Almitra Patel (for Info only, not official)

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Almitra Patel

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    ... Movie buffs will remember the iconic 1967 Hollywood movie, The Graduate, in which Ben, played by a very young Dustin Hoffman, is given career advice by a friend of his parents at his graduation party. “Plastics”, he is told, “there is a great future in plastics.” Fifty years later, the spread of plastics bears out the accuracy of that prediction. But our message today would be, “plastics are all pervasive and very convenient but we need to worry about food safety, design for recycling, and safe management of non-recyclable plastic waste to ensure environmental protection”. Plastic is a synthetic polymer, deriving its name from the Greek word plastikos, which means “fit for moulding”. It was invented in 1869 by John W. Hyatt, responding to a New York firm’s offer of $10,000 for anyone who could provide a substitute for ivory. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 29, 2017, 12:30 a.m.

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    ... Young Abhishek Gautam and his friends Deepak and Amit were out riding their bikes on the road beside East Delhi’s garbage dump at Ghazipur last September, when a garbage slide from the steep mountain of mixed solid waste (50 metres high, about the height of a 16 storey building and more than twice the permissible height for landfills) pushed them into the Kondli canal nearby. Deepak and Amit were fortunately rescued by the locals, but Abhishek could not be saved. Rajkumari, a 32-year-old woman, also lost her life in the chaos that followed, as heaps of garbage full of slippery wet plastic slid into the canal, creating giant waves which hit the road, disrupted traffic and caused damage to life and property. We have heard of landslides in the hills of Himachal or Uttarakhand. But garbage slides? Is this the new normal? It need not be, if only we get to the root of the problem. ...

    Indian Express on Oct. 25, 2017, 12:30 a.m.

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    ... Keeping cities clean is essential for keeping their residents healthy. Our health depends not just on personal hygiene and nutrition, but critically also on how clean we keep our cities and their surroundings. The proliferation of dengue and chikungunya are intimately linked to the deteriorating state of public health conditions in our cities. The good news is that waste management to keep cities clean is now getting attention through Swachh Bharat Mission. However, much of the attention begins and stops with the brooms and the dustbins, extending at most to the collection and transportation of the mixed waste to some distant or not so distant place, preferably out of sight. ...

    Indian Express on Sept. 27, 2017, 12:26 a.m.

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    ... Bellandur lake in Bengaluru has been much in the news in recent months for the surge of foam and froth from the polluted lake, and the rise of smoke and flames from the area surrounding it. Barely two weeks ago, in the midst of the city’s heaviest rains in a century, the stinking froth and foam (a mix of chemicals and untreated sewage) rose as high as 10 to 12 feet from Bellandur and spread onto the streets, endangering traffic and entering shops and homes across the road, causing huge inconvenience to those living in the area. Only a few months earlier, in February, the area was engulfed in smoke as garbage strewn around the lake was set ablaze. In May 2015, the Bellandur lake itself was on fire, creating enormous fear and anxiety in the minds of the people living in the area. ...

    Indian Express on Aug. 30, 2017, 12:52 a.m.

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    ... The challenge of solid waste management in Indian cities is now receiving belated but welcome attention and about time too. Rising incomes and changing lifestyles are generating more waste and of a different kind, but we are yet to set up systems to deal with the build-up. Swachh Bharat Mission provides an opening, but much more needs to be done on the ground. Waste was not such a problem in India until the 1970s. In our rural areas, food discards were returned to the soil. Food leftovers were fed to animals and the cattle-shed wastes were thrown in a pit to decompose and become manure for the next planting season. This returned both NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) nutrients as well as micronutrients to the soil for healthy crops. Urban food discards were also recognised as a potential resource, not a waste. ...

    Indian Express on July 26, 2017, midnight

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    ...Even after the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 specified that landfill sites should be allocated on which sanitary landfills should be developed to receive the final residual waste, the sites have been used only as open dumpsites for all kinds of waste, mixed together. The proliferation of airless open dumps of garbage leads to emissions of methane, which absorbs the sun’s heat, warms the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Methane is over 20 times more potent as a heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide. ...

    Indian Express on June 28, 2017, 12:45 a.m.