No north Indian river fit for bathing: Environmental activists
NEW DELHI, December 26, 2012: The famed rivers of India's Gangetic plains are
turning into "sewage", threatening the life and health of millions of people
dependent on them, warned a team of 11 environmental activists who cycled through the region
covering around 1,800km in 27 days. In the capital earlier this week on way to their final stop, Dehra Dun,
team members they crossed 24 rivers while cycling through north Bengal,
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. "Not one river was fit to bathe in. The water at many places resembled
Among the most polluted rivers we came across was the Yamuna in western UP,
Varuna and Gandak," said team leader Anil P Joshi, a Padma Shri-awardee
who heads a Dehra Dun-based environmental NGO, HESCO. "The growing pollution of rivers is a stark sign of wider ecological
imbalance in the region," he added. The yatra aims to raise awareness about the need for keeping an account
of India's natural resources. The group is demanding that the government
introduce an annual green measure called the 'gross environmental product'. "Like the GDP for the economy, the
GEP would monitor the health of India's natural assets, showing whether
these were being overexploited or not," said Joshi. It wasn't just the rivers that the activists were worried about.
They said none of the states they travelled through had achieved even half of
India's target of 33% area under forests. Bengal had 14.64%, Bihar 7.23%, UP 3.61% and
Delhi 11.94%. "Forests are vanishing in these states. And even the ones that survive
are grade C forests, consisting of bushes rather than broad-leaved trees," Joshi said.
The team travelled through 31 districts, held 300 meetings and reached
out to around 10,000 people. They interacted with 1,200 village youth
through the yatra and found the 80% of them had not seen a forest. The cyclists also made extensive notes on falling water table, polluted
underground water and degradation of agricultural lands in various districts.
"We will compile a report of our observations, which will be sent to the
Prime Minister's Office and to all chief ministers," Joshi said. Source: Times of India
Pollution from car emissions killing millions in China and India
December 19, 2012: An explosion of car use has made fast-growing Asian cities the epicentre
of global air pollution and become, along with obesity, the world's fastest
growing cause of death according to a major study of global diseases. In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely
from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in
The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia,
including India. Worldwide, a record 3.2m people a year died from air pollution in 2010,
compared with 800,000 in 2000. It now ranks for the first time in the world's top 10 list of killer diseases, says the Global Burden of Disease
(GBD) study.The unexpected figure has shocked scientists and public health groups.
David Pettit, director of the southern California air programme with the
Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), said: "That's a terribly high
number – and much more people than previously thought. Earlier studies
were limited to data that was available at the time on coarse particles
in urban areas only." Anumita Roychowdhury, head of air pollution at the Centre for Science
and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based environmental group, said: "There is hard evidence now to act urgently to reduce the public health
risks to all, particularly children, elderly and the poor. No-one can escape toxic air."
The full effects of air pollution on health in Asian cities may not be
seen for years, she said. "Toxic effects like cancer surface after a
long latency period. Therefore, exposure to air pollution will have to be reduced today to reduce the burden of disease," she said.
According to the report, by a consortium of universities working in conjunction with the UN, 65% of all air pollution deaths are now in
Asia, which lost 52m years of healthy life from fine particle air pollution in 2010. Air pollution also contributes to higher rates of
cognitive decline, strokes and heart attacks. If the figures for outdoor air pollution are combined with those of
indoor air pollution, caused largely by people cooking indoors with wood, dirty air would now rank as the second highest killer in the
world, behind only blood pressure. Source: www.guardian.co.uk
New air pollution standards restrict soot particles
WASHINGTON, December 16, 2012:The Obama administration
announced a new air pollution standard Friday that would bring about a
20% reduction in microscopic particles of soot emitted by coal-fired
power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory
ailments. The new limit, fought by industry and welcomed by environmentalists, marks the first time the Environmental Protection
Agency tightened the soot standard since it was established 15 years ago.
"These standards are fulfilling the promise of the Clean Air
Act," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We will save
lives and reduce the burden of illness in our communities, and families
across the country will benefit from the simple fact of being able to
breathe cleaner air." Fine particles from burning fossil fuels can
penetrate deep into the lungs and lead to heart attacks, acute asthma and
premature death, according to the EPA. The new limit that the EPA set for
an annual average of airborne fine particles in a given jurisdiction is
12 micrograms per cubic meter, down from 15 micrograms, a standard
established in 1997.
The new standard will have a particular
impact on California, due to problems from the burning of diesel fuel.
According to the EPA's regional office of the Pacific Southwest, seven
California counties may not meet the new standard by 2020: Los Angeles,
Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, Kern, Merced and Tulare. Uver the
last decade, soot levels have been cut by almost 50% in the Los Angeles
area and almost 30% in the San Joaquin Valley, the office said. Industry
attacked the standard as onerous and of dubious benefit to public health
and a sign of more regulation in the future. The EPA estimated that
by 2030, the reduction in soot "from diesel vehicles and equipment
alone" could prevent up to 40,000 premature deaths and 4.7 million
days of work lost due to illness. The agency estimates that it would cost
industry $53 million to $350 million annually to comply with the new
standard. But it estimated the annual savings in healthcare and other
costs to be around $4 billion to $9.1 billion. Source:
Up to 9% of deaths in London caused by air pollution
London, December 11, 2012: Up to 9% of deaths in the capital's most polluted areas are down to air
pollution, a new London Assembly paper has reported. The paper highlights the percentage of deaths attributable to man-made airborne
particles is highest in the City of London. Research has shown air pollution contributes to problems including lung
and heart conditions. The Mayor's office said the report was overly simplistic and alarmist.
London is among the worst in Europe for air pollution.
The paper, Air Pollution in London, produced by the Assembly's Health
and Environment Committee, reports 8.3% of deaths in Westminster are
attributable to man-made airborne particles. In Kensington and Chelsea it is 8.3% and in Tower Hamlets 8.1%.
Bromley and Havering have the lowest proportion of pollution-related
deaths in London, both 6.3%, but are still above the England average of 5.6%.
The Department of Health figures relate to research in 2010 and are based on estimates. A 2008 study estimated there are over 4,267 extra deaths each year in
London from particulates in the air. Breast cancer and diabetes have been attributed to air pollution
and respiratory problems.
A Department of Health spokesman said air pollution was said to be among
the top 10 causes of mortality in the UK. City Hall says it has taken measures to cut pollution from buses and
taxis and improve the Low Emission Zone. The Mayor's Air Quality Strategy aims to reduce levels of nitrogen
dioxide and particulate matter by: reducing transport emissions, cutting pollution from construction and energy generation,
taking pollutants from road surface treatment and reducing exposure by warning people of high pollution days.
Environmental Organisation ClientEarth recently warned that in terms of
European Union rules, London will have "illegal levels of air pollution until 2025". Source: BBC News
NASA aircraft to study climate change and air pollution next month
NASA , December 9, 2012: A collection of NASA Earth science missions will
take to the skies in January to study climate change and air pollution, the agency announced on Thursday. These airborne missions are all based at
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Southern California .
NASA mission scientists use airborne instruments in conjunction with
satellite observations to assist in understanding Earth’s complex systems. Mission operations and NASA research aircraft
will be coordinate at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., and at Dryden's main campus on Edwards Air Force Base.
The missions will be probing air pollution across central California and
key climate change unknowns high over the tropical Pacific Ocean. Two of
NASA's high-altitude aircraft, the unmanned Global Hawk and the ER-2,
are among the planes that will fly during these missions. The multi-year
DISCOVER-AQ campaign will fly NASA's P-3B Orion and Beechcraft 200 King Air planes
over California's San Joaquin Valley to measure air pollution this winter. The mission seeks to improve the monitoring of pollution from
satellites so that scientists can produce better air-quality forecasts
and more accurately identify pollution sources. Scientists and aircraft from other NASA Earth science missions are
preparing for flights later this year. The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle
Synthetic Aperture Radar, flying aboard a NASA C-20A piloted aircraft,
is used to study earthquakes, volcanoes, oil spills, landslides and glacier movements. Source: Examiner.com
Deadly Air Pollution Shuts Down Tehran, Harkens Back To London’s Killer Smog 1952
December 7, 2012: According to IRNA, Tehran’s Governor Morteza Tamadon ordered hospitals
and banks to remain open but asked residents to skip unnecessary travel.But shutting down commercial entities comes at a cost.
"Each day of [shut-down] in the five biggest cities [Tehran, Mashhad,
Isfahan, Arak and Karaj] costs the economy [$275 million],” politician Mohammed Reza Tabesh told the ISNA news agency.
According to Agence France-Presse, the unhealthy air choking the city
led to a 15 percent spike in hospital admissions in recent days, primarily due to people suffering headaches, respiratory problems and
nausea. "Air quality remains at dangerous levels, and the concentration of
polluting emissions has increased in the past 24 hours," the chief of
Tehran's air monitoring services, Youssef Rashidi, told the Iranian Labour News Agency, or
ILNA. Air pollution tends to peak in the autumn, AFP noted, as the haze and
fumes spewed by thousands of cars get trapped between the mountains that
surround Tehran. Compounding woes are the fact that many Iranians drive old and
inefficient vehicles, while public transport extensions have failed to
attract sufficient ridership to ease pollution. In addition, sanctions
on fuel imports prompted Iranian producers to supply card with its own
lower-grade (i.e. more polluting) petrol. According to Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index, Iran
finished near the bottom, ranking 114 out of 132 nations surveyed in 2012.
Iran’s Ministry of Health estimates that between 4,000 and 5,000 people
die every year in Tehran due to air pollution. Interestingly, while the Iranian regime clamps down hard on political
dissent, it tolerates environment activists who complain about pollution and nuclear power.
Ironically, Tehran’s pollution dilemma comes exactly 60 years after
deadly smog thousands of miles away in London killed up to 4,000 people,
largely from respiratory diseases. "The smoke-like pollution was so toxic it was even reported to have
choked cows to death in the fields," city officials stated. BBC reported that a very cold and snowy winter, which forced residents
to burn an exceptional amount of coal at home to keep warm, exacerbated
the discomfort. Source: http://www.ibtimes.com
Colourful fish species named after Obama
WASHINGTON, December 2, 2012: A newly discovered species of
colourful, freshwater fish has been named after US President Barack Obama due to his
"global vision of environmental protection and conservation" ,scientists say.Five new species of freshwater fish called darters have been discovered
in river drainages in eastern North America and named after four US presidents and a vice-president, Scientific American Running Ponies blog
reported. Darters are the smallest members of the perch family, and are
named after their ability to zip around, under and into rocks and sediment on the beds of clean, fastmoving waterways.
Almost 200 darter species have so far been discovered, most of which
live in the rivers and creeks of northern Alabama and eastern Tennessee.
They are one of the most diverse groups of native North American fishes.
The first of the new species to be described by the researchers in a
paper to be published by the Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural
History is the spangled darter (Etheostoma obama ), the males of which are resplendent in bright orange and
iridescent blue spots, stripes and checks. Source: The Times of India
Autism Linked to Air Pollution
In the newest of several recent studies on air pollution and autism,
researchers found that children with the greatest exposure to particulate matter had a doubled risk of autism.
"We're not saying that air pollution causes autism. We're saying it may
be a risk factor for autism," lead author Heather Volk told Time. "Autism is a complex disorder and it's likely there are many factors
contributing," she says.
The research team studied 500 California kids, about half of whom had
been diagnosed with autism. Using the addresses from every home each
child had lived in while in utero and during the first year of life,
researchers estimated pollution exposure based on traffic volume, vehicle emissions, wind patterns and estimates of particulate matter,
nitrogen oxide and ozone. The autistic kids were almost twice as likely to come from homes that
topped the pollution charts, especially if their mothers lived in those homes while pregnant.
There are still many missing pieces in the puzzle, Volk told Time. For
example, some children may be more susceptible to environmental factors
because of genetic differences. And other environmental factors, such as
indoor pollutin and second-hand smoke exposure, could also factor into the equation, she told Reuters.
"There are some potential pathways that we're examining in our current
research that will be coming up next," Volk told Reuters. In an accompanying editorial, Geraldine Dawson of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill highlights the rise in autism research.
environmental risk factors, such as the study on air pollution as a risk
factor for autism published in the current issue," Dawson writes. "New
research methods are providing a better understanding of the underlying
neuropathology of autism." Source: Discovery News
Central Pollution Control Board pushes for ban on diesel cars in Delhi
Delhi, November 25, 2012: Days after Chief Justice Altamas Kabir stressed on the need to deal with
the problem of smog in the Capital, the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) on Friday requested the forest bench to take up for consideration
a pending report by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).The 2007 report recommended a ban on the use of diesel in personal
transport vehicles in the Capital.
A bench presided over by Justice Aftab
Alam, told CPCB counsel Vijay Panjwani that his request would be considered during the next hearing on Monday. The report stressed that the pollution
caused by diesel cars in 2007 in Delhi was equivalent to adding "particulate emissions from nearly 30,000 diesel buses".
"EPCA is concerned that this increase in private diesel cars, encouraged
by cheaper diesel fuel, is now threatening to negate the benefits of the
compressed natural programme in the city," the report said. With Kabir expressing concern over the rise in the level of smog,
Panjwani had, on November 6, told the court that it was because of the
increase in the number of diesel vehicles. In its report, the EPCA had stated that diesel cars in the capital had
increased by nearly 425 per cent in the last decade.
The authority pointed out that the price of diesel was kept lower than
petrol for the benefit of farmers and goods transporters. This had promoted the production of diesel cars by manufacturers.On the government policy of providing subsidy on diesel, the EPCA said
actions by the government had in fact "encouraged use of diesel without
concurrent policies that would manage its pollution fall out". The authority added that India was allowing diesel vehicles without any
policy framework. "Our diesel vehicles are more polluting. The cleanest diesel car is 50
per cent more polluting than its counterpart in Europe," it said. Source: India Today
NASA taps Ball Aerospace for air pollution project
November 19, 2012: NASA has selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to build the first space-based
instrument to hourly monitor major air pollutants across North America.
The project, capped at $90 million, will feature a geostationary ultraviolet-visible(UV-VIS) spectrometer to continuously measure ozone,
aerosols and other trace gases over greater North America. The instrument – to be completed in fall 2017 will allow delivery of
regional, hourly readouts of atmospheric data during daytime as part of
NASA's Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission.
