World Environment Day -2014
Jun05

World Environment Day -2014

World Environment Day, also popularly known as Environment Day is observed every year on 5th June to promote awareness on the importance of preserving our bio diversity and the need to identify the problems related to our environment and ways to take corrective action. World Environment Day was established in year 1972 by United Nations General Assembly, and, the first World Environment Day was celebrated in 5th June,1973. It was on this day that the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held to tackle challenges being faced by environment such as global warming, climate change, disasters and conflicts, harmful substances, environmental governance, ecosystem management and efficient use of resources. The 26 Principles of the Stockholm Declaration: The Stockholm Declaration was an output of this first global environmental conference (United Nations Conference on the Human Environment) held in Stockholm from June 5-16, 1972. This declaration is a major milestone in the evolution of international environmental law. 1. Human rights must be asserted, apartheid and colonialism condemned 2. Natural resources must be safeguarded 3. The Earth’s capacity to produce renewable resources must be maintained 4. Wildlife must be safeguarded 5. Non-renewable resources must be shared and not exhausted 6. Pollution must not exceed the environment’s capacity to clean itself 7. Damaging oceanic pollution must be prevented 8. Development is needed to improve the environment 9. Developing countries therefore need assistance 10. Developing countries need reasonable prices for exports to carry out environmental management 11. Environment policy must not hamper development 12. Developing countries need money to develop environmental safeguards 13. Integrated development planning is needed 14. Rational planning should resolve conflicts between environment and development 15. Human settlements must be planned to eliminate environmental problems 16. Governments should plan their own appropriate population policies 17. National institutions must plan development of states’ natural resources 18. Science and technology must be used to improve the environment 19. Environmental education is essential 20. Environmental research must be promoted, particularly in developing countries 21. States may exploit their resources as they wish but must not endanger others 22. Compensation is due to states thus endangered 23. Each nation must establish its own standards 24. There must be cooperation on international issues 25. International organizations should help to improve the environment 26. Weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated So, from Stockholm, the environment agenda led to the Brundtland Commission (where the idea of sustainable development came to fore for the first time in its report, Our Common Future), and then to the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, which gave birth to UN conventions on climate change, biodiversity and desertification World...

Read More
Fly-Ash Bricks
May31

Fly-Ash Bricks

Our Homes are Our Dreams made of Bricks and Mortar With the concept of sustainable living catching up, this catchphrase might need a slight twist – Our Homes are Our Dreams made of Fly-ash Bricks and Mortar. Fly-ash Bricks are Eco-friendly Bricks FABs (Fly-ash Bricks) are eco-friendly bricks and that’s what makes them the most viable option in this day and age of Green Living. They have two major advantages over clay bricks. One, they are stronger than clay bricks and two, being made of fly-ash, a by-product of coal based power generating plants which was earlier a nuisance to dispose, they are good for the environment too. FAB is a “green” product which is helping save precious landfill space which was earlier being used to dispose unused fly-ash. Now, that unused ash is being used to manufacture bricks. What’s more important is that these bricks, especially, ‘the fly-ash sand lime bricks’ can be manufactured the green way. In this method the fly-ash mixes with lime at ambient temperature while the brick cures. These bricks are air cured for 24-48 hours and then steam cured in autoclave at desired pressure and temperature. This is a sustainable manufacturing process. There’s another process in which ‘the burnt-clay fly-ash bricks’ are made and fired in a kiln at about 1000 degree Celsius. The previous method is a sustainable one, saves energy, and also reduces mercury pollution. Both types of bricks are being manufactured though most people are adopting the sustainable method to manufacture ‘the fly-ash sand lime bricks’. Even when these bricks are not being manufactured in the greenest possible way, they still are saving the environment from fly-ash – an industrial waste and a pollutant. Fly-ash Bricks Vs Clay Bricks Practitioners of sustainable living are in favour of fly-ash bricks, because they are eco-friendly, but that’s not all. Fly-ash bricks are becoming popular, because they have many advantages over conventional clay bricks. Here are a few: They have dense composition and high compressive strength which gives them higher load bearing capacity They are uniform in shape and size and have a smooth finish. They help saving in mortar up to 25%  mortar and saving in plaster up to 15% , because of even shape and size. They have higher moisture resistance, as their water absorption ability is much lower than clay bricks. This reduces chances of dampness on walls. They are less porous and have a thermal conductivity of 0.90-1.05 W/m2°C as opposed to the thermal conductivity of clay bricks which is 1.25 – 1.35 W/m2 ºC. Thus, they have better thermal insulation than clay bricks. They don’t absorb heat; rather, they reflect...

