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Story


Climate lectures don’t make lessons

There was a jamboree in my town recently, a gathering of the powerful and famous, to discuss the climate change agreement the world must carve out in Copenhagen by end 2009. But what happened was rather discomforting: We Indians were publicly lectured, castigated and rapped on our knuckles for being bad boys and girls by one and all. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon told us developing countries must make more efforts to address climate change and get on-board with industrialized world for solutions.

Second Country Media Briefing on Air Quality and Urban Mobility

Colombo, April 27,2011

Almost every South Asian city today is reeling under severe air pollution and gridlocked urban traffic. Colombo has the advantage of having the sea by its side, but it is still struggling with polluting fuels, outdated vehicle technologies and rising numbers of private vehicles leading to massive congestion.

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Date: April 27, 2011

The public relations republic

Let me dare to predict how regulatory and corporate India will resolve IT major Satyam’s scandal/saga. The government will stand tall, its arms and branches spread out in never-ending enquiry, to provide tactical cover. Some fall-guys might be found: now-disgraced chairman B Ramalinga Raju could be sentenced, as could the auditing company official who signed the accounts; but it takes time to prove guilt, so that they will probably live a retired life in the comfort of their homes, out on bail. Meanwhile, the media will bray for blood.

Urban Rainwater Harvesting

 

 

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Down To Earth
Growth thirsty
Illustrations: DivyaGroundwater level is plunging in Dhaka. Experts call for making rainwater harvesting mandatory
 
Water wise
R K SOMANY A self sustained housing society, undaunted by water scarcity
 
Aravallis undermined
Photo: Sayantoni Palchoudhuri SC mining ban alone won't save Haryana's natural lakes
 
Their own suppliers
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriScarcity teaches a village in Orissa how to manage its water supply
 
Mining ban around Sasthamkotta lake
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriConservation plan in the works for Kerala's biggest freshwater lake
 
Neela Hauz to breathe easy
Work to restore the Neela Hauz lake near Vasant Kunj in Delhi has finally started.
 
Watertight
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriRate water fixtures for efficiency to cut wastage
 
When will coliform matter?
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriIndia fails to notify standards for treated sewage
 
A 138 km pipe dream
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriBhilwara awaits next polls for water
 
Gutter will sparkle
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriLudhiana is going all out to clean up Buddha Nallah, the sole receptacle of its industrial filth
 
People do pay for latrines
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriFour decades ago, when Bindeshwar Pathak began his work on changing unsanitary latrine practices, there were sceptics galore.
 
Amul takes hygiene a step forward
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriAt Anand, the dairy cooperative movement’s birthplace, no one will defecate in the open.
 
Bengaluru catches drops
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriAct mandating rainwater harvesting boosts sale of filters
 
Kolkata reconnects with its riverfront
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriAn ambitious riverfront development project has been drawing many visitors in Kolkata.
 
Review of film 'Wasted'
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriWasted Swecha Productions directed by Anshul Uniyal and Vimalendu Jha 16 minutes Wasted
 
Kolkata tanners unhappy with new relocation site
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriUntil a decade ago, Kim Li Loi, Canton and Hot Wok, restaurants in the Chinatown locality of eastern Kolkata's
 
CETP employee in Gujarat sacked for exposing illegal discharge channels
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriVishnubhai Patel was an operator-cum-fitter with Green Environment Services Co-operative Society Ltd.
 
Packaged water @ 10 paise/litre
Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriRural water supply scheme for Andhra has no room for public opinion; price may be hiked later
 
Rich waste water
Adelaide's wealthy don't mind paying fines
 
Natures own water purifiers
River banks are efficient water filters. Haridwar shows how to make most of them

2009 is full of promise

I spent a week at the climate change conference in Poznan, and realized the world is in deep trouble and deeper denial. Worse, the denial is now entirely on the side of action. It is well accepted that climate change is a reality. Scientists say we need to cap temperature increases at 2°C to avoid catastrophe, which means capping emissions at 450 ppm. We know global average temperatures have already increased by 0.8°C and there is enough greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to lead to another 0.8°C increase.

Maintenance

Quality of stored water

To prevent leaves and debris from entering the system, mesh filters should be provided at the mouth of the drainpipe. Further, a first-flush device should be provided in the conduit before it connects to the storage container.

The tale of 21st century’s dinosaurs

Have you noticed how the mighty automobile industry in the US is beginning to sound like the now infamous tobacco industry at the time of its collapse, taking cover behind the people it employed to whitewash its inefficiency and perhaps its sheer inappropriateness? The tobacco industry, in its last days of conviction, when it became clear that the science of toxicity of this leaf was real, hid behind farmers who grew it.

The newer deal for a newer world

After months of downward spiral, the dreaded r-word must be uttered. The world’s major economies are into a recession. Equally recessive is the response of leaders who, after working extremely hard to privatize and deregulate, are falling upon a Keynesian idea, first applied after the 1929 Great Depression in the us, requiring governments to spend huge amounts of public money to bail out the economy.

A complicated bus-ride

What does Barack Obama’s election as president of the us have to do with buses in India? A lot. Obama stands for what he calls ‘change’—in the way we think and do business. But the call will remain rhetoric unless we translate it into practical, everyday life, changes. To do that, we must bring changes in our business model and, most importantly, in what is essential and what needs to be invested in.

Bail us out: consume

Earlier this year, I called the Union budget myopic (see Down To Earth, March 31, 2008). Let me reiterate why. The Union budget did not take into account the fact the world was beginning to face new challenges, all of which were devastating, and related. One, the rising cost of our food—you will recall subsequently prices did go up and food riots took place in many parts of the world.

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