"While Ball is at the forefront of low Earth orbit instrument
development, the TEMPO spectrometer will be the company's first geostationary instrument for NASA," Cary Ludtke, vice president and
general manager for Ball's Civil and Operational Space business unit, said in a prepared statement on Monday."TEMPO takes advantage of our
expertise and technology developed for previous ultraviolet-visible instruments that have already flown or are currently on orbit."
"With TEMPO's assistance you may eventually check your smart phone,
to obtain a read-out on your city's current air quality information before you lace up your sneakers and head out for a run,"
Ball has built devices in the past that will lend to the cause,
including its ozone mapping profiler suite flying aboard the nation's newest climate and weather satellite, Suomi
NPP, and the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment. TEMPO will be overseen by the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. NASA officials anticipate the TEMPO instrument will catch a ride on a
commercial communications satellite. The cost to build the instrument
does not include the launch vehicle or integration into a satellite platform. Source:Boulder iJournal
BP to receive record US fine for Deepwater spill
November 17, 2012: British oil giant BP has agreed to pay the
largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars,
for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a person familiar with the
deal said Thursday. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal,
also said two BP PLC employees face manslaughter charges over the death
of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.
The person said BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress
about how much oil was pouring out of the ruptured well. The person
declined to say exactly how much the fine would be. The Deepwater Horizon
rig, 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, sank after the
April 2010 explosion. The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206
million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and
beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.
The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary
ban on deepwater drilling while officials and the oil industry studied
the risks, worked to make it safer and developed better disaster plans.
BP’s environmentally friendly image was tarnished, and independent gas
station owners who fly the BP flag claimed they lost business from
customers who were upset over the spill. BP chief executive Tony Hayward
stepped down after the company’s repeated gaffes, including his
statement at the height of the crisis: “I’d like my life back.” The
cost of BP’s spill far surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska in
1989. Exxon ultimately settled with the U.S. government for $1 billion, which would be about $1.8 billion today.
Delhi under the grip of smog due to Diwali crackers
New Delhi, November 14, 2012: In spite of the warnings, the citizens of Delhi burst a
huge quantity of crackers on Diwali leading to a thick envelop of smoke
in the capital. Compared to last year this time there were fewer fireworks, but the fear of smog came true and by evening smoke from
crackers had an adverse impact on Delhi’s air.
As the night progressed it became very difficult to see due to thick
smoke caused by the crackers. Even though several Delhi residents have expressed concerns over growing air pollution due to bursting of fire
crackers and requested Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to keep a watch on air pollution in the city during
Diwali, there was a massive increase in the smoke due to the crackers. The Delhi government had appealed to
the city residents to avoid crackers. But people ignored the threat to environment due to crackers.
The elderly, children and patients also suffered from the loud sound of
the fireworks. "Smog or not, crackers with dangerous toxic levels will add to the air
pollution and will prove to be dangerous," Anumita Roy Choudhary, an environmental scientist at Centre for Science and
Environment (CSE) said.
She also said people in the national capital celebrated Diwali with a
bang and many burst crackers only after 10 p.m. and this level of smoke
is dangerous in Delhi's winter. "While the Supreme Court had in 2005 put a ban on the use of
firecrackers after 10 p.m. on Diwali night, many people burst crackers
only after 10 p.m. With the nip in the air increasing in the night, the
inverse condition gets worse from the smoke from cracker-bursting," Choudhary said.
SC body asks 4 States to take stringent steps to check smog
New Delhi, November 12, 2012: Taking serious note of the thick smog over the National Capital Region
over the past few days, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority
(EPCA) has asked four States – Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana – to take immediate remedial measures.
In a recent stock-taking meeting, the Supreme Court-appointed body was
particularly concerned over recent reports on the practice of burning
post-harvest paddy stubble in Punjab, which was said to be one reason
for the thick smog over the NCR region, a Centre of Science and Environment release said.
The EPCA has now directed Punjab and Haryana to make paddy straw burning
an offence. “The Department of Environment, Punjab, will issue anotification prohibiting burning of left-over straw after harvesting of
crops in whole of Punjab with immediate effect under Section 19 (5) of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Both, state of Punjab and Haryana will ensure that there is a complete
ban on paddy straw burning within a time frame of two years,” it said.
Also, the States have been asked to provide incentives and subsidy for
innovative methods available to avoid stubble burning. The EPCA asked
the Centre to support the proposal from Punjab and Haryana to provide 50per cent subsidy on price of new agricultural equipment “Zero till
seeding fertiliser machine” or “Rotavator”, which stop burning of
left-over straw after harvesting, fertilise the soil by capturingcarbon, the CSE said.
The EPCA said it would monitor the progress on compliance of these directions every six months.
In separate meetings with the officials concerned in the NCR region
(Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad), the EPCA directed stringent
action on gross polluting vehicles. Officials of the respective transport departments will organise
inspection at five border points – NH-8 Border, NH-24 Border, Singhu
Border, Tikri Border and Badarpur Border – and stop any vehicle emitting
dark smoke from entering or exiting the border and take action against defaulters. Source: www.thehindubusinessline.com
2012 World’s Worst Pollution Problems
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 31, 2012: Industrial and mining pollutants are putting at risk
the health of at least 125 million people worldwide, especially those in
the developing world, two environment advocacy groups said in its latest
report released on October 24. The report “2012 World’s Worst Pollution Problems,” released by
Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, calculated for the
first time the public health impact of pollutants from industrial plants
and mining released into the air, water and soil. The report said the health impact of pollution is the same or higher
than some of the most dangerous diseases worldwide, such as malaria or tuberculosis, threatening millions of lives.
“The report underscores the need to fully recognize the health impacts
caused by toxic pollution at this critical juncture. Life-threatening
pollution is likely to increase as the global economy exerts an ever-increasing pressure on industry to meet growing demands. The damage
will be greatest in many low and middle-income countries, where industrial pollution prevention regulations and measures have not kept
pace,” Richard Fuller, president of the New York-based Blacksmith Institute, said in a statement.
Dr. Stephen Robinson, Green Cross Switzerland unit manager for Waste,
Legacy, said that although it affects nearly 125 million people worldwide, pollution remains “one of the most under-recognized global
Funded by the European Union, the World Bank and Green Cross, Blacksmith
investigated more than 2,600 sites in 49 low- and middle-income countries in most regions of the world. Only North Africa and the Middle
East are not represented due to what investigators called “security concerns.” The researchers then analyzed data from their own field
studies at toxic sites and combined that with census data as well as
epidemiological studies to extrapolate an estimate of the health problems involved.
The report said smaller companies that produce products for local
markets tended to have the biggest negative health impact. Using the disability-adjusted life year
(DALY) —which is a measure of the number of years an individual loses from a healthy lifespan because of
sickness, disability or early death—the researchers calculated that more
than 17 million years of healthy life in 49 countries were lost because
of pollutants caused by the 10 identified industries examined. In comparison, the DALY for malaria is 14 million; 25 million for
tuberculosis; and nearly 29 million for HIV.
6,500 Ghanaians die annually due to exposure to air pollution – WHO
October 27, 2012: More than 6,500 lives are lost
annually in Ghana as a result of exposure to air pollution caused by
use of inefficient cook-stoves and fuels, a report by the World
Health Organisation had announced. Eighty-seven per cent of the
three billion people worldwide who annually rely on such inefficient
traditional energy source to cook, are adversely affected by air
household pollution, the report added.
Muthiah, Executive Director of Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, disclosed this on Thursday at the
launch of the Ghana Sustainable Energy for All Country Action Plan
(GSE4ALL) in Accra. The Action Plan which was officially launched by
Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and
Technology, was developed by the Energy Commission in collaboration
with the Ministry of Energy and with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme, Ghana. The document was to
ensure universal access to modern energy for cooking and productive use of energy by 2020. It also outlines specific solutions and prioritized actions
to accelerate the achievement of universal access to modern energy
services, double the rate of improvements in energy efficiency and
the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. The GSE4ALL is said to represent the Country Action Plan
Implementation and Monitoring Plan and the cost estimates of the prioritised interventions under the Plan.
Mrs Muthiah observed that women were mostly impacted by the negative
effects of cooking on open fires and traditional cookstoves because of
their responsibilities as cooks and managers of their households. Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator, called for strong
partnerships to be developed among institutions, agencies and civil society groups to ensure effective implementation of the action plan work.
Environmental Groups Ask EPA to Require Fracking Disclosure
October 25, 2912: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should force oil and
natural- gas producers to disclose the chemicals they release during
drilling, hydraulic fracturing, compressing and storage, environmental
groups said. The Environmental Integrity Project and 16 other groups in a petition
today said the information is necessary to inform local residents about
pollutants released into the air, water and land. Disclosure also would
prod companies to reduce their chemical pollution, according to the petition to the EPA.
“At the very least, we have the right to know what these companies are
using and releasing as part of their oil and gas production,” Jane
Davenport, senior attorney for Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said today on a conference call with reporters.
The EPA requires electricity producers, many manufacturers and some
mining operators to report chemicals that are released to its Toxic Release Inventory. The disclosure isn’t tied to regulations or
permitting requirements, and instead is meant to give citizens information about air, water and land pollution.
“We have received the petition and will respond appropriately,” David
Bloomgren, a spokesman for the EPA, said in an e-mail. U.S. gas and oil production is booming in part because drillers are
using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to free gas trapped in underground rock.
“The EPA estimates the oil and gas industry releases 127,000 tons of
hazardous air pollutants every year, second only to power plants and more than any of the other
industries already reporting” it, Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said in a statement. “Why shouldn’t oil
and gas companies be required to report these toxic releases under our
right-to-know laws, like so many other industries already do?” -: Bloomberg.com
Air pollution study clears the air on diesel versus gas emissions
October 23, 2012: Diesel exhaust contributes more to a component of smog than
gasoline-fueled cars, according to a new UC Berkeley study. The study, published
today in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", elucidates
the contributions to air pollution from the two types of fuel emissions.
The authors estimate that diesel exhaust is responsible for 65-90 percent of a region's vehicular-derived
SOA, depending upon the relative amounts of gasoline and diesel used in the area.
The researchers noted that in the San Francisco Bay Area,
about 10 times more gas is used compared with diesel. SOA contributes to respiratory problems and poor air quality, so pinpointing the major
sources of the pollutant is important in evaluating current and future
policies to reduce smog in the state.
The new findings contradict previous research that put the blame on
gasoline-fueled vehicles as the predominant source of precursors that
form secondary organic aerosol. "We can now say that, while both motor vehicle sources are important for
these 'secondary' particles, diesel is responsible for a larger portion,
especially in regions such as the San Joaquin Valley with a lot of diesel use,"
said study principal investigator and professor Allen Goldstein, who has
joint appointments in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy
and Management and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
"The data from our study contains the most comprehensive chemical detail
to date on diesel and gasoline emissions," said study lead author Drew
Gentner, a recent UC Berkeley Ph.D. graduate in civil and environmental
engineering. Source: http://phys.org/
Now, China to fly kites to keep pollution in check
Beijing, October 17, 2012: A joint effort between a Chinese and US graduate students will soon see
kites fitted with sensors flying around the smog-filled Beijing
skies, measuring exactly how much pollutants are harming the 20 million citizens and the reputation of the city.
The Beijing municipality currently has 35 air quality monitoring stations spread across the city.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center's website, according to state media, provides a map showing readings from the
monitoring stations over the last 24 hours. An analysis ofthe data shows the city experiences peak readings often at night.
Experiment with kites, citizens themselves will now be able to
see the degree of pollution themselves, said a report in TechNewsDaily
website. The two students who collaborated on the project were Deren Guler, a master's candidate in tangible interaction design at Carnegie
Mellon University and Xiaowei Wang, a master's candidate in landscape architecture at Harvard University.
“The "Float Beijing" project's kites carry air pollution sensors as well
as colorful LED lights that show the level of air quality — green for
good, yellow for moderate, red for unhealthy and pink for severely unhealthy,” the report said.
The students spoke with kite flyers at a local Beijing park who recommended a master kite maker in a nearby kite market. “The kite maker
and his wife were "very enthusiastic" about the project, and helped the
Chinese and American graduate students refine their kite design,” the
report said. The first workshop taught citizens how to attach the air pollution
sensors and lights to the kites, the report said, adding that such kites
will not only be able to detect and display general levels of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, but also collect the data and
store it for later. Float Beijing aims to eventually create an online interactive display of
the air pollution results collected by the kites, as well as a book about the project. Source: Hindustan Times
Arab Environment Day to bring critical issues to fore
Muscat, October 15, 2012 (ONA): The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Environment and
Climate Affairs Ministry, will observe the Arab Environment Day on
October 14, 2012. This year, the celebrations come under the theme 'Working Together for
the Preservation of the Environment'.
Today, the Sultanate will be renewing its pledge to protect and conserve
the Arab environment, exchange views and experiences with Arab countries
and fulfill the aspirations of the Arab people and their legitimate right for a clean environment capable of supporting sound development plans.
The Environment Day is observed each year under a different motto that
addresses different issues relating to Arab environmental concerns. The authorities seek to
enlighten the Arab citizens on the immediate problems confronting them and
encouraging them for better conduct that supports environmental protection efforts.
The occasion also stresses on making the common man an active factor in promoting these efforts.
The Council of Arab Ministers responsible for environmental Affairs has
decided that the Arab Environment Day this year would be reflecting one
of the important environmental issues and highlight the critical need
for cooperation between all the sectors of the society to combat pollution in all its forms and to maintain the
environment in all its dimensions. Source: www.etimesofoman.com
Disaster in offing as 4,000 industrial units flout norms in Mumbai
Mumbai, October 12, 2012 (DNA): Brazenly flouting environmental norms, hundreds of manufacturing units
in Mumbai are operating illegally, without even the most basic "consent
to operate" from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). While MPCB officials estimate that there are about 4,000 such illegal
units operating in Mumbai's industrial hubs, information obtained under
the Right to Information (RTI) Act shows that as many as 150 manufacturing units that are operating without the consent of the MPCB
were served show cause notices by the official body entrusted with the
task of regulating polluting industries in the state. None of the 150
units responded to the notices. According to officials, most of these polluting units are
electroplating, plastic and others located in the densely populated manufacturing hubs of Kherani road in Andheri and in
Recently, the MPCB sent a proposal to the government suggesting that the
units either be regularised or forcibly moved out of the city, said MPCB
regional officer Dr Jitendra Sangewar. Though a large number of these
are small units, they cumulatively account for grave air and water pollution, he added.
