Chennai: The central government has stopped Kerala from carrying on activities to build a dam across Siruvani river, the Tamil Nadu government said on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala are already locked in a dispute over the Mullaperiyar Dam issue. Reuters

Tamil Nadu and Kerala are already locked in a dispute over the Mullaperiyar Dam issue. Reuters

In a statement issued in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government said the central government has decided to keep in abeyance the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee to conduct environmental impact assessment for the dam.

“The matter has been examined in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and it has been decided to keep the recommendations by Expert Appraisal Committee in abeyance till the references filed in Hon’able Supreme Court against the order of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal are settled or get a positive consent for the ensuing Project from government of Tamil Nadu,” the statement quoted a paragraph from the central government’s letter.

On 2 September, 2016, the Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously urged the central government not to accept recommendations for conducting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a dam across Siruvani river in Kerala.

The state also urged the central government not to allow any projects by Kerala and Karnataka till the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee come into force and judicial references are finally settled.

The resolution was moved and passed following the recommendations made by the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The committee at its meeting on 11 and 12 August, recommended grant of Standard Terms of Reference for conducting EIA to Kerala so it could build a dam across Siruvani river at Attappady.

Moving the resolution, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said Siruvani river is a sub-tributary of the Cauvery river which is an inter-state river.

She said the Cauvery Tribunal has taken the water available to Kerala from Siruvani river and has arrived at the sharing of waters between various states.

Jayalalitha said the central government has not informed Tamil Nadu about the proposal or that it would be considered at the Expert Appraisal Committee meeting.

Delhi pollution levels alarming, Centre summons 5 state govts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Delhi recording PM2.5 levels at nearly 21 times higher than permissible limit on Diwali, the Centre summoned governments of Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh over enforcing ban on stubble burning. The decision comes on a day the Central Pollution Control Board released its report on air quality of Delhi.The permissible limit for PM 2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic metre. Pitampura in North Delhi recorded the maximum at 1,238 micrograms per cubic metre on Diwali, which is 20.63 times higher than the permissible limits.As per the report, PM 2.5 levels on the day of Diwali (October 30) across each of the 11 pollution monitoring centres were anywhere between a staggering 4 times to 12 times of what they were the week before (October 24).For example, as compared to the previous week, Pitampura recorded 12 times higher PM 2.5 levels, while Parivesh Bhavan Centre in East Delhi recorded 11.4 times higher PM 2.5 levels.At Janakpuri, PM 2.5 levels were 8.7 times higher and at ITO, PM 2.5 levels were 7.6 times higher. Similarly, on the day of Diwali, PM 10 levels were 1.5-4 times higher as compared to the previous week. For example, PM 10 levels at ITO on Diwali were 4.3 times higher than what they were a week ago.On this Diwali, as compared to last year, PM 2.5 levels were 2-4.5 times higher and PM 10 levels were 1.5-3 times higher.The Environment Ministry has attributed the spike in pollution levels to four main factors. “It has been observed that open burning of solid waste in and around Delhi, vehicular emissions in Delhi, dust by the roadside and around construction sites in Delhi and stubble burning of crop residue in neighbouring states of Delhi are major contributors to pollution in Delhi,” according to a release by the Ministry.Accordingly, five states — Punjab, Harayna, Delhi, UP, Rajasthan — have been summoned in order to ensure effective enforcement of the ban on stubble burning. “The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has summoned the concerned secretaries on 4th November to review the situation and to further deliberate on the strategy to minimise occurrences of open burning in agriculture fields,” according to the press statement.It has also been decided that CPCB will direct local bodies in and around Delhi to check open burning of solid waste and strictly enforce rules related to prevention of gaseous emission from construction activities.CPCB will also instruct public road owning agencies in Delhi to ensure that roadsides are watered periodically suspension of dust.Delhi Police, too, will be required to streamline movement of traffic at busy intersections so that pollution due to vehicular emissions is minimised

Diwali: Authorities plead ‘no crackers’ as Delhi air gets fouler

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly all the monitoring stations active in the city said the PM 2.5 and PM 10 (ultra fine pollutants) were several times above the safe limit of 60 and 100 micro grams per cubic metre, keeping the city air in “very poor” category.For the second consecutive day, pollutants (PM 10) in Anand Vihar shot up nine times above the safe limit when checked in real-time around 12 PM as per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).Central Pollution Control Board”s (CPCB) Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram stations had the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the severe category, which affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.
ALSO READ Air purifiers, mist fountain to curb air pollution in DelhiSystem of Air Quality and weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Pune said in its Diwali forecast that if the current weather conditions prevailed, share of PM 2.5 would increase by up to 20 per cent.According to SAFAR analysis, wind, which is already stagnant, is likely to turn easterly during the Diwali period.
ALSO READ City sounds choke alarmThis coupled with falling temperature is likely to worsen the pollution level in the city.”This scenario is likely to hold the locally generated firecrackers emissions within the NCT, slowing down dispersion, resulting in increased levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollution unlike 2015 when winds swept away the larger share,” a report prepared by a team of SAFAR led by Gufran Beig said.
ALSO READ State to try new ways to fight air pollution in DelhiThe highest levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 are expected between 11 PM and 3 AM on the night of October 30 and 31. Air quality will be at its worst on October 31 and start to improve from November 1, the agency said.Centre for Science and Environment”s (CSE) Anumita Roychowdhury said the carcinogenic element in the smoke emitted by firecrackers may cause diseases ranging from cancer to imbalance of hormones.

Poops! NGT orders probe after ex-army man complains of human waste falling on houses from aircraft

New Delhi: Imagine human excreta falling on you from airplanes flying above! A former senior army man has moved the National Green Tribunal alleging dumping of human waste by aircraft over residential areas near the IGI airport here, which led the green panel to order an inspection of his South Delhi house.

Representational Image.Reuters

Representational Image.Reuters

Lt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya has sought criminal proceedings against commercial airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming the act as violation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Noting the submissions of the petitioner, the green panel directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to depute a senior environmental engineer to inspect his house and check the existence of human excreta on the walls. It also asked CPCB that if excreta was found, samples should be collected for analysis and the report placed before the tribunal.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notices to the Ministries of Environment and Forests and Civil Aviation and CPCB, seeking their replies within two weeks. Plane toilets store human waste in special tanks. These are normally disposed of by ground crew once the plane lands, but aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times. There have been instances, including in India, when people have been injured.

In his petition, Vasant Enclave resident Dahiya has sought creation of a 24-hour helpline for immediate reporting of the incident and a monitoring mechanism to check that no aircraft drops “human soil or excreta” while landing. “For past more than the week in the early morning, we found that walls and floors of the terrace of our house splattered with large patches of excreta dumped by aircraft flying in front of Palam airport at night.

This is the second time this has happened. Last time it had occurred in early October when we had spent Rs 50,000 to get the entire exterior resurfaced with fresh paint. “Diwali is only a few days away and being the festive season having recently finished fresh coating of the house exterior at considerable experience to clean up the premises. We are again faced with having our walls completed spattered with waste. We are retired people and cannot afford to have this defacement every day,” the plea said.

