Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Is World Environment Day 2018 over

Dear All, 

Though the 'World Environment Day' celebrated on the 5th of June every year, is officially over.
I believe that everyday is environment day since our lives are completely dependent on the environment resources in all our day to day activities. I would like to list down the major environmental resources that we access daily.
The first and the most essential resource required for life on earth is water that is fetched from the lakes and the rivers for us right into our homes through the tap water.
Forest produce helps us procure the raw materials required for our clothing, furniture, housing cosmetics etc.
All the forms of energy renewable and non renewable that we use for cooking, heating, lighting, cooling, travelling and entertainment all comes directly or indirectly from the environment.
Availability of fresh air another most important resource for our survival is freely available in nature.
Soil/land plays a crucial role in providing us the food and the shelter which form part of our basic needs.
Today all these resources are either terribly polluted or nearing to depletion due to over exploitation by us through our lifestyles, behavior, unsustainable development or simply ignorance.
Hence it is crucial for US to acknowledge these threats and ACT in a sustainable manner since OUR survival is under threat without the appropriate environment.
With the help of the image below let us learn to connect with nature in our daily activities.
source: www.tes.com

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Sustainably Smart city

Dear All, 

I have been travelling in the last few weeks to a lot of places from Vizag-Delhi-Tokyo-Mexico-Pune and all the while I missed blogging, however after this long journey, I would like to share some of the insights of my journey through the sustainability lens. 

For conducting carbon audit of Laya Resource centre, I got an opportunity to visit Visakhapatnam (Vizag in short). Vizag is one of the smart city having a coastal ecosystem with clean beaches having toilets considering disabled people which is rarely seen. The streets and beaches were free from plastic wastes to an extent though there is no official ban! However, in the wave of beautification, the city has set up several statues of babies and wildlife all around the city which made the city look colorful but a bit weird! 

Meanwhile I could attend a RWA (Resident Welfare Association) meet where citizens gathered to discuss waste management issues in their areas which I feel is a good step towards attaining sustainability through citizens' participation which is otherwise not a common thing in Vizag.   

India Gate, Delhi
Happened to visit Delhi yet another smart city in the making, which consists of rich cultural heritage worth seeing (amidst the heavily polluted air and extreme weather pattern). The people in the city seem to be used to the drama happening in and around the city and have become resilient to it. Especially the safety issues, religious protests and terror attacks and all is quite a norm for all. On other hand,  where I attended a conference on #youthwagingpeace by UNESCO MGIEP. I could see a lot of young Delhites advocating for peace against violent extremism in the name of religion, caste, gender, safety, education etc. Met a 17 year old Rohingya community boy educating his community as a social service since he believes that education alone can help improve the situation of his community. I feel that the youth undertaking such initiatives in the city like Delhi can be a wise and sustainable way forward for the capital city. 

Then I landed in Tokyo, en-route to Mexico where I was to attend the conclusion event of my Mentoring for Leadership program on #EducationforSustainableDevelopment. I had a layover of 11 hours at the Tokyo/Narita airport. The airport is huge, it displays various forms of Japanese art and theatre through art galleries inside the airport. Even here I noticed that the washrooms were designed inclusively for the safety and support of mothers with babies, for blind by having braille and audio visual facility, disabled friendly and very user friendly. Inclusiveness which is one of the key aspects of sustainability is so well imbibed in their approach that portrays Sustainable smartness.  

Finally reached Mexico, and my program was held in the University of Guanajuato in Leon, a small city around 380 kms away from Mexico city. I got an opportunity to present our work on Sustainability in the public space of the University and was appreciated by all the people who visited the stand. From here I traveled to the heritage city of Guanajuato. The city is situated in a valley and is full of alleys which makes it walking and biking friendly. Its a good way to connect to the city and also good for health. The city has several tunnels for the cars and buses to move in and out of the city. Various aspects of sustainability could be seen in and around the city that makes it a livable city.

All the above aspects can be easily adopted in Pune city to make it a Sustainably smart city. Our city is rich in culture and heritage. Especially the central part of the city if kept free from four wheelers can be maintained and promoted as the heritage area of the city. The activeness of the citizens and the youth in the city make it a vibrant and live city which can ensure good governance in the city. Appropriate use of ICT can make our city disaster resistant and user friendly. Waste management and conservation of our natural resources will make us a ecologically robust city.

So what is holding us back from being a Sustainably Smart city???

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

My City My Responsibility - River ecosystem services

Dear All,

In my last blog we saw how river revival done in an appropriate way, can enhance the river ecosystem and in turn provide us with lots of benefits. These benefits that we get from a healthy river ecosystem are known as ecosystem services offered by the river. 

The picture below shows the different categories of services offered by our rivers. These are provisioning/supplying, regulatory, cultural and supporting. 

Source: Ecosystem and their services

Though transportation is one of the supplying services offered by the rivers, I feel there are serious problems with the way transport is being proposed for Mula - Mutha river system. More about this next week!

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My City My Responsibility - River revival

Dear All, 

Wetland patch in Mutha riverbed showing good fish and bird diversity
The above image is of the wetland patch that is seen near the mhatre bridge and which should be preserved as mentioned in my last blog. 

With reference to the comments that I have received in my last blog, I would like to say that, yes we need river rejuvenation program and not river development. But what does river rejuvenation or revival means. Rejuvenation or revival simply means restoration of river to its original form. 

