Cities at Crossroads: Perils of plastics waste

Recycle and reuse says Isher Ahluwalia.
A well-balanced article by one of India’s foremost economists. Plastics are very messy because many of these do not degrade fast enough. And so one needs to look at various options of reuse or recycle. This article, however, misses a bit, for instance, packaging materials that decompose. Perhaps we will devote a future newsletter to compostable packaging materials.


Yamuna burning ghat gets a Green Waste Reprocessor

Reprocessing good wishes for the dead.
India’s many millennia-old tradition of cremation and immersion causes massive harm to its rivers in this era of high population concentration.  A waste reprocessing plant would recycle the flowers and biomass that goes with the immersion and convert it into something that can be reused for the dead.


How to save environment and make money at the same time

Environmentally conscious investors finally get some returns.
How are investors who desire to also achieve social and environmental objectives via their investment fairing Apparently, impact investing is at par or even better financially than the more market-driven investments. If this trend sustains it is good news indeed.


Blanket ban on petcoke not a wise move

Use PET cement for lower pollution.
PET is what’s left over in the refining process and has extremely high sulphur content, which if burnt untreated causes pollution many thousand times that is caused by coal or other petroleum products.  While the courts are asking for a nationwide ban, this interesting article says that using PET for cement production actually may help in both lower cost cement and also lower pollution.

Government Actions this week


Why use environment funds to buy electric buses, HC asks Delhi govt

Environmental funds not for Buses or GST.
The NDA government diverted environment funds to account for the newly introduced GST related imbalances. Now the Delhi government is using its environmental funds to buy buses. In both the cases, the government acted in the short-term interest. In the latter case, which is less than a 100th of the amount that the central government diverted, the Delhi high court intervened. While that may be a short-term victory, in the view of this author, it is best for the judiciary to avoid intervening into where and how governments use their funds.


Govt to standardise parameters used for measuring air quality

Government seeks to standardize pollution measurement.
Standardization and certification would help the sector a lot, but there are also cons to it.  On the positive side, much of pollution measurement equipment purchases would be by the government and related authorities, and a certification from the government make the bureaucracy and public-sector managers feel that much protected against future internal accusations and inquiries.  So, a formal certification mechanism will help accelerate the spread of such equipment.


Court tells Delhi govt to set ‘measurable targets’ to mitigate air pollutio

Fix responsibility says Delhi High Court.
Perhaps for the first time, the judiciary asks the government to fix responsibility to officials for pollution reduction.  There is a gathering momentum in India of fixing responsibility on officials, at least where the environment is concerned.  This is something we have not seen in any other sector – education, health, sanitation, etc.  The state cannot govern without fixing responsibility on its own staff.  But can Delhi’s weakly empowered state government affix any responsibility on anyone?  I doubt it.

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