Friday, July 31, 2015

Celebrating 100 days of SUSTAINable Life!

Its hard to believe we are 100 days old! We warmly thank all our readers and supporters, as they are reason we could achieve this milestone!

Let us keep the Sustainable flame alive, let us pledge to better our lives for our environment, nature and humanity at large!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hard-hitting facts about Smog

SMOG is a word coined from Smoke and Fog. Though 'smog' is a familiar word for most of us, little do we know of its origin, causes and effects!

Origin and causes: 

  • Smog is typically a type of air pollutant. 
  • Smog can be caused by burning of large amounts of coal within a city, containing soot particulates from smokesulphur dioxide and other components. 
  • Modern smog is a type of air pollution derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engines and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog
  • In certain other cities, such as Delhi, smog severity is often aggravated by stubble burning in neighbouring agricultural areas. 


  • Smog is a serious problem in many cities and continues to harm human health. Ground-level ozonesulphur dioxidenitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are especially harmful for senior citizens, children, and people with heart and lung conditions. 
  • It causes eye and nose irritation and it dries out the protective membranes of the nose and throat and interferes with the body's ability to fight infection, increasing susceptibility to illness.
  • High level of respiratory issues and lung problems are reported every year in India. 

Smog in Delhi: 

China gets all the attention when it comes to terrible air quality, but the truth is that the worst day in Beijing is really just an average day in Delhi. Though it gets far less notice, the air in Delhi is some of the most polluted on the planet. In fact, India’s citizens have some of the weakest lungs, highest rates of asthma and highest mortality rates from respiratory issues of any nation in the world.

The latest set of statistics detailing Delhi’s air pollution has revealed that the Indian capital is smoggier than its Chinese counterpart for the second year running.
Using admittedly limited official figures, Greenpeace India found New Delhi’s air last year had an average of 142.9 micrograms per cubic metre of the pollutant particulate PM2.5 — which is over 50% more than the Beijing average.
This reading is 13 times greater than the World Health Organisation’s annual recommendation, and 3.5 times that of the India’s air quality standard.
Even the lowest average PM2.5 reading — 132 micrograms per cubic metre —recorded by one of the few available air monitoring stations in Delhi is well above the highest reading from a Beijing’s station (98 micrograms per cubic metre).
The analysis also said that there were twice as many ‘bad’ air days in Delhi last year as there were in Beijing, and only a week’s worth of ‘excellent’ air where there were more than 100 days in the Chinese capital.
With little pressure on the government to resolve air quality issues from citizens or the media, Delhi’s air will continue to cause harm until people demand something better.

*Facts gathered from and


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We are reaching 100!

In a couple of days, we will turn 100 days old!

Someone started with a dream - to blog about everything that goes around you - create awareness, interact with people, share, make plans, trash them, appreciate acts that are environment-friendly, criticise those which are not, draw people closer to sustainability....

Well, can we say, we have reached a milestone which we never saw coming when we started?

We plan to make the 100th blog a very special one...and we would love to hear from you on this occasion! I am sure our readers do have certain expectations from us; certain topics which we never blogged about, certain topics which we did blog about...

Why not make it more interactive? Tell us, what would you like to read about? Share your experiences, your expectations with us..Post in the reply box, and we will publish them on our 100th blog! Let us widen this chain which inspire us all to live a sustainable life..


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Dealing with organic waste

One of the services we offer at Samuchit Enviro Tech is to provide solutions to deal with organic waste at household level. People are often surprised that we do not offer composting in our range of solutions. The two solutions that we offer are: Garden waste to charcoal and Kitchen waste to biogas ( Both the solutions are focused on converting organic waste into energy, although charcoal can be used in a variety of other ways too. We are now working on adding another solution to this - using kitchen waste as non-composted green manure for the kitchen/terrace garden. 