According to rules, any industry that is likely to discharge sewage or
effluents into the environment or are likely to emit any pollutants into
the atmosphere must obtain consent of the state pollution control board
under the provisions of law. Running a polluting industry without the mandatory clearances is an
offence and the owner is liable to face stringent actions, including
closure and prosecution, said Sudarshan Rodriguez, an environment expert
and senior project coordinator at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences
(TISS). Experts say 4,000 estimated polluting and illegal units is a dangerously
large number for a polluted city like Mumbai. According to official records, in the last two years, the MPCB has also
issued notices to at least 671 units in Pune for various violations of
environmental laws, including operating without the consent of the regulator, while the tally for Nagpur city is 328. In the same period,
across the state nearly 2,259 units have found been found violating
guidelines. Source: dnaindia.com
Toxic tanneries drive Bangladesh leather exports - report
DHAKA, Ocober, 10, 2012 (Reuters): Luxury leather goods sold across the world are
produced in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital where workers, including
children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents, according to a study released on Tuesday.
None of the tanneries packed cheek by jowl into Dhaka's Hazaribagh neighbourhood treat their waste water, which contains animal flesh,
sulphuric acid, chromium and lead, leaving it to spew into open gutters
and eventually the city's main river. "Hazaribagh's tanneries flood the environment with harmful chemicals,"
said Richard Pearshouse, author of the Human Rights Watch report.
"While the government takes a hands-off approach, local residents fall sick and
workers suffer daily from their exposure to harmful tannery chemicals." Pearshouse told Reuters ahead of the release of the study that at least
90 percent of the leather and leather goods produced in Bangladesh come
from Hazaribagh, a foul-smelling area where up to 15,000 people are employed in tanneries.
It is a rapidly growing source of export income for the poor South Asian
country, worth $663 million in financial 2011/12, with China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United States the main buyers.
"Foreign companies that import leather produced in Hazaribagh should ensure that their suppliers aren't violating health and safety laws or
poisoning the environment," he said. Bangladesh's industry minister, Dilip Baura, told Reuters the government
was aware of the pollution and health hazards in Hazaribagh, but they
will be tackled under a plan to relocate the tanneries to an area outside Dhaka by mid-2013.
Human Rights Watch said the move to a dedicated site outside the capital
was originally planned for 2005, but the deadline was missed due to bureaucratic delays. Also, the government sought extensions to a 2009
High Court order to relocate the tanneries outside Dhaka and then ignored the order when the extension lapsed, it said.
"Hazaribagh is a glaring example of how indifferent governments can be
towards citizens," said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association. Source: Reuters
Air pollution in Korea worse than Japan and the United States
October 7, 2012: Korea has more air pollutants than Japan and the United States,
according to a joint study by the National Institute of Environmental
Korea and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of
the United States. The report said the amount of aerosol in Korea is greater than those in
the two countries. In context of air analysis, aerosol refers to the
suspension of solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere. The amount of
this can be used as a measure of air pollution. The research was conducted from March to May this year, when yellow dust
from China and Mongolia swept the country.
The report listed figures for Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), which records
the extent light is scattered or absorbed by the amount of aerosol in
the air. In Korean cities readings of this are higher than those in cities in the U.S. and Japan. The higher the amount of aerosol in the
air, the greater the AOD figure is.
The average figure for Korea was 0.49, based on a measurement of 21
cities across the nation from March to May this year. The figure for
Seoul was higher than the national average, at 0.53. For Kyoto, Japan
the figure was 0.36 and for the U.S. capital 0.32 percent. Domestically, Seoul had the highest figure among the measured cities at
0.53 and Baengnyeongdo _ an island off the coast of Incheon _ the lowest
at 0.4. Incheon and Yongin also had relatively high figures at 0.52, while
Gangneung and Gongju were found to be less polluted, with figures of
0.42 and 0.45 respectively.The study on air pollution in Northeast Asia was the second major study
conducted by NASA following an earlier one in the U.S. in 2011. Source: NIE Times
Highly polluting industries concentrated in Palghar: Report
Thane, October 5, 2012 (PTI): Palghar in this tribal-dominated district is fast emerging as a hub of
highly-polluted industries categorised as “red” by the Ministry of
Environment and Forests, according to a report. Painting a bleak picture, a recent report of the Maharashtra Pollution
Control Board (MPCB) mentions that out of 7,418 classified industries in
the district, 2,384 or 32 per cent fall in the Red zone, while Palghar
accounts for 754 such industrial units. While the tribal hamlet of Wada tops the list under the “orange”
category with 205 units, Palghar tops “green” category with 809 industries followed by Thane having 709 such factories, the report says.
All those industries or processes which are not covered under the “Red”
and/or “Orange” category are classified as “Green”. According to another report, foreign investment in industrial units in
Thane district has gone up substantially. There are 10 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the district covering an
area of 503 hectares.
Mathura refinery under fire for polluting lake
AGRA, September 30,2012: The Mathura oil refinery has been cautioned against
polluting the Keitham Lake (Soor Sarovar), which supports a bird sanctuary, on the
Delhi-Agra national highway, according to an official. Deputy wild life conservator Sujoy Bannerjee told IANS Friday: "We have
asked them not to release chemical wastes in the lake. "The bird sanctuary can not be allowed to be contaminated."
"The Mathura refinery under an arrangement with the state irrigation
department lifts fresh water from the Soor Sarovar for refining operations, and in the process discharges waste and effluents into the
lake," environment- activist Sharad Gupta told IANS.
The lake, named after
Soordas, the blind bard of Braj Bhasha, was originally designed by the British in 1922 to serve as a reservoir for
water supply during lean months to Agra city. It was turned into a bird sanctuary in March 1991.
Due to water shortage at the Keladeo bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur, a large number of migratory birds moved over to Keitham Lake which had
enough water. Member of Supreme Court monitoring committee and petitioner in the
Allahabad HC, DK Joshi told IANS: "The refinery should be asked to make
their own arrangements for water from the Gokul Barrage in Mathura and should vacate 23 acres of land of the sanctuary." In September 1981, an agreement was signed between the Uttar Pradesh's
Irrigation department and the Mathura Refinery for supply of water at Re1 for 10,000
litres. The agreement expired after 25 years in 2006-07 (financial year).
"The Gokul Barrage, just 7 km from refinery, was opened in 2001. But the
refinery continues to lift Agra's share of water from Keitham Lake, that
is 30 km away," said Joshi. "The lake attracts more than 250 species of migratory and resident birds
and gets covered by profuse growth of macrophytic vegetation of water
hyacinth during summers," she added. Source: IANS
Breathing European air shortens lives – report
BRUSSELS, September 26, 2012 (Reuters) – Air pollution is shortening lives by
almost two years in parts of the European Union, the European Environmental Agency
(EEA) said, strengthening the case for a tightening of emissions restrictions in the bloc Legislation had managed to cut the amount of some toxins belched out by
exhaust fumes and chimneys across Europe, according to an EEA report published on Monday.
But there were still dangerous levels of microscopic particles, known as
particulate matter and linked to diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems, it
added. On average, air pollution was reducing human lives across the region by
roughly eight months, the report said. It also quoted separate European
Commission- funded research showing that a reduction in particulate levels could extend life
expectancy by 22 months in some areas.
The report did not spell out where those areas were, but it said that
Poland and other industrial regions of eastern Europe had particularly
high levels or particulate pollution. Alone among British cities, London also exceeded daily EU limits for
particulate matter.Speaking after the launch of the report, EU Environment Commissioner
Janez Potocnik said that a review of EU air quality laws next year needed to bring EU limits on pollution levels closer to the stricter
World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on safe levels of pollutants.
“This (the report) is a really serious warning about the importance to
our quality of life and health,” Potocnik told Reuters.
Apart from the impact on health, EEA Executive Director Jacqueline
McGlade said that the pollution costs the bloc 1 trillion euros a year
in healthcare and dealing with the wider impact on ecosystems. “European Union policy has reduced emissions of many pollutants over the
last decade, but we can go further,” she said.
Urgent need to asses soot risk in Arctic - UNEP
Oslo, September 20, 2012: The United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) said there was an urgent need to calculate risks of local pollutants such as soot, or “black
carbon”, in the Arctic. Soot darkens ice, making it soak up more of the
sun's heat and quickening a melt. Companies such as Shell, which this week gave up a push to find oil this
year in the Chukchi Sea as the winter closed in, Exxon or Statoil say
they are using the cleanest available technologies. But the risks of even small amounts of pollution on the Arctic Ocean,
emitted near ice with little dispersal by winds, have not been fully
assessed. “A lot of the concerns need urgent evaluation,” said Nick Nuttall,
spokesman of Naibori-based UNEP, referring to issues such as flaring of
gas or fuels used by vessels in the Arctic.
“There is a grim irony here that as the ice melts...humanity is going
for more of the natural resources fuelling this meltdown,” he said.
Large amounts of soot in the Arctic come from more distant sources such
as forest fires or industry. The extent of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean has shrunk this summer to the
smallest since satellite records began in the 1970s, eclipsing a 2007
low. The melt is part of a long-term retreat blamed by a UN panel on
man-made global warming, caused by use of fossil fuels.
An AMAP report last year said that “regulation of black carbon
production from all sources, especially those resulting locally from
activities in the Arctic, is required at all scales.” More than 400 oil and gas fields within the Arctic region were developed
by 2007, according to AMAP, mostly in West Siberia in Russia and in Alaska. Most of the undiscovered oil and gas is now estimated to be
offshore. In a 2011 report, UNEP estimated that a global crackdown on soot,
methane and ozone could slow global warming by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9F). It would also protect human health and promote crop growth.
Almost 200 nations have agreed to limit climate change to below 2 degrees C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, seeing it as a threshold to
dangerous changes such as more droughts, floods or rising sea levels. -
Discharge of effluents polluting Meghalaya
SHILLONG, September 15, 2012:
The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board has revealed that about 80 per cent of the pollution in Meghalaya is
caused by "indiscriminate discharge" or disposal of domestic sewage, trade
effluents, urban solid wastes, bio-medical wastes and burning of domestic fuel and vehicular exhaust emissions.
Since industrial development in the state has been slow, pollution from industrial sources has not been "that significant", the latest report of
the board said, adding in recent years, the growth of industries has increased to a certain extent from small-scale stone crushing units to
large-scale cement plants, leading to ecological imbalance. The report cited rapid population growth and fast urbanization as other
reasons for increase in pollution. "Exhaust emissions from vehicles are
the major contributors to air pollution since road transport is the only
mode of transport in the state," the report tabled in the state assembly read.
"Mining activities are mostly in private hands and as such coal and
limestone are being exploited in an unscientific and unplanned manner
without any measures for reclamation of mined areas," the report noted.
"Such mining activities have been causing severe water pollution and
environmental degradation in the mining areas," it pointed out. The board has identified 1,181 polluting industrial units and
establishments in the state, most of which are small units. However, the
report said 11 of these are cement plants under large-scale industrial
sector, which also fall under the 17 categories of "highly polluting" industries.
The report said most of the lime calcinations units in the state are coal-fired and kilns are of "traditional type", which do
not have hoods and chimneys venting out smoke. "So far, no cost effective pollution control system could be suggested for such units due
to the peculiar nature of the kiln structures, type of coal used and
climatic condition at places where these are located," it said. The report said the board was regulating discharge of effluents and air
emissions from industries through issuance of 'consents to establish/operate' under Water and Air Acts Source: Times of India
Caribbean coral reefs face collapse
September 12, 2012: Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world's most colourful, vivid and productive
ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the
reef area showing live coral cover. With so little growth left, the reefs are in danger of utter devastation
unless urgent action is taken, conservationists warned. They said the
drastic loss was the result of severe environmental problems, including
over- exploitation, pollution from agricultural run-off and other sources, and climate change.
The decline of the reefs has been rapid: in the 1970s, more than 50%
showed live coral cover, compared with 8% in the newly completed survey.The scientists who
carried it out warned there was no sign of the rate of coral death slowing.
Coral reefs are a particularly valuable part of the marine ecosystem
because they act as nurseries for younger fish, providing food sources
and protection from predators until the fish have grown large enough to
fend better for themselves. They are also a source of revenue from tourism and leisure.
Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine and polar programme at
the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which published the research, said: "The major causes of coral decline are
well known and include overfishing, pollution, disease and bleaching
caused by rising temperatures resulting from the burning of fossil fuels."
This decline is likely to have severe impacts on coastal villages,
particularly in developing countries, where many people depend on the reefs for fishing and tourism. Globally, about 275 million people live
within 19 miles of a reef. On a few of the more remote Caribbean reefs, the situation is less dire.
The scientists noted that these reefs were in areas less exposed to human impact from fishing and pollution, as well as to
natural disasters such as hurricanes. The report – compiled by 36 scientists from 18 countries
– was the work of the IUCN-coordinated Global Coral Reef Monitoring
Network. Source: The Guardian
crack down protest against Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant
Koodankulam, September 10, 2012: The Tamil Nadu police on Sunday
(September 10, 2012) resorted to a cane charge to disburse thousands of
villagers, including women and children, staging protests against the
upcoming Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP). Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW reactors with
Russian equipment at Koodankulam since 2001. Villagers have opposed the
project for the past one year, fearing for their safety, especially since
the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan in March 2011.
For the first time since the protests began more than a year
ago, a large contingent of police have entered Idinthakarai village in
Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai, which has served as the
hub of the protest. It was from this village that the anti-nuclear plant
protestors charted their protest plans after the Tamil Nadu government
gave its green signal to the project last year. The Tamil Nadu government
had earlier asked the central government to allay the fears of the public
before carrying out construction work. A Tamil television channel showed
protestors throwing sand and stones at the police while being lobbed withtear gas shells.
The People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) - spearheading the anti-KNPP movement - had decided to take its fight
against the Rs 17,120-crore project, away from Idinthakarai village near
Koodankulam after officials had announced that enriched uranium fuel
would be loaded`in the first of the two nuclear reactors around September
11. On Sunday, around 8,000 people from eight villages near Koodankulam
assembled at the beach since morning to stage their protest. There is a prohibitory order against the assembly of people near the plant and
around 4,000 policemen have been deployed around the plant site. Source: INDIA TODAY
UN concerned over risks posed by use of chemicals
New York, September 7, 2012 (IBNS): Governments must urgently act to reduce the
health and environmental hazards posed by the increase in use of chemicals in
industries worldwide, says a United Nations report launched Wednesday, which
stresses that more sustainable management policies are needed to address this growing risk.
Produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the 'Global Chemicals Outlook' report argues that a shift in the production, use and disposal of chemical products from developed to developing countries has made it essential to establish better management policies to avoid diseases and pollution caused by weak regulations.
Communities worldwide particularly those in emerging and developing countries
are increasingly dependent on chemical products, from fertilizers and petrochemicals to electronics and
plastics, for economic development and improving livelihoods, said UNEP's Executive Director, Achim Steiner, in a news release.
"But the gains that chemicals can provide must not come at the expense of human health and the environment.
Pollution and disease related to the unsustainable use, production and disposal of chemicals can,
in fact, hinder progress towards key development targets by affecting water supplies, food security, well-being or worker
productivity," Steiner said, adding that improving chemicals management is a vital component for countries to
transition into a green economy.
The report highlights not just the damaging consequences to the
environment and human health, but also the economic burden of treating chemical poisoning for many countries.
In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the estimated costs of poisonings from pesticides now exceeds the
total annual overseas development aid given to the region for basic health services, excluding HIV/AIDS.
New York's new environmental Hero - the oyster
New York, September 03 2012: Marine scientists, planners and government officials say
millions of mollusks living in waters off New York and other cities could go a long way toward cleaning up America’s polluted urban
environment. The lowly oyster and other shellfish can slurp up toxins
and eliminate decades of dirt. (AP/Mary Altaffer) On a summer morning, marine biologist Ray Grizzle reaches into the
waters of the Bronx River estuary and pulls up an oyster. The 2-year-old
female is "good and healthy." Marine scientists like him, planners and government officials say
millions of mollusks planted in waters off New York and other cities
could go a long way toward cleaning up America's polluted urban environment. The oyster and other shellfish can slurp up toxins and
eliminate decades of dirt. Landscape architect Kate Orff has a name for the work she does at her
Scape firm: Oyster-tecture. Orff is designing a park and a living reef
for the mouth of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, where oysters could take hold
and help filter one of the nation's most polluted waterways. Oyster-tecture is a 21st-century approach to creating new
waterfront infrastructures where long-gone shellfish can be brought back.
The Oyster Restoration Research Project, a New York-based nonprofit
umbrella group, partners with the NY/NJ Baykeeper ecology advocate working at the Bronx site, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that
built an oyster reef on Governors Island off Manhattan. While oysters are cultivated around the world, the United States has
some of the best regeneration programs, says Bill Goldsborough, director
of fisheries program at Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland. The bay is a center of natural oyster growth, and regeneration
is thriving just outside urban Annapolis and in Baltimore harbor. Scientists also are trying to rejuvenate the oyster population in the
Hudson River near Yonkers, north of New York, where explorer Henry Hudson spotted oysters in
1609. Source: The Associated Press
Nanoparticle 'risk' to food crops
August 26, 2012 (BBC): A pair of widely used chemicals in the form of tiny
"nanoparticles" have been shown to spread throughout a crop plant or affect growth and soil fertility.
The use of nanoparticles is increasing, yet their environmental impact
is poorly understood. A report published in PNAS shows that nanoparticles present in exhaust gases and some fertilisers adversely
affect soybean growth and surrounding soil. The nanoparticles harmed bacteria that the plant relies on for growth.
A nanoparticle is defined as a particle that has at least one diameter
that is less than 100 nanometres (nm). A nanometre is a length measurement that exists at the
microscopic end of the size spectrum - you can fit one million nanometres into one
millimetre. Nanoparticles - also known as nanomaterials - are manufactured for use
in an array of applications such as cosmetics, material coatings and as a fuel additive. They are being increasingly investigated for use in
medical applications such as drug delivery and release. Whilst many of their effects have been well documented, some of their
mechanisms of action are not fully understood. Concern has arisen that
widespread long-term nanoparticle use may "trickle down" into the environment, sparking unforeseen effects on plant or animal, or even
In the current study, a team led by Prof Patricia Holden from the
University of California tested the effects of two commonly used nanoparticles for their effects on the
growth of soybean. Soybean is a crop of huge commercial importance. Globally, it is the
fifth-largest crop and is the largest producer of edible oil and plant
protein, such as tofu. The researchers focussed on the effects of zinc oxide and cerium oxide
nanoparticles. Zinc oxide is a common component of cosmetics and ultimately ends up as a contaminant of solid waste generated by sewage
treatment. This waste is widely used as an organic fertiliser. Source : BBC News
Arctic sea ice set to hit record low
London August 21, 2012 (PTI): Arctic sea ice is set to hit a record low by the end of the month,
latest satellite data has shown. Scientists at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center said that the sea
ice extent was tracking below the previous record low, set in 2007.The latest figures show that on August 13 ice extent was 483,000 sq km
below the previous record low for the same date five years ago. The ice is expected to continue melting until mid-to late September, the
'BBC News' reported. Sea ice extent refers to a measurement of the area of Arctic Ocean that
contains at least some sea ice. Areas with less that 15 per cent is considered by scientists to mark the ice edge.
The centre said the average rate of ice loss since late June had been
"rapid", with just over 100,000 sq km melting each day. They summary said the rate of loss doubled for a few days earlier this
month during a major storm.
Prof Seymour Laxon, professor of climate physics at University College
London, said that he was not surprised that 2012 was set to deliver a
record minimum. "We got very close to a record minimum last year," Laxon told BBC News.
"The fact that Cryosat showed thinner ice last winter, it is not surprising to me that it looks like we will have a record minimum this
year," he said. "The previous [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report
(published in 2007) stated that the likely date for an ice-free Arctic
in the summer and definitions for this vary a bit - was 2100," Laxon
explained. Arctic sea ice plays a key role to help keep polar regions cool and
helps control the global climate system. As the ice has a bright surface, it reflects about 80 per cent of the
sunlight that hits it back into space.
Abdul Kalam joins with environment awareness initiatives ‘My Earth My Duty’
New Delhi, August 16, 2012: Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and his foundation ‘What
Can I Give’ joined hands with one of India’s biggest environment
awareness initiatives ‘My Earth My Duty’. The green campaign has been Zee News’ endeavour since 2009 to spread
awareness on the exigent issue of environmental degradation. The initiative aims at engaging various members of the society to sensitize
and encourage them to take concrete action towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
Appreciating the concern and efforts of Zee News*, Dr. Kalam* said, “I
am very happy that Zee News has undertaken the My Earth My Duty initiative to promote the youth of the nation to be environmentally
responsible citizens of India and the world”.
Under the initiative, a series
of multi-city awareness camps are being currently organized to bring about a behavioral change amongst masses by
empowering India at the grass root level. This will be followed by week
long plantation drive starting August 15, to mark 65 years of Independence.
Pledging to plant and nourish a sapling himself on Independence Day, Dr.
Kalam urged the youth to also join the movement. He further added, “This
independence day, be an environment giver. I am sure; each one will participate in this great mission. Remember it is our earth, it is our
duty to preserve and nourish it.” For the last two consecutive years, the campaign has registered
phenomenal success both in terms of its reach and impact. It has already
won support of over 50 million youngsters who have planted more than 1
crore trees across 1.5 lakh villages and almost all the district head
quarters till now. Besides being recognized by Limca Book of Records,
the milestone has won several coveted awards. In an unparallel achievement for any initiative, My Earth My Duty also
represented India as a model green campaign at the recent 2012 Earth Summit, in Brazil.
Refinery fire highlights pollution concerns
SAN FRANCISCO, August 9, 2012 (AP): A massive Chevron oil refinery fire that sent
hundreds of people rushing to hospitals and is pushing West Coast gas
prices higher was just the latest pollution incident at the facility
that records show has increasingly violated air quality rules over the
past five years. The refinery is one of three such facilities near San Francisco that
rank among the state's top 10 emitters of toxic chemicals, according to
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory. Chevron's Richmond refinery — the scene of Monday's fire that shrouded
the area in black smoke — has been cited by San Francisco Bay area
regulators for violating air regulations 93 times in the past five years.
The number has increased from 15 violations in 2007 to 23 in both 2010
and 2011. The refinery is also the state's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, according to state regulators.
The Richmond refinery produces about 150,000 barrels of gasoline a day —or 16 percent of the West Coast's daily gasoline consumption of 963,000
barrels, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
Investigations continued Wednesday into Chevron's response to the fire
and the effectiveness of Contra Costa County's emergency warning system.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency, sent a seven-member
team to look into possible exposure of workers after vapor ignited and
caused the fire. Monday wasn't the first time Richmond residents had received
shelter-in-place orders to stay in their homes and close the doors and
windows after fires or accidents at nearby refineries. They were anxious about the latest fire, and reports of a minor,
secondary fire at the refinery on Wednesday only magnified concerns.
The Richmond facility is not the biggest violator of air quality laws
among the region's five oil refineries, but it has been cited for violating air regulations numerous times. Some of the violations remain
under investigation for determination of penalties.
Hong Kong Cleans Up Massive Plastic Spill
August 6, 2012: Millions of tiny white plastic pellets have been washing up on the
city’s shores for the past two weeks, since the city was struck by the worst typhoon in over a decade last month. The storm knocked six
containers containing 150 tons of plastic pellets off a ship just south
of Hong Kong, sending a tide of white confetti pouring into the waters,
which swiftly began washing up on Hong Kong’s shores.
Armed with gloves, pails and black garbage bags, this weekend over 1,000
volunteers gathered in Lamma Island—a popular residential community
among expatriates—to help collect the white drifts. Another 200 volunteers assembled in Discovery Bay on Lantau Island to aid the effort
there. By Sunday night, the government said that it has already collected half of the plastic pellets that had been spilled, including
50 tons of pellets in sacks that were scooped up from the water. The
government said the clean- up effort is still continuing. “This is an ongoing process,” secretary for the
environment Wong Kam-sing told reporters on Sunday, pledging to stay attentive as the
situation continues to develop. In the meantime, environmental groups praised the government for its
swift response to the spill, as well as the number of volunteers who are
trying to help minimize the damage. Typically measuring just a few millimeters in diameter, the white plastic pellets—also known as
“nurdles”—are used as the raw material to produce other plastic
products. Experts say that while the pellets aren’t toxic themselves,
they absorb chemicals and other pollutants from the environment, and
could threaten fish or other marine life that consume them.
“Once in the water, [a pellet] acts like a sponge and absorbs
pollutants,” says Gary Shepherd, who runs the Hong Kong chapter of Sea
Shepherd, a non-profit organization that supports marine life conservation. Mr. Shepherd said that the spill will be lethal to the
local fish population, though it may take months or years for the impact
to be fully seen. Source: Reuters
Environmental clearance for KNPP given by govt, HC told
Chennai, August 3, 2012 (PTI): The Tamil Nadu government has accorded
environmental clearance for Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, the Madras
High Court was informed today, while hearing a batch of petitions relating to the project, located in Tirunelveli district. The state
Pollution Control Board, in a report filed before a Division Bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and M
Duraiswamy, submitted that conditional approval for KKNPP had been accorded under Section 25 of the
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Section 21 of
the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981. The Board said
the clearance was given on July 23 last, authorizing the project director to ensure new outlets for discharge of sewerage and trade
The PCB has made it clear that the radioactive fuel, spent
fuel and radioactive waste should be transported, handled and stored as
per guidelines of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and that
off-site disaster management programmes should be conducted as per AERB
norms. Special state government pleader I S Inbadurai submitted that an
off-site mock drill conducted by the authorities, as part of an
emergency preparedness plan at Nakkaneri village last month had been
certified by the AERB. Meanwhile, the centre in an additional counter
affidavit stated that spent fuel was not a waste but a resource that
could be reprocessed and utilised for other purposes. In the counter,
Atomic Energy Department Under Secretary Chempilakkal David Chacko said
that as per a supplemental agreement signed between India and Russia in
1998,the country did not have to surrender nuclear waste to Russia as
per the original Indo-Soviet agreement of 1988. Under the new agreement
India retained the right to reprocess spent fuel and the country would
be the major beneficiary, the counter said.
High speed rail will help cut down on environmental pollution
BANGALORE, August 1, 2012: There could be a welcome spin-off to introducing the High
Speed Rail between Bangalore and Mysore. It may cut down carbon dioxide
emission by 31.32 % according to experts from the Indian Institute of Science following a recent survey.
The experts found that a large chunk of carbon emissions currently comes
from private mode users (cars and two-wheelers) as their emission rate
is high. "The policy-makers should look at ways to make rail-based mode
of transport more attractive. Instead of investing in highway corridors,
improvement can be done in the HSR corridor and movement within the city
can be improved," said Ashish Verma, assistant professor, department of
civil engineering, Indian Institute of Science. Varun Raturi, along with Verma, did this survey.
The Indian government is looking at HSR as a possible mode of transport.
Many feasibility studies have been undertaken and the state government
too has done many infrastructure projects, one of which is the HSR link.
However, given that HSR has not yet been implemented in India, there are
few studies. asWe have undertaken this study to largely look at the practicality of introducing HSR in the state. "We will submit it to
state government officials," said Verma.
Data collected through surveys at bus-stands, railway stations,
onboard trains between Bangalore and Mysore and National Highway 17 and
restaurants. Provided information about socio-economic status and travel behaviour
of sample population and their willingness to shift to HSR. Bangalore-Mysore corridor taken as study area.
Car pollution puts kids at risk of asthma
Melbourne, July 23, 2012 (ANI): Car pollution is causing asthma-like symptoms in
otherwise healthy children, and potentially affecting their lung growth, a new
study has revealed. A study of 2860 primary school children representing most states in
Australia revealed that nitrogen dioxide (NO2), found in motor vehicle
exhaust, was present in the lungs of two thirds of the students tested
at the 55 sample schools. In children who were detected with NO2, the researchers consistently
found those children experienced ‘‘asthma-like’’ symptoms, including ‘‘wheeze’’.
Their lung volume was reduced and their airways were inflamed.
Researchers found that the NO2 was not producing typical asthma, but a
non-specific lung effect, which did not improve with asthma medication.
‘‘Although air pollution levels are relatively low in most regions of
Australia, they may not be low enough to prevent adverse health effects,’’ the Age quoted the report.
