Category Archives: Pollution

NDTV seeks BCIL viewpoint on Bangalore 2031

NDTV Profit invited a small panel of building industry experts across India for a debate on Bangalore and its plan for 2031 and 2035. The news peg was the need of the Bangalore Development Authority to validate the 2015 CDP and the creation of the new CDP 2031.

It was also to discuss the regional metropolitan plan 2035 that the state government is now toying with. The panelists were, apart from Hariharan, Naresh Narasimhan who heads one of the largest architectural practices in India; the head of a Bangalore-based builder company and an urban planning expert from Mumbai.
The discussion revolved around the government clearing the Intermediary Ring Road at a massive cost of Rs 50 crores to a kilometer for a total of 116 kilometers that will girdle the city.
The panel questioned the brutality of such public expenditure. The panel questioned the surreptitious internal debate on RMP 2035 being carried out by the Govt agencies without an opportunity for the public to be consulted. The experts explored options of Govt contributing to the possibility of such public consulting on public decisions.
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BCIL raises Rs 900 million to fuel growth

Rupees-symbolIn a major breakthrough, BCIL has signed a deal closure for Rs 900 million from a large Bombay-based funding institution. The transaction is a combination of funding in the two premium BCIL projects exceeding over 1 million sft between Bangalore and Chennai.

This is the first major fund that the green major has accepted after establishing itself as an undisputed leader in energy-efficient buildings.

ZedEarth in Bangalore is a half- million sft. development that cuts fresh water demand by 70 per cent, uses no borewells and cuts energy demand also by 60 per cent with a combination of demand-side and innovative supply-side solutions.

ZedRia in Chennai offers over 600,000 sft of similar zero energy developed homes with no dependence on external water supply and sewerage board.

Energy and water harvesting and urban agriculture are unique to each of these zero energy developments. Both projects are under way and will offer a total of nearly 1,000 homes over the next 1 to 3 years.

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Zediquette – Clear the air

We all see our homes as a refuge from the pollution and smog of the city. Have you noticed how often you turn on your car’s AC not for cooling the air as much as to shut out smog and noise?

The air within homes can be more polluted than the air outdoors in a conventional home which is not treated for air quality. Synthetic building
materials, finishes and furnishings release pollutants that can harm your living areas. That sofa you sit on might be more detrimental to your health than running along the city’s largest street in rush-hour traffic!

So, do some homework on the materials you plan to use in your home and those present in furnishings such as your old carpet or that old couch or cabinet.

Zed posts – The weekly environmental beat


• On BMW smart energy strategies

BMW recently convened a group of transportation, electric vehicle (EV) and energy thought leaders in Silicon Valley to participate in a dialogue with their senior executives about sustainability, energy and mobility services. Christine Hertzog – how-bmw-driving-smart-energy-strategies

BMW’s guiding view is that sustainability along the entire value chain is inseparable from their corporate self-image. The company has been systematically reducing energy use in facilities through energy-efficient materials, products, and processes; and in vehicles through use of regenerative energy technologies.

1• On green burglary

Is it ok for an unauthorized person to pick up your recyclables? Do you give your recyclables to scavengers when they come begging, or do you put them off? Author – what-is-green-burglary-what-can-we-do-about-it/

Residential neighborhoods have become targets for recyclables by “Green Burglars” when placed beside the house or at curb side. Once the recyclables are placed in a recycle container provided by a designated recycle collector, the contents becomes the property of the designated recycle collector.

zed 1• On Carbon Barometer

A quick look at the aims and benefits of the Bombay Stock Exchange Carbonex.

Times of India: Ahona Ghosh – bse-carbonex

The index is supported by the British high commission and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a UK-based non-profit organisation is the data partner for BSE. It includes all constituents of a BSE Benchmark Index, which is currently the BSE 100.

light• On Behavioural Science increasing Energy Efficiency

How consumer behaviour to different sales tactics can provide an insight on effective communication on the benefits of Energy Efficiency (EE) and raise awareness to attract more customers. Sam Shrank – behavioral-science-can-increase-energy-efficiency-adoption/

For all the surveys demonstrating consumers’ stated interest in reducing energy consumption and spend, EE is rarely top of mind. Utilities struggle to get consumers to pay attention. If the customer won’t come to them, perhaps it is time for utilities to go to their customers. By combining EE measures with offerings that have higher intrinsic appeal and shifting marketing focus from saving energy to the benefits of the other measure, utilizing a concept known as goal substitution, utilities can attract more customers.

zed 2• On using algae for power and shade

Germany to use living algae for power and shade in a sustainable building, which would also feature the world’s first bio-reactor façade. Ysabel Yates – zero-energy-building-uses-living-algae-for-power-and-shade

The bioreactor facade is made up of glass panels that act like giant Petri dishes to grow the algae. The algae can then power the building by both capturing solar thermal heat and creating biomass that is harvested for energy.