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Bird flu detected in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the Avian influenza outbreak in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, the virus has been found in ducks in coastal Alappuzha district in Kerala, prompting the district administration to take various measures, including forming Quick Response Teams.The outbreak of the virus in ducks in the state has been confirmed after tests of samples at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases at Bhopal, an official statement said on Tuesday.The cases of avian influenza have been reported from Thakazhi, Ramankari, Pandi, Pallippad and Kainadi, it said, adding there was however no cause for panic. Some farmers claimed they had lost a number of ducks. “Twenty quick response teams have been constituted to isolate the ducks affected by H5N8 virus and cull them,” District Collector Veena N Madhavan said.The State Animal Husbandry department advised people suffering from fever or cold not to handle the birds. It is suspected that the migratory birds which came from Siberia via Pakistan and Delhi, might have brought the virus to coastal Kerala, the statement said. Meanwhile, Alappuzha MP K C Venugopal urged the Union Government to take steps to assist the state in dealing with the crisis. Venugopal, also a former Union Minister, said that he has written to Union Agriculture Minister, seeking his urgent intervention and deputing an expert team to the affected area. He also sought adequate compensation to the farmers whose ducks have been affected. He recalled the deaths of thousands of ducks in Kuttanad area of Alappuzha and Kottayam districts in 2014 due to bird flu.Acting on reports of mortality among the birds in Delhi NCR region and other parts of the country due to H5 Avian Influenza Virus, Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had constituted a monitoring committee to oversee the outbreak.

PETA asks Centre not to lift ban on Jallikattu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports that the Centre is planning to allow popular bull taming sport ‘Jallikattu’, animal rights body PETA on Tuesday said that the ban should not be withdrawn and that it will hold a protest at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said that two giant inflatable bulls will run beside PETA supporters in a “bloodless Jallikattu” to protest the government’s reported intention to lift the ban on such bull races and bullfights.”India must not turn back the clock and allow bulls to be tormented and killed. The world is watching and hoping that the government of India will do the right thing by keeping these dangerous and cruel spectacles illegal,” said PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura.PETA India said that there are reports that the Environment Ministry plans to amend The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to allow these cruel spectacles despite Supreme Court banning them.The animal rights body said that the court’s 2014 ruling stated that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically suited for such activities and making them participate, causing them unnecessary pain and suffering. However, on January 7, 2016, the Environment Ministry attempted to overturn the ban through a Gazette notification.The notification was later challenged by PETA India and other animal-protection groups, and it was stayed by the court, meaning Jallikattu and similar events cannot currently be held. The final hearing of the case is expected to take place on November 9, PETA India said in a statement.PETA India has documented that terrified bulls are often deliberately given substances like alcohol in order to disorient them and that their tails twisted and bitten. They are also stabbed and jabbed with sickles, spears, knives, or sticks and are punched, jumped on, and dragged to the ground while three bulls even died during Jallikattu events in 2014.”When Jallikattu was permitted in the past, hundreds of human participants were injured each year and many were killed. Between 2010 and 2014, approximately 1,100 injuries to humans were reported by the media as a result of cruel and dangerous Jallikattu-type events and 17 people died including a child,” it said.

Ten ducks found dead in Hauz Khas deer park

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national capital recorded more avian deaths On Monday with 10 ducks found dead at the Hauz Khas deer park which the Delhi government described as a “sign of worry”. Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai also confirmed that three crows, that were found dead in the Sunder Nagar area, succumbed to the H5N8 avial influenza strain and that the total number of avian deaths stands at around 58. He visited the deer park along with DDA officials and doctors where the death toll due to suspected H5N8 viral strain climbed to 43 and formed a 10-member team to spray anti-virus in the area, including on birds. “Things are in control in the zoo (National Zoological Garden) but 10 more ducks died in the deer park today. So we decided that areas where birds are dying, anti-virus will be sprayed on them as well. Vitamins and garlic will be mixed in their food to boost immunity,” Rai told reporters. Both the zoo and the DDA-run deer park continue to remain shut due to the bird flu scare. The city government’s coordination committee, formed to tackle the situation, will meet tomorrow. Rai said the water of the deer park will be sent to the Bhopal laboratory to be tested. “The strain (H5N8) is not as dangerous for humans as it is for birds. There has been no report of it affecting humans across the world. Monitoring is being done across Delhi’s parks and bird sanctuaries. The government is planning to issue a health advisory as well,” Rai said. The Union Environment Ministry has formed a three-member panel to keep a watch over the developments.

Delhi bird flu scare: Over 40 avian deaths, govt forms panel to keep vigil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Avian deaths in the national capital on Saturday climbed to over 40 with 17 ducks being found dead at Hauz Khas deer park even as the Centre formed a three-member committee to keep a close watch on the bird flu situation. Authorities also sent seven bird carcasses collected from across the city for test after the control room received calls in this regard. The National Zoological Park, which did not report any fresh death, took reporters on a tour in its premises.In wake of the fresh deaths, Development Minister Gopal Rai will visit the deer park on Sunday. The Union Environment Ministry said a constant vigil is kept around the National Zoological Parks to monitor and contain the H5 avian influenza along with the state agencies and a three-member panel has been set up to keep a watch over the developments.”There is no mortality reported in the National Zoological Park in Delhi. Seventeen ducks were found dead in the Central Park, Hauz Khas,” a Delhi government report said.The city government widened its scan ambit by collecting samples from the Ghazipur chicken market which has not yet been hit.While one one dead bird collected from the Hauz Khas park was sent to lab, eight samples were drawn from the Ghazipur poultry market from live birds. Seven carcasses of birds collected from across Delhi were sent separately.”The DDA authorities have been advised to bury deep the carcasses as per the guidelines and take necessary disinfection process in Central Park Hauz Khas as mortality still continues. Disinfection process as per the guidelines of action plan has been undertaken in zoo and Ghazipur mandi,” the report added.Gwalior District Collector Sanjay Goyal said analysis of samples collected from two of the around 15 painted storks that died in the zoological park in the district, revealed the avians were infected with a new bird flu virus subtype, H5N8.Yesterday, the Delhi government had ruled out any threat to human beings due to the bird flu saying the H5N8 strain found in three samples was “less infective”. Six deaths were reported at the deer park in the national capital and the toll of suspected flu stood at 24.Meanwhile, as a confidence-building measure, Delhi zoo opened its gates to the media and took reporters around the bird enclosures.”The chances of the resident birds contracting the influenza are meek. So we are assuming that the migratory birds may have carried the pathogenic strains. However, we can be clear only when we get a word from Jalandhar and Bhopal where we have sent the samples,” zoo curator Riyaz Khan said.On being asked about the Centre-appointed committee to monitor the situation, Khan said the panel is at present looking at the guidelines and measures to be adopted in case of such deaths. Khan said no fresh deaths were reported at the zoo since the past two days. Twelve water birds, including 6 pelicans, painted storks and ducks have died at the zoo in the past week.

Bengaluru steel overpass is anti-citizen, anti-environment and citizens deserve better

Let me tell you why I think the proposed steel flyover project in Bengaluru is illegal, anti-citizen, anti-environment and, evidently, with the malafide intent of some sections of the Government of Karnataka (GoK).

Let me also submit that I belong to the forum named Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB), now representing thousands of concerned citizens, with numbers growing by the hour. This argument is a collation of many contributions, particularly owing to legal and analytical citations by Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group (ESG).