The research found that children inhaled and retained more air pollution
per unit of body weight than adults, partly because they played outdoors, and that pollution had a greater impact on children as their
lungs were still developing. The report warned that while the impacts measured were small,
long- term exposure to NO2 could affect them into adult life. The report called for major
reductions in particulate matter (airborne fine particles of soot), carbon dioxide, NO2 and ozone, saying there
were many pollutants without a safe ‘‘threshold’’. The report suggested that it should be done by limiting motor vehicle
emissions, investing in more public transport and through better urban
Doctors for the Environment Australia spokeswoman Marion Carey
criticised the time taken to review the air standards. ‘‘We have enough information now to act,’’ Dr Carey said.
‘‘We should be translating this knowledge into practical policy and
action to protect everyone’s health, especially our children’s,” she said.
Asthma Foundation NSW chief executive officer Michele Goldman said Australia’s air monitoring was 10 years behind the rest of the world
despite compelling evidence of harm. “Studies have shown that children constantly exposed to cigarette smoke
or traffic fumes are three times more likely to develop asthma,” she said.
Air pollution rising in Dhaka
Dhaka, July 16, 2012: Traffic congestion in the capital and smoke from brick kilns are the
main reasons for air pollution in Dhaka city, according to the World
Bank and the Bangladesh government. The Ministry of Environment and Forests says that vehicles in Dhaka move
14kmph on an average, which is very slow and causes them to burn more
fuel and contribute to air pollution. They say the average speed could
come down to 4kmph by 2025 if things do not improve. A website
(www.case-moef.gov.bd) of the ministry has mentioned this data.
The web page is of a government project called Clean Air and Sustainable Environment (CASE), set up with the support of the World
Bank to reduce the capital's smog, produced by brick kilns and vehicles,
which has been steadily increasing in recent years. The World Bank and
Bangladesh jointly conducted a Country Environmental Assessment and came
up with the data. The website says that if air pollution is reduced by 20 percent, it
would also save $170 to 500 million in healthcare costs and increase the
productivity of city dwellers. According to sources at the Department of Environment, the density of
airborne particulate matter is around 250 micrograms per cubic metre in
Dhaka, which is five times the acceptable level of 50 set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standard of Bangladesh.
A study, Environmental Performance Index 2012, conducted by the US
universities Yale and Columbia, found Dhaka to be the 31st most polluted
city out of 132 cities across the world. Source: Demotix.com
Sand, salt, volcanoes add to EU clean air challenge
BRUSSELS, July 13, 2012 (Reuters): Desert sand, sea salt, volcanic ash and other forms
of natural pollution are adding to rising levels of man-made dirt sullying the air and making it harder, especially for Mediterranean
countries, to meet EU environmental regulations. A report released this week from EU body the European Environment Agency
(EEA) found the highest levels of natural pollutants were in Spain, which
frequently experiences forest fires, most recently this month. Out of 42 instances, where the levels in Spain were reported above legal
limits, 18 were caused by natural pollution, said the report, which is
the first European study of its kind. The Observatory of Sustainability, an independent organization in Spain,
said proximity to the Sahara made the Iberian peninsula especially vulnerable.
"This will get worse by desertification caused by climate change in the
peninsula, converting this topic to a very important issue in Spain," the group said in a statement.
Ten other countries -- including Cyprus, Greece and Italy -- also reported air pollution above legal limits because of
natural particles. "This analysis shows that authorities should make extra efforts to
reduce the air pollution they can control, because the cumulative effect
of natural and man-made particulates can damage people's health," Jacqueline
McGlade, EAA executive director, said in a statement. While pollution from sea spray and sand result from natural phenomena,
90 percent of forest fires are caused by humans, as estimated by the EU
research organization. But if wind carries the smoke and particles from fires into other
countries, they are classed as natural pollution. The World Health Organization reports health problems from short-term
exposure can cause breathing difficulty, where long-term exposure can
decrease lung function and shorten life expectancy. The Observatory of
Sustainability reported that in Spain the particles have been connected to asthma in children and premature deaths.
First adopted in 2005, the EU's Air Quality Directive requires a 20
percent reduction in air pollution by 2020. The directive allows member states to subtract pollution from
natural sources from the numbers they report to the European Commission, but
each country measures man-made pollutants and natural pollution differently, making it difficult to evaluate consistently.
Nano technology a solution for environment problems: Tessy
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, July 11, 2012: DRDO scientist and 'AGNI' project director Dr Tessy
Thomas today said nano technology can provide practical solutions to various environmental problems in the modern world.
Delivering a lecture on "Science and Technology for Environment Protection" at the state assembly complex here, she
said advancement in technology and increasing population cause environment concerns worldwide, especially in India.
"Increasing technology causes environment concerns from water
contamination to space pollution. But nano technology is a great solution for various such problems. It is highly beneficial in the areas
like waste management, water conservation, solar power generation and so
on," she said. The "Missile Woman" was delivering the lecture as part of a lecture
series regarding the diamond jubilee celebrations of the government secretariat.
"We should look at environment with a green eye. Energy efficient equipment and environment-friendly transportation vehicles should be
promoted. Green houses can also play a significant role in reducing atmospheric pollution," she said.
She also urged that non-conventional energy sources like wind, solar and
tidal energy be exploited and mangroves protected for conserving water
beds. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, assembly speaker G Karthikeyan, ministers
and MLAs attended the programme. Source: The Economic Times
Centre submits plan to check pollution in Noida
Noida, July 06, 2012: Nearly three months after the National Green Tribunal’s
(NGT) order banning environmental clearances to any new industry in Noida, the Union
ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on Tuesday submitted before
it an action plan and steps for its implementation to check pollution in the city.
The tribunal had on May 8 asked the ministry to do so. The MoEF has urged the NGT to review its April 11 ban order. The tribunal will next
hear the matter on July 13.
The NGT had imposed the ban after Noida resident Sanjay Agnihotri filed
a petition on January 12 this year with the tribunal and said "rising
pollution violates my and my family’s right to healthy environment".
On Tuesday, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the MoEF, the
Uttar Pradesh pollution control board (UPPCB), the UP State Industrial
Development Corporation (UPSIDC) and the Noida authority filed their
replies to the petition, which has sought a ban on new industrial units
till the situation is improved through an appropriate mechanism. The UPPCB filed its report on polluting industries in
Noida. The NGT asked the CPCB to check the veracity of the report.
As told by the tribunal, the CPCB submitted its report on air quality survey in the
adjoining residential areas of Noida. Meanwhile, the NGT on Tuesday allowed the Noida
Entrepreneurs’ Association (NEA), an umbrella body of industries in the city — to be a
party in the case. NEA’s counsel Amit Khemka told Hindustan Times, "The
NEA had filed a petition to be a party to the case. The NGT has accepted
the petition. Like the MoEF, we have also sought a review of ban order.
The tribunal has asked all respondents to file their reply on July 13."
The NEA has attributed much of the pollution in Noida to other causes
such as heavy traffic, big-ticket construction activity, plying of heavy
vehicles and inflow of sewage from Delhi. Source:Hindustan Times
US court absolves Union Carbide of liability in Bhopal tragedy
New York June 28, 2012 (PTI): In a setback to 1984
Bhopal gas tragedy, a US court has held
that neither Union Carbide nor its former chairman Warren Anderson were
liable for environmental remediation or pollution-related claims at the
firm's former chemical plant in Bhopal. US District Judge John Keena in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit accusing
the company of causing soil and water pollution around the Bhopal plant
due to the disaster, and ruled that Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and
Anderson were not liable for remediation or pollution-related claims.
The court ruled that it was Union Carbide India Ltd, and not its parent
company UCC that was responsible for the generation and disposal of the
waste that polluted drinking water, and the liability rests with the
state government. Plaintiffs Janki Bai Sahu and others had alleged that "toxic substances
seeped into a ground aquifer, polluting the soil and drinking water supply in residential communities surrounding the former Bhopal Plant
site". They alleged that exposure to soil and drinking water polluted by
hazardous waste produced Union Carbine India Ltd caused injuries.
"The summary judgement record certainly indicates that UCIL consulted
with UCC about its waste disposal plans and on non-environmental business matter like its strategic plan. However, nothing in the
evidence suggests the necessity of UCC's approval for the actions about
which plaintiffs complain," the court said in its order. "Moreover, there is no evidence in this extensive record indicating that
UCIL manufactured pesticides on UCC's behalf, entered into contracts or
other business dealings on UCC's behalf, or otherwise acted in UCC's
name," it said. The industrial accident, the worst in Indian history, led to the leak of
poisonous methyl isocyanate, claiming thousands of lives in the Madhya
Pradesh capital. In his written opinion, Judge Keenan concluded that
"even when viewing the evidence in the most favourable light for the plaintiffs
" UCC is not directly liable, nor liable as an agent of UCIL, nor liable under a
World adopts Rio+20 declaration, pledges $513 billion for sustainable development projects
RIO DE JANEIRO, June 23, 2012: In a huge victory for emerging countries like India and
Brazil, the world leaders adopted 'The Future We Want' declaration on
sustainable development on Saturday, the final day of Rio+20 conference
as the UN obtained pledges worth $513 billion from governments and private companies for projects that cut fossil fuel use, boost renewable
energy, conserve water and alleviate poverty. In what may have major
implications for India, the summit ended with a commitment that the
developing countries needed additional resources for sustainable development and no extra conditions be imposed on them for financial aid
from rich nations. The Rio+20 document clarifies that the eradication of poverty is the top
priority and shifting to green economy can't put extra financial burden
on the emerging and developing economies, a point pushed very hard by
the Indian delegation here working closely with China and summit host Brazil.
"It's a very balanced document. Now the challenge is for governments,
private sector and civil society to convert this draft into actionable
policies," R K Pachauri, chief of the Inter-parliamentary Panel on Climate Change, told TOI at the summit venue. "The Brazilians prepared a
good draft that takes care of concerns of the developing countries."
For the host country, it was a day of triumph. On the final day of the
three-day summit, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made the last address at the summit, saying the
final document is just the beginning of a transformation process.
Earlier, in an important development the United Nations obtained pledges worth $513 billion from
governments, private companies and multilateral agencies for projects
aimed at reducing the strain on the planet's resources. "The 692 individual commitments from governments are for projects that cut fossil
fuel use, boost renewable energy, conserve water and alleviate poverty,"
said Sha Zukang , secretary-general of Rio+20, in his address to the media a few hours before the conference closed.
Industries must get pollution body nod by June 30
Gurgaon, June 19, 2012: The Haryana government issued a directive on Friday stating that legal
action will be taken against industries that fail to apply for pollution
board consent to operate by month end. Chairman PK Gupta, additional
chief secretary, environment-cum-chairman, Haryana state pollution control
board, said that more than 80% of the units possessed the required consent but the rest were yet to comply with orders.
Similar penalties shall be attracted by units lacking effluent treatment
plants (ETP) or found to be discharging untreated effluent through a borewell into an aquifer.
All cases for consent pending for more than 90 days shall be referred to
the head office if at least one meeting has taken place or the regional
officer has requested the deputy commissioner to fix the date of district level committee/district level
clearance committee meeting. Source: Hindustan Times
U.S. proposes tighter rules on soot pollution
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2012 (Reuters) - The Obama administration proposed stricter
standards to control harmful soot from heavy industry on Friday, a move expected to save lives but which drew criticism from Republicans and
industry worried the costs of compliance will hurt the economy. Under a court order, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed
tightening exposure to the particulate pollution that threatens the elderly, people with heart disease, and children.
The move was welcomed by environmental groups, an important part of President Barack Obama's base of support. But it will give more fuel to
Republicans who have staged sharp attacks on the EPA as the November 6
presidential and congressional elections draw nearer. The standard would cut fine-particle soot to between 12 and 13
micrograms per cubic meter of air from 15 micrograms. The EPA said the
cost of compliance would be more than offset by healthcare savings.
At the moment only six U.S. counties, including ones in California,
Arizona, Alabama, Michigan and Montana are out of compliance with the standard, the EPA said. Diesel exhaust from trains and ships, as well as
construction operations, have made soot a problem in those places. But industry groups fear far more counties that contain oil and gas
plants and other heavy industry could eventually violate the standard and be forced to add pollution control.
Republicans in Congress have fought a suite of EPA air pollution rules
this year, saying they will add billions of dollars in costs to heavy
industries and kill jobs. It has mostly been an uphill battle as The Obama administration was forced to act on the standard ahead of the
November 6 election after California, New York and nine other states on
the coasts sued the EPA to act. The EPA, which expects to finalize the proposal by December 14 after a
public comment period, estimated the rules will cost industry from $2.9
million to $69 million a year, depending on the final level of the standard.
Benefits from lower health care bills would range from $88 million to
$5.9 billion a year, it said.
Coal pollution causes 70,000 deaths a year in India: IMF
New Delhi, June 13, 2012 (PTI): IMF chief Christine Lagarde today said pollution from coal generation
plants causes about 70,000 premature deaths every year in India. Without
giving any further details about deaths due to pollution in India, Lagarde noted that environmental problems does not just end with
climatechange. The IMF Managing Director said she believes the world is facing
economic, environmental and social crises. The remarks are part of a prepared speech to be delivered at the Centre for Global Development on
the topic 'Back to Rio -- the Road to a Sustainable Economic Future'.
"Environmental problems, of course, do not end with climate change. In India, for example, pollution from coal generation plants causes
about 70,000 premature deaths a year," she said. Wondering "what should
we do?", Lagarde said the International Monetary Fund is not an environmental organisation.
"But we cannot ignore the extensive human suffering and the misallocation of resources that leads us down the wrong path," Lagarde said.
According to her, the global economy is still rocked by turmoil, with uncertain prospects for growth and jobs.
"The planet is warming rapidly, with unknown and possibly dire consequences down the line. Across too many societies, the gap between
the haves and have-nots is getting wider and strains are getting fiercer," she said. Stressing that climate change is clearly one of the
great challenges of our time, Lagarde said it is a present reality for
the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.
5,000 kids take a stand against ocean pollution by forming a huge SHARK on the beach
Los Angele, June 10, 2012: Los Angeles had a shark sighting on
Thursday as the feared marine animal was formed out of more than 5,000
children, teachers and volunteers who care about the environment. The massive group stood on Dockweiler State Beach to form the shape of a
large, fierce-looking shark holding a spear and shield that reads "Defend the Sea."
