Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Role of Transportation for all

Dear All, 

Transport under SDGs
Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage (both Cultural and Natural), Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all.

Last week we saw actionable points on Housing, below are the points from Sustainable Transport perspective as guidelines at individual, community and governance level. 

Kindly note that we all are facing impacts of increasing air pollution, rapidly changing climate and urbanization. Provision of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable transport will definitely play a major role in lowering the emissions generated substantially due to transport. This will help in mitigating the impacts at local as well as global level. All we need is individual as well collective actions at all levels. 

Individual level

  • Analyse or consider if there is a need to buy a new vehicle. 
  • Adhere to basic traffic rules and speed limits.
  • Ensure your protection by using required safety gears.
  • Ensure timely and proper maintenance of your vehicle in order to ensure better fuel efficiency. 
  • Understand the importance of PUC norms, and ensure that your vehicle emissions are within the norms. 
  • Ask for information on PUC norms and its importance. 
  • Practice lane discipline. 
  • Make way for ambulance and differently-abled persons riding on the road. 
  • Use public transport where ever possible and ask for better public transport.
  • Respect the job done by bus drivers and try to cooperate with them. 
  • Check the feasibility of shared transport like car pooling. 
  • Check the feasibility of using cycles or walking (not more than 1km) for short distances instead of using your two wheeler.  
Community Level
  • Lets advocate for efficient and safe infrastructure for public transport system and non motorized transport like cycling and walking. 
  • Lets advocate for better roads and technically designed speed breakers. 
  • Lets advocate for CNG or clean fuel based vehicular systems. 
  • We can promote E-vehicles once the electricity is being generated from a renewable source. Advocating for E-vehicles currently is costlier and not very sustainable since coal is the source of our electricity generation. 
  • Lets advocate for car free zones and affordable last mile connectivity like CNG auto rickshaws or rental cycles or mini buses provision at every 500 m instead of using private vehicles. 
  • Lets advocate for travel time from one place to other in a city to be max. 40 mins considering crowded areas. 
Public transport in Pune
Governance/Policy Level
  • Enforce strict penalties for disobedience of traffic laws for all, irrespective of financial or social status.
  • Consider differently abled, pregnant women, children and senior citizens while designing modes of transport. 
  • Ensure accessibility and affordability for all. 
  • Implement comprehensive mobility plans and Parking policy defined by local organizations. 
  • Roads should be designed considering safety of all stakeholders like street vendors, hawkers, cyclists and walkers by providing better lighting system or security forces wherever required. 
  • Regular maintenance of roads ensure safety of the commuters.  
  • While constructing a flyover, take the feedback of local organizations working towards making traffic management better in the city.  
  • Involve active citizens if required for ensuring there is no traffic congestion.
  • Collaborate and work in coordination with the local organizations working in for ensuring there is no traffic congestion. 
  • Strategize mechanisms for tie-ups with local organizations, NGOs, communities and corporate sectors for making transport in the city sustainable. 
  • All the para-transit modes of transport should be enhanced to CNG and considered into the main stream of transportation . 
  • Employees that work directly for providing transit services should be provided with proper medical care and employee benefits. 

These are some inputs given by 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter for Transport a better Action Agenda. 
Email me at pournima@samuchit.com OR like, share and comment on our FB page  @ https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/

Pournima Agarkar.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Role of Housing for All

Dear All, 
Housing under SDG

Last year, we collected a few citizens' perspectives on certain issues related to Urban Sustainability. These included Housing, Transport, Governance or Peoples Participation, Heritage both Cultural and Natural, Waste management and Air pollution, Disaster Risk Assessment and lastly Green Open Spaces. For relating it to a broader vision, we used the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework especially the SDG 11 which deals with making cities and settlements sustainable. We compiled all citizens inputs and formed the Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune. In our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune we shared the same document with all of you. 

On analyzing all the Citizen inputs, we realized that if these inputs are put up as actionable points it will be a good guideline to follow by all. So today I am going to share actionable points under the issue of Housing. 

Just a background on why Housing for All is an illusion. Today we have many upcoming residential construction schemes in the city and simultaneously we are also seeing upcoming slums in the city. The whole issue under 'Housing for All' does not really consider providing shelter for the slums and the lower income strata of the society. In fact, upcoming housing schemes focus on middle and higher income groups who often buy new houses just as future investment. While the ones who are in need of affordable and accessible housing are rendered in substandard settlements. 

This is in a way adding enormous pressure on the city for its resources, management and overall sustainability. We thought of drafting the actions at an individual level, Community level and Government level based on the citizens inputs on this matter. 

