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Archives for : Environment

Electronic waste or e-waste

Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.

Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to workers and communities in developed countries and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaking of materials such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes.

“Electronic waste” may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets, and refrigerators. This includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal. Others are re-usables (working and repairable electronics) and secondary scrap (copper, steel, plastic, etc.) to be “commodities”, and reserve the term “waste” for residue or material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue from reuse and recycling operations. Because loads of surplus electronics are frequently commingled (good, recyclable, and non-recyclable), several public policy advocates apply the term “e-waste” broadly to all surplus electronics. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are considered one of the hardest types to recycle.

CRTs have relatively high concentration of lead and phosphors (not to be confused with phosphorus), both of which are necessary for the display. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) includes discarded CRT monitors in its category of “hazardous household waste” but considers CRTs that have been set aside for testing to be commodities if they are not discarded, speculatively accumulated, or left unprotected from weather and other damage.

The EU and its member states operate a system via the European Waste Catalogue (EWC)- a European Council Directive, which is interpreted into “member state law”. In the UK (an EU member state). This is in the form of the List of Wastes Directive. However, the list (and EWC) gives broad definition (EWC Code 16 02 13*) of Hazardous Electronic wastes, requiring “waste operators” to employ the Hazardous Waste Regulations (Annex 1A, Annex 1B) for refined definition. Constituent materials in the waste also require assessment via the combination of Annex II and Annex III, again allowing operators to further determine whether a waste is hazardous.

Debate continues over the distinction between “commodity” and “waste” electronics definitions. Some exporters are accused of deliberately leaving difficult-to-recycle, obsolete, or non-repairable equipment mixed in loads of working equipment (though this may also come through ignorance, or to avoid more costly treatment processes). Protectionists may broaden the definition of “waste” electronics in order to protect domestic markets from working secondary equipment.

The high value of the computer recycling subset of electronic waste (working and reusable laptops, desktops, and components like RAM) can help pay the cost of transportation for a larger number of worthless pieces than can be achieved with display devices, which have less (or negative) scrap value. In A 2011 report, “Ghana E-Waste Country Assessment”, found that of 215,000 tons of electronics imported to Ghana, 30% were brand new and 70% were used. Of the used product, the study concluded that 15% was not reused and was scrapped or discarded. This contrasts with published but uncredited claims that 80% of the imports into Ghana were being burned in primitive conditions.

Amount of electronic waste world-wide

A fragment of discarded circuit board.

Rapid changes in technology, changes in media (tapes, software, MP3), falling prices, and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of electronic waste around the globe. Technical solutions are available, but in most cases a legal framework, a collection, logistics, and other services need to be implemented before a technical solution can be applied.

Display units (CRT, LCD, LED monitors), processors (CPU, GPU, or APU chips), memory (DRAM or SRAM), and audio components have different useful lives. Processors are most frequently out-dated (by software no longer being optimized) and are more likely to become “e-waste”, while display units are most often replaced while working without repair attempts, due to changes in wealthy nation appetites for new display technology. This problem could potentially be solved with Modular Smartphones or Phonebloks. These types of phones are more durable and have the technology to change certain parts of the phone making them more environmentally friendly. Being able to simply replace the part of the phone that is broken will reduce e-waste. An estimated 50 million tons of E-waste are produced each year. The USA discards 30 million computers each year and 100 million phones are disposed of in Europe each year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15–20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators.

According to a report by UNEP titled, “Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources,” the amount of e-waste being produced – including mobile phones and computers – could rise by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in some countries, such as India. The United States is the world leader in producing electronic waste, tossing away about 3 million tons each year. China already produces about 2.3 million tons (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to the United States. And, despite having banned e-waste imports, China remains a major e-waste dumping ground for developed countries.

Society today revolves around technology and by the constant need for the newest and most high tech products we are contributing to mass amount of e-waste. Since the invention of the iPhone, cell phones have become the top source of e-waste products because they are not made to last more than two years. Electrical waste contains hazardous but also valuable and scarce materials. Up to 60 elements can be found in complex electronics. As of 2013, Apple has sold over 796 million iDevices (iPod, iPhone, iPad). Cell phone companies make cell phones that are not made to last so that the consumer will purchase new phones. Companies give these products such short life spans because they know that the consumer will want a new product and will buy it if they make it. In the United States, an estimated 70% of heavy metals in landfills comes from discarded electronics.

While there is agreement that the number of discarded electronic devices is increasing, there is considerable disagreement about the relative risk (compared to automobile scrap, for example), and strong disagreement whether curtailing trade in used electronics will improve conditions, or make them worse. According to an article in Motherboard, attempts to restrict the trade have driven reputable companies out of the supply chain, with unintended consequences. Source Wikipedia.