Before forming the shark, the volunteers scoured the beach, picking up litter from the sand.
The shark was designed by a sixth-grader as part of the 19th annual Kids
Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean-Up. The goal of the annual event, according to its organizers, was to alert
the public about the need to protect the world's oceans from trash and
plastic litter that kill marine life and pollute food resources. "As the second largest city in
America, Los Angeles plays a key role in defining our environmental priorities as a nation," Los Angeles Board of
Public Works President Andrea Alarcon told Patch.com. "Here in Los Angeles, our biggest allies in doing
this are our kids who are our future." For Kids Ocean Day 2011, volunteers formed a giant fish calling for help
In 2009, organizers created a human mosaic in the shape of a sea turtle Source: Daily Mail
Centre for Science and Environment rates Indian steel units poorly
New Delhi, June 4, 2012: India 's leading iron and steel companies, fared poorly in the green
rating test conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment. The Indian iron and steel sector's energy consumption of 6.6 GCal per
tonne, is 50 per cent higher than the global best practice. Its water
consumption (excluding power generation, townships and other downstream
operations) is thrice as high. Most steel plants were found to be non-compliant with pollution norms.
This is a result of a two year long exercise covering 21 steelmakers of over 0.5 million tonnes of annual capacity each.
According to Sunita Narain , director general, CSE, "The poor
environmental performance of this sector is a measure of the failure of
the regulatory institutions in the country. Nobody is asking this sector
to improve its green bottom-line. Nobody is measuring and monitoring its actual performance."
Interestingly the report finds large plants to have close to 1,200
hectares (ha) of land per million tonne of installed capacity, whereas
CSE claims a well-designed plant needs not more than 200 ha per million tonne. With its existing land area, the sector could ideally
produce 300 million tonnes instead of todays 75 million tonnes and should not need extra land till 2025, says CSE
Topping the charts nonetheless are, Ispat Industries (now JSW Ispat) in Maharashtra, Essar Steel
in Hazira, Gujarat and state owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Their scores of three of five leaves count as average in the green rating exercise. The sector as a whole took just One leaf, scoring just
19 per cent. The cement sector in comparison had back in 2005 earned 36 per cent and Three Leaves. In the past, CSE green rating programme
has s crutinised the automobile, paper, Chlor-Alkali and cement sectors. For this, the key fifth sector,
CSE has also offered solutions for improvement. Source: The Economic Times
Statistics: Over Half Of China's Urban Underground Water Polluted
BEIJING, May 28, 2012 (Bernama): Underground water in 57 percent of
monitoring sites across Chinese cities have been found polluted or extremely polluted, Xinhua News Agency quoted figures from the Ministry
of Environmental Protection (MEP) Monday. Statistics also suggest that 298 million rural residents do not have
access to safe drinking water.
Of the seven main water systems in China, only the Yangtze and Pearl
rivers had good water quality while the Haihe River in north China was heavily polluted and the others all moderately polluted during the first
half of last year, according to MEP. To address poor water quality, the MEP will beef up protection of water
The ministry said that no construction projects will be allowed in water
source regions unless specific protection areas subject to the ministry's monitoring have been set aside, or the projects have passed
water quality examinations. Ma Jun, head of Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental
Affairs, said that drinking water sources usually located in underdeveloped upstream regions tended to be places of heavy industry
such as mining and petrochemical activities. China recently unveiled its 2011-2015 guideline on fighting water
pollution which aims to have 60 percent of the country's major rivers
and lakes safe enough for drinking by the end of 2015. Source: BERNAMA
EPA Announces $69.3 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites
WASHINGTON (ENEWSPF) May 24, 2012: The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) announced $69.3 million in grants for new investments to
provide communities with funding necessary to clean and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and create jobs while
protecting public health.
"Restored Brownfield properties can serve as cornerstones for rebuilding
struggling communities. These grants will be the first step in getting
pollution out and putting jobs back into neighborhoods across the country,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Clean, healthy
communities are places where people want to live, work and start businesses. We're providing targeted resources to help local partners
transform blighted, contaminated areas into centers of economic growth."
The 245 grantees include tribes and communities in 39 states across the
country, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund,
and Cleanup (ARC) grants, and Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental grants.
The grants awarded will assess and clean up abandoned industrial and
commercial properties. Nearly half of the grantees this year are new
awardees who demonstrate a high level of commitment for undertaking specific projects and leveraging the funding to move those projects forward.
Approximately 29 percent of the grants are being awarded to non-urban areas with populations of 100,000 or less, 16 percent are being awarded
to “micro” communities with populations of 10,000 or less, and the
remaining grants are being awarded to urban areas with populations exceeding 100,000.
There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in
America. In 2011, EPA’s brownfields program leveraged 6,447 jobs and
$2.14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds. Since its inception
EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $18.3 billion in
cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private
sources and have resulted in approximately 75,500 jobs. More than 18,000
properties have been assessed, and over 700 properties have been cleaned
up. Brownfields grants also target under-served and low income neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are
Vapi returns to top, is again most polluted in country
Ahmedabad, May 22, 2012: In Central Pollution Control Board’s interim report 2011 of
Environmental Pollution Index, Gujarat has the dubious distinction of playing host to the most polluted industrial cluster of the country in
Vapi. Gujarat along with Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of industrial sites/clusters figuring in the list.
This was revealed in the 2011 interim assessment report of Comprehensive
Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) done for CPCB. Additionally,
Ankleshwar, Ahmedabad, Junagadh and Bhavnagar have also emerged amongst
the top polluted sites in the country. Most of the industrial clusters
in Gujarat have a CEPI of over 70, thus putting them in the critically
polluted category! A total of 43 industrial clusters/ sites were assessed in the country.
The report assesses the air, water and land pollution level in various
industrial clusters across the country. This is the umpteenth time these
sites have been identified as critically polluted. Two years ago, recognising the seriousness of the situation, an embargo was put on
these industrial clusters against any new development or expansion till
pollution levels are brought under permissible limits. While some places
the embargo has been removed, on most sites it continues.Earlier a 2009 report had placed Ankleshwar as the post polluted
industrial cluster with a CEPI of 88.50. The same report had put Vapi in
the second spot with a score of 88.09. Activist of Paryavaran Suraksha
Samiti, Rohit Prajapati said it is because of the blatant violations
regarding effluent treatment in Gujarat that such pollution continues.
“Even the Final Effluent Treatment Plant inaugurated in 2007 for the final treatment of effluents coming from the three ETPs in
Panoli, Ragadia and Ankleshwar is not up to the mark, he said.
Karnataka varsities join hands to fight pollution
DAVANAGERE, May 17, 2012: With an aim to take up research works to combat
environment pollution, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board
(KSPCB) will have a tie up with Visveshwarayya Technological University (VTU),Rajiv Gandhi University for Health Sciences
(RGUHS) and University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS).
The initiative will help expert faculties interact with each other and
suggest measures for protecting environment. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting held recently at its Bangalore head office under
the leadership of its chairman A S Sadashivaiah. Over 150 people, including KSPCB member secretary S M Putta buddi,
technical advisory committee (TAC) chairman S Manjappa, former vice-chancellor of UAS U Mahadevappa and faculties from colleges of
engineering, medical, agriculture and fisheries. The move is aimed at taking up projects to reduce pollution level and
develop a module to train workforce in industry and officers of the environmental pollution control board.
"The tie-up will help faculties make use of the data available at the
KSPCB and suggest measures to maintain quality of environment," TAC chairman S Manjappa told
TOI. Efforts are on to establish a pollution control chair at VTU, Belgaum, to organize research and development programmes related industrial
pollution control that a bridge between the institutes, industry and board can be created.
VTU V-C H Maheshappa assured support and manpower at the affiliated and
constituent colleges of the university to the board to carry out research activities.
The chair will consider the opinion of specialists in different fields. A meeting of the KSPCB chairman with VTU V-C will be held at Belgaum on
May 16 to chalk out the features of MoU, Manjappa said. Source: Times of India
West Bengal has maximum highly polluting industries
NEW DELHI, May 15, 2012: West Bengal has the highest number of red category industries causing high pollution, followed by
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, while 43 industrial clusters have been identified as "critically polluted", the Lok Sabha was informed.
Environment and forest minister Jayanthi Natarajan said during question hour that the Central Pollution Control Board
(CPCB) and IIT-Delhi had conducted a survey based on Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index
(CEPI) for assessment of pollution load of industrial areas.
"The survey was conducted in 88 major industrial clusters in the
country. Out of these, 43 industrial clusters have been identified as
critically polluted," she said. The ministry maintained that three categories - red, orange and green -
have been established to measure the pollution caused by industries.
Natarajan said West Bengal has 12,810 red category industries, followed by Maharashtra with 12,184 and Tamil Nadu 11,650. She maintained that before the UPA came to power no proper scientific
method was adopted by the government to measure pollution caused by industries. "It is completely wrong to say that the Centre is not taking
any action," she said. To a question, Natarajan said in Bihar a moratorium on
industries has been put only in the East Singhbhum district of the state on grounds of excess pollution.
Green tribunal asks Centre to submit action plan to check Noida pollution
Noida, May 08, 2012: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday asked the Union
ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to submit a specific action plan, and
steps for implementation, to check pollution in Noida. The tribunal asked
MoEF, the central pollution control board and the UP authorities to file their
replies by July 3 to a petition seeking a ban, till the situation is
improved through an appropriate mechanism, on setting up of new industrial units in Noida because of rising pollution levels.
The tribunal in April had asked the environment ministry not to give
clearance to any new industrial units in Noida. The principal bench of
the tribunal, in its order dated April 11, passed the order after Sanjay
Agnihotri, a resident of Noida, filed a petition on January 12 this year
with the tribunal against the Union of India and others. Citing various reports Agnihotri had alleged the level of pollution in
Noida had gone up alarmingly. “Rising pollution violates my and my family’s right to healthy environment,” he had pleaded. Agnihotri also
sought constitution of a monitoring committee to ensure effective, time-bound and transparent implementation of environmental norms in
Noida and action against those found breaching environmental provisions.
The Noida Entrepreneurs Association (NEA), an umbrella body of
industries, also moved the tribunal, seeking to be a party in the case.
The tribunal has asked NEA to file a formal application. NEA has feared
the ban would further impact the already declining industrial growth in
Noida. Recently a ban was placed on environmental clearance for new industrial
units by the union ministry of environment and forests but without any qualitative change in the scene the ban was lifted, the petitioner said.
The tribunal has also directed the Uttar Pradesh pollution control board to conduct spot inspection and collect effluent from polluting units,
analyse the same and submit a report giving the details of hazardous waste generated by these units.
The UPPCB has also been directed to take action under the Air and Water
Acts and environment regulations with respect to the industries which
are not following the conditions imposed. The tribunal said the matter
was very serious and told the UPPCB to conduct its inspection on war footing. Source: The Hindustan Times
Himachal greens upbeat over 'environmental justice'
Shimla, May 6 (IANS) Greens are upbeat after the Himachal Pradesh High
Court handed out what they term "environmental justice" by fining a corporate house Rs.100 crore for violating the law and fraudulently
setting up a cement plant and a thermal power plant. Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. (JAL), a subsidiary of the JP Group, was last
week slapped the hefty penalty for violation of environmental laws by
the top court of the state. Him Parivesh Environment Protection Society, a Nalagarh-based NGO and
one of the petitioners in the high court, hailed the order, saying "it's an environment justice". A division bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Karol passed the
landmark judgment May 4 ordering payment of Rs.100 crore as damages for
having set up a cement plant by adopting fraudulent means and ordred the
comopany to dismantle the 62 MW captive thermal plant within three months, that is being constructed in the same premises.
Both the plants are located in vicinity at Bagheri in Nalagarh area of
Solan district, some 120 km from state capital Shimla. The bench found JAL guilty of a variety of lapses, including misleading
the authorities on various occasions to obtain clearances. Jagjit Singh Dukhia, president of Him Parivesh, said: "The judgment
would prove that big corporate houses and government officials cannot
hoodwink the public...it would come as a shot in the arm of activists fighting against injustice."
The high court has made it clear that it would not hesitate to close
down the cement unit if non-compliance to the conditions laid down by
the Environment Appraisal Committee while granting environmental clearance is found.
The high court observed that JAL misled the state government, the
Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the
Environment Appraisal Committee and other authorities. It said the authorities and the officials who were manning these are
supposed to act like watch dogs to fiercely protect the interest of the
public. "They unfortunately behaved like meek lambs being led for slaughter," the court said.
"The judgment of Hon'ble High Court was pronounced and it being voluminous, we are studying the implications there of, both legal as
well as factual, and depending upon the legal advice that we receive, we
shall decide our future course of action in accordance with the well
established constitutional provisions," the company said in a statement.
Don’t allow any project in the Aravali region, say activists
Gurgaon, May 03, 2012:`Environmental activists and other social groups have
demanded the authorities not to allow any development activities in
the Aravalli hills Range , as rampant encroachment and urbanization had adversely affected
the ecological balance of the region. Mission Gurgaon Development, a think
tank, which had strongly opposed the approval of the Draft Development
Plan 2031 for Aravali Hills, has written letters to various government departments and agencies in this regard.
The forum has written to RR Jowel, finance commissioner and principal
secretary environment, government of Haryana and chairman Haryana State
Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and CR Jotriwal, principal chief conservator of
forests to prevent further deterioration.The activists claim that about 100 projects are on the anvil, and a
large number of them are meant for Gurgaon, Faridabad and Mewat in the
Aravalli zone. They are angry because this region has borne the brunt of
frenzied mining and construction work over the past two decades, with
massive funding from abroad giving a tremendous fillip to unsustainable development.
“Gurgaon has 9,970 hectares of green cover and it was planned that
59,200 hectares of green cover had to be added to this. The development
in Faridabad and Gurgaon is clearly unbalanced and forest balance must be restored to 1985 levels,” Sarvadaman Oberoi, of Mission Gurgaon
Development (MGD). Oberoi said the Aravali ecology was significant for the entire region.
“Hence no development in the Aravali area could even be considered as this is the water recharge zone for Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad. He
said, no mining activity should be allowed in the area,”.Source: Hindustan Times
India to pump in Rs 2 lakh cr in 12th Plan to save climate
NEW DELHI, April 30, 2012: The fight against climate change will take a strategic
jump in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) with the government intending to
plough in almost Rs 2 lakh crore through the various missions, the working group on climate of the 12th Five-Year Plan has said.
