Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Swatch Bharath Abhyan

October 1, 2015

Swatch Bharath Abhyan

(Clean India Campaign)

It is just one year since the above campaign was launched by our Prime Minister Shri Modi. Many reviews of ‘progress-so-far’ have appeared in print, visual, electronic and social media. Ignoring the politically biased views, generally there is a concern that the campaign has not achieved the desired result so far. Mr. Modi has perhaps anticipated such apathy to the campaign and hence has given himself and the government 5 full years up to 2019 to achieve reasonable cleanliness. Still it is a good idea to review the ‘progress-so-far’ and take some positive actions to improve the progress based on our experience till now.

What makes the public places and surroundings unclean? There are about 10 types of wastes generated by individuals, families and institutions. They are:

Kitchen/Garden waste

Personal and Health care waste

Stationery waste

Plastic waste

Packing waste

Party/event waste

Industrial waste

Construction waste

Electrical/Electronic waste

Metal waste

General public need a lot of guidance and facilities to dispose of these wastes appropriately. I am attempting here to give my own ideas on how to dispose of Plastic Wastes in an environmentally friendly way.

  1. Single plastic bags should never be disposed of on their own. It is more likely to fly off anywhere and block any drain or air passage and block water seepage to the ground and below.
  2. Any thin plastic bag should be disposed off tying its ends together in to a bundle so that it cannot balloon and fly off.
  3. At home a number of such tied up thin plastic bags should all be gathered together in to a larger plastic bag/bundle and disposed of separately. This will enable and encourage the trash pickers to collect them and deposit them for recycling.
  4. Thicker plastic bags should be reused as much as possible. There should be municipal collection facilities where we can deposit them, after packing them neatly.
  5. Waste plastic sheets (thin and thick) should be treated the same was as bags.
  6. Plastic bottles should also be deposited in municipal collection facilities as above.
  7. Disused plastic containers and other thicker materials like boxes, mugs, buckets, furniture and fittings should all be gathered together and handed over to trash dealers personally.
  8. Housing societies and apartment complexes should have a dry waste collection day, once in a month (say, last Saturday of the month). On this day all the residents should deposit their plastic waste material collected as above in to a common bin provided for this purpose. The trash dealers may be requested to collect the same at the end of the day.
  9. Municipal ward offices should announce one day in a month (say, last Sunday of the month) as dry waste collection day and a truck should go around the ward collecting such wastes.
  10. The slums and low cost housing areas should be more actively involved in this Clean India Campaign, for it to succeed.

Such methods of waste disposal as above should be evolved for all types of wastes. They should be publicized periodically in all media, especially the vernacular ones.

Let us all have a Clean India and a Green India. Vande Mataram.

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Idea for a new Eco-Toilet

October 16, 2014

Recently I saw a news item in Times of India (12th Oct 2014) about saving water by peeing in the shower. When I googled it there were many who were supporting this idea for conservation of water. Hence I am encouraged to publish as a blog, my earlier idea of 2010, for an Eco-Toilet.

New Design for an Eco-toilet

 The goal is to conserve the use of water in a flush-out toilet commode.

The idea is to revise the design of flush out toilets. Millions of people use flush-out toilets (Indian or Western Type). While the amount of water required to flush the solid waste is very high, we do not need the same amount of water for urinating purpose. Though a few designs were made earlier to provide two flush systems in the toilet for major and minor uses, these designs were neither popular nor very successful. The amount of water wasted is enormous as minor uses are about ten times more than the major uses in a day. Hence this suggestion is for the following rough design of a new eco-toilet.

