Environmental & Health Concerns regarding Mobile Tower Installations

Information about the Issue:

Rapid urbanisation brings in the issue of installation of mobile towers in the vicinity of residential areas, schools and hospitals. Regardless of a huge number of complaints, the telecom companies haven’t deterred so far in installing mobile towers near residential complexes and schools. The Courts have also not taken a hard stance so far, as the Companies have usually been able to provide sources to prove that the installation of such towers doesn’t harm humans. Moreover, the Courts usually deem the Government Bodies to be the competent authorities to decide in such matters, however, the research for determining whether these towers have a harmful effect on the ecosystem in which they are installed, seems inadequate.  (more…)

Draft Environmental Impact Assessment, 2020: Should environmental disaster be the cost of development?

As the name suggests, EIA is supposed to assess the environmental impact of development projects, to minimize the adverse effects of development on the environment. As per the International Association for Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals before major decisions being taken and commitments made”. The significance of EIA also lies in the fact that public consultation is an important aspect of the assessment decision. This means that while an expert committee is to make the final decision about the impact of a project or activity, the people who are directly affected by the said project, also get to present their opinions and concerns regarding the same, which must be taken into consideration before concluding the EIA proceedings for a project. (more…)

North East Gas Grid Project: Can we Promote Natural Gas as a Sustainable Fuel?

On January 8th, 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved funding of INR 5,559 Crore for the North-East Gas Grid project. The proposed length of the gas grid pipeline is 1,656 km. The Project will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the North-East Region– Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Gangtok, and Numaligarh to name a few. The original budget for the project was INR 9,262 Crore. The lack of anchor customers makes the Project less economically viable, hence, the government has provided a viability gap funding of 60%, and the association in charge of the Project has stated that the remainder of the funding will be raised through equity and debt. (more…)

Energy Access in India: Is the Disadvantaged Strata Excluded?

Around 940  billion people in the world do not have access to electricity and more than 3 billion people suffer because of lack of access to clean cooking fuels. Since independence, India has made substantial progress, however, it has a huge population, deprived of access to energy, chiefly amongst the vulnerable sections of its population. The Census of 2011 highlights that only 30% households have access to clean fuels out of which only 12% is constituted by the rural population. A research states that tribal populations and people of lower caste have 10-30% less access to clean cooking fuel and electricity majorly due to the caste system and rigid hierarchies in the society. (more…)

Access to Clean Cooking Fuel in India: Aspiring for Gas Pipeline while struggling for LPG

By Anushka Gutte & Mrigakshi Tandon, Research Associates, Policy

In May 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that aimed at providing 5 crore Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections in the name of women of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) household. Research suggests that only 18 percent of rural households in India have access to LPG as cooking fuel, whereas the rest use different, more tedious, unclean and hazardous means for cooking. Moreover, access to LPG connections is largely limited to the urban and semi-urban areas covering the middle income and affluent households. People belonging to BPL category or rural areas have little or no access to these connections. They predominantly use ‘chullahas’ where they burn wooden sticks in the stove for cooking, which makes these families, especially the females therein, vulnerable to harmful fumes. (more…)

Animal Agriculture: Tracing the Roots of Injustice and Scope for the Future

Humans have gone from relying on nature to provide for resources, to manipulating nature to produce resources as per their will. Amidst all our self-serving advancements, we may not realize the simultaneous growth of a self destructive culture growing in our periphery. It is the rapid growth of Animal Agriculture, which we need to acknowledge as it is ailing with the symptoms of massive destruction. Certain reports from the last few years have shown its adverse effects on the climate, and if countries today want to maintain their promises for conserving the environment, then a reduction in meat consumption is the ultimate step required for decreasing their carbon footprint. (more…)

Sustainable Measures for Revamping Urbanisation and Environmental Policies

We organized a one-day public policy Symposium on Urbanisation and Environmental Policies for students and young professionals in New Delhi. It was aimed at reflecting on environmental policies and analyzing their impact on the contemporary urban growth landscape of our country. The discussions and presentations were focused on the need to improve the present legal and policy frameworks and to fill the prevalent gaps therein. (more…)

FAME India – Phase 2: Lack of Success in the Face of Policy Deficiencies

 By Keerthana Chavaly, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi.

Phase 2 of FAME India, which is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, aims to reinvigorate the push for clean energy and address the drawbacks of Phase 1 by increasing the use of environmentally friendly electric vehicles through investing Rs. 10,000 crores for a period of three years (2019-2022). In June 2015, the government kick started a scheme called Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India). The scheme aimed to increase the use of electric vehicles in the country by implementing a policy that would raise the demand for environmentally friendly vehicles. The policy focused on the auto sector, with Phase 1 of the scheme intending to develop infrastructure and promote technologies that would be required for increased and sustained production of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the results of Phase 1 have not been entirely positive – reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel targets have not been met.

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The Feat of Ecologically Sensitive Urbanisation: What India can learn from its Asian peers

By Riya Mathur, SRCC, New Delhi.

Given that the purpose of urbanization for any developing country is to produce highly efficient urban areas for better consumption and efficient management of resources and ensuring public welfare, India needs a concrete structure to embark on this journey. In a time when rural to urban migration is high and the consequential environmental degradation concerns the policy makers, the aim of a truly urbanized country seems difficult to achieve. With all that it faces today, it is only apt to not just consider where India’s urban planning went wrong but also how these mistakes can be addressed in a way to strategize as to what the country can do to better its policies in the face of ecological challenges that accompany massive urbanization. The best way to do this would be to compare India’s practices with those of its peers which consist of similar assets and face similar challenges. 

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Ethanol Production in India: Green Fuel Policy for a Cleaner Future

By Prachi Mishra, Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore & Riya Mathur, SRCC, Delhi.

The growing global consciousness in regard to the impending doom of climate change, has finally managed to startle governments and policy makers to endorse sustainable legislation. In most developing countries, fuel for industry, commute and domestic usage alike makes up the largest part of emissions, making fuel policy an area of targeted attention. Bio-Fuels and subsequent techniques like ethanol blending of petroleum are avenues of great potential for achieving greater fuel efficiency and environment sustainability.

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