The report seeks setting up of a dedicated structure of governance to
oversee the different programmes under the 12th Plan with such large funds to be invested. The agriculture mission under the National Action
Plan on Climate Change alone is to spend upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years to make the
primary sector more resilient to inevitable changes in climate change.
The report pointed out that the government already spends 2.8% of its
GDP on programmes that bring adaptation benefits to people. But the expert group, headed by K Kasturirangan, which wrote
the report, has warned that government should not make any further commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without holding the
widest possible consultations with ministries concerned and other stakeholders. It has asked for an inter-ministerial group to be set up
to draw up strategy as the issue envelops large investment as well as strategic concerns.
One-km-long banner to create environmental awareness in Bangalore
BANGALORE, April 24, 2012:In an attempt to spread awareness on environmental
issues and the perils of destroying nature, a unique campaign, the World
Environment Campaign was launched in Bangalore as a high profile buildup
to the World Environment Day that will be celebrated on June 5 all over
the world. As part of the launch, City Police Commissioner, B G Jyoti Prakash Mirji
signed on this huge and environment friendly cloth banner that has been hung in Cubbon Park.
This one-km-long banner will try to create environmental awareness, 45
days ahead of the World Environment Day. Similar banners will be hung over different parts of the country. Signatures of environment experts
and artists from various fields will be displayed on this banner. “Environment and health go together. Air pollution, usage of plastic,
water pollution and global warming have done enough damage to human lives. Protecting the environment should be the responsibility of all of
us. Hence, we have planned this campaign. We request the public to join
hands with us. Let us make this campaign a grand success.” said Srikanth Rao, Director of
Bayer’s Coffee. The banners will contain all environment related information, pictures,
slogans, pledges, and signatures of achievers. They will in fact take
information to the public. The banners, creating awareness about environment, will be displayed in front of schools, colleges, private
and public offices. In the first week of June, all these banners will be joined together and
form a huge 100-km-long banner on Nice Road.
This huge campaign has chalked out various plans for the first week of
June; planting 10 lakh plants across the country, take pledge on environmental awareness, try to create awareness among school children
about environment issues like air pollution, usage of plastic, and water pollution.
After this campaign, this huge banner cloth will be converted into beds, bed sheets and hand bags for and distributed free of cost to old
age homes, Hostels, Hospitals and the other needy people. Source: Indian Express
Scientists have created a flourescent fish to track pollution
April 21, 2012 (IANS): Scientists have created a green-glowing zebrafish to monitor ecological
damage caused by pollution in real time. The flourescent fish makes it easier than ever before to see where in
the body environmental chemicals act and how they affect health, particularly chemicals having a bearing on reproductive problems.
Numerous studies have linked "endocrine-disrupting" chemicals, used in a
wide range of industrial products and contraceptive pharmaceuticals, to reproductive problems in wildlife and humans, the journal Environmental
Health Perspectives reports.Previous research by the University of Exeter identified the potential
for a major group of these chemicals to cause male fish to change gender, according to an Exeter statement.
A team led by Tetsuhiro Kudoh and Charles Tyler, professor at Exeter,
created the transgenic zebrafish by placing a genetic system into its body that amplifies the response to estrogens producing the fluorescent
green signal. They tested its sensitivity to different chemicals known to affect
estrogen hormone signalling, including ethinyloestradiol, used in contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy
treatments, nonylphenol, used in paints and industrial detergents, and Bisphenol A,
which is found in many plastics. Human exposure to these chemicals, which can alter hormone signalling in
the body, has been tied with decreases in sperm count and other health
problems, including breast and testicular cancer.
Greenest ever London Olympics claims trashed
London, April 18, 2012 (ANI): Human rights groups have dismissed London Olympic chief Sebastian Coe's claims that the upcoming sport event 'will be
the greenest ever Games' as 'corporate spin', and will stage a protest
against the Olympic committee for picking up sponsors responsible for the 1984
Bhopal gas tragedy, and causing other environmental damage.
Companies such as BP, Rio Tinto and Dow Chemical Company, who have paid
tens of millions of pounds to become Olympic sponsors , collectively face allegations of causing environmental degradation, damaging public
health and failing to clean up their pollution. The companies will face criticism by a coalition of international
grassroots organisations as part of their 'Greenwash Gold 2012' campaign in London, The Independent reports.
Meredith Alexander, the former Olympics 'ethics tsar' who earlier this
year resigned from the Commission for a Sustainable London over sponsorship controversies, will chair a meeting of activists from India,
the United States, Mongolia and Canada. "The UK promised that London 2012 would be the greenest games ever, but
when it came to picking sponsors it seems someone didn't get the memo,"
the paper quoted Alexander, as saying. "The International Olympic Committee managed to select Dow, which
owns the company ultimately responsible for Bhopal, one of the most polluted sites on the planet; a major mining polluter in the form of Rio
Tinto; and BP who are investing in the dirtiest form of oil. Recycling
rubbish and energy efficiency schemes are fantastic, but they can't make
up for a failure to scrutinise sponsors," he added. According to the paper, activists will show personal stories about how
communities have allegedly been adversely affected by the companies'
activities. Also, award-winning animators will screen short films about each company
to reveal the "the green spin". Medals will be presented to the companies in July based on the outcome of a public vote for the 'worst
corporate sponsor'. Dow is sponsoring the 14 million pound Olympic stadium
wrap, and also has contracts to provide the artificial grass for hockey pitches
and roof insulation for some stadiums and accommodation in the Olympic
village. The move has outraged campaigners fighting for 25,000 people who died in
India's devastating chemical leak in 1984. (ANI)
Mumbai likely to get agency to protect environment
MUMBAI, April 11, 2012: The civic body has proposed an environment protection
agency, in a move that could change the way environment in the city is protected.
The proposal, prepared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's ( BMC) environment department,
will be sent to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board,under whose aegis it functions.
The civic body will write to the MPCB and state environment department to seek directives on its role. The idea is to create a body to look
into environmental issues. The environment department's scope is presently very limited, focusing on air and water quality, and enforcement to some extent.
Mumbai has more than 2,398 open spaces with reservation of gardens, parks, recreation grounds and playgrounds. But more than 40% of the open
spaces are encroached upon. The ratio of open spaces per 1,000 people for Mumbai is an abysmally low 0.03 acres.
According to an official, the setting up of the agency is likely to play a major role in the protection of open spaces, mangroves,
wetlands, shoreline, rivers in the city, trees and creation of more green spaces. Source: Times of India
U.S. Announces Clean Air Agreement For Industrial Flares
April 9, 2012: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of
Justice today announced an innovative environmental agreement with Ohio-based
Marathon Petroleum Company that already has significantly reduced air pollution from all six of the company's petroleum
refineries. In a first for the refining industry, Marathon has agreed to state-of-the-art controls on combustion devices known as flares and to a
cap on the volume of waste gas it will send to its flares. When fully implemented, the agreement is expected to reduce harmful air pollution
by approximately 5,400 tons per year and result in future cost savings for the company.
"Today's agreement will result in cleaner air for communities across the
South and Midwest," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "By working with
EPA, Marathon helped advance new approaches that reduce air pollution and improve efficiency at its refineries and provide the U.S. with new
knowledge to bring similar improvements in air quality to other communities across the nation."
"This agreement is a great victory for the environment and will result in cleaner and healthier air for the benefit of communities across the
country in Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and Texas," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment
and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "By spurring corporate ingenuity, this settlement will dramatically reduce
emissions from all 22 flares at Marathon's six refineries." The settlement is part of EPA's national effort to reduce air pollution
from refinery, petrochemical and chemical flares. A flare is a mechanical device, ordinarily elevated high off the ground, used to
combust waste gases. The more waste gas a company sends to a flare, the more pollution occurs. The less efficient a flare is in burning waste
gas, the more pollution occurs. EPA wants companies to flare less, and when they do flare, to fully combust the harmful chemicals found in the
waste gas. SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
GSPCB has ordered the suspension of steel plant in Goa
PANAJI, April 6, 2012: The Goa state pollution control board
(GSPCB) has ordered the suspension of Twenty First Century Iron and Steel Limited at Dhargalim in Pernem taluka for causing severe
environmental and air pollution in the vicinity of the unit. In its recent order, the GSPCB has also asked the unit
to show cause why action under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, should not be initiated for causing pollution.
The board has warned that failure to comply with its directions will "compel the board to initiate stringent legal action" against the unit
under provisions of the Water Act and Air Act, without any further notice. The suspension of Twenty First Century Iron and Steel, located in survey
numbers 33/1-A and 35/1-A, follows an inspection of the unit by officials of the unit on March 24, 2012. In its inspection report, the
board observed that the unit was being operated without possessing the
valid consent to operate of the board as required under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and under the Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
The report noted that slag generated the unit was stored within and outside the premises of the unit and that un-segregated scrap material
and hazardous waste including paint cans were stored within the premises of the unit. The board told the unit that its observations indicate that
the unit is being operated in a manner that amounts to gross violation of the pertinent laws. The board has directed the unit representative to
remain present for a hearing before the board chairman. Source: Times of India
Mumbai, Miami on list for big weather disasters
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2012: Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare
for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters,
an international panel of climate scientists says in a report issued Wednesday.
The greatest danger from extreme weather is in highly populated, poor
regions of the world, the report warns, but no corner of the globe _from Mumbai to Miami _ is immune. The document by a Nobel Prize-winning panel of climate
scientists forecasts stronger tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges and droughts.
The 594-page report blames the scale of recent and future disasters on a
combination of man-made climate change, population shifts and poverty.
In the past, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, founded in
1988 by the United Nations, has focused on the slow inexorable rise of temperatures and oceans as part of global
warming. This report by the panel is the first to look at the less common but far more noticeable extreme weather changes, which recently
have been costing on average about $80 billion a year in damage.
"We mostly experience weather and climate through the extreme,'' said
one of the report's top editors, Chris Field, an ecologist with the Carnegie Institution of
Washington. The report specifically points to New Orleans during 2005's Hurricane Katrina, noting
that "developed countries also suffer severe disasters because of social vulnerability and inadequate disaster protection.
The scientists say that some places, particularly parts of Mumbai in India, could become uninhabitable from floods, storms and rising seas.
In 2005, over 24 hours nearly 3 feet (1 meter) of rain fell on the city,
killing more than 1,000 people and causing massive damage. Roughly 2.7
million people live in areas at risk of flooding. Source: The Times of India
IITM widens scope to study climate change
PUNE. March 25, 2012: The environmental information system (ENVIS) centre at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
(IITM) in Pune is all set to expand its subject area from acid rain and
atmospheric pollution to include climate change. The centre will have wider scope for dissemination of information
through a web portal, query answer service, workshops and public lectures.
The Union budget for 2012-13 has recognised the ENVIS programme of the
ministry of environment and forest as 'centres of excellence'. A hike in
the budgetary allocation from Rs 6 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 7.6 crore in
2012-13 to ENVIS for information collection, collation and dissemination
through 67 subject specific centres has also been made. Gufran Beig, programme director of System of Air Quality Forecasting and
Research (SAFAR), and coordinator of the centre at IITM, Pune, said the
new subject area will be 'atmospheric pollution and climate change' from
the present 'acid rain and atmospheric pollutant modelling.' "There is wide scope for expanding information on climate change and
environment parameters which will be collected, collated and disseminated to the public. The government's focus is to translate
high-end research into information, so that it can reach and benefit the
end -user and the people,'' he said. A high-level committee of ENVIS, under the
ministry of environment and forest, had recommended widening of the subject area, Beig said. Source: Times of India
Urban air pollution will become the top environmental killer
March 18,2012: Urban air pollution will become the top environmental killer by 2050,
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found.The
Paris- based policy group said that dirty air will kill more people worldwide each year than dirty drinking water or unsanitary
living conditions. A new report released by the group says that 3.6 million people are
expected to die each year from breathing in air pollutants that affect
the respiratory system. Most of those deaths will occur in China and India.
"Action needs to be taken now to prevent irreversible damage to the environment," the report urges.
Possible solutions include switching to cleaner forms of energy and
changing the way fuel is taxed. Many governments, for example, give tax
breaks to people who use diesel fuel because it has lower greenhouse gas
emissions. But diesel fuel is actually worse for human health because it
releases more "particulate matter" into the air, which harms the lungs, the Guardian reported.
"In environmental terms, there is no reason to give diesel tax breaks,"
Simon Upton, environment director at the OECD, told the Guardian.The report also found that
greenhouse gas emissions will increase 50 percent by 2050 if world governments do not come up with new policies to
fight pollution, such as carbon taxes. If nothing changes, renewable
energy sources will continue to make up just 10 percent of energy sources, Reuters reported.
"Greening agriculture, water and energy supply and manufacturing will be
critical by 2050 to meet the needs of over 9 billion people,” OECD
Secretary-General Angel Gurría said in a press release. Source: globalpost
Poor quality of raw coal by coal mines
Mumbai, March 12, 2012: A petitioner has moved the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court alleging
production and supply of poor quality of raw coal in violation of norms
framed by the central government. A division bench, comprising justices Sharad Bobde and Prasanna
Varale, issued notices to the Union coal ministry and nine others.Coal India Limited, Western Coalfields Limited, Coal Controllers
Organisation, Mahagenco, Karnataka Power Corporation Limited, Gujarat
State Electricity Corporation Limited, Maharashtra Pollution Control
Board, Union Ministry of Environment and forest and Central Electricity Authority are the other respondents.
Petitioner Ms Mrunal Ghate alleged gross violation of environmental laws
and the negligent conduct of respondents putting public at large to suffer. Ms Ghate, also a lawyer, contended that the government had
already banned consumption of high ash coal and all thermal power projects of
Mahagenco, KPCL and GSECL are covered under the ban. However, they are consuming very high ash coal which has harmful effects
on health and ecological balance.
Rising population threat to environment, sustainable development
VARANASI, March 7, 2012: The better management of population and improvement in formal
education system in the country are essential to ensure sustainable development of environment, said S P Singh, advisor, Planning
Commission, Uttarakhand, on the concluding day of three-day national
seminar on 'environmental concerns and sustainable development : issues
and challenges in India', organised by the Institute of Environment and
Sustainable Development (IESD), Banaras Hindu University.