Warm winter 2015-16 : Blame it on El Nino effect

THE El Nino that has often been the bane of the Indian monsoon is also the reason for the unusually warm winter season this year. Average temperatures across the country, except in Jammu and Kashmir and some adjoining areas, are about 4 to 5 degrees above normal and scientists say the prevailing El Nino in the Pacific Ocean must be held responsible.
El Nino refers to a condition in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador and Peru in South America, in which sea surface temperatures become unusually warm. The warmer ocean temperatures are the reason behind several weather events worldwide, and are known to suppress the Indian monsoon as well.
Arvind Kumar Srivastava, former head of the National Climate Centre in Pune, said it is not unusual to find winter temperature following an El Nino event to be slightly “milder” than normal. He said the 2009-2010 winter, which followed an El Nino event, was also not very cold. “But the current El Nino has been very strong and prolonged. So its impact is being felt in a more forceful manner,” said Srivastava, now the director of the meteorological centre in Jaipur.
In fact, the prevailing El Nino, which is likely to stretch till early summer this year, is one of the strongest in recent times. The January 4 ‘El Nino Advisory’ from the Climate Prediction System of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States says the expectation was that the current El Nino event “will rank among the three strongest episodes” since 1950.
It has already resulted in one of the lowest monsoon rainfalls in recent years this season. And now it could be resulting in a warmer winter. J Srinivasan of the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, said the strength of El Nino could be accounting for about 1 to 2 degree rise over the normal temperatures at this time of the year.
There are other, more local, factors as well that are contributing to the unusually high temperatures this winter. Primary amongst them is the lack of rain. The last week of December and first week of January generally see rainfall through most of north India, including Delhi. But this year there has been no rain in this period in most parts of the country.
In the last week of December, the country as a whole received rainfall that was 86 per cent below normal. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir received some rainfall but rest of the country was completely dry.
Scientists blame the prevailing, unusual, atmospheric conditions for this. Rain at this time, at least in northern India, is brought by the ‘westerlies’, a system of wind that moves in the mid-latitudes, 30 to 60 degrees, in northern hemisphere from the west to east direction. These winds move slightly southwards during this time and flow through most of northern and central India.
“But this year, they have remained north of their usual position during this time and as such their zone of influence has only been parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh where we have seen a little bit of rain,” said L S Rathore, director general of the Indian Meteorological Department.
– Written by Amitabh Sinha

Creative Reuse of Cardboard ..

Although people have lived on and around cardboard for as long as it has existed, it was probably first introduced to the design world by Frank Gehry (b. 1929). in sahpe of modern chairs and tables. Made with hidden screws and fiberboard edging, the tables are said to hold thousands of pounds. The “Wiggle Chair,” which has won many design awards and has been included in museum shows at London’s Design Museum and elsewhere, contains 60 layers of corrugated cardboard held together by hidden screws and fibreboard edging.

In the Beginning of the 1980s cardboard furniture becomes very popular in France by the technique of Eric Guiomar. It is totally different to the technique of Frank Gehry. The furniture in the technique of Guiomar is made with corrugated cardboard, simple, double and triple groove. First, a frame is created with intertwined cardboard plates which are cut out according to the original design. This is the support frame of the piece, just like it would be the case for a ship. Then, the frame is covered with cardboard that will be “rolled” on its forms to a perfect fit. This technique allows a great freedom in the choice of shapes and materials.

All of us need to understand the importance of Reduce Reuse & Recycle ..

Air Pollution in Delhi ..

A study on air pollution in Delhi has found that the city suffers from a toxic blend of geography, growth, poor energy sources and unfavorable weather that boosts its dangerously high levels of air pollution. The study also recommends all-round solutions instead of just focusing on vehicular pollution. The team researched how Delhi’s landscape, weather, smoke from neighboring cities burning crops or leaves being burnt in Delhi, energy consumption culture, and growing urban population combines to elevate concentrations of air pollutants, including ultra-fine particles, the most harmful to human health. “Air pollution has been placed in the top ten health risks faced by human beings globally. Delhi has the dubious accolade of being regularly cited as the most polluted city in the world, with air pollution causing thousands of excess deaths in a year in this growing megacity. While it might be easy to blame this on increased use of vehicles, industrial production or a growing population, the truth is that Delhi is a toxic pollutant punchbowl with myriad ingredients, all of which need addressing. Classified as the world’s fifth ‘megacity’, Delhi has a population of “25.8 million”, which continues to grow. With this growth, the study predicted that the number of road vehicles would increase from 4.7 million in 2010 to nearly 26 million by 2030. The total energy consumption in Delhi has risen 57 per cent from 2001 to 2011, said researchers. According to the report, as a landlocked megacity, Delhi has limited avenues for flushing polluted air out of the city. Coastal megacities such as Mumbai have at least a chance to ‘replace’ polluted air with relatively unpolluted sea breezes, whereas Delhi’s surrounding regions are sometimes even more polluted than the city. “The picture of Delhi’s pollution problem is complicated and is aggravated by some factors that are out of human control. An all-round effort needs to put in if this ever growing issues has to be solved.