Individual Level
  • Consider if there is a need to buy a new house. 
  • If yes, check that the house that you will be buying adheres to required certifications for safety, waste management, wastewater treatment etc. 
  • Environmental Clearance or an NOC from the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MOEFCC) is mandatory today for any new construction. As a vigilant citizen of the city, you should ask for the same and check that environmental services are in place in accordance of certificate. 
  • Especially the water supply, drainage connection, rainwater harvesting mechanisms, fire safety measures and waste management systems are in place. 

Community Level
  • If there are any slums around your residence, think before considering these as a nuisance. Most likely the maid in your house, the handyman around your building complex, etc., come from the same locality. As a community lets advocate for provision of better basic facilities for them like adequate water supply, better waste collection system, electricity supply, drainage connection and medical help through a participatory planning process.
  • Let's advocate for ensuring that they get appropriate help in case of disasters or emergencies. 
  • Let's advocate for better housing for them that are disaster resilient and based on green building concepts.
  • Majority of political parties look at slums only as their vote bank, but as a community the entire neighborhood needs to exert political pressure to ensure better facilities for the slums. This will also ensure better hygiene and air and water quality in the entire locality. 

Government Level
  • Livelihoods of the urban poor are typically in the neighborhood of the slums. Therefore the slum rehabilitation must happen on the same location, rather than displacing the slum dwellers to some remote locations. 
  • Under Housing for All it is important to consider the slums and low income groups from affordability, safety, facilities/services perspective that are also essential in keeping the city as a whole clean and livable.  
  • Considering access to the differently-abled in planning housing schemes for the low income groups is crucial. 
  • Subsidy can be provided to the Economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society for buying houses with tax benefits to the developers for providing such housing. 
  • Housing audit where houses are examined from safety and disaster resilience perspective should be considered. 
  • Green building materials are important from the perspective of efficient resource use and low carbon footprint. Use of such materials should be encouraged and research in this field should be funded. 

These inputs are given by some 200 odd people, we are looking for more such inputs and suggestions from you in order to make our Citizens Charter for Housing a better action agenda. Email me at pournima@samuchit.com OR visit our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


अपोलो ८ या नासाच्या चांद्रयानाने काढलेलं हे पृथ्वीचं छायाचित्र १९६८ साली प्रसिध्द झालं, आणि लोकांना अचानक पृथ्वीवासी असण्याचं महत्त्व जाणवलं. १९७०च्या दशकात पर्यावरण चळवळींना चालना मिळण्यामागे हे छायाचित्र हे एक महत्त्वाचं प्रेरणास्थान होतं. 

पर्यावरण की विकास, विकास की पर्यावरण, अशा प्रकारचे वाद अधून मधून डोकं वर काढतच असतात. पण मला वाटतं, हा वाद पर्यावरण की विकास असा नसतोच खरंतर. कारण पर्यावरण आणि विकास तुल्यबळ असतील, तर वादाला काहीतरी अर्थ आहे. मानवी जीवनाला अनुकूल पर्यावरण रहाणार नसेल, तर कोणत्याच तथाकथित विकासाला काही अर्थ रहाणार नसतो. त्यामुळे ज्या वादाला पर्यावरण विरुध्द विकास असं नाव दिलं जातं, तो बहुतेकवेळा सर्व माणसांचा सार्वकालिक विकास विरुध्द माझा तात्कालिक विकास असा वाद असतो.

एक साधं उदाहरण देते. मला माझ्या इच्छित आरंभस्थानापासून माझ्या इच्छित अंतिमस्थानापर्यंत माझ्या वाहनातून कमीत कमी वेळात, कमीत कमी खर्चात, व कमीत कमी कष्टात कसं जायचं, असा प्रश्न पडलेला असेल, तर मी कसा विचार करते? तर माझ्या प्रवासाच्या वेळेला माझ्या मार्गात असलेली वहातूक कोंडी कमीत कमी कशी होईल, मला प्रशस्त, मोकळा व रूंद रस्ता कसा मिळेल, या गोष्टी मला सर्वात महत्त्वाच्या वाटतात. माझ्या वाहनात एसी असल्यामुळे रस्त्यावर सावलीचा गारवा असणं-नसणं, चालणाऱ्यांना वगैरे आरामदायक वाटणं-न वाटणं, हे माझ्यासाठी गौण असतं. मला टेकडीला वळसा घालून जावं लागतंय, यात माझं पेट्रोल आणि वेळ खर्च होतोय, हे मला खुपत असतं. मला फक्त त्या रस्त्यावरून झूममम जायचंय, मग रस्त्याच्या कडेला दुकानं, फेरीवाले, विक्रेते यांच्या व्यवसायासाठी जागा आहे की नाही, किंवा तिथे रहाणाऱ्या लोकांना एकत्र येता येईल अशा मोकळ्या सार्वजनिक जागा आहेत का नाहीत, याच्याशी तर मला अजिबातच देणंघेणं नसतं. मग मला झाडं तोडून रस्ता रुंदीकरण, उड्डाणपूल, टेकडी फोडून बोगदे, इ. पर्याय आकर्षकच नाही तर तर्कशुध्द वाटू लागतात. पूर्वीच्या अनुभवातून मला हेही माहित असतं की हे सगळे उपाय केल्यानंतर मिळणारं सुख फार फार तर दोन-चार वर्षंच टिकेल, कारण इतर रस्त्यांवरची गर्दी या रस्त्यावर ओसंडून पुन्हा वहातूक कोंडी व्हायला लागेल. पण पुढचं पुढे, माझा आत्ताचा तर प्रश्न सुटेल, असा मी विचार करते. कोण जाणे, कदाचित आणखी दोन वर्षांनी मी वेगळ्या ठिकाणच्या वातानुकुलित काचेच्या इमारतीत चाकरी धरलेली असेल, किंवा मी शहराच्या आणखी उच्चभ्रू भागात घर घेतलेलं असेल, मग या रस्त्याशी माझा संबंधच रहाणार नाही, असाही कदाचित मी विचार केलेला असू शकतो.