In case of our rivers which smelled of fishes as per one of the comments, which means getting back the same water quality that is suitable for aquatic life in the rivers. With the riverfront development plan happening we as citizens should advocate for the quality of water in our rivers such that it can allow fishes to thrive and supply potable water for all. Such services provided by rivers are also known as ecosystem services. We shall see more about in the next blog. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Need sustainable Riverfront Development

Dear All, 

In the last blog we saw a pair of 'now' and 'future' pictures from the draft riverfront development plan. The whole idea behind sharing the pictures was to make citizens aware  that such development is happening on our river and we have the right to know ... and question. Development is indeed important, but one must look behind the glamour in order to ensure that it is sustainable.
Considering the comments from both online and offline sources I can say that definitely citizens don't want our riverfront to be concertized to such an extent in the name of places for public interaction, clear a grassy bank and have a couple of lonely trees in the name of aesthetics, and lots of pigeons (!) in the name of biodiversity (as depicted in the proposed view). Click on THIS LINK to access the information on riverfront development.  

As Shailaja Deshpande of Jeevitnadi rightly mentioned that even a common citizen who has nothing to do with ecology and river dynamics would still like to have a good mix of green cover and rock structures along the riverbank instead of all pavements. 

Also she pointed out that we should have inclusive access to the river, or in other words easy access to differently-abled people which is still not reflected in our planning though we know about its importance. 

While undertaking a stream mapping study along the river stretch near Mhatre bridge last year, my colleagues and I came across a beautiful wetland patch that needs to be preserved. Aditi Deodhar of Brown leaf foundation and an active member of Jeevitnadi said that similar wetland patches exist near Vitthalwadi river stretch as well which are currently being preserved by a community of enthusiastic people in the neighborhood through the program of adoption of a river stretch  initiated by Jeevitnadi

Holistic approach and considerations of local ecosystem in the area are must while planning development. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Glimpse of riverfront development

Dear All,

Today I am posting one of the pictures from the draft riverfront development plan so that you get a glimpse of the riverfront development strategy.

Kindly post your comments on the below pictures with reasons, any suggestions for making riverfront development better are welcome. Looking forward to your comments!

Source: Draft Riverfront development plan, Pune

 Pournima Agarkar.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My City My Responsibility - River an Ecosystem

Dear All, 

We saw how grey water footprint is increasing in our city and why there is a need for urgent action to save our rivers. For the same, current approach considers river to be a single entity and concreting or beautifying the riverbank is seen as the solution to restore our rivers. However, it is important to understand that a river is an entire system that consists of living (aquatic plants, animals and microorganisms) and non living (physical and chemical) components that interact with each other with the help of energy and form an ecosystem. And the area that is drained by a river is known as the catchment area or a watershed. Considering this watershed and its linkages is a crucial aspect in any river restoration program, which is clearly missing in the current river development strategy. 
Mutha river, Pune

Our rivers are the source of freshwater for us. Hence preserving our river is very important for our own survival. Also note that our river is part of our natural heritage and needs to be conserved for our future generations.

On the same lines I came across a very interesting and thought provoking message. 
Title: Water
Grandfather saw it in River
Father saw it in Well
We saw in Tap
Our children will see it in Bottle
Where will our grand children see it in Capsule???

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Water Footprint of Pune

Dear All, 

Last time we saw how water is required in everything that we use and is present in everything that we consume. So today lets see what is water footprint and why it is so important??? 

Water footprint is the amount of freshwater that is either consumed or polluted or wasted in the production of goods or services. Thus water footprint is the combined measure of direct and indirect usage of water. Its important to know your water footprint simply because the source from where the water is acquired is very crucial. There are three different components of water footprint based on their source and are termed as green water footprint, blue water footprint and grey water footprint. 

Green water footprint is the water that is sourced through precipitation and is captured in the root zone of the soil, thus used by plants or the food that we consume. Blue water footprint is the water that is sourced from the surface or groundwater reserves in order to consume or produce any goods. While grey water footprint refers to the freshwater that is used to dilute the polluted water. This freshwater is the one that comes from our rivers or our groundwater sources. 

In Pune our polluted water is directly let into our rivers with or without treatment making our freshwater sources completely polluted. It also pollutes our groundwater sources like our wells and streams through percolation. Hence in Pune out of the three water footprint components the grey water footprint is alarmingly high thus turning our rivers into wastewater streams.

Mutha river Pune

Water is essential for life. Access to safe and clean water is therefore a necessary condition to the Right to Life that our constitution gives us. We must therfore advocate for keeping our rivers ecologically and sustainably clean and flowing. From this perspective, we also need to critically examine the riverfront development in Pune which fails to consider the riverine ecosystem against short term commercial interests.

We shall see what is a riverine ecosystem in the next blog. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

My City My Responsibility - World Water Day

Dear All,

On 22nd March we saw world water day. I am sure all of us are taking efforts to save the visible sources of water. However, I think as a citizen we can save more water that is not visible. Since water is required in the preparation of almost everything, if we start consuming consciously. We can still save a lot of water. The below image shows the amount of water required in the production of these products and thus seem to be invisible.

Just keep a watch on your water usage to keep track of your water footprint.  We shall see more on water footprint and virtual water in the next blog. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Waste Management Miracle

Dear All, 

Pune is one of the SMART cities and is still facing the challenges of managing waste in the city. I think its time we start taking management lessons from sustainable initiatives undertaken by small towns in making waste management a miracle. One such story is about a small town named Vengurla around 400 km from Pune under the leadership of Mr. Ramdas Kokare. 

Mr.Ramdas Kokare
Mr. Ramdas Kokare the former Chief Municipal Officer of Vengurla (now posted at Karjat) believes that apart from waste segregation at source, public participation is equally important for the city to be clean. Vengurla is a small town having around 12,400 people and generating almost 7 tonnes of wastes daily. 100% of the wastes is segregated into three different categories at the source like the wet, dry and hazardous. The wet waste is used for biogas generation producing electricity that powers machines used in the waste management facility. The dry waste is further segregated into 19 different types based on its reuse. All the nonrecyclable plastic is shredded, mixed with bitumen and used in road building making the roads more stronger. It was Mr. Kokare who implemented this in the town and transformed the waste landfill into waste management park. His management strategy simply involved taking rounds around the city just before coming to the office and while returning home, in order to see if the city is clean. He also motivated his subordinates to do the same! He and his subordinates personally talked with a certain number of people daily to educate them about the importance of waste segregation.  