He said that if population is not controlled in the plains, particularly
in Gangetic plains of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, it could disturb the natural resource management in Himalayan region.
Singh, who is also a former vice-chancellor of H N B Garhwal University,
also said that ecosystem services need to be understood in terms of economics, environment and applications in society. The accountability
of people living in plains need to be fixed, as the indiscriminate extraction and exploitation of natural resources cannot be allowed. The
formal education system in government schools needs to be strengthened
and improved to raise environmental concerns and, he added.
Environmentalist Sunita Narain honoured by the University of Alberta
New Delhi March 04, 2012: Environmentalist
Sunita Narain, activist and editor of Down To Earth magazine, on Thursday was honoured by the University of Alberta in
Edmonton in Canada for her work on global water challenges. She also
heads the Centre for Science and Environment and is a columnist for Business Standard.
Two others, Peter Brabeck-Letmathel, Chair of Nestle, and Steve E Hrudey, a scholar of analytical and environmental toxicology, were also
awarded for their work on the same subject. According to a statement released by the
organisers, Sunita Narain said the challenges on water required novel solutions.
She said the world faced multiple water- related problems ranging from climate change related
variable rainfall to scarcity and pollution. "We know the answers to these problems will not be found in the science
and engineering textbooks. The answers require us to reinvent growth and economic wellbeing without pollution so that it does not cost us the
earth," the release quoted her as saying. Her work, Narain said, was influenced by her experience in Rajasthan 20
years ago. She said she saw bowl-like structures built near houses to
conserve every drop of rain water. Similarly, roofs of houses were treated as rainfall catchment and tunnels were built to channelise water
into lakes and ponds. Every drop was valued, she said. "This insight
into the art and science of local water engineering inspired us to learn
Source: Business Standard
Why no action against MV Rak owner: HC to Centre
Mumbai, March 2, 2012 Observing that the Director General (DG) Shipping should have
given the insurer of the MV Rak carrier "a vessel that sank 20 miles
from the city's coast on August 4 last year" a hearing before blacklisting it, the Bombay High Court on Thursday asked why the
authorities had let the owner of the sunken vessel get away.
Astra Asigurari Insurance and Reinsurance Company (AAIRC), the Romanian
insurer of the MV Rak vessel, had moved court contesting the order of
the DG Shipping issued on September 2, 2011 asking the port authorities
not to allow any other vessel with a certificate of entry issued by the AAIRC to berth in Mumbai.
Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka asked the Centre why no action was
taken against the owner of the vessel. The DG (Shipping) had issued the order stating that AAIRC, that had insured the Panama-flagged MV Rak,
had not borne the cost of the alleged environmental pollution caused by
the sunken vessel. "You just let the owner get away? Have you initiated any proceedings
against the owner? You should have at least issued notice," Justice Majmudar told the counsel for the central government.
With rivers turning into nullahs, Pune is in trouble
PUNE, February 28, 2012: "Pune is in trouble today as the rivers are turning into
nullahs and Puneites are breathing polluted air. The pollutant particulate
matter has fine particles and goes inside your body through inhalation and reaches the blood stream. Not only it can cause respiratory problems
and asthma, but also heart attacks," said Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for
Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi on Sunday. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 6th Vasundhara International
film festival, after receiving the 'Vasundhara Sanman', Narain said rivers are dying not only in Pune but across the country. The cities are
choking with air, the forests are disappearing, despite our efforts on
environment. The question is, do we value minerals or growth around it?"
Narain, a political activist as well as a major proponent of the green
concept of sustainable development, added: "Mula and Mutha rivers are
converting to nullahs. We are unable to take back the sewage. For every
drop of water we use, 80% of it is left as sewage. We are unable to link
the flush water with rivers. Rather, the sewage water should be re-used
and recycled." She said neither the city has good public transport facility, nor
pedestrian walkways nor bicycle tracks. We need to reinvent mobility.
"If we can manufacture cars, you can also do the same with buses," said
Unscientific mining led to water crisis in Meghalaya
Shillong, February 24, 2012 (PTI): The mineral-rich Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya faces an acute drinking
water crisis as water from its major rivers has been declared 'unfit'
for human consumption due to high level of acidity caused by unscientific mining.
The rivers downstream of coal mining areas and cement plants have
acquired the colour blue since five years back, a phenomenon baffling
even environmental scientists of the state. The Delhi-based Central Laboratory of the Central Pollution Control
Board, which conducted an analysis of water samples collected from these
rivers, said that the water was highly 'acidic' rendering it unsuitable to support life forms. The latest report, submitted by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control
Board to the state government and the Central Pollution Control Board,
Delhi, said, "Mine run off from coal mines are the major probable causes of water pollution in the area."
"The undesirable change in water quality affects a variety of flora and
fauna of the rivers. Fish, as such, are susceptible to acidity and low
pH values are unsuitable for most aquatic organism," the report said.
Five years back, river Lukha in the Khliehriat sub-division turned blue
and all aquatic life, including fish, died and were found floating in
the river. The board said, "Acidification of natural water is mainly due to acid
effluents discharged from coal mines."
The state pollution control board had in 2007 also conducted a thorough
investigation into the sudden blue pigmentation of the Lukha river. The report of the investigation said, "The blue colour of the Lukha is
possible because the river receives untreated waste discharge from coal
mine areas of Sutnga, Ladrymbai and Sakhain, compounded by heavy rain."
Incidentally, water samples collected downstream of a cement plant (Umtyrngai river) is alkaline in nature and did not 'contribute' to the
acidity of the Lukha river, a confluence of Lunar river and Umtyrngai.
EU’s unilateral action to control greenhouse gas emissions
February 21, 2012: Twenty-six countries, including India, are meeting in Moscow
tomorrow to discuss the EU’s unilateral action to control greenhouse gas emissions
from aeroplanes flying over European airspace. Under the scheme that came into effect in January 2012, airlines flying to the EU will have to
buy tradable carbon credits as part of the EU’s broader emissions trading system (ETS). Worse, they will have to pay even for air-miles
clocked outside European airspace. The outcome of the meet will determine whether the EU’s action will lead to retaliatory moves that
hurt everybody or whether the EU will read the writing on the wall and withdraw.
As of now, a confrontation looms. (China has already debarred
its airlines from participating without government approval). Ironically, the issue — airline emissions — has no great immediacy.
In global terms, airline emissions are relatively small, accounting for only about 3% of total emissions. The move has been on the anvil for
some years now, but the EU’s action needlessly queers the pitch when the
need is for global cooperation rather than confrontation. What is surprising is that the EU should have chosen to go ahead when it needs
the rest of the world to lend it a helping hand.
Study to examine impact of radiation from cell phone towers
CHENNAI, February 19, 2012: The Ministry of Environment and Forests has
commissioned a study on the impact of radiation from cellular phone towers on the
avian population, Union Minister of Environment Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Friday.
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the sixth edition of ‘Beacon
2012,' a meet on business ethics hosted by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Ms.
Natarajan said that the report of the study, commissioned a couple of days ago, would be submitted in three months.
The study was commissioned against the backdrop of a previous study
finding that the electromagnetic radiation from these communication towers affected bees very badly and reports of adverse effect on
scavenger birds in certain parts of Orissa, the Minister said. “We're now worried that the radiation on a particular wavelength will
have a deleterious effect on the avian population. This is what prompted
the study.” The Ministry would write to the Telecom Ministry suggesting a mechanism,
a task force, perhaps – to monitor radiation from mobile towers, Minister said.
EPA issues PVC pollution rules
February 15, 2012: Environmental Protection Agency released final rules on
regulating pollution from plants producing polyvinyl chloride. Six facilities in Louisiana come under the new regulations that expand
the number of pollutants these plants need to control and reduce how
much can be released. Previously, EPA only required that plants control
for and measure vinyl chloride to represent all of the hazardous air
pollutants, according to an EPA fact sheet on the new rule. Now, in addition to vinyl chloride, facilities will need to meet limits
for chlorinated di-benzo dioxins and furans (dioxins) as well as hydrogen chloride, which creates hydrochloric acid in contact with
humidity in the air or water. Vinyl chloride is a known cancer-causing pollution, according to EPA. In
addition, the new rule reduces the amount of these pollutants that can
be released. “Clearly, it’s a victory for clean air,” agreed Marylee Orr, executive
director of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, which has been pushing for the new rule.
Develop mechanism for reliable environmental data
New Delhi, February 13, 2012: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Environment and
Forest (MoEF) to develop a mechanism to have authentic data in its
Environment Impact Appraisal (EIA) reports and blacklist consultants who
furnish cooked data. In view of the infirmities (in the EIA report) noticed, we direct MoEF
to develop appropriate mechanism to check the authenticity of environmental data reported in the EIA report which would facilitate a
more realistic environmental appraisal of project. Steps should also be taken for black listing consultants found to have
reported cooked data or wrong data and for producing sub-standard
EIA report, a bench comprising Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu and G K Pandey said.
The remarks were made by the bench which suspended the environmental
clearance granted for expansion of a steel and captive power plant of
Scania Steel and Power Ltd in Chhattisgarh. The MoEF was directed to revisit its decision of granting clearance
after conducting a public hearing at the project site and nearby areas.
The tribunal found that data provided in the EIA report about the company was unreliable and several pollution indicators were shown
even below their minimum limit. Source: Zeenews
EPA sued by 11 US states over soot pollution
February 11, 2012 (Reuters) - Eleven states, including California and New York,
sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to compel it to
review clean air standards for soot pollution nationwide, after the agency had missed an October deadline.
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court seeks a court order demanding that the EPA fulfill its obligation under the federal Clean
Air Act to review, and as necessary update the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the pollution.
According to the states, the Clean Air Act requires air quality standards for pollutants such as soot to be updated as necessary every
five years. They said the EPA has not reviewed these standards since October 2006.
Soot is also known as "fine particulate matter pollution" or "PM 2.5,"
and is often produced by power plants as well as diesel buses and trucks.
"Clean air is a public right," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "The EPA must take prompt action to
reduce pollution now, and safeguard the health of the public and the air
we breathe." The EPA "is continuing to work on proposing the PM 2.5 standards," spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara said.
MoEF working on environmental performance index to rank cities
Pune, February 10, 2012: The Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF) and the Planning
Commission, along with a few non-government organisations (NGO), are working on an environmental performance index wherein cities will be
ranked according to criteria such as air pollution, water pollution, conditions of forests, climate change and waste managament. Speaking at
the national conference on Biodiversity Assessment, Conservation and
Utilisation, organised by Abasaheb Garware College, Dr K Kasturirangan, member of the planning commission, said this is being done to build
indirect pressure on states to take the biodiversity conservation issue more seriously.
Currently, the work on this index is in progress. "We will rank the
states on five criteria and 16 parameters. However, the work needs to be
carried out after more discussions with all the states as the biodiversity of each state is different. We are trying to come up with
state specific parameters for the index," added Kasturirangan. The MoEF
is also working on green gases satellite sensors which will make it possible to study the
effects of the gases on different areas. Ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who heads the Western Ghats Ecology Expert
Panel (WGEEP), is unhappy with the way the government is handling the Western Ghats issue. ?We had submitted the report to the government in
September last year following which there were plans of public discussions on the same. However, without citing any reason, the
government has indefinitely postponed the discussion and after September
19, I have not been contacted by them even once,? said Gadgil, expressing concern. Source: Express News Service
Imphal NGO bags international green award
IMPHAL, February 6, 2012: An Imphal-based NGO, Centre for Research on
Environmental Development (Cred), has bagged the prestigious Green Globe Foundation
Award 2012 in New Delhi for 'Outstanding Contribution by a NGO'. Cred works at
the grassroots level on critical issues like environmental degradation, generating mass awareness on pollution-related issues, mobilizing local
communities in sustained high-pitched campaigns and engaging in legal
activism through public interest litigation, thus forming the backbone of the green movement in India.
Some of the major projects currently taken up by Cred include solid
waste management programmes , one under the Imphal Municipal Council (IMC) covering eleven wards at the capital city and the other at the
centre-run Regional Institute of Medical Sciences ( Rims) here. Jointly sponsored by various bodies including the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Sustainable Development Forum, the awards were given
at the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2012. "Since the authorities are yet to provide a permanent garbage dumping
ground, Cred along with other NGOs of the state engaged in the solid waste management programme of the IMC dump the city garbage at Lamphelpat
in Imphal West, the temporary solid waste dumping ground," he said.
India at 125th position in Environmental Performance Index
DAVOS, January 26, 2012 : Reflecting the adverse fallout of economic expansion, India has
been ranked at the 125th spot in terms of tackling pollution and natural
resource management challenges, according to a survey of 132 nations. India is placed below neighbouring China, which has garnered the 116th
position, as per the 2012 Environmental Performance Index prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities in
association with the World Economic Forum. "Of the emerging economies, China and India rank 116th and 125th
respectively, reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the
environment," it said. Switzerland has topped the ranking in terms of addressing pollution
control and natural resource management challenges. Others in the top five are Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg and Costa Rica.
The report noted that Switzerland¹s top-notch performance on the overall
EPI derives from its high scores on metrics related to both ecosystem
vitality and environmental health, particularly its very strong performance in biodiversity and habitat protection and air pollution
control. The list is based on 22 indicators across 10 major policy categories,
including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and
forest management. "Occupying the bottom five positions in the EPI ranking are South Africa
, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq - all countries grappling with deteriorating environmental circumstances in
the context of significant economic development pressures and other challenges," it said.
According to the report, the US is placed 49th, with strong results on some
issues, such as water and air pollution management but weak performance
on others, including greenhouse gas emissions and renewable electricity
generation. "This ranking puts the US significantly behind other industrialised
nations, including France (6th), the United Kingdom (9th), Germany (11th), and Japan (23rd)," it added.
SC directed Sterlite Industries Ltd. to file a fresh application before the TNPC
New Delhi, January 18, 2012 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Sterlite Industries Ltd. to file a
fresh application before the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to obtain its consent for continuance of the company’s copper plant at
Tuticorin, which was allegedly causing environmental pollution.
A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale asked the company to file
its application within 15 days which shall be disposed of by the Board
within a month after inquiring into and verifying its claims of complying with various safety and environmental norms.
The apex court further said its October 1, 2010, interim direction staying the operation of the Madras High Court order directing closure
of the industry will continue and posted the matter for further hearing to March 28.