पण समजा माझ्या मनात थोडा वेगळा प्रश्न आहे. मला असं वाटतंय की पुणे शहरात रहाणाऱ्या कोणत्याही व्यक्तीला आपापल्या इच्छित आरंभस्थानापासून इच्छित अंतिमस्थानापर्यंत कमीत कमी खर्चात, कमीत कमी वेळेत, आणि कमीत कमी कष्टात जाता आलं पाहिजे. आणि हे केवळ आत्ताच नाही, तर कायमस्वरूपी घडावं अशीही माझी इच्छा असेल, तर मी कसा विचार करीन? मग माझ्या चटकन लक्षात येईल की, सार्वत्रिक व सार्वकालिक असा एकमेव उपाय म्हणजे शास्त्रीय दृष्ट्‍या शहरातील सध्याच्या चलनवलनाचा आणि भविष्यातील संभाव्य बदलांच्या शक्यतांचा अभ्यास करून तयार केलेला आराखडा, आणि त्याची शास्त्रशुध्द व तंत्रशु्ध्द अंमलबजावणी. यामध्ये रस्त्यांवर पादचारी, स्वचलित वाहने, विविध प्रकारच्या सार्वजनिक वाहनांचे परस्परपूरक जाळे यांना प्राधान्य असेल. रस्त्याचे जे इतर वापर माणसे करत असतात - उदा. व्यवसायाच्या व विपणनाच्या जागा म्हणून - त्यांचाही सहानुभूतीपूर्वक विचार केलेला असेल. खाजगी गाडी रस्त्यावर आणावी लागणार नाही, आणि तरीही कोणाचीही गैरसोय होणार नाही, अशी वाहतूक व्यवस्था माझा आणि सर्व समाजाचा सर्वाधिक फायदा करून देणारी असेल, या निष्कर्षाला मी येऊन पोहोचेन.

आपल्या मनातला नेमका विचार काय आहे, हे आपण प्रत्येकाने आत्मपरीक्षण करून पहावे. सर्वांनी सर्व काळ सर्व समाजाचा विचार केला पाहिजे, स्वार्थीपणा वाईट, इ. असा काहीही उपदेश मला करायचा नाही. शेवटी माझं भलं मी नाही पाहिलं, तर दुसरं कोण पहाणार आहे, हे मला पूर्णपणे पटतं. माझा मुद्दा इतकाच आहे, की दोन प्रकारच्या मानवी स्वार्थांमधल्या या आणि अशा प्रकारच्या इतर वादांत कोणती बाजू घ्यावी, हे ज्याने त्याने स्वतःच्या सदसद्विवेकबुध्दीच्या आधारे ठरवावे.

प्रियदर्शिनी कर्वे
समुचित एन्व्हायरो टेक


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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Biogas technology for all by VAAYU

Dear All,

Picture collage

Under the Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune initiative as mentioned in my earlier blog we are showcasing local sustainable technologies that can be adopted by anyone who yearns for a Sustainable lifestyle. 

In the last week on 28th Feb, we successfully conducted a workshop in collaboration with Vaayu Mitra who deals with household Biogas technology by conversion of kitchen waste to fuel. Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe the promoter of this technology is an enthusiastic engineer who has been driving this initiative to go LPG free by using household organic waste. There are almost 130 installations till date that are converting about 1 ton of food waste per day. Right from school going children to aged senior citizens can easily operate this technology. It has been installed in more than 10 cities now. 