Pune being an urban area having educated and active citizens is still struggling with segregation of wastes at the source into just wet and dry. Disposal of all the wastes is another issue completely. Our landfill sites are overused and people staying around the sites have to cope up with the nuisance. I cannot understand where does the problem lie? Are we not taking the Swach Bharat mission seriously? 

Mixed waste segregation
But then I feel people's participation is missing? Can the responsible citizens among us take inspiration from Mr. Kokare? Can we  educate each other about the importance of cleanliness in our surroundings in order to ensure a disease free locality? Can we advocate for segregation if we see someone not segregating the waste? Can we cooperate or coordinate with our local officers to ensure that our areas are clean? Can we ensure segregation of wastes into wet and dry and keep our sanitary wastes separately to ensure the hygiene of the waste collectors and processors?Segregation is a crucial first step. As Mr. Kokare says, mixed waste is a nuisance but segregated waste is a wealth. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Towards River Revival

Dear All, 

Our city is full of role models because of which I feel fortunate to be a Puneite. These people not only motivate you but also create an awakening within you to do something for the city.  

One such personality is Mr. Vinod Bodhankar. He began with a citizens movement with the One hour per week for the city - an initiative to clean the garbage that other people throw around the nalas/streams or rivers. He believes that River is our mother and to ensure that our rivers are clean we need to understand that the waste we throw 'away', goes nowhere but right into our rivers polluting them.  

Later on, he initiated the SagarMitra Abhiyan in 2011 with the help of 150 students where each student had to collect plastic from his household for a month and get it to the school where it was then purchased by the Plastic Manufacturers and Recyclers for recycling. This initiative spread rapidly in the city through various schools and in six years i.e by Jan 2017 almost 4.8 lakh citizens of Pune city adopted the waste plastic segregation at source. Around 50 tons of plastic was fetched and given for recycling at zero cost of recollection and transport. 

From his work, it is very clear that awakening among mind and heart is required in order to awaken the hand for action. For the same, this Abhiyan focused on understanding a basic ideology that land slopes into stream, stream slopes into a river and a river slopes into an ocean. Hence when you throw plastic waste on land it ultimately goes into our oceans where the life below water suffers. We do see images where plastic is found in the stomach of the fishes and turtles by killing them. Sometimes resulting in even extinction of some species of fishes and destruction of some ocean ecosystems.

Awakening among the school going children with the help of this basic concept has impacted in segregation and collection of huge volumes of plastic waste from their homes to recycling. The sense of responsibility, understanding, involvement and service that the children have shown through this act can be easily replicated by all of us. 

If each of us decide to segregate only plastic from our household (which can be easily done) and send it to recycling. We will be contributing towards river revival and can save our rivers and the life below water for sure. Lets act upon it. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Development versus Environment

Sustainable Development

Dear All

Our city is witnessing varied developmental challenges that threaten the very environment of the city both socially as well as ecologically. Few of the development issues that we are facing today is the construction along the riverside and dumping debris and untreated sewage into the river. Allowing construction in the Green and no development zones, de-reserving plots from a bird sanctuary and opening it up for construction and illegally shifting the blue and red flood lines of our river to allow construction etc. This is indeed a threat to our natural resources i.e land, rivers and biodiversity. 

I am seriously worried about our development that doesn't account for our environment. I am not against any new development in our city. I mean that we are in an era of Sustainable Development, where Environment and Development should go hand in hand. For the same, a lot of thought has to be put from social, environment & climate change and economic perspective, while considering any development in the city. With Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that we have in front of us to be met by 2030. We as citizens need to understand what is sustainability and act as watch dogs to see that our government is indeed adhering to it. We as citizens have the right to ask our developers about their decisions time and again. 

However this is one side of the coin on the other hand its time that our bureaucrats understand sustainability and start incorporating it. They should take conscious efforts to study the area before undertaking any sorts of development in that area. A lot of brainstorming needs to happen in order to understand the socio-economic inequities, ecological and climatic conditions of that area. Meanwhile it is important to maintain transparency as well by publishing the information online for local and national level experts and scientists for scrutiny. With the smart technology that we have today its very handy to share information and make right use of the same. Its quite feasible to accelerate this process through the use of technology even though it is time consuming. Since today's development projects are not full proof, it activates the environmental enthusiasts opposing the same which results in delay of the project as well as enormous financial losses. Ultimately its the common man who has to bear the burden through price hikes or taxes. 

As citizens its in our hands to be the guardians of our city and accordingly envision our city. We have the right to ask our local authorities about our surrounding development. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Climate Friendly Lifestyle

Dear All, 

While we as a species are struggling to cope up with the rapidly changing climate and its impacts. It has become very crucial for us to adapt ourselves to the existing situation Sustainably as well as to develop the capacity to recover from the impacts. The first step towards such initiative is about knowing the science behind climate change and how real it is. We at Samuchit Enviro Tech are involved in conducting a Climate Friendly Lifestyle Workshop for the same cause where one can understand his or her contribution to climate change and tune into lifestyles that are in harmony with our ecosystem. Here we educate people on the science of climate change and the way forward by measuring their impact through a simple carbon footprint calculator.  

Last weekend, Earthcare Designs Foundation and Abhivyakti Media for Development gave us an opportunity to conduct this workshop at their premises in Nashik, Maharashtra. Total 26 people participated in this workshop. Participants came from varied fields ranging from doctors, architects, writers, social researchers, green building consultants, students etc. It was a mixed group of active citizens already doing their part to make their city sustainable. This workshop enabled them to measure their lifestyles in terms of climate friendliness and the way forward in terms of going low carbon. 

