Environment

This article is part of a special series: Air Quality in our Cities Five out of 15 Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses that the Regional Transport Office officials from the Transport Department had randomly inspected had failed the emission tests.That was in 2016. Recent reports said that BMTC bus breakdowns have considerably reduced compared to previous years due to an improvement in their maintenance procedures. Would that also mean that there is an improvement in BMTC buses following emission standards? What are the measures taken by BMTC to ensure that their buses follow emission norms? What are the external measures…

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As the world is coming together to combat plastic pollution, there is still so much to be done to even be aware and acknowledge the impact of some products that have become an indispensable part of our lives. For example, we are yet to wake up to the eco-disaster of the disposable sanitary pads, while start-ups and NGOs are finding it hard to make an impact with alternatives. To create awareness on sustainable menstruation, Goli Soda, an upscale store in Chennai selling recycled and upcycled products hosted a panel to talk about the impact of waste created by conventional sanitary napkins…

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This article is part of a special series: Air Quality in our Cities Our earlier article in the series traced the long history of the battle between Whitefield residents and the Graphite India plant, the polluting operations of which had become a serious hazard in the area. Interestingly, the role of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) itself came under the scanner as the tussle with GIL continued. When the matter finally reached the top court, the KSPCB drew flak from the SC on the matter of GIL’s air pollution, especially in view of the overall pollution in Bangalore.…

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Animal rescue is not always a matter of birds and mammals...today, we assisted in a difficult birth, and hope we saved a life which would otherwise have ended. In the case of mammals, we talk about "breech birth", where the head is not delivered or brought out to the outside world first, and where, consequently, complications develop. As we were doing a butterfly walk in Doresanipalya Forest Research Station on 3rd November '18, Rohit Girotra called me and showed me how, in emerging from the pupa (a process called eclosing), a Three-spot Grass Yellow had got into a very tough…

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An untiring battle of the Ennore fishermen to save Kosasthalaiyar river from the clutches of Kamarajar Port proved successful as they scored an important victory after the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) rejected the Port's proposal to locate port facilities on the eastern banks of the Kosasthalaiyar’s backwaters in Ennore Creek. The fisherfolk, however, said that their battle to have all of Ennore Creek declared off limits for industrial projects will intensify. As part of the Phase 3 expansion, Kamarajar port had planned to develop facilities like office, commercial buildings and parking terminals on the eastern part…

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Dear Readers, We have good news and bad news. First, let's get the bad news out of the way: Diwali firecrackers are partially banned. And now for the good news: Diwali firecrackers are partially banned. The Supreme Court gave its ruling just 15 days before Diwali on November 7, in response to a petition on the behalf of three children in September 2015, pleading for a ban on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers to protect their health. In 2016 and 2017, the SC had passed an order with many restrictions on the manufacture and sale of firecrackers in Delhi…

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A gentle mist spread over the lapping waves of the Tambrabarani or Thamirabarani, as the skies broke into a morning smile. The river did not look as if it was flooded or in full flow, as it lazily gurgled and swirled over pebbles, while small fish sometimes leapt in quick flashes. A pearly hue was just beginning to infuse the waters as the morning rubbed out sleep from its eyes. But by then crowds of people had already gathered -- bending, and taking three dips as part of the ritual "bath" for which they had travelled for days, and changed trains…

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This article is part of a special series: Air Quality in our Cities The drastic rise in air pollution levels in Indian cities over the years has been a cause of extreme concern, especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out that several Indian cities were part of the top 20 most polluted cities in terms of PM 2.5 levels. As part of a recent study by Aishwarya Sudhir ( supported by Co-Media Lab and Climate Trends), titled Bengaluru’s rising Air Quality Crisis, air pollution levels were tested for PM 2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter with diameter less that 2.5…

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Forests become an easy scapegoat for urban infrastructure development. Recently, the National Highways Authority of India blamed meteorological events for triggering landslides in Himachal Pradesh, but such events are not the only cause of environmental degradation. With the reckless cutting of 23, 785 trees to four-lane the Shimla-Kalka highway and excessive cutting of thousands of other trees to facilitate several hydroelectric projects, it is evident that excessive human activity in Himachal Pradesh is leading to degradation and deprivation of forest quality, which, ironically, would only impede the development that the state is hoping for. The recent water woes in Shimla…

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This article is part of a special series: Air Quality in our Cities Ruchika fumed behind the mask that her mother tied around her nose everyday. She had to pass through Peenya, the "dirtiest and "most polluted" locality in Bengaluru to reach her workplace. Her mother, a health expert, had told her "This is the point where pollution in 2015 was 1300 ug/m3." That figure in itself made no sense to Ruchika, till her mother added that the junction was 26 times more dangerous than the World Health Organisation's recommendation and 13 times worse than the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)'s  standards!…

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