Reading Time: 8 mins Recently, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority – EPCA had declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region as the pollution levels crossed the threshold of the “severe-plus” category. The air pollution is said to reach “Severe plus” or emergency levels when PM2.5 levels cross 300 µg/m3 or PM10 levels crosses 500µg/m3. As per the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), these levels, which are about 5-times the standard, need to persist for 48 hours or more before the emergency level can be declared. This is worrisome because, according to the plan, during severe or emergency levels of air pollution, those suffering from heart diseases, asthma and other respiratory diseases may suffer the most and has a direct impact on morality. According to WHO, air pollution kills 7 million people worldwide. And the health effects of air pollution are serious – about one-third of the deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are caused by the same. It is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking tobacco.
Reading Time: 8 mins
The 14th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was held in September this year. India, along with the rest of the world, is facing crisis due to land degradation and desertification. The land degradation is not only affecting India economically but is also exacerbating the climate change events in the country. This conference seeks to answer the question on how to slow down the loss of land and biodiversity that threatens the global food security and hastens the climate change. Cooperative effort to combat land degradation is essential at this juncture as it is either directly or indirectly affecting the whole of the world. Taking this into consideration, the signatories of the Paris Agreement of 2015 have requested the IPCC to study the link between the land and climate change. According to these findings by the IPCC, the land degradation and climate change are inter-linked and unified efforts must be taken by the world to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
Reading Time: 7 mins
Poor sanitation is a primary cause of diseases worldwide = improving sanitation can have a beneficial impact on health both in households as well as communities. In order to meet the sanitation need, the government had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014. Since then, SBM became the world’s largest sanitation program by changing the behaviour of hundreds of millions of people with respect to toilet access and usage. However, there are also concerns regarding the overreporting of data, actual usage of toilets, etc. which we will discuss in this article.
Reading Time: 11 mins
Plastic Pollution is the accumulation of synthetic plastic products in the environment to the point where they create problems for wildlife and their habitats as well as for human populations.
In 1907, the invention of Bakelite brought about a revolution in the materials by introducing truly synthetic plastic resins into world commerce.
However, by the end of the 20th century, plastics have become persistent polluters of different environmental niches, from Mount Everest to the bottom of the sea.
Whether being mistaken for food by animals, flooding low-lying areas by clogging drainage systems, or simply causing considerable aesthetic damage, plastics have attracted increasing global attention as a large-scale pollutant.
Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the seas each year, choking whales and other creatures, much of it in Asia. Plastic pollution has been found across the globe, from the most remote oceanic islands to high Swiss peaks. Microplastics/Microbeads have now also been found in tap water and human food around the world, with unknown implications for health.
This big-picture article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision.
- What is the magnitude of the plastic pollution problem?
- What are the major causes of plastic pollution?
- What are the effects of Plastic pollution?
- What are some of the international initiatives against plastic litter?
- What are India’s initiatives?
- What are the challenges in tackling plastic waste debris?
- What are the solutions?
Reading Time: 7 mins Electronic waste or e-waste refers to electronic products which have become unwanted, obsolete and have reached the end of their useful life. It refers to all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of reuse.
According to Moore’s law…
Reading Time: 8 mins
One of the most serious issues arising out of the wave of rapid urbanization and the resultant lifestyle changes is the management of domestic and industrial solid wastes generated domestically as well as in different industries adjoining or inside the cities.
Not just the amount, but the nature of the solid waste is also changing with the growing share of plastics and packaging materials.
Municipal laws regulating the urban local bodies are unable to deal effectively with the growing problem of solid waste management.
One of the most important aspects of Solid Waste Management is dealing with the garbage dumpsites/Landfills of the cities- most of them being open and nearby to residential areas.
This article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision:
- Some Basic Concepts
- What is the present scenario of waste management in India?
- What are the impacts of Waste Dumping?
- What is Solid Waste Management?
- How solid wastes are managed in India?
- What are the issues/challenges with the waste management system in India?
- What are the salient features of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016?
- What are the Limitations of Solid Waste Management rules?
- What should be done?
Reading Time: 4 mins The UN Environment in its Frontiers report mentioned that Nitrogen Pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats faced by humans today and needs urgent measures from countries around the world.Nitrogen is essential for life, however, the excess nitrogen pollution has huge consequences on humans and the environment. It is 300 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas besides its negatives effects on air quality and the ozone layer.Altogether, humans are emitting a huge amount of reactive nitrogen that threatens health, climate, and ecosystems, making nitrogen one of the most important pollution issues facing humanity.However, pollution caused by Nitrogen is being overlooked by governments and they focus only on carbon emissions, thus ignoring the growing risks to health and the environment.
Reading Time: 6 mins National Bio-fuel Policy – 2018 seems to be chasing ambitious targets based on unclear plans and questionable technologies. Moreover, the pollution levels and fuel prices are only rising and our biofuels programme is becoming irrelevant because of the lack of effective implementation.