On calculating their carbon footprint, it was noteworthy that two people from the group had their footprint less than one ton CO2 equivalent which means that they are living a low carbon lifestyle already. While the others had a footprint of more than two tons, they were very curious to know how the two people managed to live within the limits of two tons of CO2 equivalent as per the desired norm. Out of this curiosity, the group decided to have a meeting once in a month or so where they discuss their lifestyles and how to go low carbon in a sustainable manner. Also when I added them in our whats app group it was fascinating that the people whose footprint was less than one ton shared how use of LEDs and walking or cycling wherever possible directly reduced their footprint drastically. If each of us start incorporating such small steps, we can definitely make our planet a better place.  

Photos of the workshop

I would like to thank the team of Earthcare and Abhivyakti, especially Anita Borkar and family for hosting the workshop and for overall arrangements. 

If you want to measure your contribution towards Climate Change and live a Climate Friendly lifestyle kindly write to me on pournima@samuchit.com. We conduct this workshop every month in Pune, Maharashtra. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Rainwater Harvesting

Dear All

Last week we saw, how a terrace gardening initiative can make our lives simply Sustainable. Similarly we are going to see more of such initiatives and one such initiative is rooftop rainwater harvesting.

I am sure everyone has heard about harvesting rainwater, however one may find it difficult to implement it in an existing set up. Or may find it a tedious and a costly affair or may be you think you don't need to harvest rainwater since you have enough water today. Kindly note that the benefits of harvesting rainwater are not limited to an individual, they are linked to all of us locally as well as globally.   

Let us look at a local initiative undertaken by a retired military official Col. Shashikant Dalvi in his society. In 2002, Col.Dalvi shifted to a society in viman nagar after his retirement, he became the Chairman of the society. While reviewing the annual and monthly bills of the society, he saw that the society is spending maximum on water due to the use of water tankers. At that time, PMC water supply was inadequate in the area and hence the society depended on water tankers for fulfilling their water demands. Though there was one bore well in the society, it had lower levels of water and could run only for half an hour and hence was not used. Col. Dalvi realized that temporary investments in water tanker was not a long term solution. So he learnt about rooftop rainwater harvesting and thought of using the freely available natural resource i.e. rainwater. Though rainwater is available making it usable water it needs to be harnessed.

Col. Dalvi initially tried using only 1/3rd of the terrace area for collecting rainwater and saw the amount of rainwater that could be harvested. He found that the society could cut down on 50% of their water tanker usage. So in 2003, he made arrangements to collect entire terrace water in an underground tank through pipes and a primary filter (jali). This resulted in zero usage of water tankers in the society. The tentative cost of setting up such an initiative in their society was approx. Rs. 50-70 per sq.ft at that time which is a one time cost. As per the PMC scheme, the society received a 5% rebate on property tax for implementing rooftop rainwater harvesting. This project inspired many societies around and they installed rooftop rainwater harvesting system. National Water Academy, Pune has included a visit to Col Dalvi's housing society as a part of their course syllabus to study the functioning of the project. Also its noteworthy that the water levels in their bore well increased and it could run for six to eight hours now due to percolation of water. 

Rainwater harvesting system ensures healthy and clean usable water for all, even for those who are dependent on groundwater sources. In case if you want to harness your rainwater, you can contact Col S.G Dalvi at 9860577364 or visit his organization Parjanya rainwater harvesting consulting at www.parajyarwh.com 

Pournima Agarkar.

P.S. While buying a new home just ensure if the building has rooftop rainwater harvesting system. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Terrace Gardening

Dear All, 

Veena Godbole's terrace garden
Is it really difficult to change our habits and shift to sustainable living? 

There are many citizens in Pune city itself who are living a sustainable lifestyle. Lets see what has driven the change in them. 

Veena Godbole: I got introduced to her through Dr. Priyadarshini Karve. She's a middle-aged women who just does not allow any of her kitchen waste out of her house. She has developed a beautiful terrace garden by using her household wet waste and cultivates her own vegetables and fruits. Of course, it takes a lot of dedication and effort to undertake such an initiative. But we can start with one vegetable or fruit. 

We saw in earlier blogs that wet waste generated in our household is quite a lot, and it is very easy to reuse it in our own garden or potted plants. If all of us ensure that our kitchen waste should not go out of the house, I think there will be a time when we may fall short of wet waste, and will have to borrow it. Something like this happened with Veena, she had to tie up with the local vegetable vendor for more wet waste. 

So, its like hitting two birds with one stone.We are resolving the problem of wet waste management at our end by forming a closed loop system where the waste of one product, acts as source of nourishment for another product and the cycle goes on. 

Think about it!

If you are also involved in doing something sustainable, please post a comment or write to me! Also if want to visit Veena Godbole terrace garden let me know.
Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My City My Responsibility - The World is a family

Dear All,

In the last week I got a chance to attend a session on India and the World - A history in nine stories by Neil MacGregor at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts. India and the World - A history  in nine stories is a unique exhibition in collaboration between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) in Mumbai, the British Museum in London and the National Museum in Delhi, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Tata Trusts and the Getty Foundation. 

With regard to this exhibition project Neil MacGregor narrated landmark events that occurred in India which show strong connections India had historically with the rest of the world. India has always promoted sharing of ideas as well as knowledge, spices, textiles, and treasures etc., with the rest of the world. India has been an integral part of the cultural history of the world and thus we also inherit a global culture. Mr. MacGregor rightly used the term that the World is a family. This made we feel like a global citizen already and thus could relate to Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam as it is said in Sanskrit.  

