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Today, April 22, marks Earth Day, a global event dedicated to raising awareness and promoting environmental conservation efforts. Originating in the United States in 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a worldwide movement, mobilizing over a billion individuals in more than 192 countries.

The significance of April 22 stems from its historical context. Following a devastating oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, US Senator Gaylord Nelson envisioned a platform to channel the growing concern over environmental issues. Teaming up with activist Denis Hayes, Nelson orchestrated campus teach-ins to galvanize public consciousness about air and water pollution. The chosen date, a weekday between Spring Break and Final Exams, strategically aimed to maximize student engagement.

Over the years, Earth Day has transcended its initial scope, expanding into a global phenomenon. In 2016, the United Nations selected April 22 as the day to sign the Paris Accord, a landmark agreement in the fight against climate change. With leaders from 196 nations committing to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the Accord signifies a pivotal moment in environmental history.

This year, Earth Day adopts the theme ‘Planet vs. Plastics,’ highlighting the urgent need to address the proliferation of plastic pollution. Under this banner, diverse stakeholders, including students, businesses, governments, and NGOs, converge in a united front against plastic waste. The overarching goal is to achieve a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040 and ultimately pave the way for a plastic-free future.

The ‘Planet vs. Plastics’ initiative underscores the collective responsibility to safeguard human and planetary health. By advocating for sustainable practices and policies, Earth Day advocates aspire to build a cleaner, healthier world for future generations.

As Earth Day celebrations unfold worldwide, the call to action resonates louder than ever: it’s time to confront the plastic crisis and embrace a more sustainable path forward.

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In the wake of the recent torrential rainfall in Dubai, a contentious debate has emerged within the meteorological community regarding the role of cloud seeding in inducing precipitation. While some attribute the heavy downpour to cloud seeding operations, others remain skeptical, sparking a discourse on the potential diplomatic and environmental ramifications of such weather modification techniques.

Leading meteorologist Johan Jaques, Senior Meteorologist at environmental technology company KISTERS, has cautioned against the proliferation of cloud seeding practices, warning of potential “weather wars” between nations if the technology is not used judiciously. Jaques emphasizes the unpredictable nature of altering weather patterns through artificial means, highlighting the risk of unintended consequences.

“Cloud seeding aims to enhance and accelerate the precipitation process, particularly in regions experiencing prolonged dry spells. However, intense precipitation resulting from such interventions can lead to unforeseen challenges, including flash floods,” Jaques remarked in a statement.

He further underscored the inherent uncertainty associated with cloud seeding, noting the inability to precisely predict the outcomes of such interventions. While cloud seeding may bring much-needed rainfall to certain areas, Jaques cautioned that it could exacerbate drought conditions and trigger flash floods elsewhere.

Despite speculation linking the Dubai rainfall to cloud seeding efforts, there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims. The UAE government agency responsible for overseeing cloud seeding operations has refuted allegations of conducting such activities prior to the storm.

In response to the adverse effects of the heavy rainfall, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has directed authorities to assess the damage and provide assistance to affected families, as reported by the UAE state news agency.

The controversy surrounding cloud seeding and its potential impact on weather patterns underscores the need for comprehensive evaluation and regulation of weather modification technologies. As meteorologists and policymakers navigate this complex terrain, the debate continues to evolve, raising critical questions about the ethical and environmental implications of altering natural weather systems.

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Plastics have long been recognized for their detrimental impact on the environment, but a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine sheds light on their potential harm to human health. The study, titled “Microplastics and Nanoplastics (MNP) in Atheromas and Cardiovascular Events,” delves into the association between microplastics (MNPs) and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.

Led by Dr. Sanjay Rajagopalan, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at University Hospitals and Herman Hellerstein Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, U.S., the study examined over 200 individuals undergoing carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove blockages in the carotid artery. The findings revealed that 58% of patients had detectable amounts of polyethylene, commonly found in food containers and wrappers, in their excised carotid plaque. Additionally, 12% of patients exhibited measurable amounts of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), commonly used in pipes and structural materials.

Over a follow-up period of nearly three years, individuals with evidence of plastics in their arteries were found to be 4.5 times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or death compared to those without plastic residues in their arteries. This correlation underscores the potential health risks posed by microplastics and their impact on cardiovascular health.

