In our continuing debate over uses of plastic bags and menaces associated with it, we bring to you a new perspective on the continued uses of plastic bags in malls and super stores.
In this article published on Livemint.com, Vandana Vasudevan explains how the charging for the plastic bags at the malls and Hyper market will not reduce its uses and what could be the best possible alternatives for it.
To read the full article, click on the link below:
Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student of Standard V at Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100% recycled carry bags using discarded newspapers. He then set out to distribute these bags in Abu Dhabi, replacing plastic bags that take hundreds of years to degrade biologically. The bags were lovingly named ‘Mukku bags’ and Abdul Muqeet became famous as the Paper Bag Boy.
Abdul Muqeet’s environmental initiative has catalyzed a much larger community campaign. During the first year, Abdul Muqeet created and donated more than 4,000 paper bags in Abu Dhabi. In addition, he has led workshops at schools, private companies and government entities, demonstrating how to create paper bags using old newspapers. His school along with a number of companies in Abu Dhabi adopted his idea by exchanging their plastic bags for paper bags.
Abdul Muqeet was one of the youngest recipients of Abu Dhabi Awards 2011, for his remarkable contribution to conserve environment. The awards were presented by General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. In 2011, Abdul Muqeet was selected to attend the United Nation’s Tunza conference in Indonesia where he demonstrated his commitment for a cleaner environment through his paper bag initiative. He is actively involved in spreading environmental awareness worldwide, especially UAE, India, USA and Indonesia.
MSW is a poor-quality fuel and its pre-processing is necessary to prepare fuel pellets to improve its consistency, storage and handling characteristics, combustion behaviour and calorific value. Technological improvements are taking place in the realms of advanced source separation, resource recovery and production/utilisation of recovered fuel in both existing and new plants for this purpose. There has been an increase in global interest in the preparation of RDF containing a blend of pre-processed MSW with coal suitable for combustion in pulverized coal and fluidized bed boilers.
Pelletization of municipal solid waste involves the processes of segregating, crushing, mixing high and low heat value organic waste material and solidifying it to produce fuel pellets or briquettes, also referred to as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). The process is essentially a method that condenses the waste or changes its physical form and enriches its organic content through removal of inorganic materials and moisture. The calorific value of RDF pellets can be around 4000 kcal/ kg depending upon the percentage of organic matter in the waste, additives and binder materials used in the process.
The calorific value of raw MSW is around 1000 kcal/kg while that of fuel pellets is 4000 kcal/kg. On an average, about 15–20 tons of fuel pellets can be produced after treatment of 100 tons of raw garbage. Since pelletization enriches the organic content of the waste through removal of inorganic materials and moisture, it can be very effective method for preparing an enriched fuel feed for other thermochemical processes like pyrolysis/ gasification, apart from incineration. Pellets can be used for heating plant boilers and for the generation of electricity. They can also act as a good substitute for coal and wood for domestic and industrial purposes. The important applications of RDF are found in the following spheres:
RDF power plants
Coal-fired power plants
Industrial steam/heat boilers
The conversion of solid waste into briquettes provides an alternative means for environmentally safe disposal of garbage which is currently disposed off in non-sanitary landfills. In addition, the pelletization technology provides yet another source of renewable energy, similar to that of biomass, wind, solar and geothermal energy. The emission characteristics of RDF are superior compared to that of coal with fewer emissions of pollutants like NOx, SOx, CO and CO2.
RDF production line consists of several unit operations in series in order to separate unwanted components and condition the combustible matter to obtain the required characteristics. The main unit operations are screening, shredding, size reduction, classification, separation either metal, glass or wet organic materials, drying and densification. These unit operations can be arranged in different sequences depending on raw MSW composition and the required RDF quality.
Various qualities of fuel pellets can be produced, depending on the needs of the user or market. A high quality of RDF would possess a higher value for the heating value, and lower values for moisture and ash contents. The quality of RDF is sufficient to warrant its consideration as a preferred type of fuel when solid waste is being considered for co-firing with coal or for firing alone in a boiler designed originally for firing coal.
For decades, an informal recycling cooperative in Brazil has collected tons of recyclable material, which it sells back to heavy industry each day for reuse. The system, however, is plagued by inefficiencies: routes are haphazard, coordination is weak, and knowledge is easily lost when individuals leave the cooperatives.
