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Paper Bags to replace Plastic Bags in Andhra Pradesh Temples to counter Environmental Pollution

Government bans the use of plastic products in temples

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Amravati, April 7, 2017: Plastic is one of the most important daily use items in human life especially polyethene bags.

They are used to carry things all around the world conveniently. However, it has also been acknowledged that these plastic bags are a threat to the environment and can prove to be fatal for the animals. There has been a widespread call for prohibiting the use of plastic products but less has been done to implement the same.

However, the Andhra Pradesh government is all set to ban the use of plastic products in the temples in the state. All the temples in the state will be free of plastic waste soon. The state government has issued orders, prohibiting use of plastic bags on the temple premises.

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Directives were issued to the authorities of all temples to allow paper bags without the images of deities as a substitute for packing of prasadam and laddus, said Principal Secretary to Endowment Department JSV Prasad.

The State government has decided to implement the ordered of the Supreme Court to ban the use of plastic bags, mentioned thehansindia.com report.

The Apex Court had given the order following a PIL by A Mithra H Patel in 1996.

The paper covers and paper bags should be deposited in dustbins after using them, he said. The government has taken a decision to ban the use of plastic covers to save the temple premises from pollution and avert a threat to ecology.

What will be the results of the decision is yet to be seen as it depends completely on the common man to implement the law and contribute towards saving mother nature. However, The factor that plastic bags are quite popular with the common masses can not be ignored.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

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Urban Garbage Disposal Crisis and Ways to Tackle it Effectively

Garbage heaps without proper exposure to air take decades to slowly decompose, continuously releasing methane and leachate

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garbage filled canal in India
The less beautiful side of India. This canal running through the heart of Kancheepuram town overflows with garbage and pollution. Pollution remains a growing and significant issue in both rural and urban areas. Wikimedia

– by Gaurav Tyagi 

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2017: Rapid urbanization globally has led to large scale migration of people from rural to urban areas. This has resulted in huge waste disposal problem all over the world.

Ideally, food discards should be returned to the soil. Food leftovers fed to animals and the cattle shed waste put in a pit to decompose. It can then become a very good source for the planting season as NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) nutrients and micro-nutrients for the soil resulting in healthy crops.

The advent of plastic has led to a major problem. People throw the kitchen waste in such plastic bags. This mixed waste when put in the fields, results in the non-bio-degradable plastic film preventing the rain from entering the soil and stop seeds from germinating through them.

This assorted mixed waste presents a serious challenge for the city authorities. The municipalities usually dump them outside the city limits thus creating mountains of mixed waste.

These hills of garbage are denied oxygen from the air. They emit methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and produce leachate, a black liquid oozing from the waste; for example, if a rotten tomato is left in the open air, it would dry to powder within days but the same tomato in a plastic bag would turn into a smelly liquid therefore, it is vitally important to aerate the garbage heaps.

Also Read: Garbologists find roots of modern waste by digging through Victorian-Era garbage 

Garbage heaps without proper exposure to air take decades to slowly decompose, continuously releasing methane and leachate. This leachate seeps into the soil and contaminates deep natural water channels.

The segregation of waste at source into wet (compostable), dry (recyclable), sanitary (disposable diapers as well as sanitary napkins) and hazardous domestic waste should be made compulsory in every nation.

The city authorities should ensure strict 100% compliance of the aforesaid norms with provisions of strict fines, for residents not adhering to these measures.

Once every household segregates its waste into separate categories, then it becomes very easy for the city councils to pursue scientific garbage management.

The dry waste can go for recycling. The hazardous material disposed of safely.

The food waste collected by the authorities must not be dumped in high heaps instead the pattern of windrows should be followed.

Windrows are long, low parallel heaps of waste not more than two meters high. They are designed to achieve the optimum conditions for aerating the waste.

The dumping trucks unload their waste load in a long row. Enough space is left between rows for a lifting tractor or an earthmover to drive through and periodically turn the waste.

The outer aerated waste forms the inner core of a new window and the airless centre of the old heap goes outside. A weekly turning of the waste repeated 3-4 times ensures that all parts of the waste get fully decomposed like leaves on a forest floor, turning dark brown with a sweet earthy smell.

This process can be further accelerated by adding composting bio-culture like fresh cow-dung. Fresh waste windrows heat up inside to about 55 degrees – 60 degrees Celsius in 3-4 days. After 4 turnings, there is about 40 % weight loss as the moisture content declines and also approximately 40% volume reduction.

After this, no leachate, methane and smelly gases get released. This fully stabilized waste turns into compost, which is rich in microbes as well as humus. Both of which are excellent for soil vitality.

This can be used as organic manure in agricultural fields thereby eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers for farming.

City authorities can ensure long term use of the same landfill site by following this approach for waste processing rather than continuously looking for new waste dumping grounds.

Poor homeless people in the cities can be trained and employed at such landfill sites thereby making them valuable contributing members of the society.

By strictly implementing this course of action globally; governments could easily ensure a healthier, cleaner, pollution-free planet thereby, effectively tackling the menace of ever increasing garbage in an environment- friendly sustainable manner. These measures would also greatly assist in urban poverty alleviation.