Why have we taken a path different from what most people recommend for in house organic waste management? That is because we do not think of the organic matter as waste - something to be 'dealt' with in whatever way that is most economical, and be grateful for what little benefit it delivers as a bonus. We think of the organic matter as a resource, and have focused on getting the maximum benefit out of it for the user. Organic 'waste' is a typical urban problem - in rural areas, the organic 'waste' of humans becomes the resource for other animals and creatures, who live in close proximity of the humans. So, if it is urban families that are generating the organic 'waste', the output of the 'waste management' process should be something that is useful to them directly. We believe that energy is a more universal need for urban families than fertilizer. The evidence can be seen from the fact that there are many housing complexes that are composting but struggling to sell the extra compost after utilising whatever they need for their own gardens. 

However, both biogas generation and charcoal making are processes that require investment - either of money, or time, or both. What if one is not willing to do so?

Even in that case, it makes more sense to put the organic matter in a non-composted form in potted plants in one's own balcony, than to go for composting. When organic material is composted, nearly all the carbon in it goes off in the atmosphere uselessly. What is left behind is the little bit of minerals from the organic matter and lignin which is nothing but nature's plastic - a mostly non-biodegradable material. Therefore the mass of the organic matter is greatly reduced, and the concentration of minerals slightly enhanced, but it is at the cost of the carbon that soil bacteria would have relished, and thrived on! As a result, the compost only helps replace chemical fertilizer. Its contribution to improving the inherent soil fertility is low and slow. On the other hand non-composted biomass directly mixed into the soil, will provide the necessary nutrition to the bacteria, improving the soil fertility and thus giving a much greater impact in terms of vigour of plant growth per gram of material put in the soil. 

This approach has already been proven in agriculture. Many farmers are taking away organic waste (NOT compost) from garbage dumps to directly put in the farms. Our own experiments in the past have shown us good results. We are currently experimenting on this approach for an urban terrace garden. Have you tried something on these lines? Please do share your experiences! 

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Quiz: Test you General Knowledge!

Monday Quiz is here...

Q: How much percentage of land is covered by forests in India?

1.) 32.5%
2.) 57%
3.) 23%
4.) 21.8%

We await correct answers!

Last week's answer: 1,50,000 is the number of human deaths that is attributed to climate change by WHO.


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Feed : This quote got our locks thinking!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

OMG Facts: Recycle your cans!

More than enough reason why you should insist on a recycled can only!

A few OMG facts on metal recycling

facts on water pollutionRecycling 1 aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours.

facts on water pollutionOnce an aluminium can is recycled it is part of a new can within 6 weeks.

facts on water pollutionThere is no limit to the amount of times an aluminium can can be recycled.

facts on water pollutionThe energy it takes to make 1 new aluminium can is the same as it is to make 20 recycled cans.

facts on water pollutionOver 4 billion aluminium drinks cans were sold in 1998, if they had been collected for recycling they would have been worth £38 million.

facts on water pollutionRecycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them.

facts courtesy-


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Soil Pollution : How do we curb it?

Last week we threw some light on soil pollution and its drastic effects on humans, plants, fertility of soil, organisms living in the soil, etc. 

This post will enlighten us about simple steps which can definitely go a long way in curbing this problem!

1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Minimize the amount of trash going to our landfills and aggressively recycle, especially trash like batteries, tyres and plastics that leach harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Do not burn trash, particularly plastics or tires, because the residue in the smoke will drift down and pollute the soil.

2. Dispose off household chemicals properly. Avoid dumping open containers of products such as paint thinner, cleaners and solvents, oil, and automotive fluids.

3. Compost lawn clippings, yard work refuse, and fruit and vegetable scraps (kitchen waste), or use them as mulch. This reduces the amount of nitrogen from decay that enters our storm drains and water.

4. Use organic, biodegradable herbicides and pesticides whenever possible. Do your homework and get information about chemicals before you put them in your garden. Use them sparingly.

5. Plant trees. For every tree that you cut another should be planted. Re-forestation is one way you can get rid of soil erosion and by which the lost fertility of the land can be regained to a certain limit.


6. Eliminate weeds. Weeds absorb the necessary minerals out of the soil. Reducing weed growth can decrease soil pollution to a great extent.


