Water and time running out: How to deal with our water imminent crisis?

The reason for this imminent crisis is an over-reliance on groundwater extraction, for most Indian cities are simply unable to meet their water demand with existing supply.

Excess #groundwater extraction has already led to a 61% decline in groundwater level in wells in India between 2007 and 2017.

#Water levels in India’s major reservoirs have fallen to 21 per cent of the average of the last decade. Fifty four per cent of the country’s groundwater is declining faster than it is being replenished and there is a crippling dependence on monsoon rains to replenish most of India’s key water sources– underground aquifers, lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Close to half the country, about 600 million people, face severe scarcity year after year. By 2020, India will be formally categorized as a “water stressed” country, one where per capita availability of water is less than 1,000 cubic metres or less.

All these estimates indicate that India will not be able to meet the growing water demand. Clearly, water management as a concept and practice has to go through a radical transformation particularly the demand side management of irrigation. The allocation of resources, efficiency in water use and ensuring minimal pollution in both urban areas and industry will largely determine its future course. 

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When The Earth Becomes Very Thirsty

Earth is predominantly water. In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego constitute My separated material energies.” (7.4) Trees are 75% water, an apple is 80% water and human body is 70% water. Most of us believe that there is an infinite supply of water on earth whereas the earth’s water circulation is fixed and works in a closed loop. The total water on earth is 1.1 quadrillion acre feet; 97% of this is the saltwater in oceans and seas. Fresh water is 2.5% (28 trillion acre feet) of which 69.5% exists as glaciers, snow and permafrost. Another 30.1 % is underground in deep aquifers and only 0.4% is available in the form of lakes, rivers, soil moisture, air humidity, marshes and wetlands. Thus, there is only 7 billion acre feet of water, ie 1.4 million litres per person per year to drink and perform their daily chores. Moreover, rivers are drying up, underground reservoirs are becoming deeper and inaccessible.

Is the earth’s water cycle faltering?

No, our water demands have escalated rapidly, inconsiderate of the consequences and responsibilities connected to our actions. Krishna says, “That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.” (18.38) The Bhagavata Purana says, “The characteristics of water are exhibited by its moistening other substances, coagulating various mixtures, causing satisfaction, maintaining life, softening things, driving away heat, incessantly supplying itself to reservoirs of water, and refreshing by slaking thirst.” (3.26.43) The global water situation is scary. Every year 1.8 million children die of water-borne diseases; 30,000 deaths happen due to unsafe water and diarrhea. More than 783 million people do not have access to clean water and this will rise to 5.3 billion by 2025.

The UNDP report 2018 says, “Upscaling nature-based solutions (NBS) will be central to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable water security will not be achieved through business as usual approaches. NBS works with nature instead of against it and thereby provides an essential means to move beyond business as usual approaches to escalate social, economic and hydrogeological efficiency gains in water resources management.”

The Ishopanishad proposes the attitudinal foundation for NBS without which all other doomsday prophecies will be an empty rhetoric. “Isavasyam idam sarvam …” – Everything within the universe belongs to the Lord.

The Vedic message encourages us to be a responsible trustee of this earth, not a reckless enjoyer risking one’s individual and collective well-being. This can be accomplished by meditating on our higher purpose in human life which is to realise our real identity, our relationship with the Supreme and our duties towards other living beings and nature.

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,” wrote WH Auden…

Source: The speaking Tree, Honourable Gauranga Das in The Times of India Newspaper. #5th June 201944a50f07b4bdc57740901280f9eddaf5_1559642469

 

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) products are NOT biodegradable & compostable

By PVA – either polyvinyl acetate or polyvinyl alcohol, but the answer for either is no. Because the polymers are made via free radical polymerization through a vinyl group they are actually quite similar to polypropylene in terms of their polymer backbone. Polyvinyl alcohol or acetate just have some different side groups than polypropylene.

polyvinyl-alcohol-Polyvinyl alcohol is water soluble. But has effects on marine life / water based ecological systems. Polyvinyl acetate is actually the precursor to polyvinyl alcohol and is basically Elmers glue. The acetate can undergo hydrolysis to produce acetic acid and polyvinyl alcohol and has been a problem for art conservation the last 10-20 years.

