United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and coping with impacts that were, by then, inevitable.
- By 1995, countries launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, two years later, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed country Parties to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020.
- There are now 197 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
- The 2015 Paris Agreement, adopted in Paris on 12 December 2015, marks the latest step in the evolution of the UN climate change regime and builds on the work undertaken under the Convention. The Paris Agreement charts a new course in the global effort to combat climate change.
- The Paris Agreement seeks to accelerate and intensify the actions and investment needed for a sustainable low carbon future. Its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
- To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, including by, before 2025, setting a new goal on the provision of finance from the USD 100 billion floor, and an enhanced capacity building framework, including an Initiative for Capacity Building, will be put in place: thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement will also enhance transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.
- The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the international climate change negotiations, particularly the Conference of the Parties (COP), the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CMP), the subsidiary bodies (which advise the COP/CMP), and the COP/CMP Bureau (which deals mainly with procedural and organizational issues arising from the COP/CMP and also has technical functions).
India’s national commitment under COP21
India ratified the Paris Agreement exactly one year after the submission of its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), on 2 October 2016. Since India did not submit an NDC prior to ratification, the INDC became its first NDC. It includes the following main elements (Government of India, 2015):
• To reduce the emissions intensity of GDP by 33%–35% by 2030 below 2005 levels;
• To increase the share of non-fossil-based energy resources to 40% of installed electric power capacity by 2030, with help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF);
• To create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
Summary of speech of minister of forest and climate change
• India has reduced emission intensity by 21 per cent of its GDP while also being on track to achieve the goal of 35 per cent emission reduction as promised in the Paris summit in 2015.
• The minister said only six countries are on track to meet their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and India is leading the list.
• Internationally, we launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure which is a partnership to support countries through knowledge exchange and provide technical support on developing disaster and climate resilient infrastructure.
• Javadekar said India was making progress in harnessing solar, biomass and wind energy. He also listed out all the efforts being made in the country to combat climate change.
• “Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 175 gigawatt (GW) target for renewable energy under Paris Agreement. We have already achieved 83 GW. (The) Prime Minister has subsequently increased the target to 450 GW at the recent UN Climate Action Summit. We are simultaneously progressing on solar, biomass and wind energy.
• We have put carbon tax on coal production at the rate of 6 USD per tonne. Even with 36 (political) parties represented in Parliament, we could achieve this unanimously,” he said
• The minister said India has promised to create additional carbon sinks of 2.5 billion tonnes to 3 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent by increasing green cover. “In the last five years, our green cover has increased by 15,000 sq km. We are undertaking special projects like urban forests, school nursery, agro-forestry, water and fodder augmentation in the forest area.
• “India prioritises adaptation as an integral part of climate action. Therefore, India will be investing about 50 million dollars in water conservation,” he said.
- The Prime Minister of India introduced the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on 2nd of October, 2014 to promote cleanliness in public space. Cleanliness and hygiene are good for healthy living, but it becomes a need when we talk about health care facilities. Cleanliness not only prevents the spread of infection but also provides the patients and the visitors a positive experience.
- Ministry of Health And Family Welfare, Government of India, has launched a national initiative on 15th of May, 2015 to promote cleanliness and enhance the quality of public health facilities. The purpose of this initiative is to appreciate and recognise their effort to create a healthy environment. The name of this initiative is “KAYAKALP”. Swachhta guidelines for health facilities along with this initiative have also been issued.
- Health facilities are assessed and scored on number of parameters, and every year the highest scoring facilities at each level receive recognition through KAYAKALP awards that carry cash apart from citations.
The awards would be categorised as follow:
- Best two District Hospitals in each state (Best District hospital in small states).
- Best two Community Health Centres/Sub District Hospitals (limited to one in small states).
- One Primary Health Centre in every district.
