Daily Life Environmental Impacts Need Attention

Sanjaya K Mishra 
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Published in print version of Enviro Annotations on 18th September 2019
In this information age with social media playing a major role, video streaming has become ubiquitous. A former New York Times science writer, Tatiana Schlossberg reports in her book, Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have, that an hour of video streaming emits 0.4 kilograms (kg) of CO2. On an average of 6 hours per person per day usage, the annual video carbon footprint is nearly 876 kg of CO2. With urgency and wit she explains that far from being only a distant problem of the natural world created by the fossil fuel industry, climate change is all around us, all the time, lurking everywhere in our convenience-driven society, all without our realizing it. By examining the unseen and unconscious environmental impacts in four areas-the Internet and technology, food, fashion, and fuel - Schlossberg helps readers better understand why climate change is such a complicated issue, and how it connects all of us.
The cost of data has fallen sharply in India by about 95% since 2013. The report 'Digital India - Technology to Transform a Connection Nation' by McKinsey Global Institute said the country is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers, with 560 million internet subscribers in 2018, second only to China. Indian mobile data users consume 8.3 gigabits (GB) of data each month on average. Indians have 1.2 billion mobile phone subscriptions. According to a report the cost of one gigabyte fell from 9.8% of per capita monthly GDP in 2013 to 0.37% in 2017. The GDP data correlation is prepared with so much ingenuity that to a common man digressing of the most critical economic element, the environment, is not visible. If we use the same data from Indian perspective, where 566 million smartphone users were reportedly registered, most of them are ignorant about the hidden impacts from an annual video carbon footprint is nearly 496 Ton of CO2. Another related aspect of cell phone usage is that approximately 2 to 6 watts of electricity is consumed when charging. Does this mean 1200 MW to 7200 MW of daily electricity is consumed to charge mobiles in India? If so, the magnitude CO2emission could be 1020 Ton per day to 6120 Ton per day. Furthermore, internet resources also show that if a charger left plugged in without a phone it could consume 0.1 to 0.5 of a watt. It is high time to invoke witty research works in India with transparent reporting so that consumers are aware, who in turn would embrace a sustainable lifestyle.

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“Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature” by Shri Jairam Ramesh

20190923 Indira Gandhi by Jairam Ramesh

Sanjaya K.Mishra
The unconventional biography of the former prime minister Late Smt. Indira Gandhi is a scholarly exposition. The book is a seamless weaving of myriads of little known facts about one of the charismatic Indian leaders. The elucidation by an erudite politician-scholar, Shri Jairam Ramesh, who has eloquently narrated; how Indira Gandhi’s views on the environment, her passionate efforts for the protection and conservation of India’s wildlife, biodiversity; how she persuaded her colleagues while taking noteworthy decisions on forests and wildlife; and policies, programmes, initiatives, laws and institutions, that have endured. How her focus was on national progress with an ecological balance. The book describes that she was singularly responsible not just for India’s best-known wildlife conservation programme, “The Project Tiger”—but also for less high-profile initiatives for the protection of crocodiles, lions, hanguls, cranes, bustards, flamingos, deer, and other endangered species. Furthermore, prevailing laws to deal with water and air pollution were enacted during her tenure.

The book also reveals that Late Smt. Indira Gandhi was the only head of government, other than the host prime minister, to speak at the first-ever United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June 1972. Her speech there has reverberated down the decades.

The author genuinely advocates that India can’t afford to follow a blind ‘grow now, pony up later’ model. As recently heard in Rajya Sabha, while he was emphasizing on the primary role of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is to safeguard environment and natural resources and not ease of doing business; he has outlined in the book as well, “Climate change is a devastating reality, and is affecting our monsoon patterns, glaciers and mean sea levels. Pollution and chemical contamination are having very substantial public health consequences. Our forests—the absorbers of greenhouse gases that cause global warming—are under threat as we extract more coal, iron ore and other minerals, and as we build more irrigation projects and power plants to fuel our economic growth.”

Shri Jairam Ramesh has described the book, in a way, is a diary of Late Smt. Indira Gandhi’s environmental activities—a diary not maintained by her obviously but reconstructed with the help of archival material.

An extremely well researched, deep work. The author has magnificently distilled vivid contents from unpublished letters, notes, messages, and memos. The chronological deliberation has gone the whole hog to make it so lively and a conversational narrative of the fascinating side of Indira Gandhi. The creation could also be described as a calibrated compass that could guide India at a time when the writing is on the wall with disastrous air, water, and land environment. The author has made tireless efforts to show the need for realignment of the focus on India’s green growth.

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The Water Rich & Poor States in India

An article based on the 2016 Ph.D. thesis titled “The Water Poverty Index: An Inter-State Analysis of India” of Jasleen Kaur, under the able guidance and supervision of Supervisor, Prof. Halima Sadia Rizvi, Department of Economics, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and Co- Supervisor Prof. M.S. Bhatt, Former Professor also from Department of Economics, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Sanjaya K. Mishra has edited and summarized the article.