All facts gathered from and


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


SMART cities is the buzzword today! Pune is hoping to be one of the 100 SMART cities under the new SMART cities mission of the Government of India, and has invited citizens to participate in the planning process. 

I have been looking at sustainability issues in urbanisation in the Indian context for a while now, so naturally I got interested in this initiative and started doing some research. So what is this SMART all about, and how do we make a city SMART, irrespective of the IQ of its citizens?

The term SMART has a very specific meaning in the context of control systems. If any process is being controlled by an engineered mechanism that is capable of taking feedback from the process, and using it to change its response appropriately, it is called a SMART mechanism. For example, the thermostat in our refrigerator is a SMART system. It senses the temperature inside the fridge, and will start the cooling process only when the temperature increases beyond a pre-programmed limit. The cooling system will be on till the temperature drops below another pre-determined limit, and then it will shut off. Thus the low temperature is constantly maintained even though the power is not consumed constantly. Thus, this mechanism improves the efficiency of the fridge without compromising on performance. This is just one of the simplest SMART mechanisms that is experienced everyday, but one can have many different types of SMART systems. 

The term as well as the concept of SMART cities first emerged from this understanding of the word. Basically, a city that uses information technology tools to allow its governance systems to be more efficient and responsive, is called a SMART city. For example, a SMART city may have street lights that change intensity of light in response to the density of traffic on the road and the intensity of ambient light (from the sun or moon, or any other light sources in the surrounding areas). 

The Government of India initiative uses the same wording, but has applied a much broader meaning to it. The idea here is to create the infrastructure suitable for SMARTness, AND deploy the IT systems to improve the efficiency and responsiveness with which various urban services are provided to the citizens. In other words we are trying to leapfrog the process of urban development to SMART cities, from current large, chaotic, and inefficiently and incompetently governed concentrations of huge population (which is what our cities at present are!)

There is nothing wrong in leapfrogging, in fact that is a right strategy for a developing country - why stumble through the same mistakes that the pioneers have done in order to reach the end goal? So, definitely aiming for the ideal directly by a shortcut is justified. The issue however is what is one's definition of 'ideal'?

The opening paragraph talks about 'why' SMART cities mission, and that is where I see a problem, from a sustainability perspective. 

To my mind, any urban development project is fully justified today simply because of the sheer number of people living in urban spaces. Across the world nearly 55% people live in cities now and the number is continually increasing. In India, the percentage of urban population is still much less, at 38% (Source: 2011 census data), but according to the last census, the population growth in urban areas over the period 2001-2011 was higher than the population growth in rural areas. It is the first time that this trend was observed in India. Even the population growth rate, while drastically dropping down in rural areas, marginally increased in urban areas. Both of these trends are a result of the combination of rural to urban migration and urbanisation of rural areas. The time is not too far in the future when even in India nearly half the population will be living in urban spaces. 

Unfortunately, 'living in urban space' does not necessarily mean 'living good'. The wellness of urban population is highly questionable in our cities, where high rise palatial buildings are cheek by jowl with slums. Therefore, in a democratic country the desire to improve the quality of life of a majority of its citizens should in itself be a sufficient reason for engaging in any activity aimed at improving the urban infrastructure - to ensure economic sufficiency and empowerment of all social strata, in an environmentally benign manner. 

The opening paragraph of the SMART city guidelines document from the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, makes a passing reference to the population trend, but talks more about the contribution of urban areas to GDP of the country. It seems that the improvement in urban infrastructure is justified because of the high economic gains emanating from cities. Does this then mean that all the elements of improvement to be incorporated in a SMART city would also be geared towards improving GDP only? In such a scheme of things, the priority for economically unproductive needs of 'well being' such as social equity and environmental sustainability is bound to be low! 

Also the GDP logic in itself is problematic. The urban contribution to GDP would be impossible without all the resources that come into the city from outside its geographical limits. Do cities grow their own food, harvest their own water, make their own electricity and petroleum fuels, absorb their own waste?? How long will a city like Mumbai survive, let alone contribute to GDP, if it is totally cut off from the mainland? (It is actually possible to do this because Mumbai is an island in the Arabian Sea, and approached only via bridges from any side!) 

