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AESDPC to ‘Go Green’ for Durga Puja

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By Debashish Gupta

New Delhi: To contain water pollution resulting from immersion of idols, the Ashoka Enclave Durga Puja Committee (AESDPC) is taking an initiative to express environmental commitments by celebrating Durgotsav on ‘Go Green’ concept this year.

credit: www.nailsbeautiqued.com
credit: www.nailsbeautiqued.com

Idol immersion activities during certain festival occasions are adding to the pollution load of the water- bodies. Non-biodegradable materials and synthetic paints used for making these idols are posing serious threat to aquatic life and environment.

Being a multi-cultural country of myriad festivals, most people participate in the celebrations of various deities round the year and it seems quite impossible to remain aloof from the accompanied pomp and show while paying homage to the gods. Some of these festivals involve ‘idol immersion’ in water as the celebrations’ finale. Beautifully carved and decorated idols are immersed into water bodies like rivers, ponds and lakes with prayers for success, happiness and peace. Two major festivals in India that involve idol immersion are ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’, dedicated to Lord Ganesha and ‘Durga Puja’, dedicated to Goddess Durga. The government seems to be contemplating a ban on idol immersions. However the mission of ‘Clean India’ is not solely the government’s burden; rather it is a shared responsibility of every individual citizen and a community as a whole.

Team AESDPC aims to contribute its bit to the environment and have planned to craft an idol simply with the help of clay and natural colors. There will be no use of any chemical colors, cloth or artificial ornaments and weapon, which increase the pollution levels of Yamuna. Through the move, AESDPC wish to take this celebration to a whole new level that is not only graceful and vibrant, but also environment-friendly.

 

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Vietnam Goes for Green Economy in Terms of Urban Planning

In Ho Chi Minh City, officials are looking at traffic sensors and gathering data on congestion, which they hope to reduce through technology in the near future

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renewable energy
India wants to have 175 GW of renewable-based installed power capacity by 2022. VOA

Liz Hung supports a lot of the imaginative concepts being discussed to make Vietnam “greener” economically and in terms of urban planning.

Consider traffic lights. Hung described how government authorities could collect smartphone data to see which streets are crowded, and then calibrate the stoplights to optimize traffic flow.

Hung and others in the private sector are giving Vietnamese officials their wish list for a green economy, from more renewable energy to buildings that collect rain water for use.

“Road congestion costs us at least 2 to 5% of our [gross domestic product] growth every year because of the time we lost or the high transportation cost, so that is why being smart [in] mobility is very crucial,” said Hung, who is CBRE associate director of Asia Pacific Research.

Hung’s comment highlights the link between good city planning and economic benefits.

vietnam, green economy
Property developers are building enclosed communities in Vietnam where sustainability is part of the design, from motion-detecting lights to pollution warning systems. VOA

Emulating China, Australia

There is also a larger debate about whether the economic benefits outweigh the costs of going green.

There is a financial cost of technology to make Vietnam more efficient. But there also is a security cost, as “smart devices,” like lights connected to the internet, have looser security settings that make them easier to hack.

In looking for inspiration for Vietnam’s future, Hung looked at places from Hangzhou, China, where she heard about the traffic data, to Adelaide, Australia, where authorities installed smart sensors in trash bins, which alert garbage collectors when the bins are nearly full.

If the idea is to increase efficiency, Vietnam should think about energy use, said Tomaso Andreatta, vice chair at the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

Last month, the chamber held a forum on sustainable cities. In addition to rooftop solar panels and wind turbines, some cities are exploring ways to create energy from things that would otherwise be tossed out.

Trash can be burned, for example, to boil water for steam generators that produce electricity, a process known as waste-to-energy. This does risk increasing carbon emissions or decreasing incentives for recycling, however.

vietnam, green economy
Trash can be burned to boil water for steam generators that produce electricity, known as waste to energy, a controversial technology. VOA

Aiming for zero waste

“More and more we realize that resources are limited, and producing waste destroys the quality of life,” Andreatta said. “Therefore, there’s been a movement worldwide to reducing waste to an absolute minimum, ideally zero.”

He went on to say, “The rapid development of the middle class and its lifestyle, which includes intensive air conditioning use, accounts for a considerable proportion of energy consumption growth.”

It may be the middle class that benefits most from a greener Vietnam, where the private sector steps in to create greater efficiencies, when the government is not involved.

Property developers are building enclosed communities where sustainability is part of the design, whether it’s motion-detecting lights, or insulation that keeps indoor temperatures manageable. One developer introduced pollution warnings. Another made a transportation app just for its residents.

But what about those who are not lucky enough to live in a gated community? Government officials say they are listening to proposals across all sectors. They say that as Vietnam faces a major threat from climate change, it needs to make greater efforts at green planning.

ALSO READ: Coal Industry Plans to ‘Go Green’, Aims to Reduce Emissions of Planet-Warming CO2 80% by 2050

“Climate change will have a big impact on the region,” said Huynh Xuan Thu, deputy chief officer of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Some of the ideas, such as a country full of electric cars, may be a pipe dream or years down the road. But Vietnam is getting started on some of the proposals. In Ho Chi Minh City, officials are looking at traffic sensors and gathering data on congestion, which they hope to reduce through technology in the near future. (VOA)