The parameters on which the performance of the facility would be judged are as follows:
- Hospital/Facility Upkeep
- Sanitation and hygiene
- Waste Management
- Infection control
- Support Services
- Hygiene Promotion
National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS)
National Quality Assurance Standards have been developed keeping in the specific requirements for public health facilities as well global best practices. NQAS are currently available for District Hospitals, CHCs, PHCs and Urban PHCs. Standards are primarily meant for providers to assess their own quality for improvement through pre defined standards and to bring up their facilities for certification. The National Quality Assurance Standards are broadly arranged under 8 “Areas of Concern”– Service Provision, Patient Rights, Inputs, Support Services, Clinical Care, Infection Control, Quality Management and Outcome. These standards are ISQUA accredited and meets global benchmarks in terms of comprehensiveness, objectivity, evidence and rigour of development.
Quality Certification program for public health facilities has been launched with aim of recognizing the good preforming facilities as well improving credibility of public hospitals in community.
- Given the capacity constraints of ULB’s and multiple challenges of sustained sanitation, it was important to follow a graded approach to sustainability while capacitating the ULB’s along side.
- ODF protocol was launched in the beginning where an independent third party would certify a city as ODF on satisfactorily complying with protocol requirements.
- ODF is defined as the condition in which the city/ward at any point of the day, does not finds any person defecating in the open.
- The next logical level was ODF+ protocol for maintaining acceptable levels of cleanliness of the public toilets. ODF+ is defined as the situation in which the city/ward does not find any person defecating or urinating and public toilets are functional and well maintained at any point of the day.
- But a major problem still persists, the unsafe discharge of untreated faecal sludge into water bodies and drains is even more harmful than OD. Hence, next level would be ODF++ protocol to address the issue of complete management of faecal sludge and septage.
- ODF++ is the level when all the faecal slude/septage is safely managed and treated with no discharge into the drains and waterbodies unless treated.
- After the management of faecal sludge the next big challenge was the flow of grey and black waters from kitchen into the drains thus polluting the water bodies. Given the water crisis that our nation is facing, Water Plus protocol was launched.
- Water Plus is the condition when no untreated waste water flows into the open drain along with ODF+ and ODF++ protocol.
Water Management: Building a Resilient Nation
In large part due to drastic environmental shifts, the variability in rainfall in certain regions of India has contributed to more and more drought-prone conditions. At present, approximately one-third of the country is either drought prone or under desert areas. This has increased the vulnerability of communities dependent on agriculture and demands on the local water sources leading to resource mismanagement and geological distress.
Good practices related to water management
Environment and Community: How Maharashtra is investing in women’s EI leadership for sustainable development in water-stressed areas.
- ‘Women-led Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Resilient Practices Project’ or W-SHARP was implemented in 2018 to test the effectiveness of risk-informed planning driven by local contexts and communities such as those of Marathwada, especially during lean periods, March to June, when water availability is at an all-time low.
- The project took an innovative approach by positioning women as key change agents who charged forward in mobilising their communities, local bodies, and government.
- The project integrated the question of sustainability and gender empowerment in all its various approaches. Women community leaders, ‘Arogya Sakhis’ (health friends), were selected and trained by UNICEF and the implementation partner to promote hygiene, water security, and climate-resilient agricultural practices.
- One key outcome of this project was to encourage community participation in local governance and foster partnership with relevant government and civil society institutions This allowed W-SHARP to provide spaces for peer learning exchanges and dialogue fora.
Household-level Engagement: The Arogya Sakhis mobilised women,s groups in their villages to discuss information and practices relevant to good water management practices at the household level. Women learned about and practiced reusing waste water, water budgeting, adopting groundwater management via soak pits, and other water-saving techniques.
Community-level Engagement: Communities were engaged in discussions on climate resilient practices and options for livelihoods. This includes adaptive sustainable practices; conscious shift to bio fertilisers; improving soil health, biodiversity conservation, and water efficient technologies etc.
Convergent Governance: A unique aspect of this project was the use of National flagship programmes to empower the communities. Construction of soak pits, toilets and adoption of new agricultural innovations were done through convergent funds. Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and ATMA (Agricultural Technology and Management Agency) funds jointly provided access to Rs. 6,35,00,000.