GoK proposes to build a steel flyover starting at the heart of the city, next to Vidhana Soudha, the home of both the legislature and secretariat, from Basaveshwara Circle to Hebbal flyover, with connecting ramps on Race Course Road, Palace Road, Vidhana Soudha Road and Raj Bhavan Road.

Justice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BMJustice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BM

Justice Santosh Hegde, director Pawan Kumar, Samyukta Hornad and world champion climber Manikandan Kumarwere seen joining and actively supporting the protests. Image Courtesy: Facebook/Avinash BM

The project envisages a 6.7 kilometre stretch of a six-lane steel flyover to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 2,200 crores that will save, even by the Government’s own claim, only between 7-15 minutes of travel time, bring down 812 fully grown trees and erase heritage memories along one of the most verdant and beautiful stretches of our beloved city.

GoK, as represented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the Minister for Bengaluru Development, KJ George, has declared its intent to go ahead with this project in spite of the widest public opprobrium and disgust expressed in newspapers and TV channels, on Facebook and Twitter, and a human chain protest that saw the participation of more than 8,000 concerned citizens on Sunday, 16 October 2016 along the stretch that is proposed for an ugly transformation due of this flyover.

Nearly 35,000 people have signed online petitions against the flyover proposal, over 100,000 tree lovers have opposed the project by giving a missed call to the an organisation named Jhatkaa, a Public Interest Litigation against it has been filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation in the High Court of Karnataka, and thousands of people are putting their names and signatures on ballot papers across Bengaluru saying ‘NO – BEDA’ to the flyover even as this is being typed out.

The poll ends on Sunday and a final count will be published.

But in the face of such intense opposition to the project, the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) met on 20 October, and decided to issue the work order to the contractor L&T to execute this controversial project. Mr George also told media, dismissing public anger about the project, that he would go ahead with it.

Our grounds for anxiety

1. The proposed project is being undertaken without due consultation process that is to be followed as required by the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961. The consultation followed by BDA in June 2016 was a sham, with the Government claiming 299 responses by e-mail and telephone calls, of which 73 percent apparently approved of the proposal. The Detailed Project Report, prepared more than a year ago, itself was released only on 15th October 2016, after widespread public protests, with no recourse for pubic opinion. BDA in its original notification on 27th of June 2016 neither specified the details of the project, including loss of green cover, nor the intended public space acquisition. So what were the 219 responses “approving”. The BDA has not revealed what the responses were saying, how many were by e-mail and how many telephonic. Many e-mail responses opposing the idea bounced because a wrong e-mail id was notified by BDA and when the correction was made, the window of opportunity to respond was less than 48 hours.

2. The Government has changed the project after the sham consultation, increasing the cost from Rs 1,350 crores to Rs 1,791 crores. On 19 October 2016, BDA put out a new idea, extending the proposed steel flyover to be above the existing Hebbal flyover, up to Esteem Mall, again without public consultation. This revision has not been approved by Cabinet and GoK is not revealing whether re-tendering is required. In fact, it is amending the project on a day to day basis, and now it seems the cost estimate is at Rs 2,200 crores.

3. The flyover project is an illegal project and in Contempt of several Judicial Orders. In response to a PIL filed by Environment Support Group (WP 13241/2009) against the Metro project, the Karnataka High Court had ruled that “the State Government, as also, the Bangalore Development Authority shall comply with the procedure contained in Sections 29, 30, 31, 32 and 34 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1962”. The Court had observed that the Counsels for the state and BDA “agree that the provisions referred to hereinabove, shall be complied with, without any deviation whatsoever.” While it was too late to apply this order to Phase I of the Metro, the Court had made it explicitly clear that, moving forward, in case of any violation of this law, and the Court’s direction, “the concerned officer/official shall be held responsible for his having disobeyed the order passed by this Court, as also the prescribed mandate of law.”

4. The prescribed mandate of law per the KTCP Act is that planning and development of urban infrastructure projects and concomitant changes in land use plans must involve the wide public at the stage of conceptualisation, approval and costing. The plans, schemes and budgets are to be put in the public domain and due public hearing processes have to be held to ensure there is no violation of statute or corruption in any form. The Steel Flyover proposal of BDA, pushed through by the Chief Minister, comprehensively fails this test, is being promoted in abject violation of the law and is an act that is clearly in Contempt of Court.

5. The project also qualifies as an Area Development Project per the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. What this means is no work can commence until and unless the project is approved by the Environmental Clearance Authority, and that too based on comprehensive Environment Impact Assessments and Environmental Public Hearing.

6. Another serious statutory violation in aggressively promoting the project is that BDA claims approval of the State Cabinet as a sufficient basis to get going. This is an absolutely wrong presumption. Since the enactment of the Nagarpalika Act, 1992, such projects can only be proposed after due review from economic, social, financial and environmental angles by the Constitutionally mandated Metropolitan Planning Committee, which has been formed already by GoK. Upon the approval of the MPC, the project can then be forwarded by the State Finance Commission to the State Cabinet for final approval, pending other statutory clearances, as cited above. None of these constitutionally mandated provisions have been conformed with in this case.
The project has not been placed before the MPC.

7. The knee jerk idea of extending the flyover beyond Hebbal lake is alarming. It seems that the extension will be right through the lake. This would risk the Karnataka Government being in contempt of the Karnataka High Court order in WP 817/2008 (Environment Support Group and ors. vs. State of Karnataka and ors.), in which the Court protected lakes from any further encroachment and also determined that there would be a “no-development zone” 30m from the legal limits of the lake. That zone would be extended by 2 metres for every 5 ha increase in lake area beyond the initial norm of 40 ha. Such was the concern the Court expressed against encroachment of lakes, that it also specifically directed that even walking paths could not come inside a lake.

8. No permission has been obtained from the Tree Council, set up under the High Court’s order in 2010, for mass cutting of trees. The project should not have been formulated without first debating the loss of greenery it would cause, and that after placing before the public all the viable alternatives and making a case that this steel flyover, and that alone, is the right one. This decision is in the 7th August 2014 direction of the Karnataka High Court in WP 7288/2011, a PIL taken up Suo Moto by the Court in response to serious concerns raised by then Judge of the High Court, Justice Shylendra Kumar, over the mass felling of trees in Bangalore. In this order, apart from many innovative aspects introduced to protect greenery, the Court observed “We deem it necessary to direct that felling of trees would be undertaken as an exception rather than a rule, and further that the tree officer and tree authority would fully satisfy themselves and certify that all other alternatives have been considered regarding the feasibility of the felling of trees. If any objections are received from the public, due consideration shall be given by assigning reasons.”

Several laws and the Constitution are being ignored by the Government in pursuing this project. The project is being pursued in haste. Green and heritage spaces on this road, including the Bangalore Golf Club, Carlton House and Balabrooie Guest House are under imminent threat of damage. The flyover will not only destroy the aesthetic experience of the drive along the stretch, but add to vehicular pollution and is estimated by some experts to raise the heat factor by 2-3 degrees Celsius. It will block out sunlight and prevent air flow. It will affect the health of the residents.

There are other safety and security concerns about the proposed flyover expressed by experts that are relevant to vital installations in the city and to the CM’s residence and Raj Bhavan.