History has a record showing we as Indians being global citizens, which is something to be proud of, but it also should carry a sense of responsibility towards the world. Why are we being so self centered today? I mean in spite of facing impacts of climate change, environmental pollution and socio-economic inequities in India and the whole world. Our vision document for 2020 gives priority to economic development giving social and environmental aspects the last priority. Recently we all heard about Cape town in South Africa going to run out of water completely, experiencing a Day Zero by mid May 2018. We are not far from this situation if we fail to understand the impacts of our choices on people, economy and environment locally and globally.

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Our rights and duties

Dear All, 

We just witnessed the 69th Republic Day. Being a democratic nation our Constitution gives us certain rights and endows us with certain duties. Our environment is linked to our rights in such a way that it is the basic human right to live in a pollution free environment.

Regarding the same lets see how our Constitution relates to Environment.

The Article 48-A bestows upon the State to protect and improve our environment and safeguard our forests and wildlife. 
The Article 51A (g) endows us as citizens with a fundamental duty,“to protect” the environment from any kind of pollution and also to “improve” the environment quality if it has been polluted' .
The Article 21 states that 'no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by Law.

We as citizens are facing several environmental issues like pollution of air, water and land ultimately depriving many of us from life which is our basic right. Hence it is crucial for us to understand our duty towards our environment.   

In short our duty to protect and improve our environment is essential for our right to life.  

Happy Republic Day!

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Our attitude matters!!!

Dear All,

While learning Sustainability and working with different people on executing Sustainability, I came across something that is very basic to humans, its our own behaviour, attitude or way of looking at resources. People's behaviour and their approach towards resources is one of the reasons that led to consumerism and hence unsustainable production.

I realized this, while conducting an activity for undergraduate students on using resources sustainably. The students were divided into two groups of three each. Each group was given a set of 12 coins and each one from the group was instructed to pick up as many coins as they wish from the set. The rule was to pick at least one coin from the set in order to survive in the game. They were not supposed to communicate with each other while playing the game. Once all the students were done with picking the coins, whatever coins remained in their set, exactly same number of coins were provided to the group for playing the next round. We played four such rounds. 

Note that, here the coins represent a renewable resource available to us. At the end of the game, the group that had at least 6 coins remaining in their set was using their resources sustainably.

One of the two groups ended up exhausting all the coins by the third round, so that effectively none of them survived in the fourth round. The other group managed to have a few coins left over at the end of round 4.

We asked the students what did they feel while playing the game. Their answers reflected on the various human behaviours we see in society. While the rule was to have only one coin for survival, only one student had figured out that having leftover coins at the end of each round was necessary for survival, and that the best strategy was to pick up only one or two coins in each turn. One of the students in a group having left with no coins at the end of the game simply mentioned that she was thinking only for herself and didn't want her colleagues to have any coins at all. 

It is noteworthy that in the instructions we had never mentioned what would be the 'win' state. Most of the students worked towards amassing as many coins in their own hands as possible. Some tried to figure out a strategy that would maximise own benefit while leaving a balance on the table in order to get additional coins for the next round, but other members of the group did not quite catch on to the strategy, as no communication was allowed among the group members.

I feel that in every situation having an attitude of considering our fellow beings is crucial, because if all the coins in a set would be over the entire group would be out of the game. Having a greedy attitude will lead us nowhere, inspite of having resources that are renewable. And now that we are going towards the use of renewable sources of energy, its important to use them wisely as well.  

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Cradle to Cradle

Dear All,

Do you know that the rate at which we are using our resources to produce new stuff everyday, we will require three Earth like planets to fulfill our needs by 2050. Is it possible to get more planets? Are there any other Earth like planets from where we can get more resources?

The answer is NO, we have only ONE EARTH and we have to fulfill all our needs within the boundaries of this planet only. Its just like having a savings account in a bank from which you can withdraw only what you have deposited not more. Unlike a credit card where you can use more but then you are in a debt and for which you have to pay extra interest as well. If you cannot pay back the debt with interest, you are going to go bankrupt! Currently we are in a debt to our planet in terms of resources, in order to compensate we have to take some conscious measures.

Measures like conscious consumption and efficient consumption by using the 4R's i.e. refusing, reducing, reusing, and recycling can save our resources to an extent. But we will be more effective if we take certain measures while we are producing the stuff.

We saw the concept of lifecycle which  is the entire journey of any product right from the time its born till its death, also known as Cradle to Grave. However, there is nothing like death in nature, everything that dies is used up by other organisms as their food and is thus part of a natural cycle. For example we all learnt about the food chain in our schools. After the predator its the decomposers or bacteria who mix with the soil and help in the growth of the plants or producers. 

Can we produce or manufacture, using this Nature's concept also known as Cradle to Cradle by making industrial processes more innovative and efficient, where the waste of one product becomes source for another product. 

As consumers can we demand such production pattern? If yes, please comment with an example if you know of one!

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Benefits of responsible consumption

Dear All,

Since we have been consuming a lot, if we are now considering our resources while consuming its great news!!! We now know that consuming stuff in a responsible manner is helping us conserve our resources and ultimately our planet. Do you realise that there are bigger benefits of consuming in a responsible manner? 
Linkages of Responsible Consumption

- Reduction in overall wastes generation

When we start using the principles of R's i.e refuse to buy new stuff (unless required) reduce, reuse and recycle our stuff. We start contributing towards generating lesser waste as an individual that leads to overall reduction of wastes ultimately. For example, its about avoiding unnecessary wastage of food according to the United Nations Development Programme, 40% of the food produced is India is wasted.

Reduction in overall Pollution

Wastage is also an indicator for pollution,the moment we reduce wastage, pollution reduces. Pollution of air, water and soil is directly related to the amount of waste that is generated and treated. Today we are generating more wastes than nature can treat and hence we are facing huge levels of pollution. 
Using alternatives that are environment friendly can help us reduce pollution.