We got an overwhelming response to the workshop held in Indradhanushya centre for Citizenship and Environment Education and that too on a weekday evening. It just shows that Pune is slowly moving towards a Sustainable City which is the aim of our project on Citizens Charter for Sustainable Pune.

I would like to narrate some key aspects of the workshop that fascinated me.

I briefly tried to explain the relevance of this workshop to our study that we have been doing on making the city Sustainably SMART through Citizens active participation and engagement. We are playing a role of a connector between the citizens and Sustainable solution providers. Our idea is to reach out to more and more people with sustainable solutions in order to enable them towards sustainability and in turn making the city Sustainable.

Then, Priyadarshan Sahasraddhe, introduced the technology and its working with the help of a diagram and narrated his journey which was quite a struggle to apply engineering fundas on ground. He mentioned that meeting Dr Anand Karve and working under his guidance for developing the biogas technology helped him learn key lessons. Apart from this he believes in 'Small is beautiful' and linking it to Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) has been his idea of a Green Investor.

We were fortunate to have Dr Anand Karve in the workshop, being a botanist and an innovator having a scientific aptitude, he explained the basics behind the functioning of Biogas very well. Though he is not a microbiologist, I have never heard anyone talk about microbes and bacteria so well as he does. He is a pro bacteria man I can say. How do bacteria's function and what they need he knows very well. He always talks about sugar as the main source of food for bacteria and how efficient they can work once they get their dose of sugar, is something that has been one of his successful findings.

As mentioned earlier, school students are operating this plant at their school and are saving quite a lot of energy in the school. Two active and very responsible students of Jnana Probodini school Chinchwad explained how the model is not just a project of the school, but their friend whom they take care by giving timely input of food and in turn it gives them energy, manure and lots of lessons. I feel that schools having such LIVE and active projects managed by students themselves, not only make them better humans but also better role models of Sustainable lifestyles. Listening to them gave a new hope for the future generations and a Sustainable human society that coexists in harmony with its surrounding.

We also had SWACH representatives here who shared their experience of using Vaayu. The confidence they gained, showed how empowered they feel by using this technology and running it as a self sustainable model for organic waste management.

Then a group of Vaayu mitras, people who are using Vaayu at their homes daily, came up and shared their experience. Each Vaayu mitra is happy to have the Biogas in their house. They explained that there is a trial and testing phase with Vaayu, but once we get familiar with its behavior, it becomes a member of the family playing a crucial role and making us feel proud that we not only manage our organic waste but also generate our own fuel. 

One of the Vaayu mitra, a lady named Mamta, working on a farm and operating three Biogas plants needs a special mention. I liked her way of expressing her experience she was absolutely natural. She rightly mentioned that there is no waste in nature, even the leftover food has potential to generate energy if utilized appropriately. She clearly stated that if such installations of Biogas are available in the village through BachatGat schemes then the women in the village using smoke generating fuelwood that causes harmful impacts on their health as well as the forest will be healthy and smoke free. Though she is smoke free now because of Vaayu, she yearns that her fellow beings in the village should also get relief from the smoke. When we talk about Sustainable technologies they should be based on a win-win approach and her speech truly reflected it. Hats off to her!!!

Listening to all of their experiences and knowledge they have gained, it simply showed that how each one feels socially responsible and are happy to contribute their bit for the society. Dr Javdekar one of the senior most member using Vaayu stressed that how economically it is viable in his house where their yearly quota of LPG cylinders has been reduced drastically.

I wondered if generating fuel at source may be hazardous, however the plant is completely safe to be used at a household level expressed each and every Vaayu mitra. However space is something that is required for setting up a considerable capacity of Vaayu to make it viable. Nevertheless its worth an investment, may be at a society level, if not feasible at a household level, for ensuring sustainable management of organic waste.

Dr Priyadarshini Karve concluded the session where she stressed on the Citizens role in making a city Sustainable and how such local solutions are the key to resolve the global problems.

I am glad that we have video documented the entire workshop, the video will be available soon for all. Meanwhile if anyone wants to know more about Vaayu, please feel free to contact Priyadarshan S at priyadarshan.21@gmail.com

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Kitchen Waste management???

Dear All, 

Coming Thursday on the 28th Feb, 2019 all are invited to our workshop on kitchen waste management. Its all about going LPG free by using household biogas technology by VAAYU
For more information see the poster below.

There is no registration fees for the workshop, however its mandatory to RSVP me at pournima@samuchit.com

So see you there!

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Climate Friendly Organic waste management workshops

Dear All, 

As part of our initiative on Citizens Charter and Action agenda for Sustainable Pune, we are planning to promote case studies or projects happening in Pune that have a potential to lead us towards Sustainability. We will be organizing a number of workshops in the coming months under this initiative. To start with, we are focusing on organic waste management in a climate friendly manner. We will be having two such workshops back to back in the next week.  