The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Manmade Urban Flooding: Poor Drainage, Plastic Clogging Contribute to floods, Say Experts

Steps such as rainwater harvesting, ban on use of plastic bags and better use of weather forecasts will go a long way in helping tackle flooding in cities after rains

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Urban flooding
Heavy monsoon in Mumbai in August 2005. Wikimedis

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2017: Urban floods are entirely manmade with poorly maintained drains, plastic bags, shrinking open spaces and climate change contributing to accumulation of water on roads after a heavy downpour, experts say.

They said that steps such as rainwater harvesting, ban on use of plastic bags and better use of weather forecasts will go a long way in helping tackle flooding in cities after rains.

Heavy downpours have been disrupting normal life in almost all metro cities in India, with Mumbai bearing the brunt last month which led to death of at least six persons.

Experts said a range of factors including rapid migration to urban areas and “lackadaisical attitude” of civic authorities were among the factors that contribute to cities coming to a standstill after heavy rains.

They said citizens also have to behave responsibly and ensure that plastic bags or used food plates are not thrown in the open or in the neighbourhood drains.

V.K. Sharma, Senior Professor of Disaster Management at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), said the cities need a proper system of garbage collection and sewage disposal and regular cleaning of drains.

“It is true that poor drainage and sewage system is the real cause of urban flooding. There is also migration to cities which often leads to land encroachment and exerts pressure on the existing civic infrastructure,” Sharma told IANS.

Sharma said the urban planning has to have a long-term perspective and infrastructure should keep pace with growth of population. He said rain water harvesting should be made mandatory.

“There is also the need of fixing accountability of government officials and municipal authorities if drains are not properly cleaned. Strict penalties should be imposed on people throwing garbage in the open,” he said.

He said steps have been taken at some places to ban use of plastic bag but it should be enforced strictly.

“There is need to make people aware. This will also meet the larger goal of cleanliness,” he said.

Sharma said that prediction of the meteorological department are fairly accurate and authorities can issue timely alerts to people in case there is prediction of very heavy rainfall.

“This will also help prevent loss of life,” he said.

Santosh Kumar, a professor at the National Institute of Disaster Management with expertise in disaster risk reduction and policy planning, said climate change was also a factor in cities getting excessive rainfall.

“Urban flooding occurs when water flows into an urban region faster than it can be absorbed into the soil. Earlier, a city received such amount of rainfall in two to three weeks,” Kumar said, referring to Mumbai getting 350 mm rainfall on August 29-30.

He said the cities do not have spaces to absorb the excess water or to store it.

“Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and population growth have also contributed to drainage systems getting congested. These drains are not able to take the pressure of huge water accumulated due to heavy rain, leading to waterlogging,” Kumar told IANS.

He said steps should be taken to improve garbage disposal and ensure that plastics do not find their way to drains.

“Urban ecosystems comprising marshlands, wetlands, lakes and rivers have steadily deteriorated,” Kumar added.

Vinod Kumar Jain, director of NGO Tapas which works in revival of water bodies in Delhi, said “water harvesting can play a significant role in reducing the chances of flooding in urban areas.”

Rainwater harvesting refers to trapping and storing rainwater so that it can be used at a later time when the need arises.

Heavy rainfall in Delhi last month had flooded roads and caused huge traffic snarls. On August 19, many parts of Chandigarh were flooded due to heavy rains. Chennai had witnessed severe flooding in 2015 while floods in Mumbai in 2005 had killed over 500 people. (IANS)

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Birmingham Pragati Mandal: A Local Hindu Charity in UK Raises more than £3K for St. Mary’s Hospice

The vibrant evening included Indian traditional cuisines as well as Bollywood and Dance performances by Melody Express of London

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Birmingham St. Mary's Hospice
The members of Birmingham Pragati Mandal. Twitter
  • Birmingham Pragati Mandal is a local Hindu Charity in the city
  • The Hindu Charity hosted an event at Shree Krishna Temple in Sparkbrook
  • Through the event, Pragati Mandal raised a staggering £3,200 for the Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice

Birmingham (UK), August 16, 2017: Birmingham’s local Hindu Charity is known as the Birmingham Pragati Mandal. On Tuesday, the 15th August 2017, the Pragati Mandal organized a ‘Dinner and Dance’ event to raise funds crucial for the health of terminally ill families.

The event was hosted by the Hindu Charity at the Shree Krishna Temple in Sparkbrook. A total of 225 guests made it to the event to fund for the families that suffer a terminal illness.

ALSO READ: Dorset Indian Mela: Indian food festival on August 26 in UK to Showcase different varieties of Cuisine and Culture

The vibrant evening included Indian traditional cuisines as well as Bollywood and Dance performances by Melody Express of London.

The Pragati Mandal was able to raise funds over £3,200 which will be donated to Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice. The Hospice in Birmingham offers expert life care.

The volunteer ambassador of St. Mary’s Hospice, Polly Patel, stated that the evening was fantastic and it was impressive to see Pragati Manda’s efforts of bringing together so many people for a wonderful charity. The generosity of the people was acknowledged. He also mentioned that they money raised is expected to help around 1200 individuals and families across the city.

The CEO of the Birmingham Pragati Mandal, Raman Bulsara, also noted how the Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice runs on donations and charity for its “reliable services.”

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.