Estimates for the cost of the project with public money as provided by the Governments own officers are far below the cost given in the public domain without inclusion of other costs of acquisition of land and property along its route, a part of which are in the domain of the armed forces.

All of this leads the people who are opposing this flyover to believe that this is both a gross waste of our tax money, and the entire process and costing of the same is not bonafide.

Citizens for Bengaluru will not rest till this tender is cancelled.

India’s new Hydrofluorocarbon target will eliminate one-sixth of coal-powered CO2 emissions

By Shreya Shah

According to an IndiaSpend calculation based on carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions from thermal power stations in 2012, India’s participation in a global agreement on climate change will reduce India’s greenhouse gases equal to closing one-sixth of India’s thermal power stations over the next 35 years.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

As many as 197 countries reached a legally binding agreement in Rwanda on 15 October  to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – gases that can have global warming potential up to 12,000 times more than carbon dioxide (CO2). The agreement will come into force on 1 January, 2019, and avoid an emission of 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent globally – the same as stopping more than half of tropical deforestation.

India agreed to cut the production and use of HFCs starting in the year 2028 – a more ambitious plan than India’s earlier proposal – according to a press release by Climate Action Network International, a network of non-governmental organisations working to limit climate change.

India will reduce 75 percent of its cumulative HFC emissions between 2015 and 2050, under the new agreement finalised in Rwanda, according to Vaibhav Chaturvedi, a researcher at Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a New Delhi-based research institute.

hfc-infographhfc-infograph

Developed countries will first start reducing HFCs in 2019, followed by a group of developing countries including China, in 2024. India is in the group of countries which will reduce HFC consumption last, starting 2028.

The agreement is part of the Montreal Protocol, a global treaty for reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances, and now global warming gases.

“The agreement recognises the development imperatives of high-growth economies like India, and provides a realistic and viable roadmap for the implementation of a phase-out schedule for high global warming potential HFCs,” according to a press release by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

HFCs are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs would make up 5.4 percent of India’s global warming impact in 2050, as demand for air conditioners and refrigerators rises, according to a 2015 report by CEEW. The highest HFC emissions in 2050 are predicted to come from residential air-conditioning (35 percent) and commercial refrigeration (28 percent).

HFC emissions in the world are expected to grow by 10-15 percent by 2050 and could contribute to 200 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. Preventing the rise of these emissions could reduce the warming of the earth by 0.5 degrees Celsius, according to this 2015 brief by Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a Washington DC-based advocacy and research organisation.

The new agreement for HFC reduction for a group of countries, which includes India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, is more ambitious that the previous Indian proposal for developing countries but less intensive that the North American proposal.

India had earlier proposed a plan for developing countries to freeze HFC consumption by 2031, which means HFC use and production would be highest in that year, and decrease every year after 2031. A counterproposal by North America had suggested developing countries freeze HFC production and consumption in 2021.

An earlier freeze and baseline under the agreed amendment means that India will mitigate more CO2 equivalent that its original proposal.

Under the new agreement, India will freeze HFC consumption and use by 2028, while phasing down HFCs, by 2047, to 15 percent of the average consumption and use over 2024-2026.

It would approximately cost India $16.48 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore), Chaturvedi, the CEEW researcher, said.

Another group of developing countries, including China, has agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use even earlier, by 2024. By 2045, these countries will reduce HFCs by 80 percent of the average consumption between 2020 and 2022.

Developed countries, such as the Unites States and western European countries, have agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use in 2019, and by 2036, phase down HFCs to 15 percent of the average use and consumption between 2011 and 2013.

“The flexibility and cooperation shown by India as well as other countries have created this fair, equitable and ambitious HFC agreement,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on 15 October.

India and other developing countries will be financially assisted by the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, philanthropies, and other developed countries, as they switch from HFCs to other alternatives, with lower global warming potential, IndiaSpend had reported on 14 October.

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The Indian government also passed an order on 13 October, for all producers to destroy HFC-23, a gas with a global warming potential 12,500 times that of CO2, according to the United Nations Environment Program. This will result in eliminating emissions of 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in India, over the next 15 years, according to Chandra Bhushan, the director of Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, reported Livemint.

The author Shreya Shah is a reporter/editor with IndiaSpend

J&K: Police seize over 150 pigeons being used for espionage, probe ordered

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir Police has seized more than 150 pigeons allegedly being smuggled for the purpose of espionage and a probe has been ordered into the issue.On October 5th, three people were apprehended at Vikram Chowk in Jammu after they were found carrying 150 Pigeons in Banana Boxes.They were then booked under Section 144 cruelty to Animals Act and the birds were given to an NGO called SAVE (Save Animals Value Environment).But the NGO chairman after noticing some suspicious things wrote to Deputy Commissioner Jammu who then gave orders to enquire if the pigeons were being to be used in spying activities.According to Namrata Hakhoo from SAVE, these Pigeons had some rings in their claws and special magnetic rings attached to them which raised their suspicions.Pigeons being used for spying and other untoward endeavours is not a recent development, as earlier this month, a pigeon, apparently from across the border, was taken into custody after a letter written in Urdu and addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi was found with it by BSF personnel at Simbal post in Bamial sector.On September 23, a white pigeon, apparently from across the border, with “some words written in Urdu” was found in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district.

CID begins probe to decide whether 153 pigeons seized in Kashmir are spies or not

Jammu: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Jammu and Kashmir is probing the possibility of use of over 150 smuggled pigeons for the purpose of espionage to pass on secret information to the Pakistan Intelligence Agencies across the Line of Control (LoC).

Representational image

Representational image

The CID is investigating a case in which 153 pigeons were seized by the police that were being smuggled from the Punjab border to the sensitive Pulwama district of south Kashmir, a police officer said.

“Few days ago, police seized few cartons from a Kashmir-bound vehicle in which 153 pigeons were being smuggled to the Kashmir Valley. The pigeons had strange pink marking and suspicious rings after which the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Jammu referred the case to the CID for investigation,” Sunil Gupta, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jammu, told PTI.

He said that the police has handed over the case to the CID whereas on its part it has registered a complaint under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the accused were produced in the court where they paid the fine.

“As far as the other side of the case is concerned, CID is investigating it under the directions of DC Jammu,” he said.

When contacted, the DC Jammu, Simrandeep Singh, said that he got message that the pigeons could have been used for transmitting secret messages across the border.

“The pigeons were packed in extremely cruel conditions. A case under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was filed and the court released the pigeons and the man after depositing the fine,” he said.

He said that after becoming suspicious of the strange pink markings on the pigeons and different types of rings attached to them, he instructed the CID to probe the matter before the birds are released.

“The CID is examining the purpose of special colour applied to the pigeons and whether they were any colour code. We want to be fully sure before the pigeons are released,” the DC said.

The pigeons were having different colour rings and some of them had different and special magnetic rings attached to them.

The birds have been handed over to an NGO — Save Animals Value Environment (SAVE) — and would be released only after the investigation is completed.

“The CID is investigating the case and after that decision will be taken whether to release the birds or not. As of now the investigation is going on,” the DC said.

Earlier, the authorities had received intelligence inputs that the terrorists might use unconventional means to target security installations in the region following which restrictions were imposed on the air-borne activities in the state.