W-SHARP aimed to sustain ,,A gender responsive and resilient community with food and water security in drought prone areas”. Rightfully so, its biggest achievement was the emergence of women leaders.
Many of the accepted interventions have been introduced through women as the change makers – women who are at the forefront of facing climate variability in their daily lives – who tackled challenges head-on and redesigned what sustainable practices means to their communities. W-SHAM has proven that a small step has been taken towards this goal, and these steps taken together lead to a healthier, stronger, and more resilient community.
Environment and Governance: story of fluorosis mitigation in rajasthan
- Fluoride contamination in ground water is endemic in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan (UNICEF). Rajasthan in particular, possesses more that 51 percent of the total number of Indian villages affected by fluoride (Development Alternatives 4).
- Rajasthan also encompasses the highest levels of fluoride discovered in the country; with people in several districts in Rajasthan consuming water with fluoride concentrations up to 24 mg/l (UNICEF). There is water shortage in Rajasthan since it is made up of arid land and is largely a desert.
- It also experiences low levels of rainfall during monsoon season. For this reason the demand for water exceeds supply, and with a state that is largely dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry, ground water is overexploited, causing levels of water supply to fall, and leading to an increase in the concentration of fluoride in the remaining ground water reserve.
- Fluorosis continues to be an endemic problem. More and more areas are being discovered regularly that are affected by fluorosis in different parts of the country. Children in the age group of 0 to 12 years are most prone to fluorosis as their body tissues are in a formative/growth stage during this period. Expectant mothers are also to be protected, as there is a growing concern about the affects of fluoride on the fetus.
- This case study was intended to look into aspects of social exclusion in RIFMP(Rajasthan Integrated Fluorosis Mitigation Programme), a project implemented under a tripartite agreement between PHED, UNICEF and the NGOs, which aims to provide safe drinking water and improve the health of those that depend on ground water.
- In light of the scope of this research, it was found that RIFMP has been a socially inclusive intervention. BPL families living in hamlets that were covered under Phase I of the Programme have received DDUs(Domestic Defluoridation Unit ) free of cost, irrespective of caste, color and creed. In this way the programme was successful in including the poorer communities of lower caste groups.
- Although the Government is subsidizing the cost of DDUs for APL families, some are still reluctant to purchase DDUs as they fail to understand the worth of purchasing them or have misconceptions about its use due to lack of awareness. There is a direct relationship between the extent of awareness and the usage of DDUs. There is a positive correlation between those hamlets that have received high levels of social awareness activities and use DDUs.
- Hamlets that have had frequent IEC activities, such as documentary films, banners, wall paintings, and puppet shows. The beneficiaries from these villages use DDUs daily and moreover, APL families are more willing to buy DDUs. The water testing and regeneration activities were more frequent in the hamlets where the Animator is located, whereas visits for water testing and regeneration were less frequent in villages that were far from the Animator’s home.
Overall, the Programme has positively impacted the quality of life for the beneficiaries. DDUs have provided direct relief from stomach problems, and joint pains. The project has been successful in containing the spread of the fluorosis and especially, safeguarding the interests of young children and expectant mothers in the community.
Role Of Community Radio In Disaster Management And Climate – Change communication
Community Radio in India: a brief introduction
- In December 2002, the Government released a policy that allowed well-established educational institutions to set up Community Radio Station.
- The Government in November 2006 implemented new Community Radio Guidelines permitting non-profit organizations to own and operate community radio stations.
- At present 276 community radio stations are functional in the country.
Community Radio is useful in:
- Speaking to communities in local languages using terms and phrases that are easily and locally understood.
- Communicating local knowledge, needs, and demands beyond the community to inform policy, research, and other communities.
- Bringing together people from frequently disconnected stakeholder groups such as livelihoods, community leaders, Organizations and governance.
- Community Radio and Disaster Management:-
- The presence of community radio in every phase of a disaster (mitigation, preparation, early warning, response, recovery and revitalization) is essential.