Workshop on Climate Friendly Garden Waste Management. 

In my last blog I mentioned about our Workshop on Biochar - Garden waste management
We received an overwhelming response from everyone. Seeing the enthusiasm and the demand for such simple, local and low carbon technologies we will repeat the same workshop next week. For more information please see the poster below. 

Workshop on household Biogas technology by VAAYU

Our next workshop will be focused on managing kitchen waste and going LPG free. Are you curious to know more about it??? Vaayu is a Biogas technology that converts kitchen and food waste into cooking and heating fuel and can be set up by any individual in their home, balcony or kitchen itself. Join us to know more about this. We will be discussing all the issues related to the use of Biogas and its feasibility for an urban household. For more information please see the poster below. 

Both the waste management innovations not only enable us to lead Sustainable lifestyles but also gives us the joy of going carbon negative - i.e., subtracting rather than adding carbon emissions to the atmosphere! Its definitely a win-win situation for all of us.  

Looking forward towards your participation in both events!!!

Please RSVP! It will help us in making the logistical arrangements for both the workshops. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Climate friendly Garden waste management

Dear All, 

On last Thursday 7th Feb, 2019 we at Samuchit conducted a full day workshop on Climate Friendly management of Garden waste in Indradhanushya Environment and Citizenship Centre, Pune. I have been associated with Samuchit for the past two years now, however, this was the first time I participated in one of the core work areas of Samuchit related to waste management and climate change and I was super excited for the same.  

Though it was a full day workshop, Dr Karve, planned it in a very engaging, inclusive, detailed and free flowing manner giving ample time for questions and discussions. I am sure no one must have been exhausted at the end of the day except the speaker. 

Group Photo.
PC: Harshil R

In the first half part of the day, Dr Karve took us back to fifth grade science where she explained the carbon cycle that helps understand the critical phenomenon of Climate Change in a simple manner. She clarified a lot of myths around composting, burning and traditional/religious practices and explained the scientific reality. She also explained that garden wastes having higher generation rate and lower decomposition rate makes the management of this waste biomass more difficult. Even though burning of waste is prohibited, most housekeepers or helpers tend to burn this biomass in open air, creating a lot of local pollution.

Here, Samuchit's technology of converting the dried biomass (garden waste) into char through gasification plays a very crucial role. In this case only a small quantity of the biomass is burnt initially, that heats up and gasifies some of the biomass. The hot gas is burnt under controlled air supply, which then keeps the process of "heating - gasification - burning of gas" going.  This ensures practically smokeless waste management and The residue formed is char. Once the flame of the burning gas dies out, the char embers can be doused with water to prevent them from burning down to ash. The char can be used in multiple ways after sufficiently drying. More importantly, the char is nothing but solid nonreactive carbon which has been prevented from going into the atmosphere - this is a very low tech carbon capture technology that can help combat climate change. 

This char is also known as semi activated charcoal or Biochar. Dr Karve showed, short and crisp videos of setting up and working of the equipment known as Samuchit Transflasher kiln and Sampada gasifier stove. However seeing its working on site was the most exciting part of the workshop. A demonstration of both these equipments was undertaken by Prashant Borate and Karan Shelar in the garden area of Indradhanushya using available garden waste. This was a very enlightening session for all, since we not only saw the actual working of these kilns but also witnessed practical problems that can be faced while using these kilns and discussed about various issues around climate change and its impacts.  

Demo - Samuchit Transflasher Kiln

Interactions during DEmo

We had a quick working lunch and all of us were back to the second part of the workshop, curious to know what all can be done with this 'Biochar'. Biochar can be easily used in many applications. Samuchit is using this char for making briquettes that can be used as fuel. The procedure is simple but may not be feasible at such a small scale as a residential garden plot. However, a deodorizer or a natural air freshner is one of the most handy usages of this product. Instead of using naphthalene balls or air freshners that use chemicals to produce a fragrance, one can use this char powder that ensures that organic particulate pollutants, including aromatic compounds that produce bad odours, are removed from air. 

A hands on activity for making a deodorizer pack was undertaken by Prashant Borate giving a sense of handling the char. Using deodorizer is simple and hassle free. After using a pack of deodorizer for a month or two, one can simply put the char into the garden soil. The concept of using biochar for plants helps improve soil fertility and is sequestering carbon in soil. This helps in mitigating climate change impacts. 


Last and the most delicious part of the day, having steam cooked corn in Samuchit's Steam Cooker that works on the char briquettes made out of the biochar, was the most nutritious tea time snack we ever had. Dr. Karve showcased the working of this steam cooker through a video and Karan Shelar demonstrated its actual working and design in the hall. Based on the concept of slow cooking, Samuchit's Steam cooker ensures that the flavours are intact along with nutritional value of the food that is being cooked in this cooker.

