Monday, 30 September 2013

wildlife week in India

Today is the first day of India's Wildlife Week .(October1-7, 2013).
Let us reaffirm our commitment to preserve ecology , biodiversity , wildlife , forests and environment .

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ozone Layer Preservation Day

Today is 16th September,2013(Monday).It is International day for Preservation of Ozone Layer.Ozone layer depletion was observed since the 1970s in two ways:
1.A steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of Ozone in Stratosphere.
2.A much larger spring time decrease in Ozone layer over Earth's Polar regions, especially the Antarctica.
                        The consequences of Ozone layer depletion  are Skin cancer, Cataract , Lower immunity and damage to plants.Due to efforts of all the nations, there is some success in controlling the Ozone layer depletion .There is a clear evidence of decrease in the burden of Ozone depleting Substances(ODSs) and signs of Ozone recovery .But the long life of ODSs like CFC means that it may take another 75 years to go back to values like those of 1960s.In February 2013, Ozone hole over Antartica was the smallest in the past decade.So there are signs of hope.
                                   The Montreal Protocol was adopted on September16,1987.At present , 197 countries are a party to Montreal Protocol.India became a party to the Montreal Protocol on 17th December,1992.Under the Protocol,production and use of 96 ODSs was controlled .India was using 9 out of these 96.On December 19,1994,the UN General Assembly proclaimed September16 to be the International day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.It was first celebrated on 16th September,1995.Today is 19th  International Ozone Layer Preservation day.
                                   The nine ODSs India was  using in 1992 were:
1.CFC ChloroFlouroCarbon(3 types)
2.CTC carbon Tetra Chloride
3.HCFC hydroChloroFlouroCarbons
4.Methyl Chloroform
6Halone(2 types)
The seven major industries in which these nine ODSs were being used were:
4.Solvent sector
6.Metered Dose Inhalers(MDI)
7.Fire Extinguishers
India has successfully phased out the production and consumption of CFC,CTC,Halons on 1st January,2010, except in MDI.India has agreed to phase out HCFC by January1,2030.The same is the success story the world over.The success story of the Montreal Protocol gives us a hope that the nations of the world are capable of cooperation for the common good.It also shows that the governments , industry, civil society can work together for meeting other developmental and environmental challenges.
                                    However we cannot rest contented.In India, we have replaced CFC by HFC.But HFC as well as HCFC  are 10,000 times more potent than Carbon dioxide in causing Global warming .So we have preserved Ozone layer but caused Global warming .The Montreal protocol does not place any restriction on HFC.Also there is a huge cost of transition from HFC to Safer options ,which do not cause Global warming.The USA is trying to link Ozone preservation to Climate protection efforts.India has to take a view, as climate protection is covered under Kyoto Protocol.Next meeting of parties of the Montreal Protocol is due in November,2013 in Bangkok.We need to create public opinion to opt for policies that contribute to Ozone rich but less warm atmosphere.We have to keep our atmosphere healthy and pollution free ,in line with the theme"Healthy Atmosphere,the future we want"This is the message of International day for Preservation of Ozone Layer,2013.
                    I have been told that one out of every four citizens of Australia suffers from skin cancer because of Ozone hole in Antartica and Southern Hemisphere.If it is true,(I wish ,it were wrong) there is an urgency  to fight Ozone depletion , especially in Southern Hemisphere.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

What needs to be done for our environment?

This evening(September 7,2013;Saturday),I had the opportunity to attend  an international event on environment organized by the City Montessori School.It was attended by 65 teams  of students  from Nigeria,Sri Lanka,Bangla Desh , Nepal as also from various states of India.It was a delightful, meaningful and well-organized event.I have witnessed very few events of this kind , where the message was driven home to everyone present, without any doubt.I was asked to say a "few words".What follows is a summary of what I spoke  there.
                               Chief Seattle said:"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors.we borrow it from our children."Chief Seattle was the person after whom city of Seattle is founded.Seattle , the city of Microsoft,,Boeing and Star Bucks , is clean and green , as i found in my visit to this city in May this year.What Chief Seattle meant was  that we must have an attitude that this Earth is to be preserved and made cleaner and greener for the posterity.
                                      Environment has to be conserved by the government as well as by the citizens.Neither the government alone , nor the citizenry alone can do it .It has to be a combined effort.
                                    At government level , it is muti-departmental,multi-disciplinary  area.As many as fourteen departments are involved as follows:
4.Housing/town and country planning.
5.Urban development/Urban local bodies.
7.Non-conventional energy.
10.Panchayati Raj/Rural local bodies.
11.Health/family welfare.
12.Medical education.
14.Public Works,Roads, and Buildings.
So high level of skills of co-ordination are required to get results out of these fourteen departments.
                      in addition , there are a large number of laws and rules relating to pollution control and environment protection .One has to really struggle hard to keep oneself updated on these legal provisions.Some of the important Acts and Rules are as below:                 
1.The water(The Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act,1974.
2.The Air(Prevention and Control of pollution)Act,1981.
3.The Environment (Protection)Act , 1986.
4.The hazardous Wastes(management , handling and transboundary movement)rules,2008.
5.The Bio-Medical Waste(Management and handling)Rules,1998.
6.The Plastics Manufacture , Sale and Usage Rules,1999.
7.The Municipal Solid wastes(Management and Handling) Rules,2000.
8.The Noise Pollution(Regulation and control)Rules,2000.
9.The Batteries(management and handling)Rules,2001.
10.Energy Conservation act ,2001.
                      A third  aspect of environment is to work out a comprehensive environmental pollution index.Central Pollution Control Board  with IIT , New Delhi worked out a Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index(CEPI) based on air , water and land pollution .According to this              
 study,eleven most polluted  cities/industrial clusters/areas in UP:
Critically Polluted(CEPI is 70 or above) . 
1. Ghaziabad . 87.37.
2.Singrauli .81.73.
3.Noida . 78.90
4.Kanpur  . .78.09
5.Agra . 76.48.
6.Varanasi-Mirzapur . 73.79
These six areas are critically polluted.
Severely polluted areas;
7Moradabad ..64.71
8.Aligarh . .63.83.
9.Firozabad . .60.51.
10.Mathura . 59.98
11.Meerrut . 59.38
The state government has  got 52.5 million trees planted in the last 3 months and has developed 60 green lungs in 58 districts , with areas ranging from 50 acres in many districts  to 1000 acres in Etawah. It has decided to go ahead  for  declaring Pilibhit Forests as Tiger reserve.
               Here is my list for what a common citizen can and should do to preserve and improve environment .
1.Enhance the green cover.
2.Learn and implement three R's of environment:recycle,Reuse,Reduce.
3.Adopt an eco-friendly way of living and dying.Make green buildings, do rainwater harvesting, consume less water, conserve energy and practice ecological intelligence.
4.Say "Yes" to gender equality in all walks of life from education to providing washrooms .This will reduce population explosion.
5.Education has no meaning without learning to conserve and environment should be taught together.
6.Maintain highest standards of cleanliness and non-pollution.
7Respect diversity and bio-diversity.
8.Use eco-friendly transport,public transport and pooled transport.
What is needed is a belief system and an attitude about environment  in every person on the above lines.