- It enables the exchange and sharing of information and dialogue among residents as well as the enhancement of the community’s capability and of self-governance ability.
- Community radio strengthens community voice and provide platform for access of knowledge regarding climate change and disaster management.
Community radio can play a crucial role in disaster management via assisting the community at 3 stages:-
- In the pre-disaster stage community radio stations can provide guidance regarding its preparedness.
- Information regarding gathering locations and safety shelters can be disseminated and programmes regarding sanitation and first aid measures can be broadcasted.
- Another important task is broadcasting warning signals in case there is a calamity foreseen or likely to occur.
- It breaks the barriers of literacy and economic status in bringing people together in times of disaster.
- It can reach to those areas which cannot be reached by other forms of communication.
- While television networks break down almost instantly in face of natural disasters, radio carries with it the potential for continued functioning in such times.
- At the time of a disaster, most forms of communication are disrupted barring radio signals; Community radio can help the community link with the relief agencies and Government control room.
- It can help in disseminating rescue operation information by location specific stations.
- Information and announcement regarding vulnerable areas, which require immediate evacuation, can be broadcasted and the community members can be guided to safety shelters where they can access aid and rescue facilities.
- Locals can call in and provide firsthand information regarding the ongoing in the affected areas.
- Having a medium of communication in their own language or dialect can help in the strengthening the morale of the community.
- Post-trauma counselling and updates on relief and aid can be part of content being broadcasted.
- Community radio provides an indigenous solution to a problem that is being faced at a large scale in the country these days.
- It can be an important component of rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.
- The need is to build the capacity of operating personnel of community radio and equip them to handle and disseminate disaster-related information in an optimal manner.
During forest fires in summer, landslides in monsoon, etc. rural communities constantly struggle and their isolated situation does not help the cause. Community radio has power to organize and provide information and connect these communities to the much needed aid and relief.
Emerging Civil Society Initiatives in Agriculture
- Agriculture of today is witnessing several sustainable initiatives by farmers to improve farming techniques and to prop up their livelihoods and income.
- Government too has, in a way, recognised this changing landscape of agricultural development. The recent conferment of Padma Shri awards to 12 such farmer-leaders in 2019 is a case in point. All the awardees have been encouraging fellow farmers through their own practices as well as structured trainings.
Innovations in Agriculture
- One of the Padma Shri awardee Vallabhbhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, developed a highy yielding variety of carrot the ‘Mudhuvan-Gajar’ by decades-long selection for better yield, size, and shape. This variety is also amenable for processing. The Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute tested this variety and endorsed its cultivation.
- Experimenting with cauliflower cultivation since 1970, Jagdish Prasad Parikh from Rajasthan developed ‘Ajita Nagar Selection’ variety for better size and quality. It can be cultivated without much chemical use and the crop tolerates heat wave conditions.
- Ram Saran Verma from Barabanki of Uttar Pradesh shifted to cultivating tissue-culture banana in 1988 and developed better crops each following year by developing suckers from the best banana plant with the help of tissue culture.
- Sultan Singh demonstrated use of re-circulating aquaculture systems (RAS) for fish cultivation in adverse climate with very limited use of water in Karnal of Haryana.
- Another innovation in dairy farm management by Narendra Singh from Panipat of Haryana was also awarded.
Minimizing Chemical Use:
- Reducing chemical use by following organic methods of agriculture has been the focus of many of these awardees. These include yadlapalli venkateswara rao from Hyderabad and bharat bhushan tyagi from bulandshahar etc.
- They also organize training for farmers on best agricultural practices and on ways for preserving local cultivars of several crops. Examples include Babulal dahiya for paddy cultivation in Madhya Pradesh and kamala pujari in Orissa for paddy, turmeric and sesame.
- They encouraged fellow farmers to adopt better agronomic practices by demonstrating virtues of intercropping and crop rotation.