Ecotoilet

The pot can be divided into two compartments 1 and 2. The outlets of pot-1 can directly drain into the main drain through a separate smaller s-bend and then to the septic tank. The pot-2 can flush out the solid waste through the normal siphon system. This way pot-1 needs much less water as in any normal urinal. Even a mug of water will do the job. A dual flush system could be an added facility. Both the smaller and bigger s-bends are integrated in the same ceramic mold and will hold water in the bend to seal off septic tank from the toilet

Implementation: This idea can be implemented by all the people who have access to toilets with septic tanks. The sanitary engineers should study this suggestion seriously and come out with more practical and feasible designs. All the commode manufacturers should readily come forward with their own implementation of the design to suit various customer segments. The manufacturers, suppliers and distributors should give hefty volume discounts for mass implementation of this design in all apartment blocks in urban areas. The government may also subsidize the cost for poorer sections of the society, who have common toilets. The removed older commodes may be re-used in public toilets where separate urinals are provided in addition to commodes.

Partners: The commode manufacturers, builders, civil contactors, housing societies, municipality health inspectors, plumbers and masons should all be involved in evolving a suitable design, implementation and practice.

All the new apartment blocks, including those under construction can be asked to implement this design as a precondition to issue of occupation clearance certificate. Apartment blocks in the urban area may be asked to implement the design in a phased manner, say in about three years.

The cost of manufacture of this kind of toilets will only be marginally higher than the normal ones. Depending on the aesthetics of the design to suit different markets, the actual costs may vary. Because of a very large initial demand the cost per unit will come down drastically. With exchange offers and deserving subsidies, the cost may not pose a big problem.

Outcome of this modification: This design of toilet will save a lot of water for our future generations at the same time keeping our toilets adequately clean and hygienic.

Name: L V Nagarajan

City:    Mumbai

Email:  lvnaga@yahoo.com

Phone: 022- 25259073

LVN/5th May 2010

The River – நதி

June 23, 2013

                         நதி

தாயின்று எழுந்து நீராவியாய், பின்

வான்நின்று பொழியும் நல்மேகமாய்,

பூநின்று செல்லும் நீரோட்டமாய், நதி

தாயொன்றி மகிழும் கடல் கூடியே. –  1

தான்நின்று பல்லோர்க்கும் அமுதாகி, நதி

தாள்சென்று அடையாது நஞ்சுற்றே

உயிர்குன்றி ஒசிந்து உணர்வற்று, தன்

உடல்குன்றி வீழ்ந்து ஓய்ந்ததுவே. –  2

ஆஒற்றிக் கரந்த பால் எனினும்

அதன்கன்றிர்க்கும் ஓரளவு ஈவது போல்

உயர்குன்றில் விழுந்த நதி நீரும், சிறிது

தாய்சென்று அடைவதே தருமம் அன்றோ. –  3

வேரின்றி வளராது விருட்சம், தன்

காலின்றி வாழாது கால்நடைகள்

நீரின்று அமையாது உலகு, எனின்

வானின்று அமையாது ஒழுக்கு. –  4

English Translation

Rising from its source as vapours

Falling from the benevolent clouds

Flowing through earth as streams – rivers

Folding joyously into the laps of seas. – 1

Holding its flow to feed thousands, but

Stalling on its way with filth and toxins

Losing its life, form and feeling – river

Falling a victim to greed and neglect. –  2

Tending the cow and drawing the milk, but

Leaving a bit for its calf to drink – like wise

Allowing the waters to reach its source – river

Ending its flow in a holy communion. –  3

No growth for trees without their roots

No life for animals without their feet

No human race without the waters -never

Any peace sans water resources –  4

(The last two lines are adopted from Tirukkural-Tamil)

I am re-publishing this poem after seeing the man-made disaster in Uttarakhand.

L V Nagarajan – 23 June 2013

Ma Ganga

April 5, 2009

Please see below  a write-up on the condition of our holy Ganga.

 

Ganga River

Extracted From: http://www.gits4u.com/water/ganga.htm


          Today, over 29 cities, 70 towns, and thousands of villages extend along the Ganges’ banks. Nearly all of their sewage – over 1.3 billion liters per day – goes directly into the river, along with thousands of animal carcasses, mainly cattle. Another 260 million liters of industrial waste are added to this by hundreds of factories along the river’s banks.  Municipal sewage constitutes 80 per cent by volume of the total waste dumped into the Ganges, and industries contribute about 15 percent. The majority of the Ganges pollution is organic waste, sewage, trash, food, and human and animal remains. Over the past century, city populations along the Ganges have grown at a tremendous rate, while waste-control infrastructure has remained relatively unchanged. Recent water samples collected in Varanasi revealed fecal-coliform counts of about 50,000 bacteria per 100 milliliters of water, 10,000% higher than the government standard for safe river bathing. The result of this pollution is an array of water-borne diseases including cholera, hepatitis, typhoid and amoebic dysentery. An estimated 80% of all health problems and one-third of deaths in India are attributable to water-borne diseases.


            The sacred practice of depositing human remains in the Ganges also poses health threats because of the unsustainable rate at which partially cremated cadavers are dumped. In Varanasi, some 40,000 cremations are performed each year, most on wood pyres that do not completely consume the body. Along with the remains of these traditional funerals, there are thousands more who cannot afford cremation and whose bodies are simply thrown into the Ganges. In addition, the carcasses of thousands of dead cattle, which are sacred to Hindus, go into the river each year. An inadequate cremation procedure contributes to a large number of partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating down the Ganga.

 
            The industrial pollutants also a major source of contamination in the Ganges. A total of 146 industries are reported to be located along the river Ganga between Rishikesh and Prayagraj. 144 of these are in Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) and 2 in Uttrakhand. The major polluting industries on the Ganga are the leather industries, especially near Kanpur, which use large amounts of Chromium and other toxic chemical waste, and much of it finds its way into the meagre flow of the Ganga.  From the plains to the sea, pharmaceutical companies, electronics plants, textile and paper industries, tanneries, fertilizer manufacturers and oil refineries discharge effluents into the river. This hazardous waste includes hydrochloric acid, mercury and other heavy metals, bleaches and dyes, pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls highly toxic compounds that accumulate in animal and human tissue.

    
            However, industry is not the only source of pollution. Sheer volume of waste – estimated at nearly 1 billion litres per day – of mostly untreated raw sewage – is a significant factor.  Runoff from farms in the Ganges basin adds chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as DDT, which is banned in the United States because of its toxic and carcinogenic effects on humans and wildlife. Damming the river or diverting its water, mainly for irrigation purposes, also adds to the pollution crisis.
 

 

I was very disturbed to read the above report. If this is the condition with Ganga, the holiest of our rivers, what about other rivers?

Please read my poem on rivers by clicking on the link below

rivers

Please read my blog https://lvnaga.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/once-there-were-rivers/

L V Nagarajan/ 5th April 2009

Radio-Active Wastes

September 14, 2008

This was a poem published in Thendral (Oct, 2006), a Tamil Magazine published from SFO, Bay Area. The poem itself was written in 1993. Koodankulam Nuclear power station is in an advanced stage of construction. Indian is about to go ahead with major expansion in Nuclear power after the recent agreement with US is implemented. Let us hope, some solution will be found for the disposal of radio-active wastes

koodankulam

Once There Were Rivers

August 8, 2008

Once There Were Rivers.

L V Nagarajan

Rivers are the worst sufferers of human greed. I read somewhere that about 80% of the rivers of the world do not reach the sea at all. They become dry miles before they reach their natural end. River beds are used as illegal sand quarries and later as illegal real estates. What do we do about it? There should be an international law to limit the utilization of river water to, say, 95% and a minimum of 5% of water, as a rule should be discharged into the sea. A norm should be developed for graded utilization of river water all along its route upto the sea, irrespective of political boundaries it passes through. Let us think of our ancient cultures which worshiped rivers, especially its source and its point of collusion with the sea. Let us not pollute the rivers and let us keep their banks and the beds clean and clear. Let us preserve our rivers for our future generations.