ZED Posts will be a weekly compilation of interesting news, reads and other serendipitous discoveries we made online. Have similar environmental stories to share? Email us at, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  

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Open letters to the Mayor & Chief Minister

Dear Mayor,

First my compliments for securing a big mandate of confidence at the last corporator elections. People of Bangalore showed confidence in your party and its ability to govern Bangalore. You are aware that you were the first mayor of Bangalore after many years of not having a mayor. Bangalore was one of the very few ‘mayor-less’ cities for 6 to 7 years, as you are aware.

So you have a job to bring order to a city that is global. People, the world over hear about Bangalore as a global city. It is a rare privilege for you to be Mayor.

If I were you, I will first need the courage to list out all the bad news on energy deficits, on the massive water deficits, and on the really alarming challenge of solid waste management and garbage in the city. How do you really govern? How do you remind your party members and corporators of the mandate the people of Bangalore gave you?

Whether it is Singapore or Paris, they are not ‘free’ cities. City people are governed with strictures and disciplines that keep the city going. When the BBMP commissioner brought the law on household waste with a penalty of Rs 100 for default, you should have backed it fully. You should have made people understand, that they are also responsible for helping you as Mayor to get order on waste.

You must help Bescom get at least an average of Rs 12 to Rs 14 per unit of power we consume. The cost of power is Rs 20 for the government. People of Bangalore pay only Rs 5 per unit as average! Can you change this? The extra revenue that Bescom will get will help it to bring greater efficiency in energy demand and in energy supply. You will be proud to see an energy-positive city if you acted decisively as Mayor by taking the challenge to the other players who can make Bangalore liveable.

Our cost of energy is at about Rs 20 and we charge less than Rs 4 for domestic tariff. Even for industry and business and for hotels we don’t charge more than Rs. 10. We can’t continue to bleed government coffers with such losses, for every unit of water or electricity that the government sells to us.

Tariffs for energy and water are so low in our cities that it just does not make sense for having people save water, or to ensure that BWSSB gets enough money to bring improvements. You must have the courage as Mayor to tell the State government to be not afraid of telling people of the serious resource gaps the government is facing, and how if people paid more, they can get energy and water in the city. After all, about 1 million middle-class households pay about Rs 110 per kiloliter of tanker water. They pay BWSSB only Rs 6 per kiloliter. Can you persuade the people to pay BWSSB at least Rs 80 per kiloliter.

Between Power and water bills, with the new tariffs, people will pay an additional 2000 per household, which is affordable even with average income of Rs 25000 per household in Bangalore.

The Water Supply Board in Bangalore spends Rs 45 for 1000 liters [kiloliter] and they are not able to raise their tariff from Rs 6 per kiloliter. BWSSB loses Rs 39 for every kiloliter that people consume. Can you change this as Mayor?

On Solid Waste Management, please call a meeting of all the waste transporting contractors. Please tell them that they should support the BBMP Commissioner’s moves to localize waste collection, segregation and treatment. Tell them that their total contract for a year is only Rs 500 crore. Can you put Bangalore’s waste crisis and the city’s reputation at stake, for the sake of one strong lobby that is stopping the city from implementing good waste management programmes?

With such massive losses, you have no money therefore to be reinvesting on watersheds, or on natural ecosystems for protection of such forests, and so on. You could not pay the contractors two months the small sum of Rs 1200 crore of contractor dues because you are not controlling the value of contracts and the purpose of such contracts. How can you bring efficiency on such costs with strategic moves?

Dear Chief Minister,

It is a bitter truth today that if you need water in house taps in Bangalore, you need rich rainfall in Wynaud; you need TN farmers and Karnataka farmers to work on shifting to water-efficient crops beyond paddy like sorghum, pulses and other millets, you need budgets to improve the ecosystem in Coorg’s forests to ensure higher water rainfall.

This is not about State borders. This is about Tamil Nadu and Karnataka moving alarmingly toward a massive unprecedented water crisis by 2020.

As Chief Minister, you must build the capacity in your cabinet and in your government to think as far ahead as the next 30 years on the issue of Water for cities, and water for cultivation. As CM, you cannot be seen to be acting because the Supreme Court says so. You have to come up with solutions that are proactive and long-term. You must invite experts who know how to help you understand the future, the costs, the solutions. You have to act in a way that all the factors are taken into account. You must get all stakeholders on irrigation, city water supply, city and rural energy supply, to meet together. You will be making some historic decisions that your Party and Karnataka’s people will be grateful to you for.

You must discourage your party members to make political mileage out of the Cauvery issue. You must show courage and determination to take to people the bad news and ask them to stand by you through the next elections, so that you can build a new state with vision and strength.

How can you reach out to people on TV, on other media forms, to urge them to accept governance and learn to comply with laws on rainwater harvesting, on waste treatment locally, on helping to bring energy efficiency.

Even simple things on governance of things in our city life has become impossible. So the environment has continuously suffered and eroded.This phenomenon is only about 40 years old, from about 1970. We have lost our respect for water, which used to be Gangajal for our grandfathers. Even throwing freshwater into a kitchen sink or drain would bring you sin, your grandmother said. Today we have commodified it so badly that there is simply no value that we see for it.