Water is one of the most precious gifts of nature. It is one of those vital substances on which existence depends. It has many facets and many uses. Besides being a basic need and amenity, it is an essential input in agriculture, industry and service sector. It is a vital part of our ecological system, sustaining and being sustained by it. It is a means of transportation and a significant part of our social, political and cultural life (Iyer, 2011). These uses are nothing but drivers of the bigger concept of human development, of which water forms an indispensable part. Of all the water on earth, only 2.5% constitutes freshwater, two-thirds of which is frozen in glaciers and ice-caps. According to the World Water Development Report (WWAP, 2015), only 1% of the freshwater on earth is accessible to feed a world population. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, constituting 70% of the total water demand. The domestic, industry, energy and other sectors together constitute 30% of the demand for water. Increasing population, industrialization, urbanization and the accompanying consumerist culture have led to overuse and pollution of this finite (but renewable) resource (WWAP, 2016; Postel, 2000). World‘s renewable freshwater availability has fallen from 13,360 cu.m. per capita in 1962 to 5926 cu.m. per capita in 2014. According to the Falkenmark Index, water availability below 1700 cu.m. per capita in a region is interpreted as a situation in which water stress occurs regularly (Falkenmark et. al., 1989). While the world average of per capita water availability is above Falkenmark‘s 1700 cu.m. per capita threshold, countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Gambia, Germany, Haiti, India, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania and  Tunisia are below the mark. However, water scarcity is not only about the declining per capita volumetric supply of water. It extends to issues like low income, inadequate access and poor quality. Seven forty eight million people around the world do not have access to safe water for drinking. In the year 2012, 2.5 billion people lacked access to improved sanitation (WHO and UNICEF, 2014).Besides, inadequate access and use in one region is contrasted with wastefulness and profligacy in the other. On the environment front, economic models of growth in the past have not valued essential services provided by freshwater ecosystems, which has led to unsustainable use of water and environmental degradation. Pollution resulting from untreated residential wastewater, industrial discharges, and agricultural run-off has weakened the natural cleansing capacity of water. This along with large-scale deforestation has tampered with the ability of ecosystems to provide water-related services. Because of all these factors, water shortages exist even in areas of water abundance.

The research reports the empirical results from the composite WPI methodologies, compares results from other methodologies and other studies. An inter-state analysis of Water Poverty Index (WPI) reveals that water poverty is a concept more comprehensive and encompassing than water scarcity. The research work computed the WPI for all the States and Union Territories of India (an index whose scores lie between 0 and 100). The average WPI of India was calculated to be 55. A correlation with the Human Development Index shows that water and human well-being are significantly correlated. The research also identifies that water poverty in India is closely linked to “income poverty” and inadequate access to water for different uses. Since the two are linked to each other, it was seen that the states owe their high scores of WPI to their high income and access to resources. But there are exceptions to this found in states like Kerala, Delhi, and Chandigarh. The WPI also shows the ‘North-East Water Paradox in India’, emphasizing that there is scarcity amidst plenty in the country. An overview of all the regions of India shows that the East, West, Northeast and Central regions of India have average WPI scores less than the national average. The North and South region and the Union Territories have average WPI scores above the India average.

Northern India comprises of six states –the Himalayan states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The average WPI was found to be 57.5 with Haryana the maximum of 63 and Uttar Pradesh bearing the minimum 47.6.
North-East India is popularly called the ‘Water Tower’ of the nation. With a per capita water availability of more 30,000 cu.m. per capita, this region is the most water abundant part of India. However, with an average WPI score of 54.4 most of the North-East states present a different picture. Sikkim has the highest WPI score of 67.9, while Assam the lowest WPI with 42.9.

Average WPI of East India comprises of four states –West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, and Jharkhand, was 46.2 with West Bengal leading the highest score of 57.7 and Jharkhand the lowest of 37.2.

The average WPI of Southern India comprising of four states: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala was calculated to be 55.9, where Tamil Nadu attains the maximum WPI as 59.9, while Kerala has the minimum of 52.5.
In the western region of India that comprises two water abundant states of Goa and Maharashtra and two water scarce states of Gujarat and Rajasthan – the average WPI was found to be 54.5. Goa registered the highest 67.6 and Rajasthan the lowest of 42.9.

Water Poverty Index in Central India with only two states, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was much less than the national average, with poor economic development being the major cause of their water poverty. WPI in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was 47.3 and 44.8, respectively.
All the Union Territories except the populated cities of Delhi and Chandigarh have WPI scores more than the national average. Dadra and Nagar Haveli registered the maximum WPI value of 68.9, which is the highest in India and the minimum of 52.5 was in Chandigarh.

The results of WPI for India revealed that there were wide inequalities found in water poverty across States/Union Territories. The scores ranged from a minimum of 37.1 to a maximum of 68.9 on the 0-100 scale. The average WPI score for India as a whole was 55. Among the states, Jharkhand reported the most water poor and Sikkim the least water poor. However, among all States and Union Territories, Dadra and Nagar Haveli got the water richest position.