On the positive side, the guidelines are just that - guidelines. The document emphasises that every city needs to evolve its own vision of what it wants to be as a SMART city, and the vision should come not just from the city administration but also from the citizens. It is therefore imperative for us, urban citizens in India, to get involved in such dialogues within our cities, to ensure that we don't just get developed as a milk cow of GDP growth, but ensure that the vision of our SMART city encompasses inclusiveness and sustainability for our own well being. The GDP gains will then automatically come as a bonus anyway! 

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Quiz: Test your general awareness!

Monday Quiz is here...

Q: How many human deaths per year does World Health Organisation (WHO) attribute to climate change?

A) 10,500
B) 1,50,000 
C) 1,500 
D) 15,00,000 

We await correct answers!

Last week's answer: Jammu and Kashmir
Winner: Mr. Dayaghan Rane! Congratulations!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Feed: Raise your voice...not the sea level...

We stumbled across this meaningful poster...
What will you raise your voice for? Share your thoughts with us...


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Soil Pollution : How much do we think about it?

We have always given a thought to air pollution and water pollution more than once - generally because of the awareness created for these types of pollutions and/or being at the receiving end as a result of these pollutions.

I can safely say, we think least about the third major kind of pollution - soil pollution. 

We have tried to list a few points which will tell you why soil pollution is as bad!

1. Effect on Health of Humans: Considering how soil is the reason we are able to sustain ourselves, the contamination of it has major consequences on our health. Crops and plants grown on polluted soil absorb much of the pollution and then pass these on to us. This could explain the sudden surge in small and terminal illnesses.
2. Effect on Growth of Plants: The ecological balance of any system gets affected due to the widespread contamination of the soil. Most plants are unable to adapt when the chemistry of the soil changes so radically in a short period of time. The fertility slowly diminishes, making land unsuitable for agriculture and any local vegetation to survive. 
3. Decreased Soil Fertility: The toxic chemicals present in the soil can decrease soil fertility and therefore decrease in the soil yield. The contaminated soil is then used to produce fruits and vegetables which lacks quality nutrients and may contain some poisonous substance to cause serious health problems in people consuming them.
4. Toxic Dust: The emission of toxic and foul gases from landfills pollutes the environment and causes serious effects on health of some people. The unpleasant smell causes inconvenience to other people.
5. Changes in Soil Structure: The death of many soil organisms (e.g. earthworms) in the soil can lead to alteration in soil structure. Apart from that, it could also force other predators to move to other places in search of food.

So after enlightening the readers about these effects of soil pollution, the next obvious question arises: How do we stop it?
Wait till we throw some light on it next time :-)

All facts gathered from


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Your search ends here....We have everything you might require!

Your one stop shop to all environment and lifestyle requirements at Samuchit!
Meet our consultants, lay your hands on our eco-friendly range of products, and live a guilt-free environmentally-responsible life!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: A Perspective on Cooking Energy [Part 2]

Last week I gave some calculations about how much expenditure is incurred for daily household cooking by users of LPG and other fuels, as a comparison. The numbers clearly show that even without subsidy, LPG is still the most economical AND convenient option. So why is it not the main cooking fuel in India?

LPG as well as kerosene were introduced as household cooking fuels in India in 1950s. At that time everyone cooked on solid biomass fuels. Typically, the rural households used firewood, either collected, or harvested from own farms, or purchased, and the urban households used charcoal and firewood, both purchased. There was a lot of resistance to fossil fuels, but the convenience of both kerosene and LPG soon overcame the cultural barriers. Most of the urban middle and high income households shifted to LPG, whereas urban poor shifted primarily to kerosene. The rural population just added LPG and kerosene as additional options, but did not totally give up on firewood. Only those people who could not cross the economical barrier, continued to use the traditional fuels, exclusively. This population is however substantially large - about 30% urban households and nearly 85% rural households are using solid biomass fuels for cooking (based on 2011 census data and other sources).  