While the study does not establish causality, it raises significant concerns about the presence of plastics in human tissues and their association with adverse health outcomes. Dr. Rajagopalan emphasized the importance of exercising caution in the use of plastics, particularly in food storage and preparation. He recommended opting for alternative containers such as glass or steel and avoiding the purchase of plastic water bottles in favor of reusable stainless steel containers.

Furthermore, Dr. Rajagopalan stressed the importance of responsible plastic disposal to mitigate the widespread contamination of the environment with plastics. As the detrimental effects of microplastics on human health continue to emerge, the study underscores the need for greater awareness and regulation to safeguard public health against plastic pollution.

The findings of this study serve as a wake-up call regarding the potential health risks associated with plastic exposure, urging individuals and policymakers alike to take proactive measures to address this pressing issue.

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On the occasion of World Water Day 2024 this article by Prof. Ganesh Channa (President World Environment Council) Water is one of the most vital resources for life on Earth, yet its availability and quality are increasingly under threat, giving rise to a global water crisis. This crisis stems from a combination of factors including population growth, climate change, pollution, and unsustainable water management practices. In this article, we delve into the current challenges and trends in water availability and quality worldwide.

Water Scarcity:

One of the most pressing issues facing the world today is water scarcity. With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, the demand for freshwater is rapidly outpacing its supply. According to the United Nations, more than two billion people currently live in countries experiencing high water stress, and this number is expected to rise.

Climate Change Impact:

Climate change exacerbates the water crisis by altering precipitation patterns, increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, and melting glaciers and ice caps. These changes disrupt the water cycle, leading to uncertainty in water availability and distribution. Regions that rely on seasonal rainfall for agriculture and drinking water face heightened risks, exacerbating food insecurity and threatening ecosystems.

Water Pollution:

Water pollution poses a significant threat to both human health and the environment. Industrial discharge, agricultural runoff, untreated sewage, and plastic waste contaminate rivers, lakes, and oceans, rendering water sources unfit for consumption and recreation. Polluted water not only jeopardizes human health through waterborne diseases but also harms aquatic ecosystems, leading to declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Groundwater Depletion:

Excessive extraction of groundwater for agriculture, industry, and municipal use is depleting aquifers faster than they can recharge. This overexploitation of groundwater leads to land subsidence, saltwater intrusion in coastal areas, and the loss of vital ecosystems such as wetlands. Groundwater depletion also undermines the resilience of communities during droughts, as they rely on groundwater as a buffer against water scarcity.

Urbanization and Water Stress:

Rapid urbanization exacerbates water stress in cities, as growing populations increase water demand for drinking, sanitation, and industrial purposes. Many urban areas face challenges in providing safe and reliable water supply and sanitation services to all residents, leading to inequalities in access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Informal settlements often bear the brunt of inadequate water infrastructure, heightening health risks and social disparities.

Water Governance and Management:

Effective water governance and management are essential for addressing the global water crisis. Integrated water resource management approaches that consider the interconnectedness of water systems, ecosystems, and human activities are crucial for sustainable water use. Promoting water conservation, improving water infrastructure, implementing water-saving technologies, and enhancing water governance frameworks can help mitigate the impacts of the water crisis and build resilience to future challenges.

International Cooperation and Partnerships:

Given the transboundary nature of many water resources, international cooperation and partnerships are vital for addressing the global water crisis. Collaborative efforts among governments, stakeholders, and communities can promote equitable and sustainable water management practices, facilitate knowledge sharing, and mobilize resources for water-related projects and initiatives.

In conclusion, the global water crisis presents complex challenges that require urgent and concerted action at local, national, and international levels. By understanding the current trends and challenges in water availability and quality, we can work towards sustainable solutions that ensure water security for present and future generations. From conservation and pollution prevention to equitable access and governance reforms, addressing the global water crisis requires collective efforts and commitment to safeguard this precious resource for all.

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In a concerning revelation for consumers and environmentalists alike, a new study conducted by the environmental NGO Toxics Link has found a significant presence of toxic chemicals in recycled plastic products available in Delhi’s markets. The report, titled “Is Plastic Recycling Safe?”, underscores the potential health hazards associated with using recycled plastic items, particularly those that come into direct contact with food or are used by children.

The Toxics Link team collected samples from 15 different types of recycled plastic products, ranging from non-branded food and drink containers to children’s toys, sourced from both formal markets and informal plastic recycling units across Delhi. Their findings showed that a vast majority of these items contained harmful substances, including phthalates, chlorinated paraffins, heavy metals, bisphenol A (BPA), and nonylphenol, known for their adverse effects on human health. Such effects can range from reproductive issues and pregnancy complications to respiratory problems, skin conditions, and even DNA damage.

Alarmingly, the study revealed that 86% of the toy samples and 67% of the food-contact plastic materials tested positive for one or more of these hazardous chemicals. Specific examples cited in the report include rubber ducks harboring high levels of single-chain chlorinated paraffins, cadmium, nonylphenol, and phthalates, and a mouth organ containing bisphenol A, nonylphenol, and an exceptionally high concentration of the DEHP phthalate.

Priti Banthia Mahesh, Chief Programme Coordinator at Toxics Link and lead researcher of the study, expressed concern over the findings, emphasizing the need to critically assess the safety of current plastic recycling practices. The investigation suggests that the contamination could occur during the recycling process or might be present in the original products being recycled. The addition of colors during recycling, for instance, has been identified as a potential source of heavy metal contamination.

The implications of these findings are significant, not only highlighting the potential health risks posed by recycled plastic products but also raising questions about the efficacy of recycling as a solution to plastic pollution. The study calls for strict regulatory oversight of plastic recycling in Delhi and across India, with Toxics Link’s associate director, Satish Sinha, advocating for a more cautious approach to plastic recycling, given the serious threat it poses to human health.

This study serves as a crucial reminder of the complexities involved in managing plastic waste and the importance of ensuring safety and sustainability in recycling practices. As consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their choices, the demand for stricter regulations and safer recycling methods is likely to grow, urging policymakers and industry stakeholders to take action.

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A recent study conducted by emissions data analysis firm Emission Analytics has cast a shadow over the perceived environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), revealing that they might emit more particle pollution than their petrol and diesel counterparts. This revelation comes at a time when the world is increasingly turning to EVs as a solution to combat climate change, driven by the belief that they offer a cleaner alternative to fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The Weight of the Matter: Electric Vehicles Under Scrutiny

Central to the study’s findings is the significant particulate matter released from the brakes and tires of vehicles. Unlike petrol and diesel cars that have seen substantial improvements in exhaust filtration systems, EVs, with their heavier weight due to large batteries, exert more pressure on their brakes and tires. This increased wear and tear lead to a higher emission of toxic particles. According to Emission Analytics, the particulate matter released from the wear of brakes and tires in EVs could be as much as 1,850 times greater than that from modern gas-powered vehicles.

The Heavy Toll of EV Batteries

The study points to the hefty batteries that power EVs as a primary contributor to this environmental concern. With EVs like the Tesla Model Y and Ford F-150 Lightning featuring batteries that weigh around 1,800 pounds, the strain on tires and brakes intensifies, accelerating the degradation process and, subsequently, the emission of harmful particles. Specifically, tyre wear emissions from an EV with a half-tonne battery are suggested to be over 400 times higher than exhaust emissions from a contemporary petrol vehicle.

Rethinking Environmental Impact Assessments

While the automotive industry and environmental policy have largely focused on reducing tailpipe emissions in the transition to electric mobility, this study underscores the necessity of broadening the scope of environmental impact assessments. The findings highlight the importance of considering non-exhaust emissions, such as those arising from tire and brake wear, in the overall evaluation of a vehicle’s environmental footprint.

Implications for Future Mobility Solutions

The implications of these findings are significant, suggesting that the move towards electric mobility may not be as environmentally benign as previously thought. This calls for a reevaluation of strategies aimed at reducing the transportation sector’s impact on the planet. Innovations in vehicle design, such as lighter materials for batteries and improvements in tire composition, could mitigate these issues, ensuring that electric vehicles can truly deliver on their promise of cleaner transportation.