- Better Health and Wealth

Reduction in pollution will definitely result in better health quality due to the reduced illness and diseases. This will at least ensure saving our money that is spent in paying the hospital bills. For example, demanding a better managed and affordable public transport for daily commute can keep you both healthy (less vehicles on roads means less air pollution) and wealthy (not having to invest in own vehicle).   

Better Earth

Earth is a biosphere that is home to other living creatures as well, which are vanishing rapidly due to the increased pollution and resource stress created by us. Responsible consumption and equitable use of resources ensures their survival as well making the Earth a better place for all to coexist happily.

Responsible consumption is just one side of the coin, the other side is responsible production and we shall talk about it in the next blog. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Quest for Carbon Negativity Part 2 शोध कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीचा भाग २

In the previous blog, I talked about how converting garden waste to char can take you towards carbon negativity, as against burning in open air or composting the garden waste. But charring also opens up other easy to use ways to reduce your personal impact on the environment. 

मागच्या ब्लॉगमध्ये बागेतल्या पालापाचोळा व काडीकचरा उघड्यावर जाळण्याऐवजी किंवा त्याचे कंपोस्ट करण्याऐवजी त्याचा कोळसा करून आपण कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीकडे कसे जाऊ शकतो, याबद्दल मी बोलले होते. पण कोळसा आपल्याला पर्यावरणावरचा आपला व्यक्तिगत अनिष्ट परिणाम कमी करण्याचे आणखीही काही सोपे मार्ग उघडून देतो.  

* If you add the char to your garden soil, it will help retain moisture and create more space for soil bacteria to reside in. Thus, the water requirement of your garden will reduce, and your soil will become more fertile, reducing the requirement of any kind of fertilizer. As your garden becomes more efficient in producing plant biomass per unit resources put in, you are indirectly contributing to the natural process of removing carbon dioxide from air.

* जर तुम्ही हा कोळसा आपल्याच बागेतील मातीत मिसळून टाकलात, तर तो ओलावा धरून ठेवतो, आणि मातीतील जीवाणूंना रहाण्यासाठी अधिक जागा उपलब्ध करून देतो. यामुळे आपल्या बागेची पाण्याची गरज कमी होते, आपली माती अधिक सुपीक होते, आणि आपली कोणत्याही प्रकारच्या खताची गरज कमी होते. आपण मातीत घालत असलेल्या संसाधनांच्या तुलनेत जैवभार निर्माण करण्याची आपल्या बागेची कार्यक्षमता जशी वाढत जाते, तसे आपण हवेतील कार्बन डायॉक्साइड काढून घेण्याच्या नैसर्गिक प्रक्रियेला अप्रत्यक्षरित्या हातभार लावतो. 

* Char has the capacity to capture and hold organic molecules. You can therefore use the char as organic deodorizer in your toilet, closet, or car, thereby avoid using chemical air freshners. This is another indirect contribution to reducing carbon emissions by replacing a product that is transported over long distances with a local product and also reducing air pollution. After a couple of months of use of the organic deodoriser, the char powder can be put into the soil to improve the soil quality and we also help remove the carbon from air. 

* कोळशामध्ये सेंद्रीय रेणू पकडण्याची आणि धरून ठेवण्याची क्षमता असते. त्यामुळे आपण तयार केलेला कोळसा आपल्या स्वच्छतागृहात, बंद कपाटात, गाडीमध्ये नैसर्गिक दुर्गंधीनाशक म्हणून वापरू शकतो, आणि रासायनिक दुर्गंधीनाशकांचा वापर टाळू शकतो. लांबून वहातूक करून आणाव्या लागणाऱ्या उत्पादनाच्या जागी स्थानिक उत्पादन वापरूनही आपण अप्रत्यक्षरित्या कार्बन उत्सर्जन आणि हवेचे प्रदूषण थांबवण्याला हातभार लावतो. साधारण दोनेक महिने दुर्गंधीनाशक वापरल्यानंतर त्यातील कोळसा पावडर मातीत मिसळून टाकली तर मातीची सुपिकता सुधारून हवेतला कार्बन काढून घेण्याला हातभारही लावता येतोच.  

* If you process the char to make char briquettes and use these as fuel with Samuchit Steam Cooker, you can avoid using LPG or PNG as cooking fuel for at least 50% of your cooking. Both of these gases are fossil fuels and therefore contribute to carbon emission when used, without any natural return path for the carbon to come back to the earth’s surface as fossil fuels. When you burn char, you are contributing to carbon emission too, but the char we are using is made from dry leaves and twigs shed by trees and bushes. Even if we had not made any use of the garden waste, the carbon was going to go back to the atmosphere anyway. The trees and bushes from where the waste has originated are still growing, and therefore the carbon is naturally getting converted back into biomass. Thus, by using carbon that is part of a natural carbon cycle for meeting our cooking energy need, we are avoiding use of the corresponding amount of fossil fuel, and thus contributing to reducing carbon emission.  