The push for liquid and gaseous fossil fuels for cooking came from two main considerations - one, to reduce the pressure on forests to supply firewood and charcoal for cooking, and two, to reduce the drudgery and health impacts suffered by women cooking on solid biomass fuels. Over the years however, a number of changes have come in in the usage patterns. 

Firstly the richer households now cook on both LPG and electricity, and recently the option of piped natural gas has also become available in some cities. 

Kerosene as a cooking fuel is now an increasingly expensive option in both urban and rural areas as other uses are being found for kerosene. In places where electricity is not available or is unreliable, whatever kerosene that a household can get hold of, is used for lighting. Almost everywhere, as the price of petrol has gone up, kerosene has also been used for adulteration! As a result, many poor households have been forced to fall back on firewood, as the kerosene supply through the public distribution system has become unreliable.  

The poor who could not afford either LPG or kerosene before are still unable to do so, and therefore other options such as gobar gas and smokeless chulhas have been promoted for them. However, gobar gas (biogas from cattle dung) is not a universally applicable solution for a number of reasons, and so called 'smokeless' chulhas are never totally smokeless. Stoves have been designed that burn solid biomass fuels without high levels of pollution, but this is often achieved at the expense of user friendliness. In any case, these devices too are expensive, and for a variety of cultural, social and economic reasons, there is reluctance on part of the poor households, to invest in a clean cook stove. 

The real problem for the poor or those with hand to mouth existence is that they do not always have the total amount that is required for buying a whole LPG cylinder, either 14.2 kg or even smaller capacity. If somehow it becomes possible for people to pay for fuel as per their daily requirement (INR 20 at a time), more people will be easily able to afford LPG. If the number of households with access to LPG can increase to 75-80% in the total population, we would certainly have made great strides into reducing the health impacts from cooking energy source. It is uncertain whether this will reduce the pressure on forests, though, as the biggest cause of deforestation is not poor people's need for cooking fuel, but is rich people's need for more land for urbanisation and industrialisation. 

I believe that there are technologically feasible ways of overcoming the economic barrier to provide more widespread access to LPG or any other gaseous fossil fuel as household cooking fuel. For example, if cooking gas is supplied by pipe, and the gas flow can be controlled with the help of pre-paid coupons (similar to pre-paid cellphone usage), a household can actually buy the gas daily decided either by the daily need or by the money in hand on a daily basis, or a combination of both considerations. 

I do not think however that anyone is working on any such sustainable solutions. 

Furthermore, in all this, the issue of LPG (and kerosene) being a fossil fuel (therefore essentially non-renewable and non-sustainable) remains unaddressed. The only sustainable substitute is to somehow convert the solid biomass as available into a gaseous form. A number of technologies are available, but none of these have become commercially feasible, particularly in the context of substituting LPG as household cooking fuel. Unfortunately, this is another area where not much innovative thinking has happened over the years, and there is almost no policy support for the few realistic technologies that do already exist. 

At Samuchit Enviro Tech, we are trying some novel approaches for developing cooking energy systems that would provide the same or similar 'quality of energy service' as LPG, but using solid and liquid biomass 'waste' as starting materials. We welcome everyone willing to participate in this process, on a voluntary basis. 

Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Quiz: Test your general awareness!

Monday Quiz is here...

Q: There are three kinds of deserts in India: sand desert, salt desert, and cold desert. One of the states has a cold desert. Name it.

a) Jammu and Kashmir
b) Himachal Pradesh
c) Rajasthan
d) Gujarat

We await correct answers!

Last week's question was about non-commercial biological fuel.
The correct answer isFuelwood
Winners: Dayaghan Rane and Hina Shah


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Feed : Gifting ideas by Samuchit!

Gifting ideas from Samuchit!

For any occasion or celebration, Samuchit has an environment-friendly gift! 

Solar lamps to bamboo lamps, Mitticool to nano barbecue, Samuchit has it all...

Visit this link to check our range and avail exciting offers!

Join our club of SUSTAINable humans by taking a responsible step today!


    Samuchit Enviro Tech.