As CM, you must get the energy, water, and waste management to be under one corporation with one head to govern their directions. You must invite a professional board of advisors and experts who can offer you directions, assurance, and help you keep promises you can make to people.Tariffs of all three utilities should be increased at least to levels which will avoid losses for the 3 Utilities. If people paid about Rs 1000 per month for water supply, about Rs 2500 for energy per month, and about Rs 1000 for our waste management services, the three utilities will be having enough money to reinvest in infrastructure improvements.

But that is not enough. You need to direct people to take to local solutions for energy and water and waste. They need to cut dependence on government for solving challenges on demand for a better living. Policy must be initiated to invest in energy systems in a way that every house and office and hospital reduces at least 60 per cent of their energy demand load with local generation. This is possible.

Similarly, about 1 lakh liters of water consumption per house can be reduced with simple systems for rainwater harvesting, water/efficient fixtures, and local water treatment and 100 per cent reuse of such treated water. If we achieve this much, the city will return to demand levels for energy and water of 1980! We will not need more than 250 million liters of water for a city of our size — today we need 1 billion liters a day.

We will not need more than 800 megawatts to run our city — today we need 1600 to 2000 megawatts. We will not need to send out our wet waste from home to distant dump-yards at high coats for city, Today we are paying Rs 600 crores a year for carting away our waste and we know the challenge of not disposing it.

More Water Technology Parks like the one BWSSB has created in Jayanagar should be created across Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Belgaum and Mysore. Government must promote it among school children so that they become conscious of these future challenges of our cities.

I will give you another example of how you can help people. Bangkok in 2006 decided that they will not spend on public projects for power generation. The King realized that the $1 million a MW of hydel or thermal power, or the $2 million a MW that a nuclear plant costs, can be better spent if given directly to people as low-interest loans for generating power right at home. This meant only 10 pc of net power needed at user end as against the ten times more a public project produces to make up for T&D and other complex losses. When homes or offices are power-positive, they supply it back to the energy grid. Bangkok citizens took to it. Today cities like Adelaide are energy-neutral because of such transfer of funds to individuals than keeping that money in government hands or in public contracts. Paris has done it. Their energy policy encourages people to generate power and to sell power to the state at the smaller levels of 1 kilowatt and 2 kilowatt. These are doable options.

These are fundamental issues. Of course, it is not about a nuclear plant, it is about how we think now that we don’t need any more than 200,000 megawatts of power generation capacity that the country already has. The government now says that it needs 700,000 megawatts. Who are these people who made these estimates? Why will they need so much power when our actual energy consumption in our cities is no more than about 30,000 megawatts? We need all these projected demand figures only because we do not want to think of local energy generation and consumption. Energy produced at the central level has to be 10 times what it is at the user level simply because of T&D losses, of DC/AC losses and so on.

Auto sector slams diesel tax

Diesel is considered relatively cleaner when advanced emissions control systems are used, with 10 ppm (parts per million) sulphur content. But the diesel sulphur level in India is as high as 350 ppm which is much higher than the global benchmark. The diesel vehicles, cars included, are adding to the burden of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and ozone .

Yet the automobile industry is against any proposal that would impose an additional tax on diesel cars. Their stand? Diesel is more energy-saving, more fuel-efficient than petrol and when compared to other industries, the contribution of cars and diesel to pollution is ‘very low’. What do you think?


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The development process to turn raw earth into steel merits a high spot on a list of mankind’s most ingenious achievements. The metal provides the backbone of skyscrapers, bridges, motorways, internal organs of cars, fridges, washing machines and buildings. It makes up 95 per cent of global metal production. Iron ore, the raw material from which it is made. does not attract too much attention.


It is startling.

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Do we need a sanity check?

A senior member of the mining industry in Karnataka has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow 18 mines to resume mining in the state. This means an increase in extraction of 5 more tons of ore and more ravaging and devastation of the region around Bellary and Chitradurga.

The miner has said

“Karnataka was on the brink of moving into the Stone Age.”

Moving into the Stone Age seems a very wise thing to do considering the damage that we bring with continued supply side thinking. All we seem to be interested in is extracting more rather than planning technologies in a way that we can optimize utilization of resources for manufacture of steel or aluminum or a swathe of other metals that we need in the marketplace.

Karnataka contributes to nearly 30 million tons. This can go up to about 50 million tons in the next two years. This is against about 350 million tons that India is currently extracting; this figure is expected to go up 6 times to 2 billion tons of iron ore to be extracted every year by 2030. Do we need a sanity check?

By Chandrashekhar Hariharan

Car, car, car…

Volvo V50, 2 litres, diesel car at the sea-side

Image via Wikipedia

A car burns an average of 1900 litres of fuel a year, while a light van burns 3500 litres a year.

About 4500 kilograms of CO2 are emitted on an average by every single petrol-powered car each year.

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Pick a fuel-efficient plane, reduce carbon footprint

Boeing 747-400, the second largest commercial ...

Fly, only if you have to?

The most fuel-efficient flight length is about 4,500 kilometres.

Fly direct whenever possible.

Fly to your destination during the day and not in the night. One study shows that night-time contrails create more warming.

Pick a newer, more fuel-efficient plane like the Airbus or the Boeing. More demand for such aircraft will bring more efficient planes.

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