* जर तुम्ही पालापाचोळ्याच्या कोळशावर आणखी प्रक्रिया करून कांडी कोळसा तयार केलात, तर तुम्ही समुचित स्टीम कुकरमध्ये इंधन म्हणून त्याचा वापर करू शकता. यापध्दतीने तुम्ही तुमचा किमान ५० टक्के स्वयंपाक एलपीजी किंवा पीएनजी न वापरता करू शकता. हे दोन्ही वायू खनिज इंधने आहेत, त्यामुळे त्यांचा वापर होतो तेव्हा कार्बन उत्सर्जन होते, आणि हा कार्बन वातावरणातून परत पृथ्वीतलावर खनिज इंधन या मूळ स्वरूपात आणण्याचा कोणताही नैसर्गिक मार्ग कार्बनचक्रात नाही. कोळशाच्या ज्वलनानेही कार्बन उत्सर्जन होतेच आहे, पण आपण वापरत असलेला कोळसा झाडाझडुपांवरून गळून पडलेल्या पालापाचोळ्याचा आणि काडीकचऱ्याचा बनवलेला आहे. आपण हा कचरा वापरला नसता, तरी त्यातला कार्बन या ना त्या मार्गाने हवेत जाणारच होता. या कचऱ्याचे मूळ असलेल्या झाडाझुडुपांची वाढ होतेच आहे, त्यामुळे हवेत गेलेला हा कार्बन नैसर्गिकरित्या परत जैवभारात रूपांतरित होणारच आहे. त्यामुळे नैसर्गिक कार्बन चक्राचाच भाग असलेल्या कार्बनचा जेव्हा आपण स्वयंपाकाची ऊर्जा सेवा मिळवण्यासाठी वापर करतो, तेव्हा तेवढ्या स्वयंपाकासाठी खनिज इंधनांचा वापर टाळून आपण कार्बन उत्सर्जन कमी करण्याला हातभार लावतो. 

India has voluntarily taken on ambitious targets of reducing the country level carbon emission between 2020 and 2025, under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that was signed in 2015. If India manages to not just meet but exceed the target, it will make us a leader in global politics in a period where climate change is increasingly taking centre stage in international negotiations around trade and technology transfer agreements. Urban Indians need to take on more responsibility to achieve this as we are contributing substantially to India's carbon emissions through our lifestyle. 

२०१५ साली जागतिक वातावरणबदलाबाबत झालेल्या आंतरराष्ट्रीय पॅरिस करारात भारताने २०२० ते २०२५ या कालावधीत आपले राष्ट्रीय कार्बन उत्सर्जन कमी करण्यासाठी काही महत्वाकांक्षी ध्येये स्वेच्छेने स्वीकारली आहेत. पण २०२५ पर्यंत आपण ही ध्येये गाठण्यातच नाही तर त्यांच्याही पुढे जाण्यात यशस्वी झालो, तर जिथे जागतिक वातावरणबदल वेगवेगळ्या आंतरराष्ट्रीय वाटाघाटी आणि व्यापारी करारांतही महत्वाची भूमिका बजावतो आहे, अशा जागतिक राजकारणात आपली पत उंचावेल. आपल्या राष्ट्रीय कार्बन उत्सर्जनात शहरी भारतीयांच्या जीवनशैलीचा मोठा वाटा आहे. त्यामुळे शहरी नागरिकांनी कार्बन उत्सर्जन कमी करण्याच्या प्रयत्नांना अधिक हातभार लावला पाहिजे. 

If farmers in Punjab choose to go carbon negative, they will not only support India's Climate Change Mission, but will also help solve Delhi's winter smog problem. If we in Pune embrace carbon negativity today, it will help us avoid being in the same situation as Delhi tomorrow. 

पंजाबमधील शेतकऱ्यांनीही कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीची कास धरली, तर त्यातून भारताच्या जागतिक वातावरणबदलाबाबतच्या मोहिमेला हातभार तर लागेलच, पण दिल्लीत दर हिवाळ्यात सोसाव्या लागणाऱ्या धुक्याच्या समस्येवरही मात करण्याच्या प्रयत्नांनाही मदत होईल. पुण्यामध्ये आज आपण कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीची कास धरली तर उद्या दिल्लीतल्या परिस्थितीसारखीच समस्या निर्माण होण्यापासून आपण बचावू शकू.  

Priyadarshini Karve

Samuchit Enviro Tech, Pune

प्रियदर्शिनी कर्वे
समुचित एन्व्हायरो टेक, पुणे


 Samuchit Enviro Tech         samuchit@samuchit.com         www.samuchit.com

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Quest for Carbon Negativity Part 1 शोध कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीचा भाग १

Samuchit Trashflasher Kiln
समुचित ट्र्रॅशफ्लॅशर भट्टी
Samuchit Sampada Stove (Mini Trashflasher)
समुचित संपदा शेगडी (मिनी ट्रॅशफ्लॅशर)

As the topic of this blog is of local and global importance, I am writing in both English and Marathi.

या ब्लॉगचा विषय स्थानिक आणि जागतिक महत्वाचा असल्यामुळे इंग्रजी आणि मराठी अशा दोन्ही भाषांमध्ये लिहिते आहे.

If you have a garden, you are aware that throughout the year a lot of garden waste is being generated. If you have big trees, they shed a lot of leaves especially during winter. These leaves, and other wastes like twigs, etc. too, if left as they are, will eventually decompose and will improve soil quality. In many cases to clean the garden, the waste is swept to one side and burnt off. Environmentally conscious individuals would compost rather than burn.

तुमच्या इमारतीभोवती बाग असेल, तर बागेत वर्षभर जैव कचरा निर्माण होत रहातो, हे तुम्ही पाहिले असेल. मोठे वृक्ष असतील तर विशेषतः हिवाळ्यात मोठ्या प्रमाणावर पानगळ होत असते. ही पाने आणि इतरही काटक्या कुटक्या वगैरे जमिनीवर तशाच राहू दिल्या तर कालांतराने त्या कुजतात, आणि मातीची सुपीकता वाढवण्याला हातभार लावतात. पण बऱ्याच ठिकाणी बाग स्वच्छ करण्यासाठी सगळा कचरा झाडून एका बाजूला केला जातो आणि जाळून टाकला जातो. पर्यावरणाबाबत जागरूक असलेल्या व्यक्ती जाळून टाकण्याऐवजी त्याचे कंपोस्ट करतात. 