Diversification of Agriculture:
- Some of these awardees moved against traditional cropping pattern. Rajakumari Devi (Bihar) experimented with food crops in place of mono-cropped tobacco. She promoted innovative agronomical methods of cultivation as per the terrain with the knowledge of soils, value addition and marketing.
- Kanwal singh from sonepat, Haryana, introduced cultivation of babycorn experimently in 1997 in place of traditional wheat and paddy and reaped higher profits.
- A desert like area around Hulikal village of Ramnagar in Karnataka was transformed to green belt by the dedicated efforts of Saalumarada Thimmakka by growing more than 8000 trees.
Shifting Consumption Patterns:
- The efforts of yadlapalli venkateswara rao to familiarise the beneficial nutritional effects of consumption of minor millets have been altering the consumption pattern in states of telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
- As the priority shifts from food security to nutrition security, the focus of the policy makers is moving towards micro-nutrient dense foods like minor millets and pulses, often called ‘orphan crops.
- The Government of India declared 2018 as the National Year of Millets for promoting cultivation and consumption of these foods. It re-designated coarse cereals like sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, and minor millets as nutria-cereals in 2018.
- All this is in the ‘Decade of Action on Nutrition’ (2016-25) as per the United Nations under SDGs.
Urban Agriculture through Terrace Gardening:
- It is desirable to produce as much as possible using urban agriculture methods.
- The most crucial of the urban agriculture is the rooftop gardening that can make use of unused open spaces to provide food for the family, apart from reducing carbon load on environment.
- While there are plenty of hobbyists and family-and-friends farmers, neither the Governments nor the non-profit organizations have recognized the full potential or need of the process.
- The activities of these Padam Shri awardees has to be viewed as a trend of emerging private initiatives in various parts of the country in the challenging area of agricultural extension.
- These private initiatives have to be tailor- made to the welfare needs of masses and adopt a practical approach to agriculture diffusing good agricultural practices suited to disparate agro-ecological zones.
- Their efforts will achieve better results when they work in tandem with governmental and quasigovernmental agencies on addressing key challenges of the times.
Managing Electronic Waste
Electronic industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing industries. It has provided some leverage to the socio-economic and technological growth of the developing society of India. However, it creates new environmental challenges- “Electronics Waste” or “e-waste” that consists of obsolete electronics devices. Solid waste management, which is already a critical task in India, is becoming more complicated by the invasion of e-waste, particularly computer waste.
Advances in IT during the last century has radically changed the life of Indians but its mismanagement has led to the new problems of contamination and pollution.
What are the challenges?
- Personal Computers (PCs) contain certain components, which are highly toxic, posing environmental and health challenges. This fast growing waste stream has been accelerating because the global market for PCs is far from saturation and the average life span of a PC is decreasing rapidly.
- Rapid economic growth, coupled with urbanisation and a growing demand for consumer goods, has increased both the production and consumption of electronics and electrical equipments.
- While having some of the world’s most advanced high-tech software and hardware developing facilities. India’s recycling sector is still underdeveloped. Most people are unaware of potential negative impact.
- When these products are dumped in landfills or incinerated, they pose health risks because of the hazardous materials they contain.
- Improper disposal of electronic waste leads to the possibility of damaging environment as well.
- The Global E-waste Monitor, 2017 published by the United Nations University estimated that India generates about 20 lakh ton of e-waste annually, nearly 82% of which is personal devices.
Effects on Air, Water, and Soil:
- When electronic items containing heavy metals are improperly disposed, these heavy metals leach through the soil to reach groundwater channels which eventually run to the surface as streams or small ponds of water.
- Burning of e-waste in open landfill for obtaining gold and other precious metals produces fine particulate matter and causes cardio-vascular and pulmonary ailments in children.
- Drinking water contaminated with lead affects the central and nervous system and causes poor brain growth, dwarfism, hearing disability, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.
- Since, these chemicals are not biodegradable; they persist in the environment for long time, increasing the risk of exposure.
Some solutions addressing the issue:
- The product designers must ensure the longevity of the products through their re-use, repair, and/or upgradability features.