This article was published in the 45th Issue of Enviro Annotations www.enviroannotations.com and also available http://enviroannotations.wordpress.com

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Water Harvesting Movement: A Need of the Hour

Farooq Ahmad Bakloo* & Saima Tabassum** Contributors
(This article was published in the 34th issue of Enviro Annotations)
Water is an essential indigent of the human life from the history it is well recorded that the famous civilisations of the world were resided near the water sources because of this these civilisations were named as water civilisations. These civilisations are Mesopotamia Civilization (Tigris and Euphrates Rivers) Harappa Indus Valley civilisation (Indus and Ganges) Egypt Civilization (Nile River), and China civilisation (Yellow and Yangtze River). 
In the present, the world the freshwater resources are shirking day by day, which as a result many cities of the world are facing acute water shortage in the current time. According to the survey of 2014 that reported that, the world’s 500 cities largest cities estimate that one in four is in a situation of water stress.
 According to the BBC News report, the eleven cities of the world that are going to face the fresh water shortage these cities are Sao Paulo, Bangaluru, Beijing, Cario, Jakarta, Mosco, London, Tokyo and Miami ( https://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959).
Cape Town is surrounded with water all around but will soon run out with drinking water. The local government is working hard to search for solutions to get fresh water. To get the continuous drinking water desalination plants, ground water collection projects and
Water recycling programmes are being conducted. (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-42626790).
Due to the population growth, the demand for the drinking water became more demanding.
According to the international rules, a country can be classified as 'water stressed' when water availability is less than 1700 m3 per capita per year whereas a country can be classified as 'water scarce' if it is less than 1000 cubic meter per capita per year. The average annual per capita availability of water in India, taking into consideration the population of the country as per the 2001 census, was 1816 cubic meters which decreased to1545 cubic meters in 2011 (Reference note June 2016 Lok Shaba Secretariat, New Delhi). The country obtains its 70% rainfall in the Monsoon that hoses the half of the country’s farmland (indiaenvironmentportal.org). During this entire period of the monsoon, a significant number of the residents of the country are not able to use this rainwater for productive purposes. The rainwater is collected through the technique called water harvesting. However, the irony is significant residents of the country did not yet realize the importance and advantages of this technique. In a contemporary period when the population of the country and economic growth are on the acceleration with full speed.
The water supplies in the urban centers are in the stress, depletion of the groundwater is at the velocity. These above-mentioned factors, directly and indirectly, affect the water sources of the country negatively. At this time, the notion of the water harvesting becomes furthermore important as a mitigation step to conserve the freshwater resources and a ladder towards sustainable development.
Recently the report of the NITI Ayog on the water crises has made headlines in the electronic and print media. The report reveals that 21 major Indians cities, will run out of the water by 2020. Further, the report highlights that India ranks second from the bottom in the Global Water Quality Index. In apart from this, the NITI Aayog report stated that 600 million people face the height of extreme water stress in the coming years. The report also mentioned that 84% of the rural household do not have access to piped water.
No doubt, the central Government has taken some efforts for the mitigation of water crises through the water harvesting techniques and artificial water recharging. In this regard, the central government are providing technical assistance to the states for the practical outcome of the water harvesting system.
The 2012 National water policy mentions highlights that rainwater harvesting and the conservation of the water and also highlights the enhancing the availability of water through direct use of rainfall.
 The state Governments also make it mandatory for water harvesting in their respective States. In the present, there are 25 states and 6 Union territories that have made compulsory to install the water harvesting system in their buildings.
 Apart from this, there are the provisions mentioned in the guideline of the MGNRGS that emphases on the creation of water harvesting projects in the villages.
Despite these laws and orders, the position at the grass-root level, the level implementation is not so effective. It is apparent from the field observations that these laws and rules are on the papers.
There is an urgent need to work on some measures that could help fight these problems. In this direction, the Panchayats and Municipalities play an important rule.  These local bodies Panchayats in Villages and Municipalities in cities could make it strictly compulsory to build a Rain Water Harvesting System while constructing any building and issue the guidelines to maintain the water harvesting in their areas.  These local bodies also can organize awareness programmes among people. These local bodies involve the local communities and provide them the training that how to use this technique at the grass-root level.  The educational Institutions can also play a heart role in spreading the education about the water harvesting in their adjacent areas they can assign micro-projects to the students who later on visit the nearby areas to cognizant the local community.  There is a need for the mass water harvesting movement in the country to highlight the advantages of water harvesting in the country.
*Done Internship at Parliament of India and presently a PhD Scholar at Kumaun University Nainital S.S.J Campus Almora Uttrakhand
**Done Graduation in Fishers from G.B. Pant University of Agricultural and Technology Pantnagar Uttarakhand.

Daily Life Environmental Impacts Need Attention

Sanjaya K Mishra  Tweet @sanjayakmishra Published in print version of Enviro Annotations on 18th September 2019 In this inf...