Burning in open air is obviously the worst of the three options, as it leads to a lot of local pollution. Composting is time consuming and also needs space and daily attention. Letting the biomass waste generated by plants lie on the soil around their roots is the best and most natural option. However, this makes your garden look unkempt, and also there is danger of snakes and other harmful animals taking shelter in the layer of dry leaves and twigs. There is also the risk of fire if someone drops a burning cigarette butt, etc., on the leaf litter.

उघड्यावर कचरा जाळणे हा अर्थातच तिन्हीपैकी सर्वात वाईट पर्याय आहे, कारण त्यातून मोठ्या प्रमाणावर स्थानिक प्रदूषण होते. कंपोस्ट करणे वेळखाऊ आहे, त्यासाठी जागा लागते, आणि रोज लक्ष द्यावे लागते. वनस्पतींनी निर्माण केलेला जैव कचरा तसाच त्यांच्या मुळांशी मातीत पडू देणे हा सर्वात चांगला व नैसर्गिक पर्याय आहे. मात्र यामुळे आपली बाग नीटनेटकी दिसत नाही. शिवाय साप किंवा इतर उपद्रवी जीव या पालापाचोळ्याच्या आणि काडीकचऱ्याच्या थरात आश्रय घेण्याचा धोका असतो. जर कोणी सिगरेटचे थोटूक या कचऱ्यात टाकले, तर आग लागण्याचाही धोका असतो.

From climate change perspective, all three options have the SAME effect - the carbon removed from the atmosphere by the plants through photosynthesis, is returned to the atmosphere, either through natural decay, or burning, or composting.

क्लायमेट चेंजच्या दृष्टिकोनातून विचार केला, तर वरील तिन्ही पर्यायांचा परिणाम एकच होतो – वनस्पतींनी प्रकाशसंश्लेषणाद्वारे हवेतून काढून घेतलेला कार्बन नैसर्गिक रित्या कुजण्यातून, किंवा ज्वलनातून किंवा कंपोस्टिंगच्या क्रियेतून पुन्हा हवेत परत जातो.

There is a FOURTH option of charring the garden waste. This will allow you to capture 30% of the carbon in the waste in the form of char - solid carbon that will remain as it is for thousands of years, if left untouched. In other words, 30% of the carbon is permanently removed from the return path of the biological carbon cycle loop. You have made your garden Carbon Negative!

एक चौथा पर्यायही आहे – बागेतल्या कचऱ्याचा कोळसा करणे. यामध्ये कचऱ्यात असलेल्या एकूण कार्बनपैकी ३० टक्के कार्बन कोळसा या स्वरूपात हवेत न जाता मागे रहातो. जर तुम्ही या कार्बनला अजिबात हातही लावला नाही, तर तो हजारो वर्षे याच स्वरूपात रहाणार आहे. थोडक्यात म्हणजे तुमच्या बागेत चालू असलेल्या जैविक कर्बचक्रातला ३० टक्के कार्बन तुम्ही चक्राच्या परतीच्या मार्गातून कायमस्वरूपी बाहेर काढला. तुमची बाग तुम्ही कार्बन निगेटिव्ह केली!

Samuchit Trashflasher Kiln:

समुचित ट्रॅशफ्लॅशर भट्टी:

The size of garden space and therefore the amount of garden waste generated on the campus of a housing society or educational or research campus, or factory or business premises, etc. is rather high. This kiln is designed for such users. It disposes off about 3-4 kg of garden waste in 15-20 min and generates about 1-2 kg of char.
Price inclusive of taxes: INR 5000, includes on site demonstration and training anywhere in Pune

गृहनिर्माण संस्था, शैक्षणिक किंवा संशोधन संकुल, कारखाने व इतर व्यावसायिक परिसर अशा ठिकाणी बागेची व्याप्ती आणि त्यामुळे रोज निर्माण होणाऱ्या जैविक कचऱ्याचे प्रमाणही जास्त असते. ही भट्टी अशा ठिकाणी वापरण्यासाठी बनवलेली आहे. दर १५-२० मिनिटांत ३-५ किलो कचऱ्याची विल्हेवाट लावून साधारण १-२ किलो कोळसा निर्माण करण्याची या भट्टीची क्षमता आहे.
करासहित किंमत रू ५०००. पुण्यात ग्राहकाच्या ठिकाणी प्रात्यक्षिक व प्रशिक्षण अंतर्भूत.

Samuchit Sampada Stove (mini trashflasher):

समुचित संपदा शेगडी (मिनी ट्रॅशफ्लॅशर):

This very handy ‘mini trashflasher’, is best suited for dealing with small quantities of garden waste generated in private gardens. If you are generating waste in the form of twigs and small branches, it can also be used as a stove for heating bath water.
Price inclusive of taxes: INR 2500, includes demonstration and training at our office

व्यक्तिगत छोट्या बागेत निर्माण होणाऱ्या कमी कचऱ्यासाठी ही एक वापरायला अतिशय सोपी अशी मिनी ट्रॅशफ्लॅशर भट्टीच आहे. काटक्याकुटक्यांच्या स्वरूपातला कचरा असेल, तर अंघोळीचे पाणी तापवण्याची शेगडी म्हणूनही तिचा वापर होऊ शकतो.
करासह किंमत रू २५००. आमच्या कार्यालयात प्रात्यक्षिक व प्रशिक्षण अंतर्भूत.

I want to share much more with you... Part 2 coming soon!

आणखीही पुष्कळ सांगायचे आहे... दुसरा भाग लवकरच येतो आहे!

Priyadarshini Karve

Samuchit Enviro Tech, Pune

प्रियदर्शिनी कर्वे
समुचित एन्व्हायरो टेक, पुणे


Samuchit Enviro Tech         samuchit@samuchit.com         www.samuchit.com