Brazil is now trying to turn this army of informal recyclers into a crack recycling operation capable of collecting and selling a city’s recyclables without central coordination. Researchers at the University of São Paulo have teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to optimize recycling routes, schedule waste pickups, and transform an overlooked sector of the economy into the next investment opportunity. To do it, they are attaching tracking sensors to carts and trucks, analyzing the data, building dispatching and scheduling applications for the web, and then mapping it all to city grids.
The project, known as Forage Tracking, does not deploy revolutionary software, or sensors. It is just a clever application of existing technology to solve social challenges.
“We are using real-time technology to make waste management more participatory and effective,” says Dietmar Offenhuber, a researcher at the MIT’s SENSEable City Lab in the Brazilian publication Institute Science Daily. “The idea is to help the informal recycler cooperatives with cheap technologies to document their knowledge and improve their operations.”
Ultimately, the program will enlist private corporations, government agencies, and thousands of informal workers in a single and (potentially) efficient waste collection system. In the future, Brazilians should be able to schedule waste pickups on their smartphones. Those pickups wouldn’t be made by the city, but by informal workers.
But it’s also looking like a sign of things to come. Economic growth in the developing world, if it will lead to more than just slightly less stratified inequality, needs to lift up the poor and middle class, as well as the rich. That requires more than corporations and the state, argues Robert Neuwirth in his new book Stealth of Nations. It demands cooperation between the formal sector and the innovative but informal economy of the street.
Brazil–by bringing recycling cooperatives into its solid waste system through Forage Tracker and new laws–is taking a small step in that direction.
MOSCOW – A Russian satellite has captured what is thought to be the highest resolution picture of our planet ever taken from space.
The camera on board the Elektro-L, a geostationary weather satellite launched in January 2011, snaps stunning, 121-megapixel pictures of Earth as it orbits some 22,000 miles (36,000km) above the equator.
According to tech blog Gizmodo, the image recently released by the Russian Federal Space Agency was produced by overlaying four pictures of the entire Earth — three taken at three wavelengths of visible light and one infrared image, which makes our planet’s vegetation appear orange.
In contrast, NASA’s iconic “Blue Marble” images of Earth are created by pasting together several smaller, true-color pictures.
The Russian photo was first published by James Drake on the Planet Earth website.
Low Carbon Farming (LCF) coalitions of Fair Climate Network (FCN) is looking for an enthusiastic and energetic individual to serve as Research Assistant at Coalition’s experimental field sites and research laboratories.
The goal of FCN coalitions is to measure changes in the levels of climate-changing (or global warming causing) gases produced by different farming practices. Our 1st FCN-LCF Coalition consists of several partner NGOs in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; and Environmental Defense Fund, a non-profit organization based in the United States. The FCN-LCF Coalition has setup several mini-experimental agricultural field stations in South India and four labs which have the capability to measure three greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O).
2nd, 3rd & 4th FCN-LCF Coalitions on similar lines are expected to be online soon.
The research assistant duties will include implementation of research design at the experimental field stations and ensuring smooth lab operations. The job will require regular travel to the field sites and laboratories, coordination with the existing technical team and with the LCF co-coordinators at each of the partner NGOs. The job will provide opportunity to learn in-depth about global Climate Change, its effects on our planet and learn what can be done to minimize the damage caused by this climate disruption, and chance to learn from LCF experts in India and aboard while acquiring skills to conduct research in a cutting edge research labs and measure greenhouse gases for the benefit of farmers in rural India.
Applicants who have not yet received their college degree(s) are welcome to apply but deep interest in science and enthusiasm for climate-friendly and sustainable farming practices is important. Pay-scale is negotiable and will be based on the qualification, skill-set and experience level of the applicant.
Specifically, the research assistant’s roles and responsibilities will include:
1. Work closely with Partner NGOs and LCF scientists to manage existing or possibly new labs including assisting in the preparation of Lab manuals, and assisting the NGOs in implementing the pre- and post-harvest farming practices.
2. Troubleshooting with the technical team to optimize the performance of lab instruments.
3. Work with the existing technical staff and the coalition finance manager in procuring tools and equipments for field sampling and the Lab (e.g., arrange/oversee fabrication of base frames, Perspex boxes and drilling tools), soil and manure sampling, and manage sample archiving/filing.
4. Participation in designing farmer questionnaire surveys, overseeing and monitoring field sampling and ensure timely data collection, compilation and storage and communication about technical difficulties to experts.
To apply please send resume/CV and a cover letter to: