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Government Actions this week

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Climate change to be made part of school curriculum

The health ministry surprises all as it takes an about turn on the environment.
The government has taken a decision to incorporate health impact of climate change in school curricula. This is perhaps the single most effective long-term environment oriented decision of the government and has strangely not been followed by most media. Accepting the link between worsening environment and health outcomes will help bring about many changes as the years go by and should be welcomed by all.



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SC Approves Challenges to Appointments in Pollution Boards

The courts can review State Pollution Board Appointments but not the NGT.
Why is this issue so important?  For one it further increases judicial intervention in role performed by the executive.  This is another one of those decisions that will have short-term benefits with greater overseeing over environmental appointments.  But by weakening the executive’s power, environmental reform will be that much more difficult.   This is a grey area with pros and cons on each side of the coin.



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This step may finally bring surprise relief from air pollution

Governments coal power plant to purchase straw for burning along with coal.
An innovative experiment is about to be undertaken where NTPC will purchase straw from farmers and use it along with coal in its power plants.  Straw has very high silica content, and therefore merely burning it may worsen particulate matter emissions.   However, if the power plants are able to accordingly tweak emission cleaning processes this experiment may just work.  If it does, this innovative solution will dramatically reduce November smoke across North India.



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Mini power projects exempted from pollution NOC

Can mini-hydel power projects Pollute? Should they be exempted from oversight by the pollution control board?
While smaller hydel projects are typically not considered to be polluting, their ability to cause environmental damage is not insignificant.  Given that many of them are in environmentally sensitive areas, this becomes all the more important.  The government has exempted them from CPCB clearance, however, some monitoring and public reporting should be mandatory for all energy projects – whether hydel, renewable or conventional.  



Initiatives


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78% of Delhi dumps garbage on the road, says report

There is a reason why most Delhi-ites dump garbage in public places
Though not surprising to anyone who has dared travel across low-income and lower-middle-income neighborhoods in the capital, the large-scale open garbage dumping is not unimaginable.  About half of Delhi lives in slums or unplanned areas where garbage collection points rarely exist or are operational.  Of the remainder, low-income neighborhoods comprise a substantial proportion, and they are very poorly serviced.



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Mahindra: EVs a profitable business model even without subsidies

When Anand Mahindra says Electric Vehicles are about to become profitable, it matters.
Profitability of EVs is as much dependent on a firm’s efforts and government policy as it is on an efficient set of vendors.  And when someone with the stature and reputation of Anand Mahindra says that EVs will become profitable soon, it makes the industry so much more attractive.  EVs require a whole new industry to come up before they will become widespread, and the more rapidly it occurs the greater the benefits that will accrue.


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