- Stress should be laid on use of less toxic, easily recoverable and recyclable material.
- Recycling and reuse of materials are next options to reduce generation of e-waste.
- Recovery of metals, plastic, glass, and other materials reduce the magnitude of e-waste.
- Policymakers need to address all related issues ranging from production and trade to final disposal, including technology transfers for the recycling of electronic waste.
- Clear regulatory instruments adequate to control both exports and imports of e-waste and ensuring their environmentally sound management should be in place.
- All vendors of electronic devices shall provide take-back and management services for their products at the end of life of those products.
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) authorisation has been provided to 726 producers by the CPCB. It specifies the collection targets for the specified time (five years); but unfortunately, no independent mechanism has been put in place to check or verify the claims made in authorisations resulting in slack implementation.
- Recently, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has developed a guideline on uniform inventorisation of e-waste in the country.
- Only 1.5 per-cent of e-waste generated in India gets recycled. Lack of awareness about e-waste and its recycling as well as the role of the unorganised sector are the added challenges to the problem.
- The base metals which can be reused are lost and result in soil contamination due to unorganised and crude dismantling.
- A consumer of an electric or electronic device is not apprised of the end of value chain of the product. Often, information is not provided along with the product packing about the e-collection centre for the product sold.
- The responsibility of the consumers is also not specified along with the product.
Mitigation of Carbon Footprint
- Global warming with the burgeoning anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (400 parts per million from 280 ppm CO2, emissions of pre-industrial era) has been altering the climate, eroding the ecosystem productivity and sustenance of water, thus affecting the livelihood of people.
- The anthropogenic activities such as burning fossil fuels, power generation, agriculture and industry etc are responsible for increasing GHG footprint of which 72% consume CO2.
- GHG footprint needs to be in balance with sequestration of carbon to sustain ecosystem functions.
- Forests are the major carbon sink (about 45%) that aid in mitigation global warming.
- The land use land cover (LULC) dynamics leading to deforestation and land degradation is the prime driver of global warming due to the loss of carbon sequestration potential as well as emission.
- Carbon sequestration potential of western ghats confirms that forests of western ghats are incredible reservoirs of carbon stock and biomass.
- Carbon footprint is contributed by emissions from the energy sector (68%), agriculture (19.6%), industrial processes (6%), LU change (3.8%) and forestry (1.9%), respectively in India .
- India has committed at the Paris Climate Change Agreement to reduce its emissions by 33-35% by 2030, which necessitates immediate implementation of carbon capture (with afforestation of degraded landscapes with native species, regulations of LULC change) and de-carbonisation (through large-scale implementation of renewable and sustainable energy alternatives).
- For this, stringent norms must be developed towards
(1) potential of ecologically fragile regions,
(2) dis-incentives for continued higher emission based on ‘polluter pays’ principle,
(3) adoption of cluster-based decentralized development approaches, and
(4) incentives for reduced emission.
Water and food security towards sustainable and healthy living:
- Alternations of landscape structure in the catchment areas influence the hydrological regime leading to variations in the hydrological status.
- Diverse microorganisms interact with plant roots and soil helps in the transfer of nutrients from the soil to plants and the soil is porous.
- Fragmented governance and the deteriorating ecological ethics with the lack of vision among the decision makers are the principal reasons of deforestation and land degradation.
- Streams with its catchment dominated native species vegetation (>60%) have higher soil moisture and groundwater in comparison to the catchment (of seasonal streams) during dry spell of the year. It facilitates farming of commercial crops with higher economic returns to the farmers.
- Thus, catchment integrity plays a decisive role in sustaining water for societal and ecological need.
- Ecologically fragile regions such as western ghats needs to be conserved on priority to sustain the agriculture and horticulture in the peninsular india.
Development and Environment: Maintaining the Fine Balance
• The Stockholm Conference 1972, on the “human environment” brought to light the urgency of
tackling environmental problems through various efforts.