Firms producing super-warming gas told to cut down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Thursday asked industries to incinerate the dangerous greenhouse gas trifluoromethane (HFC-23) that is released into the atmosphere during production of a refrigerant gas used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.HFC-23 is severely potent as it can warm the planet 14,800 times more than carbon dioxide. It is emitted as a by-product during the manufacture of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22).Environment minister Anil Dave announced this decision during the ongoing convention in Kigali, Rwanda, where countries are aiming to arrive at a deal to phase out HFCs. The order comes at a time when negotiations have entered the final stage and India is under pressure for an early phase-out of HFCs.According to climate observers and experts, India’s move is significant in two key ways. Firstly, it signals India’s proactive role in arresting and fighting climate change. Secondly, domestic industries will have to incinerate HFC-23 without financial assistance from the United Nations (UN). This will affect consumers in India as companies manufacturing HCFC-22 will pass on the additional cost to them.An official release issued by the Environment Ministry stated, “Dave clarified that companies have to internalise the cost of this environmental externality and create sufficient storage facility to take care of down time.”It is now hard for the teams from the countries that are producers of HCFC–22 to negotiate for funding from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) to create a facility for incineration or financial support to incinerate the gas, the release added. Even China is one of the countries that is seeking financial backing at the negotiations to eliminate HFC-23.Speaking on the ministry’s decision, Deputy Director General of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Chandra Bhushan, said, “With this domestic legislation to control the emission of HFC-23, India is sending a strong signal to the world that it is serious about the climate change issue.”The government order will ensure that it will eliminate release of HFC-23 equivalent to about 100 million tonne of CO2 emissions in the next five years, a CSE release said.What is HFCHFCs are greenhouse gases used as coolants in air-conditioners and refrigeration industry and the emission of these gases accelerates global warming more than carbon dioxide. The negotiations at Kigali are aimed at arriving at a global legal pact that will banish HFCs by 2050 under the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which has been instrumental in healing ozone layer over the years.India has proposed separate baseline years for the developed and developing world to begin the phase-out of these gases. It has put forth a proposal that developing economies should have a baseline year of 2028-30, giving domestic manufacturing companies enough time to transition to cleaner but largely patented technologies.

Threshold noise levels at airports reduced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The country’s existing busy airports will now have to follow stricter noise pollution norms and airport operators will have to model noise for upcoming airports. The Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has come out with draft noise standards for airports, reducing the existing threshold for noise limits. The draft notification has also issued guidelines on taking into account noise pollution during the time of environment clearances.The revised standards come in the wake of National Green Tribunal’s recent order to monitor noise limits at the Delhi International Airport. Residents of Vasant Kunj, Bijwasan and Indian Spinal Injuries Centre had moved to the NGT alleging noise violations and its impact on health. Following NGT’s orders, civil aviation ministry ordered the country’s busy airports to monitor noise levels.Presently, airports follow the Noise (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, which categorises airports as ‘industrial zones’, where the noise limits are 75 decibels (dB) during the day and 70 dB during the night.But, for existing busy airports such as Mumbai and New Delhi, MoEFCC’s new draft standards has brought down the limits to 70 dB for day and 65 dB for night. For ‘other existing airports and upcoming or new airports’, the standards are 65dB for daytime and 60dB for night time. For airport operations and noise standards, day time is categorised as the period between 6am and 10pm, while night time is categorised between 10pm and 6am. The specified limits exclude the aircraft landing and take-off noise as that breaches the 100dB mark. Aircrafts generate maximum noise during take-offs and landing and the noise levels depend on the kind of engines they use.Experts though said that already, implementation of existing standards is not practical, and even the new standards will be difficult to enforce. “It is difficult to implement these conditions and impose flying restrictions to reduce noise as most commercial flights that land in the night account for valuable business,” said Dr Satish Pande, Director, Ela Foundation and ornithologist. Ela foundation has worked with the Mumbai airport operator GKV to study bird-hits.Besides revising the noise threshold, the ministry’s draft notification has said that new airports should undertake noise modeling and also consult with the Union Ministry of Urban Development to ensure proper land-use planning. “Any upcoming airports noise modeling shall be conducted by airport operators and results should be discussed during environment clearance with MoEFCC to ensure the proper land use planning and controlled developments by MoUD and concerned state development authorities, with regards to residential, institutions and commercial facilities and other sensitive areas in the airport noise zone,” the notification said.The notification has also asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to review the noise standards every three years. Furthermore, all airports will have to make public the noise mapping details of current and future aircraft movement on the websites of Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, MoUD and MoEFCC.In addition to regulation of noise, the notification has advocated for developing sound resistance in buildings and constructions. “Development authorities shall mandate all the building, facilities and projects of residential, hospital and institutional facilities to take noise mitigation measures through proper buildings design and construction and material use.”

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung refers Delhi Waqf Board matter to CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday dissolved the Delhi Waqf Board, which was “superseded” by the Arvind Kejriwal government last year, after two of its members resigned alleging corruption and referred the matter to CBI for a probe, setting the stage for another round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation and the Centre. The LG reconstituted the board, quashing all appointments made by its incumbent Chairman and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan.Jung has directed Divisional Commissioner A Anbarasu to set up a committee to review the legality and propriety of all decisions and action taken by the Board after its constitution in March and submit a report within a month.”In view of the deliberate and persistent acts of illegality, violation of rules, allegations of corruption, possibility of malafide etc, the whole matter related to the Delhi Waqf Board is referred to the CBI for investigation,” the LG office said in a statement.Two members of the Board had earlier resigned alleging “corruption” and “irregularities in appointments” during Khan’s tenure. The Okhla MLA had, however, denied the charges.”Revenue Department’s notification dated October 8, 2015 superseding the Delhi Waqf Board and dated March 11, 2015 reconstituting the Delhi Waqf Board and orders of services department dated April 28, 2016 appointing Mehboob Alam as CEO are declared illegal and void ab initio for not having obtained the approval of the competent authority and are revoked immediately,” the statement added.SM Ali, Special Secretary (Environment and Forests), has been given the additional charge of Chief Executive Officer of the Board till further orders. Since the term of the Board, constituted in 2011, was to expire in December 2016 and five out of seven members have already resigned, no purpose is served in reviving the Board and therefore, the body is superseded under Section 99 of the Act till the expiry of its term, it said. It said Secretary (Revenue) as per Section 99(2) of the Waqf Act will exercise all powers and duties of the Board, till it is reconstituted.

India close to become ‘water scarce’ country: Uma Bharti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is close to being categorised as “water scarce”, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Friday said, citing increasing demand, uncertain availability and over-exploitation of rivers as the causes. She made the remarks at the World Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi where the Centre signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on water resources development and management with the European Union.”The holy rivers of India are getting exhausted of their natural ability to sustain themselves due to pollution from various sources. The per capital water availability in India has been on continuous decline which has put our country in water stressed category and is close to being categorised as water scarce. The vagaries of climate change are expected to exacerbate the situation,” Bharti said.Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, was present during the occasion. The Union Cabinet had approved the MoU on October 5.Vella said the agreement may not solve all the issues but it was a step in the right direction and one way of implementing water partnership through exchange of technological, scientific and management experiences.