Effects of Global Warming..

The most important thing about global warming is this. Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists, but it’s all of our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the future generations than we found it.

The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole, and everywhere in between. Globally, the mercury is already up more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius), and even more in sensitive polar regions. And the effects of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future. They’re happening right now. Signs are appearing all over, and some of them are surprising. The heat is not only melting glaciers and sea ice, it’s also shifting precipitation patterns and setting animals on the move.

Some impacts from increasing temperatures are already happening.

  • Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice.
  • Researcher Bill Fraser has tracked the decline of the Adélie penguins on Antarctica, where their numbers have fallen from 32,000 breeding pairs to 11,000 in 30 years.
  • Sea level rise became faster over the last century.
  • Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north or to higher, cooler areas.
  • Precipitation (rain and snowfall) has increased across the globe, on average.
  • Spruce bark beetles have boomed in Alaska thanks to 20 years of warm summers. The insects have chewed up 4 million acres of spruce trees.

Other effects could happen later this century, if warming continues.

  • Sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches (18 and 59 centimeters) by the end of the century, and continued melting at the poles could add between 4 and 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters).
  • Hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger.
  • Species that depend on one another may become out of sync. For example, plants could bloom earlier than their pollinating insects become active.
  • Floods and droughts will become more common. Rainfall in Ethiopia, where droughts are already common, could decline by 10 percent over the next 50 years.
  • Less fresh water will be available. If the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru continues to melt at its current rate, it will be gone by 2100, leaving thousands of people who rely on it for drinking water and electricity without a source of either.
  • Some diseases will spread, such as malaria carried by mosquitoes.
  • Ecosystems will change—some species will move farther north or become more successful; others won’t be able to move and could become extinct. Wildlife research scientist Martyn Obbard has found that since the mid-1980s, with less ice on which to live and fish for food, polar bears have gotten considerably skinnier.  Polar bear biologist Ian Stirling has found a similar pattern in Hudson Bay.  He fears that if sea ice disappears, the polar bears will as well.
  • #ekabadi #startup #jaihind #reducereuserecycle

Source for climate information: IPCC

The Burning Planet

The Burning Planet


Does garbage come to your mind when I say Waste? Waste, in layman’s language, can be defined as useless. One, it is literally, the material waste- like waste paper, waste of fruits etc. The other, is something you are not making use of. Wasting time. Idling around and not doing either anything productive or satisfactory. We can also think of waste as unnecessary. Wasting money on something we don’t require. One thing that we never think about is how much we waste every day. Even if you eat all your food, you do leave the vegetables from the chowmein you ordered. You sip water from a bottle and throw away the rest. Seeing excess oil, you waste bread pakoras, while in someone’s house these things would mean luxury. Even if you work hard all day, you waste time–thinking what more could have been, sleeping an extra hour which leads you to get late, or even sitting sleepily in the washroom. You waste money throwing a party rather than giving a snack to a beggar. What if we tried to make the best out of waste. Wasting is inevitable but how much you reduce it, is up to you.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

The 3 R’s ..

The adage The Three R’s is getting more n more popular and it almost might seem like “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” should go without saying in the time to come. Most of us have only really heard the last part of the phrase, and they’re ranked in order of importance. But there are several steps we should consider before recycling. Reducing the amount that we consume, and shifting our consumption to well-designed products and services, is the first step. Finding constructive uses for “waste” materials is next. If it’s broken, fix it don’t replace it! If you can, return it to the producer (especially electronics). Obviously the next n last step is Recycle the old suff in a proper maner.
Through a balance of these three principals you can easily see your landfill-destined waste dwindle fast. A good example of recycling is setting your empty water bottles in the bin on the curb. Using a water filter and reusable container you can reduce your need for disposable plastic bottles. Thinking about our Planet is very important a way of Good Karma ..