Once again main issue is degradation of the aliphatic polymer backbone. No naturally occurring enzymes or bacteria are currently known to be able to degrade this structure. See below for structures.

Bioplastics – A Hope

In Mike Nichols’s 1967 film, The Graduate, a disillusioned college grad, Ben, played by Dustin Hoffman, is taken aside at a party by a family friend, Mr. McGuire.

“I want to say one word to you, just one word,” Mr. McGuire tells him.

“Yes, sir.”

“Yes, I am,” Ben says, nodding.

“Plastics.”

“Exactly how do you mean?” Ben asks.

“There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”

In the 1960s, plastics were mostly used for durable goods, from car seats to sleek, Italian-designed kitchenware. Shortly thereafter, the use of single-use, throwaway plastic for beverages, food, shopping bags and containers exploded, creating fortunes for the petrochemicals companies that would churn out hundreds of millions of tons of polyethylene, the most common and cheapest of the plastics.

Today, production is still continuing, plastics have become more dangerous than nuclear weapon

What can be done about it?

The plastics manufacturing business is global industry with enormous power. It invests a lot and it has created a lot of jobs.

Population growth and wealthier economies pretty much guarantee plastics production and demand will remain strong.

The world today has an uncontrable demand for plastics Continue reading

Companies in U.K. to cut plastic waste

The 42 firms, responsible for 80% of plastic packaging sold in Britain, have signed a pact that aims to tackle plastic pollution over the next seven years through a series of measures. These include cutting down on single-use plastic packaging, making all plastic packaging reusable or recyclable and stipulating that 30% of all plastic packaging include recycled material.

Corporate giants such as Coca-Cola, Asda, Procter & Gamble and Marks & Spencer have all signed up the “UK Plastics Pact” amid growing concern over plastic pollution, particularly in the oceans.

“This requires a whole-scale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act,” said Marcus Gover, head of the sustainability campaign group WRAP, which is leading the project.

Britain announced last week that it plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England, as part of a push to tackle marine pollution.

#UKPlastics #EcolifeIndia #Compostableplastics #Biodegradableplastics#Zerolandfill #Plasticpackaging #UKPlasticpact #Marinepollution#landpollution #plasticpollution

 

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World Environment Day – 2017

World Environment Day 2017 – Connecting People to Nature

#worldenvironmentday

Secretary-General’s message on World Environment Day

#Oceans.

#Land.

#Forests.

#Water.

The #air that we breathe.

This is our #environment.

It is the keystone of a #sustainable future.

Without a healthy environment we cannot end poverty or build prosperity.

We all have a role to play in protecting our only home.

We can use less #plastics.

Drive less.

Waste less food.

And teach each other to care.

On World Environment Day – and every day – let us reconnect with nature.

Let us cherish the planet that protects us.world_me_we

How can we take plastics out of the ocean?

Literally you will find more plastic than marine animals in terms of weight in the world’s oceans by 2050, the World Economic Forum warned recently.

Plastic has become one of the world’s most popular matermaxresdefaultials, combining amazing functionality and very low production costs. Its use has increased 20-fold in the past 50 years and is expected to double again in the next 20 years.

Almost everybody in the world comes into contact with it — over a quarter of all plastic is used for packaging, the most popular use of the material.

But only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.

ocean

So how do we fix this? People all over the world are gathering to clean up beaches, while new technologies to remove plastics from the ocean are currently being developed. As the demand for plastics is set to double in the next two decades, we need to look at the root cause not just the symptoms, if we really want to solve the problem. To free our ocean from plastics, we have to fundamentally rethink the way we make, use and reuse plastics, so that they do not become waste in the first place.

To create a circular economy for plastics  – we need innovations in the form of better materials, clever product designs, and new, circular business models.

The Circular Materials  economy may make the ways to make all plastic packaging recyclable or composted.