Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
While government has decided to reduce, the number of deprived people, by only lowering the line of poverty and relying on the figures of old census, for Public Distribution System(PDC) at one side. The story of the second side holds a lot to have a shock!
Let's see some figures, one by one related to food-grains!
As per an RTI of Mr. Debashish Battacharya's reply, the government have, itself, accepted, in 2010, that during the last decade approximately 10Lacs Ton wheat, have been converted, reportedly,garbage! in FCI were houses.
The above said wheat can feed 1cror people, annually, for ten years.
--------------------------------------------------- Headlines Today, while covering its report related to pulse, revealed that the imported pulse has remained stored only to get benefit of steep rise in prices, at Kolkata Port. Even the Government agencies, STC, DEC, NAC, MMTC & NAFED were involved in this scam.
In a statement, government notified, that there is a ban over export of wheat since 2007-08, but in an RTI, it has revealed that there was a game of import at high rate & export at low rate, were continued during the years up to RTI date i.e up to 2009-10
The rate difference,during 09-10 was Rs 4.18/ Kg, in import & export!!!
In 2009-10, at Kolkata port, two vessels were ported full with sugar, one imported and the second one was for export, the rate of exported sugar were at Rs. 12.50/ Kg, while import were at Rs. 36.00/ Kg
In April-2011 Supreme Court has ruled if government can not manage foodgrain properly it should distribute to hungry people of India
----Facts are up to 2009-10 & collected by CA. Kashyap Kishor Mishra, ISA.
Excellent post. Very well researched and written. As a Reneewable Energy Expert I welcome some of your views.
No doubt Solar Energy will be future energy option especially as decentralized power. The big question is with about 15% efficiency is it worthwhile to go in a big way for Solar power in a developing country? No doubt the cost of generation of solar power has come down, thanks to the cheap solar material available from China. There are two ways to reduce the cost of power generation in solar, one is massive production to bring down the cost and more efficient systems. With the latter only countries like US,Germany,Spain have big solar power projects.
Let us look at the Solar power projects in Rajasthan. No doubt Desert in Rajasthan experiences high temperatures especially in Summer. I visited Jaisalmer area in Summer in connection with Wind Project there. I visited the area where the present Solar Projects were established. The Problem with Rajasthan is LOO.
Desert countries are of course best suited to photovoltaic generation, but keep in mind that arid regions also have a bigger problem with dust, that means PV panels have to be frequently cleaned to maintain optimum power production, and that of course requires a further expenditure of energy for maintenance.
Some countries are setting up Vast solar arrays in desert countries and exporting the power to other countries. And the bigger the solar park, the more people and machines will be needed to keep making the rounds and cleaning the panels, especially after a dust storm. This continuing expenditure of energy for maintenance needs to be taken into account. If cleaning is neglected, then before you know it a solar park's output will drop to half or even below as dust continues to accumulate.
Dust accumulation on the Solar Panels is a big problem especially in arid regions.
Everybody knows anything immobile is quickly covered, whether hanging laundry, parked cars or solar panels.
Unless regularly removed, accumulated dust can in one month reduce a solar panel's efficiency by 35 per cent, according to some experts, more if there is a dust storm. Making matters worse is that, in addition to the dust that blows in from the desert, the region's relatively high humidity helps turn fine dust into a sort of crust. "It makes the dust stick,"
Using precious water in those regions is expensive nor regular cleaning manually large installations.
Why not Scientists develop non sticky dust glass ? A glass where the dust won't stick to the surface but slides with a periodic jerk. In Rajasthan,India there is ambitious Solar PV Programme for large scale power. Dust storms in Rajasthan during summer are common which are carried to far way places.
The Loo is a strong, hot and dry summer afternoon wind from the west which blows over the western Indo-Gangetic Plain region of North India and Pakistan. It is especially strong in the months of May and June. Due to its very high temperatures (45 °C–50 °C or 115°F-120°F), exposure to it often leads to fatal heat strokes.
Infact there are places hot enough like Ramagundam,Kothagudem,Rentachintala in Andhra Pradesh.
Though India occupies 5th position in Wind in the world,we need to adopt innovation methods to harness the Wind Energy.
Wind farm co-operatives can be started in India on the lines of those in Denmark.. A Wind Fund can be created and the investments in it by Individual Income Tax payers can be exempted under Section
80 C. This way there will be funds available for large scale wind farms besides large participation of people in the Wind Farms. Offshore wind farms will be future energy option to supplement conventional power. With extensive research on large size wind turbines and installation techniques of offshore wind turbines, the cost of power generation through offshore wind farms is expected to come down to be competitive with conventional power. USA, China, South Korea, Taiwan, France and Japan have ambitious plans to go in for offshore wind farms on a massive scale.
Yet another option is Biofuel from Agave and Biogas from Opuntia and power generation. Agave is a care – free growth plant which can be grown in millions of hectares of waste land and which produces Biofuel. Already Mexico is using it. Another Care free growth plant is Opuntia which generates Biogas. Biogas can be input to generate power through Biogas Generators. Biogas generators of MW size are available from China. Yet another option is Water Hyacinth for biogas. Water Hyacinth along with animal dung can produce biogas on a large scale and then power. In Kolleru lake in Godavari and Krishna Delta in Andhra Pradesh it is available in 308 Sq. Km for nearly 8 months in a year.
Crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis, is a carbon fixationpathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions In a plant using full CAM, the stomata in the leaves remain shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration, but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is stored as the four-carbon acidmalate, and then used during photosynthesis during the day. The pre-collected CO2 is concentrated around the enzyme RuBisCO, increasing photosynthetic efficiency. Agave and Opuntia are the best CAM Plants.
Researchers find that the agave plant will serve as a biofuel crop to produce ethanol.
"Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land," and therefore would not displace food crops, says Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford.The majority of ethanol produced in the world is still derived from food crops such as corn and sugarcane. Speculators have argued for years now that using such crops for fuel can drive up the price of food.
Agave, however, can grow on hot dry land with a high-yield and low environmental impact. The researchers proposing the plant’s use have modeled a facility in Jalisco, Mexico, which converts the high sugar content of the plant into ethanol.
Yet another option is Energy Saving. Most of the Agricultural pump sets in operation are quite old. Now more efficient electric motors are available. The Governments(Union and State) can chalk out a scheme to replace the old irrigation motors with efficient ones with subsidy. In fact in some states power for agriculture is almost free(negligible tariff). Electricity is a High grade energy and in a country hard pressed for power, all means have to be found to utilize it effectively and efficiently.
What is needed in a vast country like ours are decentralised solar systems like solar cookers, solar driers, solar disinfection systems to provide safe drinking water,solar LED lighting systems, solar and wind battery chargers besides energy saving.
Put the RENEWABLES to WORK: To get inexhaustible,pollution-free energy which cannot be misused.
While I appreciate the rigour that has gone into documenting this report, it is not not nearly as hard-hitting as it ought to have been, given that we now have access to both The Shah Commission Reports and the CEC findings, and indeed Goa Foundation's petion before the court, or even better its counter-affidavit that severely demolishes the Parrikar government's somewhat spurious affidavit.
What is also disturbing is CSE's opaqueness on where it actually stands as far as mining of ore goes. I mean how much of proof and evidence do we need to know that mining can NEVER be 'sustainable'...
please see our new video on roof sheets made from post consumer recycled mixed plastics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYceNBStHnY
I am afraid whether the draft or final water policy is going to change the scenario in water sector. These are the big documents, not to be read by any one including those who approve it. The need is to do work on ground. The vanishing water resources are eliminating physically the poor and backward people and their cattle from India. The urbanization has caused disappearance of village ponds and other structures which were the main source of water for poor people and their cattle in villages. Now no ponds and no traditional water retaining structures and thus no poor people ? Either they have died or shifted to cities.
The current Punjab goverment seems to be going all out to let miners take out all they can from Punjab's soil and share the bounty with them through clandestine unions and dummy bidders. In utter disregard of what happens to sensitive ecologies, the earth is being taken out unscientifically all throughout the state.
Their contention as to doing this will bring down prices of construction material is false, as prices are controlled by monopolistic unions which are backed by powerful and corrupt polititians.
the first thing to answer in your question is, "what do we want to achieve exactly?".
I suggest you first look at the scientific basis of comfort by Nicol and Humphreys.
The lecture below is a good point to start:
After you have an idea of the kind of "gap" between comfort and discomfort that your building will have to bridge, depending of the season and time of the day, you can start looking for broad directions for solutions.
For that, the "Mahoney Tables" can provide a starting point. They have been re-published recently in an old but still relevant, and very affordable book:
Manual of Tropical Housing by Koenigsberg et al. Orient Longman
Yet another, and generally better, starting point is a critical study of local vernacular architecture. It has always achieved a highly optimised balance between resources and needs in a particular context.
Whenever I have checked, there was no difference between the recommendations of the Mahoney Tables and local vernacular architecture. The mechanical process of the Mahoney Tables can't of course be as accurate as an actual observation of vernacular architecture! But they provide a glimpse to the logic of it.
And to refine further, you can get guidance from the research of Baruch Givoni for example.
So you see that your question is dependant on many parameters and can't have a straight answer.
But one thing is sure: NO air-tight building can be comfortable in ANY climate!
The extremely rich website below, by Tim Padfield, has an observation on the abject failure of modern buildings when they are "designed like submarines":
So nice to see a positive article on Solar! Time and situation has changed over the last two years I presume! :)
Thanks CSE for publicising rural indigenous traditional technologies and new innovations made with the help of local people's wisdom. Never forget that the Beris are the back bone of Thar people--they provide safe and clean water for whole year, increase purchasing power of families, reduce drudgery of women, improve health and education, specially of girl child. Please also visit to know more regarding harvesting the rains in desert on www.gravis.org.in
I love cinnamon and am a voracious consumer. I think I have never seen/consumed the Ceylon Cinnamon. Will take utmost care from now on. Thank you for informing and saving lives.