As the conversation around sustainable mobility evolves, it’s clear that a holistic approach to assessing environmental impact—beyond just tailpipe emissions—is essential. Only by addressing all sources of pollution can the dream of a truly green transportation future be realized.

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New Delhi – With a resolute commitment to environmental sustainability, the World Environment Council’s President Prof. Ganesh Channa today is announcing the launch of its second global campaign for the “Environment Protection Bank” program, approved by the United Nations. Set to commence on 1st Jan 2024, this initiative is poised to make significant strides in instilling a sense of environmental responsibility in the hearts of students in schools and colleges across the globe.

The “Environment Protection Bank” program is a pioneering effort designed to empower educational institutions to become active contributors to environmental conservation. Endorsed by the United Nations, the program introduces a unique approach to fostering sustainability by encouraging schools and colleges to adopt eco-friendly practices and initiatives.

Key Objectives of the Campaign:

Global Participation: The campaign invites educational institutions worldwide to participate in this transformative program, fostering a united front in the global fight for environmental protection.

Hands-On Learning: The “Environment Protection Bank” program emphasizes practical, hands-on learning experiences to enable students to actively engage with environmental issues and solutions.

UN-Approved Curriculum: Leveraging the expertise of the World Environment Council and UN guidelines, the program integrates an UN-approved curriculum focused on environmental conservation and sustainable practices.

Incentivized Eco-Actions: Schools and colleges participating in the program will be encouraged to undertake eco-friendly initiatives, with tangible incentives provided through the “Environment Protection Bank.”

Youth Empowerment: The program aims to empower the youth to be ambassadors of environmental change, fostering a generation that is not only aware of environmental challenges but actively works towards solutions.

Why “Environment Protection Bank”?

The concept of an “Environment Protection Bank” is rooted in the idea that every positive action for the environment is an investment in our shared future. By fostering a culture of environmental responsibility within educational institutions, the program aims to create a ripple effect, influencing broader communities and societies.

How Schools and Colleges Can Participate:

Educational institutions interested in joining this global movement can register for the campaign on the World Environment Council’s official website. Detailed information about the program, curriculum, and participation guidelines is available to ensure a seamless and impactful integration of the “Environment Protection Bank” in schools and colleges worldwide.

The World Environment Council invites schools, colleges, educators, and students to join hands in this collective effort to build a sustainable future for our planet.

For more information and to register for the campaign, please visit World Environment Council’s official website: www.wec.org.in or contact +91-8130305369 Email id: worldenvironmentcouncil@gmail.com. Together, let’s bank on a greener future!

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A remarkable stride towards environmental stewardship, Haryana has unveiled a revolutionary initiative, the “Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme,” offering an annual pension of ₹2,750 to trees aged 70 years and above. This visionary move, set to launch on November 1st, signifies a monumental step in recognizing and rewarding the invaluable contribution of our arboreal companions.

The First of Its Kind

Haryana takes center stage as the first state in India to embark on this eco-conscious journey, reinforcing its commitment to environmental sustainability and innovative conservation measures.

Direct Benefits to Beneficiaries

This unprecedented pension scheme ensures direct deposits of the annual pension into the bank accounts of eligible trees, demonstrating a seamless and efficient process in acknowledging their years of dedicated service to the environment.

Visionary Leadership

Championed by the Minister of Environment, Forest, and Wildlife, Kanwar Pal, this initiative was unveiled during the state-level Wildlife Protection Week at the picturesque Hathi Kund Barrage in Khand Pratapnagar. Minister Kanwar Pal shared insights into the government’s broader environmental conservation strategies, highlighting the significance of preserving diverse ecosystems.

Upcoming Kalesar Jungle Safari

The announcement coincided with the revelation of the forthcoming Kalesar Jungle Safari, promising an immersive experience in nature. The minister underscored the importance of maintaining ecological balance by implementing measures to counteract the impact of insects on crops.

Protecting Raptors and Wildlife

The government’s commitment to wildlife preservation is further emphasized by the establishment of a Giddh (vulture) breeding center in Pinjore. This initiative seeks to bolster the vulture population, contributing to the ecological equilibrium. Additional breeding centers for peafowl, deer, crocodiles, and the red junglefowl further exemplify Haryana’s multifaceted approach to wildlife conservation.