Understanding the global problem of Climate Change and mitigating the same through such simple, local, easy to use solutions can help resolve the global problem in a very innovative way. Its important to know that though Climate Change is a global problem, I am the ONE who is responsible for creating it and only I can resolve it. 

For viewing the videos of kilns and Samuchit Steam Cooker click on this link. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQz1_oM7hY20oJsWoSDKPNg

Pournima Agarkar. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Carbon Negativity... Revisited!

I wrote two blog posts Carbon Negativity - 1 and  Carbon Negativity - 2 in January 2018 - months before the IPCC 1.5 deg C report came out. Now with that report the urgency around measures towards carbon negativity has become heightened. I have no idea how the multi-million dollar technologies being touted by the big business interests across the world are going to pan out. I am however confident that with the waste biomass that all of us generate in varied quantities in our daily lives, we can do our bit towards carbon negativity. Biocharing is one of the techniques available to us for this purpose.

आयपीसीसीचा १.५ डिग्री सें. अहवाल येण्याच्या काही महिने आधी, जानेवारी २०१८ मध्ये, मी कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटी या विषयावर दोन ब्लॉग पोस्ट्स लिहिल्या होत्या -  कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटी - १ आणि  कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटी - २ . आता हा अहवाल आल्यानंतर कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटी तातडीने साध्य करण्याची गरज अधोरेखित झाली आहे. जगभरातील मोठे व्यावसायिक लक्षावधी डॉलर्सचा खर्च असलेल्या तंत्रांचा यासाठी प्रसार करत आहेत, त्यांची वाटचाल भविष्यात कशी होईल मला माहीत नाही. पण आपल्या आजुबाजूला आपल्याच दैनंदिन व्यवहारातून जो जैविक कचरा आपण निर्माण करतो आहोत, त्याचा वापर करून आपण कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीसाठी थोडेफार योगदान निश्चित देऊ शकतो, याबद्दल मला खात्री वाटते. यासाठी जी तंत्र आपल्याला उपलब्ध आहेत, त्यापैकी एक बायोचारिंग हे आहे. 

A big thank you to all the participants of the Hands On Training on Climate Friendly Garden Waste Management on 7 Feb 2019. I hope that some of you have been inspired to give this process a try to deal with your garden waste AND to go carbon negative!

बागेतील काडीकचऱ्याचे क्लायमेट फ्रेंडली व्यवस्थापन या विषयावर ७ फेब्रुवारी २०१९ रोजी आयोजित कार्यशाळेत सहभागी झालेल्या सर्वांचे मी आभार मानते. आपल्यापैकी काहीजण आपल्या बागेतील काडीकचऱ्याच्या विल्हेवाटीसाठी या तंत्राचा वापर करून पहाण्यासाठी पुढे याल, व कार्बन निगेटिव्हिटीकडे वाटचाल कराल, अशी मी आशा करते!

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech

प्रियदर्शिनी कर्वे
समुचित एन्व्हायरो टेक


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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Action oriented approach for Sustainable Behavior

Dear All, 

Awareness to Action Model - Gurudas Nulkar

When we started working on our project on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune, we met a lot of citizen groups who were keen to adopt sustainable lifestyles, but due to lack of access to appropriate services or lack of knowledge about sustainable practices or limited motivation....many could not undertake actions towards sustainable behaviors. Given the fact that if we decide, we can achieve anything, we wanted to explore what are the problems/barriers that people are facing in order to undertake Sustainable Behaviors. 

When we met Gurudas Nulkar an expert in Environmental Sustainability from Ecological Society, he explained us the concept of Awareness to Action. In our December event on Sustainably SMART Pune 2030  he very well articulated the overall concept. 

Yesterday Gurudas Nulkar undertook a brainstorming session on creating a model for any issue where people are aware about the issues to an extent, yet there is no effective action towards resolving the same. So, along with a few members of Jeevitnadi we brainstormed on using the concept for enabling sustainable behaviors or Pro Environment Behaviors (PEB). Gurudas Nulkar stressed that policy alone may not be always helpful in creating change in the society, but a collective action driven by the citizens can definitely lead to change in the society. 

According to Gurudas Nulkar, behavioral change is linked to the following aspects - Awareness, Attitude, Barriers and Benefits along with Enablers. Let us see all these aspects in brief. 

Awareness, in this world of Google, awareness about any topic like climate change or pollution is not an issue, however the issue lies in knowing that am I the cause of the problem and I am the one who can help resolve the same. Awareness about sustainable actions is missing. Many a times, we all know climate change is happening, there's a lot of pollution etc etc...but we are not aware about individual or community actions to mitigate the same. Based on the awareness levels, socio economic strata of the society, age and gender etc, we can design an awareness strategy for the target groups.  