Read More
The Importance of Practicing Recycling
May26

The Importance of Practicing Recycling

Recycling – An Environment Friendly Approach Recycling is the production of new products or materials from (recyclable) materials that would otherwise be considered waste. The process of recycling includes collecting recyclable materials, sorting them out, and sending different materials to different areas for processing. These processed raw materials are then sent to manufacturing units where different kinds of products are made from them. Today, you find more and more recycled products being used everywhere. Some of these products have total recycled content and some have partial recycled content. Common house hold items that are made from recycled material include newspaper, tissue paper, paper napkins, aluminium rolls, plastic containers and bottles, paper bags, steel cans etc. Key Benefits Recycling is a key strategy to reduce solid waste that is sent to landfills and incinerators. However, there are other benefits of recycling too – It helps conserve natural resources such as wood, water, and minerals It reduces pollution by reducing the consumption and need to collect new raw materials It reduces energy usage It reduces greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) emissions that are major reasons for global warming It helps sustain the environment It promotes the use of green technologies It has created new employment opportunities in the recycling and manufacturing industries world over. Recycling helps economy. The 3R’s – Reduce…Reuse…Recycle Recycling can’t be viewed in isolation. It is one of the waste management options in the solid waste hierarchy and therefore, when you think of recycling, you should think of all the three components (reduce, reuse, and recycle) as one whole idea. In a waste hierarchy, the waste management options are ranked from the most sustainable to the least sustainable. In this hierarchy “reducing” is the best option and “disposal” the worst. Reduce – If you don’t need something, don’t get it and prevent waste.  The first step towards zero waste is to reduce production of waste.  For instance, people tend to get too much food stuff from the market (even things they don’t consume much) and then they have to throw away some of these food items, as their usability date expires. This wastage can be reduced if you buy only those food items that are more likely to be consumed. Reducing waste is as simple as this example.  The aim is that individuals and communities reduce waste, recycle more, and use resources sustainably. Reuse – If you have to buy something, buy something that can be used again. Reusing is using things again and again in their original form. A good example is using reusable nappies (real nappies) as against the disposable ones, because a disposable nappy...

Read More
Summer Time Energy Saving Tips
May12

Summer Time Energy Saving Tips

Summer season is here. It is time to beat the heat with ice-creams, mango shakes, thandai, and of course, by taking a plunge in the pool. While you can keep off the heat by doing all these things, one thing can still make you sweat – your electricity bill!  Summer time means hefty electricity bills. Why is it so? Let’s find out. Summer in India Summer season in India is characterized by scorching sun and hot winds called “Loo”. Summer season heats up the Indian subcontinent to such an extent that all forms of life – plants, animals, and humans are left parched. The earth gets baked and there is little or no farming done in the months of May and June. The sun beats down on animals, birds, and humans alike; everyone looks for ways and means to keep themselves cool.  Animals and birds look for some puddles of water to quench their thirst and cool off their bodies. Man too looks for different ways to beat the heat. In villages, men spend a greater part of the day relaxing under the cool shade of mango, pepal, or banyan trees after having finished whatever little farm work they have while the womenfolk finish household chores early and then relax under some tree in the courtyard of their houses. Due to lack of electricity, they either use hand-fans for fanning or spread wet sheets like curtains near their cots to get cool air; when the breeze blows, it picks up the cool water from the surface of the wet sheets producing cool air, thus giving respite to village folks, many of whom don’t even have access to electricity. In cities though, where electricity is easily available, people use water coolers and A/Cs to keep their homes, offices, and shops air cooled. However, this means paying hefty electricity bills. Summer Time is High Energy Consumption Time Talking about summer and energy consumption, it is a known fact that in India energy consumption in cities is far too higher than in villages.  This energy consumption escalates further more in summer months. The reason being increased use of A/Cs, coolers and electronic appliances such as refrigerators, water filters, invertors, and water. So, summer is the time when your electricity bill can skyrocket if you don’t keep in mind a few dos and don’ts to save energy. There are two ways to bring down energy consumption. One is by keeping your homes cool naturally; and two, by following some simple tips on how to use electronic appliances judiciously. Keeping Your Home Cool Naturally As the temperatures soar, the electricity bills also soar. The...

Read More
Global Warming
Apr16

Global Warming

Global warming is the continuous rise in average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. It has caused a significant impact on the global climate change. The term global warming is commonly used for describing the impact of enhanced greenhouse gas effect on the Earth’s average surface temperature. Due to the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (which is emitted due to burning of fossil fuels or due to deforestation) extra heat gets trapped in our atmosphere. This trapped heat acts as a blanket and warms our planet, thus causing global warming. Enhanced Greenhouse Effect In its natural process, greenhouse effect is good for life on Earth.  When Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of it gets reflected back into space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).  This process is called greenhouse effect. The trapped or absorbed energy warms the Earth enough to support life on Earth. But, the problem that we are facing now is ‘Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’. Now, what is happening is that due human activities , particularly fossil fuels burning (coal, oil, and natural gas), agriculture, and deforestation, the concentrations of greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere and this is warming the earth far too much than it should be. This Global Warming in causing climate change and this is affecting all living beings on Earth. We are running out of time, and something needs to be done urgently to reduce this warming up of Earth. Global Warming and India Because of increasing consumption of fossil fuels, India, has now become the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. Although if you look at India’s per-capita emissions, it is among the lowest in the world, it is 1.7 metric tons per capita as against 17.6  metric tons per capita of the United States. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world today, and if it sustains a high annual economic growth rate, it will experience an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. However, understanding the seriousness of the situation, India has increased its investment in climate change. Impacts of Global Warming Global warming, if not halted, will have catastrophic effect on global climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, released on April 13, 2014 makes it clear that climate change is a reality that we need to tackle and tackle soon.  This climate change is driven by increasing greenhouse gas emissions—80 percent of them due to the burning of fossil fuels. The climate change is melting the Arctic ice, acidifying oceans, adversely affecting people’s health,...

Read More