MoEF issues notices to top gutkha, pan masala companies for use of plastic in sachets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cracking down on 20 top gutka and pan masala companies for non-compliance of Supreme Court orders and Plastic Waste Management Rules, (PWM) 2016, the environment ministry has issued notices to them, directing them to prohibit use of plastic in packaging their products. The ministry’s directions, reviewed by dna, has asked manufacturers of Gurkha, Tobacco and Pan Masala to immediately stop using plastic material in any form to follow strict compliance of Supreme Court’s directions and provisions of PWM Rules. Under Rule 4(f) of the PWM Rules, 2016, plastic material is not to be used for sachets that store, pack and sell gutka, tobacco and pan masala.”The brand owners of the units manufacturing gutka, tobacco and pan masala shall have the overall responsibility for implementation of these directions. The compliance report for the aforesaid directions and the provisions of the rules shall be submitted to the ministry within 30 days,” the ministry’s directions said. The union environment ministry can issue directions under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, for closure. Prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process or for stoppage and regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.The ministry has issued these directions to top gutka, tobacco and Pan Masala manufacturing companies such as Vimal Pan Masala, Dharampal Satyapal Group, Rajshree Pan Masala, Manickchand Pan Masala, Pan Parag and Goa Pan Masala.In a 2010 order, the Supreme Court had restrained manufacturers of gutka, tobacco and pan masala from using plastic material in sachets of gutka, tobacco and pan masala. These orders were not followed and later, in 2011, a contempt petition was filed regarding disobedience of Supreme Court’s orders on use of plastic in gutka industry. The SC had then directed the environment ministry and other concerned agencies to ensure implementation of the its orders by all manufacturers across the country.

Bengaluru’s steel bridge: Should IT hub say no to development at the cost of tree cover?

Bengaluru’s infrastructure projects have always been mired in controversy, with citizens and green activists crying foul until either the projects get scrapped or get implemented regardless of the protests.

This time around, it’s the proposed steel flyover to connect Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport Limited (KIAL) to other parts of the city that’s got everyone’s ante up.

Considered to be the longest flyover at a 6.72 kilometre stretch from the neighbourhood of Basaveshwara circle to the neighbourhood of Hebbal, the steel flyover is estimated to cost Rs 1791 crore and is expected to be completed in 24 months. The project will be executed by Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Nagarjuna Ltd, with the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) overseeing it. BDA will acquire around one acre for the project.

What has got citizens and activists up in arms is not just the traffic snarls, that the project would entail on one of the busiest stretches in Bengaluru, but that 812 trees will be chopped off along the project’s corridor and some existing flyovers and underpasses would have to be demolished too. This has begun a debate on whether the project is required at all.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

BDA commissioner Rajkumar Khatri has sought to assuage annoyed protestors with assurances that 60,000 saplings would be planted in other parts of the city. BDA has also said that the steel structures would be pre-fabricated in the L&T factories and that traffic would get affected only during the last six months of the project cycle. Incidentally, this is not the first time that the Karnataka government is talking about a steel bridge, it proposed one in Central Business District (CBD) between Minerva Circle and Hudson Circle to ease traffic, but this never took off for the want of takers.

Firstpost reached out to RK Mishra, a member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of both BBMP and BDA, who also worked on the preliminary feasibility report of the elevated corridors project. When asked whether the steel flyover was necessary at all, Mishra said, “The CBD to Hebbal/Esteem Mall stretch is extremely congested for three reasons. First, it is the only access to KIAL from South, Central and North Bangalore. Second, there is no other means of reaching the airport except by road -no Metro or Rail Connectivity. Third, the existing Hebbal flyover is not integrated with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Elevated Expressway, hence it becomes a bottleneck. So, we certainly need additional road capacity from CBD till the NHAI Expressway. Since we can’t widen the roads, we need to go elevated.

“Now whether we go steel or concrete is another debate and both have pros and cons. I don’t see any issue with the Steel Flyover per se, but my concern is on the alignment. Taking the proposed route will cause chaos during construction, has strategic danger of being the only access route and of course will require demolition of some existing magic box based flyovers/underpasses which were built not so long ago.”

When asked why Bengaluru’s civic authorities authorised projects and then went and broke them down for another one, Mishra said, “It is poor planning and waking up after the crisis has hit the panic button. Hence, we end up doing knee jerk projects like magic box based flyovers/underpasses and now this steel Flyover. The Hebbal Flyover Interchange should have been integrated with the NHAI Expressway and should have been planned for higher capacity with 4-6 lanes. But poor planning led to this chaotic situation. We are driven by projects and do no planning.”

When asked whether the metro was also not being planned on the same route, Mishra said, “Metro on this route could have been ideal. We had been procrastinating on the metro to the airport for way too long. With this steel flyover, metro on this route is dead forever.”

When asked to outline what according to him would be the best option for Bengaluru given that the green protests were also going on for the steel flyover, Mishra outlined what would work best for Bengaluru:

“They could have the Integrated Metro in the same Flyover (Steel or Concrete) as Jaipur has done or as is being done between Silk Board and Jayadeva, where same pillar has road at 5.5 Mtr height and Metro at 11 Mtr. But our planners are driven by short term quick fixes and no one guides long term planning.
We also need other access routes to KIAL. Proposed South and Southeast access roads from Nagavara (ORR) and Budhigere are stuck for long. These must be expedited.
Metro to Airport from East (KR Puram) and from West (Yeshwantpur) is a must and sooner the better.
Both KR Puram and Yeshwantpur are Railway Hubs too, hence Airport Metro from these makes logical sense.”

Meanwhile, green activists in Bengaluru have been up in arms over the indiscriminate chopping of trees to make way for various development projects in the city. Recently, activists did a kind of Chipko movement to protest the chopping of 30 odd trees to make way for the Tendersure (the SURE stands for Specifications for Urban Road Execution) project on Nruputanga road.
The green activists were also not happy when Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) went and chopped 2500 trees for Phase 1 and planned to cut down 313 heritage trees for Phase 2. Although BMRCL said that enough trees as specified by the tree officer were planted, activists were not convinced, especially as public hearings for Phase 2 kept getting cancelled.

The Times of India reports that many of the trees facing the axe including the 812 trees for the steel flyover, were planted in the 80s by the then chief minister of Karnataka R Gundu Rao. Some 15 lakhs saplings were planted on roadsides and public spaces and it is to this sustained effort that Bengaluru owes its tree cover.

Firstpost reached out to Leo Saldana, campaigner of environment protection and coordinator for the Environment Support Group (ESG). He said, “any infrastructure project should have public consultation and the state government has given an undertaking to do so.”

According to Saldana, “the proposed steel flyover has been approved by the Karnataka Cabinet in patent violation of the order of the High Court of Karnataka in the Environment Support Group vs BMRCL case issued on 16 November, 2010. HC ruled that any urban infrastructure project in the State should be undertaken only in strict conformance with the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961.”

However, as Saldana said, “Not one of the provisions of the KTCP Act have been complied with by the BDA when announcing plans to start the steel flyover.” This was not only “a comprehensive violation of the applicable laws, but also is in blatant contempt of court.”

Saldana said that the Karnataka government was constantly proposing mega projects involving thousands of crores of investments, leading to the loss of hundreds of trees and causing massive public nuisance. “This steel flyover is a cardinal example of how the project is blatantly promoted to facilitate the needs of only those who are flying in and out of Bangalore. Never has the city or state governments ever invested similar interest, money and energy in attending to the needs of those who rely on affordable public transport or pedestrian and cycling needs, and ensure their safe passage in the city.”