Attitude is an important aspect for any behavioral change, some of us have a very negative or indifferent attitude towards a lot of issues in our city. For e.g. public transport is looked down due to lack of proper buses, frequency, time of travel, etc...in spite of knowing that public transport is pro environment or climate friendly, we end up taking our own vehicle for daily commute. Our indifferent attitude is in a way hindering us from undertaking the sustainable behaviors. Our attitudes many a times are also influenced by certain good practices, or some habits that are pro environment. Can we as individuals give thought to our attitudes, can we be more responsible, fair or take the initiative in the above case an initiative of using the public transport and advocating for the same for all good by creating pressure groups will certainly help in getting a better transport facility.  

Mapping and analyzing the Barriers that may be in the form of cultural, social, economical, political or personal and the Benefits in the form of financial, non-financial, social, status related, moral, or selfless is very important to understand. There is need to reduce these barriers by changing our attitudes and raising or creating barriers for unsustainable practices. For instance if water supply is reduced to only two hours a day, we tend to use water cautiously, whereas if its available for 24 hrs we don't really bother about our usage. 
Similarly raising the benefits may be in the form of a financial gain or as a source of income generation is very effective and should be advocated. Newspaper recycling is a classic example of a  win-win situation. Important to note that any benefits accrued from any unsustainable practices should be demotivated. In order to achieve these various Enablers like the central, state or local bodies or community watch dogs, social groups or religious values can play a crucial role. 

Its easier to write about it or talk about it, but in practical its a difficult task but not impossible for sure. We need like minded people who would like to participate in creating such action oriented strategies that can help result into more and more pro environment or sustainable behaviors and lead us to sustainable cities and communities. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

PS. Members who attended the session, please feel free to give your inputs. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Citizens Meet for Sustainable Pune

Dear All, 

Our Group

Our event held on the 30th January, 2019 on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for Sustainable Pune at Sumant Moolgaokar Auditorium was a success. I would like to thank each and every person starting from the Citizens, Professionals, NGO personnel, students who attended our event, young enthusiastic volunteers to caterers, translators, document designer, photographers, video documentation people and our guest from MISEREOR and Mumbai from LAYA and INECC our favorite Myron Mendes and Ajita Tiwari, Engagement Global our funders and last but not the least Samuchit Enviro Tech for overall coordination of the event.
Dr Priyadarshini Karve

Dr Priyadarshini Karve opened the session with her remarkable speech in Marathi and powerpoint slides in English in order to make it Inclusive. January 30th which also marked the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who promoted the concept of Village Swaraj which resonates with the concept of Sustainability of human settlement. Though not consciously intended, we happened to undertake our event on Sustainable cities on this day and Dr Karve very well acknowledged it.

The one quote that comes to my mind that relates Mahatma Gandhi and Sustainability is  ''The earth has enough resources to meet the needs of all, but not enough to satisfy one's greed".This quote does in a way lead us towards introspecting on our behaviour and lifestyle as an individual and can lead us towards Sustainability. 

Creating a citizens charter and action agenda for Sustainable city is a project born out of our study on Sustainably SMART Pune by 2030. This sub-project intends to educate urban citizens about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a special focus on SDG 11 (making cities and communities sustainable) and thus stress on the role of citizens in making the city Sustainable by 2030. We conducted seven workshops last year in collaboration with local organizations working on some of the targets under SDG11. Daftar, Parisar, Ecological Society, Jeevidha and Jeevitnadi along with two colleges Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Architecture and Bharti Vidyapeeth Institute for Environment Education and Research (BVIEER) supported us for undertaking these workshops.

Pournima Agarkar
We compiled all the inputs given by citizens/activists during these workshops with respect to four pillars of SDG 11 i.e Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable and formulated a Citizens Charter. This charter will keep evolving, while we would like to formulate an Action agenda for the citizens. The Action agenda is like a set of best practices that enable the citizens to undertake acts of Sustainability. Since I am leading this sub project supported by Engagement Global and funded by Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, I presented the status of Pune city with respect to the targets of SDG 11 and the overall initiative.  

Myron Mendes

Myron Mendes our communications expert conducted a LIVE poll where we generated a WORD CLOUD on qualities that a citizen needs to possess in order to make his/her city Sustainable. The word cloud generated reflects a set of qualities and initiatives that can be undertaken for making a city Sustainable through 188 responses. 


Our active guest speakers Sanskriti Menon, Ravindra Sinha, Shailaja Deshpande and Sathya Natarajan each presented their individual actions in a very influential and convincing way. I would like to give a glimpse of their talks. 

