Monday January 20, 2020
Home Lead Story UN Environmen...

UN Environment Executive Director Appreciates India’s Innovation To Tackle Pollution

"Policy innovation is important as well, and we have seen India excel here, not least with a major announcement to ban single-use plastics by 2022,"

0
//
Plastic
Every technological, scientific social and policy innovation is a welcome addition to domestic and global efforts to beat plastic pollution." Pixabay

It’s encouraging to see innovation — a key to tackling pollution — coming from all corners, especially developing countries like India, UN Environment acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya has said.

This is innovation in many forms, not just gleaming new technology like electric vehicles. Social innovation is important, like citizen-led movements to clean up pollution such as that led by Afroz Shah, who is engaged in one of the world’s largest beach cleaning operations in Mumbai.

“Policy innovation is important as well, and we have seen India excel here, not least with a major announcement to ban single-use plastics by 2022,” Msuya told IANS in an interview in run-up to the Fourth UN Environment Assembly here March 11-15.

Negotiations at the annual assembly are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste, promoting the decarbonisation of economies, tackling the crisis of plastic pollution in oceans, among many other pressing challenges.

plastic
Praising India’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022, the UN Environment acting chief said: “India’s announcement that it will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 is a tremendous move by the government.” Pixabay

Msuya, a Tanzanian microbiologist and environmental scientist, believes everyone can contribute to solutions to pollution.

Policy directions from the government, like India’s single-use plastic ban, help set the tone for businesses and encourages them to develop sustainable solutions, she said.

At the same time, upward pressure from individuals changing their habits and civil society campaigns force businesses to provide the non-polluting products that consumers demand.

Praising India’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022, the UN Environment acting chief said: “India’s announcement that it will eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022 is a tremendous move by the government.”

“This unprecedented action will reduce plastic waste from 1.3 billion people in the fastest growing economy in the world. India is setting the bar high with this bold announcement.”

On World Environment Day on June 6, 2018, India pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic items like carry bags, straws and water bottles by 2022, the year coinciding with 75 years of the country’s independence.

The annual average per capita consumption of plastic in India is at 11 kg as against global average of 28 kg.

Single-use plastic ban and improving recycling technology are simply two tools in the same toolbox.

“There is no one answer to environmental challenges like this, and we need a comprehensive approach. For example, the UN Environment recently announced a project with Japan that will identify sources of plastic pollution in the Ganga river.

Vehicles
This is innovation in many forms, not just gleaming new technology like electric vehicles. VOA

“This is the first time such a survey will have ever been done, and the knowledge we gain will help us better understand the problem. We need to be working across all areas. Every technological, scientific social and policy innovation is a welcome addition to domestic and global efforts to beat plastic pollution,” an optimistic Msuya said.

On smog becoming an annual affair in New Delhi every winter, she said Indian cities, like a number of others around the world, are suffering from poor air quality.

Also Read: RBI May Recoup Reserves, Strong Inflow of Foreign Funds And Benign Oil Prices Strengthening Indian Currency

“This is a global public health emergency. Living in cities should not mean living fewer years, or losing cognitive capabilities, or reducing the quality of life of our children,” said Msuya, who has visited and lived in cities chafing under the dark clouds of haze and smog.

For her, there is no magic fix. A range of actions must be taken by individuals, city authorities and governments, and these should be based on science. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Fish Sticks Can Generate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Shipping has a massive influence on climate and a shift to cleaner fuels will diminish the cooling effect from sulfur oxides and increase the climate impact

0
fish
A study found that Alaskan pollock is a relatively fuel-efficient fishery: Pollock are caught in large nets called midwater trawls that are towed behind boats, hauling in a lot of fish in each landing and reducing the climate impact of the fishing process. Pixabay

Researchers have found that transforming ‘Alaskan pollock’ into fish sticks, imitation crab and fish fillets generates nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions produced by fishing itself.

Post-catch processing generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings, published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

“The food system is a significant source of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Alaskan pollock is one of the biggest fisheries in the world,” said study researcher Brandi McKuin from Unviersity of California in the US.

“These findings highlight the need to take a comprehensive approach to analysing the climate impacts of the food sector,” McKuin added. “Alaskan pollock is sold as fillets and trim pieces that are used to make products like fish sticks and imitation crab, it’s a huge market,” she said.

Unlike previous studies that have largely overlooked the downstream processing activities associated with Alaskan pollock, this study examined all the components of the supply chain, from fishing through the retail display case.

The results identify “hot spots” where the seafood industry could concentrate its efforts to reduce its climate impacts, said the researchers. For the findings, the research team analysed the climate impacts of transoceanic shipping of exported seafood products.

They found that Alaskan pollock is a relatively fuel-efficient fishery: Pollock are caught in large nets called midwater trawls that are towed behind boats, hauling in a lot of fish in each landing and reducing the climate impact of the fishing process.

After the catch, Alaskan pollock are shipped for processing, and in some cases, transported on large container ships that burn copious amounts of fuel, including cheaper, poor-quality bunker fuel that produces high levels of sulfur particles. The researchers noted that sulfur oxides from ship fuels have a climate-cooling effect.

fish
Post-catch processing of fish generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings, published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Pixabay

“Seafood products that are exported have a lower climate impact than domestic seafood products,” she said, adding that the climate impacts of shipping will change this year as new regulations for cleaner marine fuels take effect.

ALSO READ: Here’s How Fitbit Smartwatch May Help You Predict Flu in Real-Time

“Shipping has a massive influence on climate and a shift to cleaner fuels will diminish the cooling effect from sulfur oxides and increase the climate impact of products that undergo transoceanic shipping, including seafood,” said McKuin. (IANS)