So then, what is the way out for Bengaluru?

Can the IT capital of India, which is in dire need of proper infrastructure, really say no to development? Yet, when development comes at the cost of improper planning and at the cost of its precious tree cover, should its citizens allow it to happen?

Bengaluru’s planners never expected Bengaluru to burst at its seams and see such unbridled growth. Almost all five year Comprehensive Development Plans are already ancient and redundant even as they’re inked and unless the city’s civic authorities understand the intrinsic nature of the burgeoning city, a lot of taxpayer money is going to be spent on infrastructure projects which will soon have to make way for another upgraded, improved version.

And what is most important is that development must go hand in hand with conservation. Ideally every person should have eight trees in a city but it is estimated that Bengaluru has one tree for every seven persons and with a population of nearly a crore Bengalureans you can do the math.

India to ratify Paris climate deal today

Sun, 2 Oct 2016-11:00am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India today will ratify Paris Agreement on climate change on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave said in New Delhi that the ratification by India will help generate the political momentum necessary to bring the Agreement in force. He said that India’s decision to ratify the Agreement has come after ensuring compliance of domestic legal requirements and internal discussions with various stakeholders.Dave said India through its participation in the Agreement, will articulate the interests of the poor and vulnerable groups, under the UNFCCC process.He further said that India led from the front last year at Conference of Parties 21 to ensure the inclusion of climate justice and sustainable lifestyles, the Gandhian Lifestyle in the Paris Agreement.

Mining disaster

Photographer Subrata Biswas documents the fallout of India’s dependence on coal to meet its energy requirements.

France welcomes PM Modi’s statement on ratification of Paris agreement

France welcomes PM Modi’s statement on ratification of Paris agreement

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New Delhi: France has welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s statement that India will ratify the Paris Agreement on 2 October, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.

File image of PM Narendra Modi. Reuters

File image of PM Narendra Modi. Reuters

In a statement, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development spokesperson said: “India’s commitment to the fight against climate change is decisive to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

Prime Minister Modi, in a speech in Kozhikode, Kerala, on Saturday announced that India would ratify the 2015 Paris agreement on 2 October.

India had submitted its ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN body on 1 October last year.

The Climate Agreement was adopted by 195 countries in Paris last year.

Getting rid of mosquitoes is no rocket science: Kejriwal flags off fogging drive

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To tackle dengue and chikungunya outbreak in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagged off the Delhi government’s month-long fogging drive on Thursday and said fighting mosquito menace is “no rocket science” if parties join hands in this effort. Even as he asked Congress and BJP workers to join the AAP supporters in the drive, he did not refrain from taking potshots at BJP-ruled civic bodies accusing them of not performing their duty in tackling mosquito menace.”There is no point in blaming each other. Mosquitoes bite Congress, BJP as well as AAP supporters. This goes on every year. This time MCD could not perform. I will not go into the reasons. All parties need to wage a joint war against mosquitoes. Getting rid of them is no rocket science,” he said. Urging volunteers of every political party to ensure that no area is left out in the drive, the Chief Minister said, “People can get their homes fumigated on request.” If the one-month experiment is successful, then fogging drive will be advanced to April-May next year, Kejriwal said.The workers, hired by a private agency, have been divided into several teams and deployed across the city to cover each and every locality. Each team, being led by a supervisor, will fumigate a lane and bylane every alternate day. “I work as a beldar. A senior labourer brought us here. We have been promised Rs 400 per day. Although I have not been assigned any area till now,” Anil Kumar, handling a portable fogging machine, said.Scores of workers were lined up outside the Chief Minister’s official residence. Thick plumes of white smoke covered the area as the machines spluttered to life around 11.30 AM. PWD Minister Satyendar Jain and a number of AAP MLAs were also present at the flagging off event.Jain said Kejriwal, upon returning from Bengaluru, was upset that there were complaints of inadequate fogging on the part of the civic bodies. At least 40 people have died due to dengue, chikungunya, malaria, in the national capital this season while nearly 4,000 people have been affected by these.Environment experts have time and again highlighted the pitfalls of excessive focus on fogging which they say does not achieve anything more than producing a feel-good effect among people. “Medical experts suggest that direct inhalation of diesel fumes (that fogging emits), combined with insecticides, can exacerbate asthma or bronchitis among those with respiratory ailments. Pregnant women, small children and old people are most susceptible to aggravation,” a report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says.However, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had assured that the fogging programme would be conducted according to World Health Organisation guidelines.

Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu reshuffles Cabinet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has made some changes in portfolios of his council of ministers. According to an official release on Wednesday, RWD Minister Kumar Waii has been given additional charge of Home while Water Resource Development (WRD), Geology and Mining minister Kamlung Mossang would handle additional charge of Food and Civil Supplies. Animal husbandry, veterinary and dairy development minister Rajesh Tacho would handle additional portfolio of Sports and Youth Affairs.Jomde Kena has been made new health and family welfare minister while his earlier portfolios of Transport, Supply and Transport, Legal Metrology & Consumer Affairs has been withdrawn and attached with Chief Minister. The chief minister also allocated portfolios to 25 newly appointed Parliamentary Secretaries out of total 26, who were sworn in on Sunday.Accordingly, Thangwang Wangham is in charge of Power (Electrical) while Gojen Gadi is the parliamentary secretary for WCD, SJETA & Land Management) Phurpa Tsering (Health Services) and Tirong Aboh (Geology & Mining), an official release informed. C T Mein has been given the charge of Environment and Forest, while Punji Mara got the department of Horticulture, Phosum Khimhun (Hydro power), Jambey Tashi (RWD), P D Sona (Tourism), Bamang Felix (Education), Markio Tado (Food & Civil Supply), Likha Saaya (Transport, Supply & Transport), Gum Tayeng (WRD), Tapuk Taku (Tax & Excise) and Kumsi Sidisow (PHED).Karya Bagang got the portfolio of Industries, Textile & Handicrafts, Nikh Kamin (Disaster Management), Techi Kaso (UD, Housing, Town Planning & Municipal Affairs), Mutchu Mithi (PWD), Pani Taram (Home), Mama Natung (RD & Panchayati Raj), Tatung Jamoh (Agriculture), Nyamar Karbak (Sports & Youth Affairs), Dikto Yekar (Art & Culture) and Zingnu Namchoom (Planning).Portfolio to former minister Jarkar Gamlin would be allocated within a day or two, the release added.