• Environment is a critical challenge to continuation of our growth and to the extent of which growth
translates into improved quality of life.
• The purpose of economic development in any region is to provide opportunities for improved living
and jobs to people. While industrial development invariably creates more jobs in any region,
possibilities of adverse effects on the environment also increase.
• Environmental protection measures have become necessary for development and to sustain
environment at the same time.
Sustainable Development could maintain the balance
• Sustainable development does not end with sustainability of environment and resource system;
it also requires sustainability of economic and social systems.
• Development and environmental protection can easily go together. It would be better to begin new
projects with built-in environmental safeguards rather than to make haste only to regret later.
India’s effort in Creating Environmental Safeguards:
• India’s installed capacity of diesel generating sets forms a third of its total grid connected capacity.
As a deterrent, incentives for both capital investment and power generation by solar rooftop have
• The growth in clean technology will further help in making sustainable and safe environment. For
example, sustainable mobility solutions can increase access while reducing congestion and
• The Government has launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It is a long-term, time
bound, national level strategy to achieve 20 to 30 percent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentration
• The UNFCCC defines “climate change” as a change in climate attributed directly or indirectly to
human activity that alters the composition of global atmosphere.
• The efforts needed to address climate change include mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
on one hand and building adaptive capacities on the other. India is committed to the UNFCCC and
• India inked Paris Climate Change deal to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to
well below 2 degrees Celsius.
• India announced its new plan, also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contribution,
(INDC) in 2015 (175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022).
• To a large extent, an effective pollution regulating system will reduce the emissions of green house
• At the operational level, the industries have to be closely monitored by a responsive and
• There is need to improve the capabilities as well as strengthen our regulatory institutions.
• The Central and state pollution control boards are understaffed and often lack infrastructure.
There is an urgent need to strengthen these agencies by recruiting professionals, taking up R&D work
and provision of better infrastructural support.
Plastic Waste in Construction and Road Making
Plastic garbage is commonly seen around the country and has started causing several problems. Plastic waste clogs drains, causing floods. It chokes animals who eat plastic bags, etc. Plastics found in fields blocks germination and prevent rainwater absorption. Recycling plastic can be done only 3-4 times and melting the plastic for recycling releases highly toxic fumes.
Plastic in road making
- A Government order in November 2015 has made it mandatory for all road developers in the country to use waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, for road construction. This is to help overcome the growing problem of plastic waste disposal in India. The technology for this was developed by the ‘Plastic Man’ of India, Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan, Professor of Chemistry at Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.
- The plastic waste items that can be used for road construction are various items like plastic carrybags, plastic cups, plastic packaging for potato chips, biscuits, chocolates, etc.
- For every kilo of stone, 50 gms of bitumen is used and 1/10thof this is plastic waste; this reduces the amount of bitumen being used.
- The process is easy and does not need any new machinery.
- Plastic waste helps increase the strength of the road, reducing road fatigue.
- These roads have better resistance towards rain water and cold weather.
- Since a large amount of plastic waste is required for a small stretch of road, the amount of waste plastic strewn around will definitely reduce.
- This process has generated an additional job for rag pickers. This process has generated an additional job for rag pickers.
National Voters’ Day 2020- Electoral Literacy for a Stronger Democracy’
- Mandate for universal equal suffrage emanates from Article 326 of the Constitution. The Mandate was further enhanced with the Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1988 that reduced the voting age to 18 years.
- National Voters’ day is celebrated on 25th January since 2011 to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India. ECI was established on this day in the year 1950.
- The main purpose of the celebration is to encourage, facilitate, and maximise the enrolment, especially for the new voters.
- Theme – 2020- Electoral Literacy for a stronger Democracy (In 2019 it was- No voter to be left behind).
Some of the innovative steps taken by ECI:
- ECI launched the Electoral literacy programme under SVEEP and by now about 5.8 lakh Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELC), Chunav Pathshalas, and Voter Awareness Forums have been set up across the country. These forums work on the principle of engaging the target populations through hands- on experience on the electoral process.