Simple ways to reduce load on Environment

If you have an artiste inside you who hasn’t had an outlet yet, this is your chance. Recycle your soft drink bottles for instance. Paint on them to turn these into centrepieces or vases. You can even use them as unusual potters for your money plants. Use your old CDs as coasters. Yes, there’s no end to the stuff you can reuse or recycle.
You must have noticed the unimaginable jump in the number of personal vehicles in the city in the last few years? According to a report – Accelerating urbanization in India -the country’s transportation infrastructure is unable to keep up with its rapid urbanization rates. So Carpool with your neighbor or collegue.
Stop using paper or polystyrene cups that your workplace provides. Instead, buy a coffee mug. It is always cooler to sip coffee from a mug that boasts of a quirky message, preferably one that defines you.
Stop leaving your mobile chargers hanging from the plug point even when not in use or even when not in use or putting your computers and televisions on sleep-mode at night. Simply unplug. Because you might think that the appliances are not plugged into the chargers to consume electricity, but simply leaving them plugged keeps the electricity running through them.
Don’t waste the water from ur RO systems for example, reuse it in your toilet or garden. It not only reduces ur water bills but also contributes to saving one of the most important yet diminishing recourse on this planet.

Environmental pollution in India

The grand industrial development, the successful Green Revolution, the transport explosion, the rapid growth of cities and haphazard management of natural resources have adversely affected environmental balance. Environ¬mental pollution in India has increased manifold, One of the greatest problems confronting the modern civilized world is pollution, which literally means fouling the natural habitat and environment. Air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, noise pollution are some types of pollution. Nearly 175 million hectares of land (35% of India’s total land area) is subject to serious environmental degradation. Hardly 10.12 per cent of the total area is under adequate tree cover. In fact deforestation, siltation, water, air and noise pollution, sanitation—all are threatening not only the quality of life rather the very survival of human beings.
It is doubtless that industrialization has done a great good to mankind. It has also led to urbanization. But the haphazard growth of modern cities, industrial cities, migration of rural population to the cities in search of work has created and unhealthy environment. It has given rise to overcrowding, slums, juvenile delinquency, inadequate air amenities, addiction to drugs and alcohol and crime are some results. People living in big cities no longer breathe the fresh air and see any green, open spaces. There is lot of noise pollution in big cities and it is almost impossible to get rid of this. There should be a regular check on the use of loud-speakers, indiscriminate use of horns by the motorists. Medical experts have warned that the excessive noise pollution can lead to deafness and create other health problems which can do irreversible damage to the well being of man.
Air pollution is another example of how the growth of modern industry and means of transport have played havoc with man’s environment. One of the worst agents of aerial pollution is the smoke being belched out by the chimneys of the factories and emitted by vehicles. While it cannot be totally eliminated because of the industrial expansion of the ever increasing number of motor vehicles, some measures can be taken to minimize the menace. Already enough damage has been done to human environment. Agricultural activities are yet another source of air pollution. Spraying of pesticides and insecticides, use of chemical fertilizers and manures and burning of field waste pollute the atmospheric air. Nuclear energy programme also pollutes the air. Radioactive fallouts and fluorides are very dangerous pollutants.
Water, one of the most essential needs for the survival of life on earth is being polluted to such an extent by industrial wastes that it is posing a serious threat to plant and animal life. Release of industrial wastes into river creates havoc. It is estimated that more than 500 tons of mercury enters the ocean every year as a result of dumping of wastes into rivers. Mercury concentration increases in fish, which may result in poisoning of the people and domestic animals. The same polluted water is used for irrigation and thus pollutes the food. It is unsafe for drinking, but is consumed by ignorant people thereby leading to disease and death. Now the Government is taking some interest in this neglected area by taking measures to check water pollution. In 1986 the Government launched the clean Ganga Programme and several sewage treat¬ment plants started operating at various cities to purify the Ganga water.
India is a tropical country. It had at one time dense forests and was very rich in flora and fauna. But the rate at which the denudations of the country’s rich forest cover has been continuing it may not be left with any prest cover by the end of this century. Commercial felling of trees, over-gazing and over cultivation land .starved peasants—all these are factors that have been respon¬sible for the shrinkage of the forest cover consequently leading to climatic changes. Destruction of forests has also led to extinction of many rare species of wild life; turned land into fallow wasteland.
So, unless everyone becomes aware of the need to save our planet from destruction, there can be no hope for mankind. In view of the increasing awareness of formidable dangers to mankind, many countries in the world have passed laws to prevent pollution. But it is hard to understand why the laws being framed by Government should vest all powers in Anti-Pollution Boards composed of salaried employees with no direct stake in the outcome of their activities, denying the victims of pollution any right. If the prompt action is not taken, the earth will soon become a graveyard and we cannot afford to be complacement in protecting and conserving our environment for ourselves and for the generations to come.