Sanskriti Menon
Sanskriti Menon, the Biker Babe as she referred to herself, made riding a bicycle a happening thing!!! She very well articulated how her feel good factor of riding a bicycle and interactions with the local street vendors and waste pickers motivated her in preparing the Pune Bicycle Plan in a inclusive, safe, resilient and Sustainable Plan in coordination with PMC. She stressed on having a  deliberate democracy system which is indeed critical for Sustainability as it is based on consensus decision making as well as majority. 

Ravindra Sinha

Ravindra Sinha literally scared us with all the figures showing groundwater depletion levels and how the day zero happening in Cape Town, may become a reality for us too. I liked one statement that he made ' Smart city or Tanker city'. The number of societies in Pune that are dependent on Tankers for daily water supply today is really alarming. Its time we start reflecting on our consumption of water, reuse and recycling alternatives or else the smart plan of 24X7 water supply will be just a dream. 

Shailaja Deshpande
Shailaja Deshpande made an emotional connect with everyone with her power-packed and intense feelings about Heritage and how lucky we are to have these natural resources like Rivers as our heritage without even realizing it. In just a matter of 50 years we have been responsible for degrading this resource and exploiting its heritage value. She stressed on how it is our sole responsibility to preserve the same in our individual capacity as well as, as a community.

Sathya Natarajan

Sathya Natarajan, a volunteering enthusiast connected us to the big picture of Sustainability with simple acts of tree plantation, complaining about issues that harm the environment around us and concern for the sanitary waste pickers by promoting the SWACH - red dot campaign. 

Glad to have speakers who walk the talk. I appreciate their ability to stick to the given time limit and yet make presentations that were inspiring for everyone. We had an enriching Q&A session followed by concluding remarks by Ajita Tiwari INECC's National facilitator. The speakers and the guests from MISEREOR were felicitated at the hands of Walter Mendoza, founder member of INECC.  

Walter Mendoza
Ajita Tiwari

This time our event also featured taking short video interviews of participants on their vision of Sustainable City and we are glad that we had great responses. The videos will be uploaded soon. 
Also we had a fun activity of selfie corner along with SDG 11 backdrop and props. We believe that citizens should prioritize sustainable lifestyle choices and hence we had displays set up by Samuchit, Jeevitnadi's Toxin free Lifestyle products, Alternate riverfront conservation poster, household biogas initiative by Vaayu and CEE's books. One of our volunteers assisted interested participants to calculate their carbon footprint through https://www.climatecollectivepune.org/CPC/ our online app. 

Citizens of the city

This event was just to mark the beginning of preparing the Action agenda for Sustainable Pune. We need everyone's feedback/inputs and analysis. Kindly like, share and comment on our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SustainableCityPune/
Or simply email me at pournima@samuchit.com

Looking forward to your inputs. 

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My City My Responsibility - Citizens of Sustainable Pune

Dear All,

This is a formal invitation to all for attending our event on Citizens Charter and Action Agenda for  Sustainable Pune to be held on the 30th January, 2019. See the poster for details. Though the event starts from 6.00 pm onwards, registrations and snacks starts from 5.00 pm.  

I am glad to announce that a few active citizens will be our guest speakers at the event. Below is brief information about the dynamic personalities who are gracefully working at the ground as well as at the top level for making our city livable.  

Shailaja Deshpande - Founding member and Director of Jeevitnadi and a river warrior. She has been working relentlessly for revival of rivers and has been the driving force in sensitizing the society through initiatives like Adopt a Stretch, River walk and toxin free lifestyle products along with Aditi Deodhar and Manish Ghorpade to name a few. 

Ravindra Sinha - Dedicated towards working for community groundwater through his initiative Mission Groundwater and also a founding member of Resident Welfare Association of Baner Pashan link road where he is actively involved in resolving civic issues of the society.   

Sanskriti Menon - Programme Director at Centre for Environment Education (CEE) working on several aspects of the city like education, creating awareness, carbon neutrality and mobility etc.. She has been involved in developing the Pune Bicycle Plan in coordination with PMC. She rides a bicycle for her daily commute to promote sustainable transport that is low carbon, healthy and environment friendly.  

Sathya Natarajan - An enthusiast, committed towards city's environment, greenery, clean rivers and air quality. He has been volunteering tirelessly for several issues in the city, be it chain fasting for our rivers, saving bird sanctuary, wall painting for a cause, SWACH survekshan, cycling and for red dot campaign etc etc and the list continues. 

I an super eager to hear from this package of inspiration about their work, the challenges they face and yet strive to continue playing their roles in a superb way.  

If you are also eager to know them and interact with them, see you at the event!

Please RSVP me for participation in order to make food arrangements.

Pournima Agarkar.