Setting a Global Example

Haryana’s “Pran Vayu Devta Pension Scheme” is not just a local innovation but a testament to the state’s global leadership in sustainable practices. As the world grapples with environmental challenges, Haryana stands tall as a beacon of inspiration, proving that thoughtful policies can create positive ripples for our planet.

This pioneering initiative invites applause, celebrating Haryana’s commitment to nurturing and protecting our green companions, and encouraging other regions to follow suit in fostering a harmonious coexistence with nature.

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You won’t believe the whirlwind of events brewing in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Cyclone Hamoon and Tej are set to steal the stage and make a splash, but there’s no encore expected, only some heavy rain, and they’re making a grand entrance!

Hamoon, the Showstopper:

Hamoon, the cyclone sensation, is not one to be upstaged. It has gone from being a humble depression to a severe cyclonic storm over the Northwest Bay of Bengal. In the next 6 hours, it’s going to exaggerate even further. The stage for this occurrence? The Bangladesh coast, right between Khepupara and Chittagong, at noon on October 25, as a deep depression.

Hamoon has a unique name, courtesy of Iran. It’s moving north, giving a miss to the Indian coast, but it’s causing quite a stir. At 5.30 pm, Hamoon was lurking around 230 km off the Paradip coast in Odisha, 360 km south of Digha in West Bengal, and 510 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh. It’s assuring an encore with even more fuss in the next 12 hours.

The spotlight is on Bangladesh, as it’s all set to cross their coast between Khepupara and Chittagong at high noon on October 25. Don’t forget your umbrellas and rain boots, folks!

Tej, the Opening Act:

Tej, not one to be overshadowed, The Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) is preparing to cross the Yemen coast just south of Al-Ghaidah in a few hours. It’s got wind speeds of 125-135 kmph and can even do a gusty dance up to 150 kmph.

Rain Alert, the Backstage Drama:

Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, south Assam, and Meghalaya are all on the list. They will face  moderate rainfall with a sprinkle of heavy downpours (64.5 mm-115.5 mm) until October 26.

The Odisha government isn’t taking any chances. They’ve told all the district collectors to be ready for anything, and if things get too watery, they’re evacuating people from low-lying areas.

The Bay of Bengal, gradually ramping up the wind speed to 80-90 kmph, with gusts going as high as 100 kmph by Tuesday morning.

West Bengal is also in the mix, with thunderstorms, lightning, and some moderate rainfall in parts of Purba Medinipur, Kolkata, and South 24 Parganas. It’s all part of the act!

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India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is poised to play a leading role in the global carbon credit market. In June 2023, the Indian government launched the Carbon Credit Trading Scheme (CCTS), which is expected to boost the country’s carbon trading market to $10 billion by 2030.

The CCTS is a compliance-based market that will require designated consumers, such as large energy-intensive industries, to reduce their carbon emissions or purchase carbon credits from entities that have reduced their emissions. The scheme is expected to incentivize industries to invest in clean energy technologies and reduce their emissions footprint.

In addition to the CCTS, India is also developing a voluntary carbon market. The voluntary carbon market is a market where entities can buy and sell carbon credits on a voluntary basis. The voluntary carbon market is expected to play a key role in helping India achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070.

The growth of India’s carbon credit market is being driven by a number of factors, including:

  • The increasing demand for clean energy and the growing awareness of climate change.
  • The government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and achieving net-zero by 2070.
  • The launch of the CCTS and the development of the voluntary carbon market.
  • The availability of a large pool of carbon credits from renewable energy projects, energy efficiency projects, and afforestation projects.

The growth of India’s carbon credit market is expected to have a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality.
  • Investment in clean energy technologies and infrastructure.
  • Job creation and economic growth.
  • Support for sustainable development.

India’s carbon credit market is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to be one of the largest and most dynamic carbon markets in the world. The growth of the market will depend on a number of factors, including the government’s policy support, the availability of financing, and the participation of private sector players.

However, the potential benefits of the carbon credit market are significant, and it is likely to play a key role in helping India achieve its climate goals.

Author: Prof. Ganesh Channa (President World Environment Council)

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