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.