Our neighbour funding terrorists; entire world has come together to isolate Pak: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorism against India, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the entire world has come together to isolate Islamabad on the issue even as he asserted Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India and there could be “no compromise” on it.”Our neighbour is aiding, abetting, funding, trading terrorists. They have made terrorism a state policy. Entire world has come together to isolate Pakistan and condemn Pakistan(-backed) terrorism. Terrorism is not acceptable at all. We have been very clear about it,” he said, without making direct mention of Uri terror attack.The Union Urban Development Minister said, “(no matter) how many times they (Pakistan) raise the Kashmir issue, Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India and there is no question of compromise on it.” Naidu made these remarks during an event in which he renamed the Paryavaran Bhawan, located in Central Government Offices (CGO) Complex, as ‘Pundit Deendayal Antyodaya Bhawan’.
ALSO READ Handwara: Intense fight between terrorists and security forces, 1 jawan killedUnion Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also attended the event to mark the birth centenary of BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay. He said that the NDA government does not work on communal line and added that a terrorist is “neither a Hindu nor Muslim” as he pitched for “integrated nationalism”.”We should seek inspiration from our history. You may (religion wise) be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, but we all are Indians. Our ancestors are one,” he said. Naidu, while referring to the debate on nationalism, said the slogan of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is not a dialogue of any film but an act of “uplifting poorest of poor” of the country.
ALSO READ Uri Attack: Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviews Kashmir situation with top officialsThe Minister also took a veiled dig at Gandhi family for allegedly naming majority of country’s memorials, projects and institutes after its members. He termed first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as a “great patriot”, but added Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Subhas Chandra Bose “too were great patriots”.Naidu further said the NDA government is trying to name memorials, institutes and government structures after “forgotten heroes” of the country. He also lauded BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay for “guiding” people “to work for uplift of the last person in the society” as he defined the concept of ‘antyodaya’.The building, which houses Minority Affairs Ministry and other government offices, has been renamed after former Union Minister Najma Heptulla made a proposal to this regard in March this year. The building was named as Paryavaran Bhawan as it would earlier house offices of Environment Ministry. The Environment Ministry offices were shifted to a separate building called Indira Paryavaran Bhawan located in Jor Bagh in 2014.

Uri terror attack: World has come together to isolate Pakistan on terrorism, says Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: Accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorism against India, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the entire world has come together to isolate Islamabad on the issue even as he asserted Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India and there could be “no compromise” on it.

“Our neighbour is aiding, abetting, funding, trading terrorists. They have made terrorism a state policy. The entire world has come together to isolate Pakistan and condemn Pakistan(-backed) terrorism. Terrorism is not acceptable at all. We have been very clear about it,” he said, without making direct mention of Uri terror attack.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

The Union Urban Development Minister said, “(no matter) how many times they (Pakistan) raise the Kashmir issue, Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India and there is no question of compromise on it.”

Naidu made these remarks during an event in which he renamed the Paryavaran Bhawan, located in Central Government Offices (CGO) Complex, as ‘Pundit Deendayal Antyodaya Bhawan’.

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also attended the event to mark the birth centenary of BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay.

He said that the NDA government does not work on communal line and added that a terrorist is “neither a Hindu nor Muslim” as he pitched for “integrated nationalism”.

“We should seek inspiration from our history. You may (religion wise) be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, but we all are Indians. Our ancestors are one,” he said.

Naidu, while referring to the debate on nationalism, said the slogan of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is not a dialogue of any film but an act of “uplifting poorest of poor” of the country.

The Minister also took a veiled dig at Gandhi family for allegedly naming majority of country’s memorials, projects and institutes after its members.

He termed first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as a “great patriot”, but added Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Subhas Chandra Bose “too were great patriots”.

Naidu further said the NDA government is trying to name memorials, institutes and government structures after “forgotten heroes” of the country.

He also lauded BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay for “guiding” people “to work for uplift of the last person in the society” as he defined the concept of ‘antyodaya’.

The building, which houses Minority Affairs Ministry and other government offices, has been renamed after former Union Minister Najma Heptulla made a proposal to this regard in March this year.

The building was named as Paryavaran Bhawan as it would earlier house offices of Environment Ministry. The Environment Ministry offices were shifted to a separate building called Indira Paryavaran Bhawan located in Jor Bagh in 2014.

Trouble mounts for Kapil Sharma: FIR against him for violating Environment Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was on Monday registered by Versova police in Mumbai against popular stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma for alleged violation of the Environment Act.Sharma allegedly dumped the debris near mangroves behind his bungalow in suburban Versova and also undertook illegal construction near it, police said.Mumbai suburban District Collector Deependra Singh Kushwah had directed officials to conduct a survey to find if Sharma violated the Act by dumping debris near the mangroves.After the survey, the Andheri talathi filed a police complaint. “We have recorded a case under Sp LAC (special local Acts) No 87/16 U/S 15 (1)(2) Environment Act against Sharma,” Mumbai police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said.The complainant also submitted the mangrove cell report to police, he said.The bungalow number 71 at Four Bungalows area in Andheri (West), Mhada Colony, was purchased by Sharma from a businessman on November 7, 2015 and the actor had allegedly carried out some illegal alterations.Prior to this, the Oshiwara police had last week registered an FIR against the actor under section 53(7) of Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP), for alleged unauthorised construction at his flat in suburban Goregaon, based on a complaint by a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official.Sharma had kicked up a controversy earlier this month by alleging that he had been asked to pay a bribe of Rs 5 lakh by an official of BMC which, in turn, claimed that the actor had flouted norms not only in his Versova office building but also at his apartment in suburban Goregaon.He had also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet posted on September 9.Sharma has nearly 63 lakh followers on his Twitter handle and since he tagged the Prime Minister, the tweet generated sharp reactions from all major political parties, with an eye on the forthcoming civic elections.

Vanamahotsav 2016-17: Maharashtra starts green drive with two crore sapling plantation

Photos: 1 of 7

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Pilot launched for solar energy to power PHCs, for millions with no access to health centres with electricity

In a bid to strengthen the primary health infrastructure in the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research has piloted a programme to power Primary Health Centres through solar energy. Partnering with the think tank Council for Energy, Environment and Water, the country’s apex medical research body has signed an MoU to study if solar can be an effective solution for almost 33 million Indians who have to make do with primary health infrastructure with no electricity at all.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two research bodies have come together after the CEEW approached ICMR based on their own research, published in February this year as Solar for Powering Health and Education in India, that found 4.4 percent PHCs in the country have no electricity at all, which affects about 33 million rural Indians. This doesn’t even account for the centres that have power for only a handful of hours.For now, however, the programme will start small, with a few PHCs in three states. A technical committee formed by the ICMR is working with state nodal officers from across the country and, for now, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and/or Maharashtra are being considered, as they have shown an early interest in the project, Dr Arunabha Sinha CEO, CEEW, told dna. Maharashtra is in the running as it has already worked on solar energy in the past, hence demonstrated an existing interest and awareness of the process.Sinha elaborated on the criteria for each PHC, saying that the ones selected should have less than 10 hours of electricity, but an existing infrastructure for new born care, 80-90 institutional deliveries per month, 24×7 functionality and, most importantly, proper maintenance of records.”It’s not just about provision of power,” said Sinha, “but we need to establish a baseline to then measure whether there is an increase in patients, a difference in services provided, what the situation of power supply is on the ground. For that, records need to be maintained.”After the project is deployed in August, once the states are finalised, CEEW’s role will come into play in designing the infrastructure on ground, overseeing implementation and a four month evaluation. Based on such results, sates will scale up solar energy for other PHCs. A project such as this could bring down the stress on district hospitals and tertiary care centres, which currently shoulder the burden of dysfunctional PHCs.”Though states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha have more number of unelectrified PHCs, we need to start work with those that meet these criteria so that we can establish our baseline,” said Sinha. Jharkhand alone has 42.5 percent unelectrified PHCs.Though it will take 18-24 months before health metrics start changing, Sinha added, this could be a way to encourage states to take up renewable energy. It will show state governments that not only do community services increase and improve but the cost to run them through conventional power means comes down.

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