Nature & India : News, Views and Discussions

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PM to inaugurate municipal solid waste based Gobar-Dhan plant in Indore on 19th February

In line with PM’s vision of creating garbage free cities

Principles of “waste to wealth” and “circular economy” exemplified in the Bio-CNG plant

Plant has capacity to treat 550 tonnes per day of segregated wet organic waste

It will produce 17,000 kg per day of CNG and 100 tonnes per day of organic compost​

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate “Gobar-Dhan (Bio-CNG) Plant” in Indore on 19th February at 1 PM through video conferencing.


Prime Minister recently launched the Swachh Bharat Mission Urban 2.0, with the overall vision of creating “Garbage Free Cities”. The Mission is being implemented under the overarching principles of “waste to wealth”, and “circular economy” for maximising resource recovery – both of which are exemplified in the Indore Bio-CNG plant.


The plant has a capacity to treat 550 tonnes per day of segregated wet organic waste. It is expected to produce around 17,000 kg per day of CNG, and 100 tonnes per day of organic compost. The plant is based on zero landfill models, whereby no rejects would be generated. Additionally, the project is expected to yield multiple environmental benefits, viz. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, providing green energy along with organic compost as fertiliser.


Indore Clean Energy Pvt Ltd, a Special Purpose Vehicle created to implement the project, was set up by Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) and Indo Enviro Integrated Solutions Ltd. (IEISL) under a Public Private Partnership model, with 100% capital investment of ₹150 crores by IEISL. Indore Municipal Corporation will purchase a minimum 50% of CNG produced by the plant and in a first-of-its kind initiative, run 400 city buses on the CNG. The balance quantity of CNG will be sold in the open market. The organic compost will help replace chemical fertilisers for agricultural and horticultural purposes.
 

RISING SUN

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India, Australia, and Singapore come together to address marine pollution with a focus on plastic debris​

The Government of India, in partnership with the Government of Australia and the Government of Singapore, conducted an international workshop on combating marine pollution focusing on marine plastic debris on February 14-15, 2022. The workshop, held virtually, bought together the world’s leading experts, scientists, government officials with policy expertise, and representatives from industry, innovation and informal sectors. It aimed to discuss research interventions toward monitoring and assessing marine litter and plausible sustainable solutions to address the global marine plastic pollution issue.


The workshop had four major sessions; the magnitude of the marine litter problem-monitoring program and research on plastic debris in the Indo-Pacific Region; best practices and technologies; solutions to prevent plastic pollution; and polymers and plastics: technology and innovations and opportunities for regional collaboration to remediate or stop plastic pollution. The sessions involved panel discussions and interactive break-out sessions to encourage discussion amongst participants from East Asia Summit countries.


The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the premier forum for discussions on important strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific and a leading confidence-building mechanism. Since its inception in 2005, the EAS has been advocating regional peace, security, closer regional cooperation and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region. The EAS is uniquely placed to share expertise and lessons learned between regions and sub-regions faced with interlinked and similar challenges to develop sustainable transboundary solutions. EAS countries recognise the coastal and marine plastic pollution challenge. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, had announced the agenda of promoting maritime cooperation in the wider Indo-Pacific region at the 14th EAS held in Bangkok in November 2019. India, Singapore, and Australia are committed to implementing the EAS decisions.


This workshop provided an impetus to EAS countries for exploring and informing each other about the challenges, questions, and solutions to marine litter – especially plastic research, use, design, disposal, recycling, and future collaborations for a plastic-free and healthy ocean for sustainable development through knowledge partners – the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai, an attached office of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), the Government of Singapore and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia. Dr M Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, delivered the keynote address at the workshop. He suggested considering the application of technological tools such as remote sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning to map the distribution of marine plastics and developing models to understand the dynamics of plastics in the Indian ocean. He also emphasized that a well-designed and tailor-made management strategy considering regional distinctiveness will significantly reduce plastics in the environment.
 

RISING SUN

Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
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RISING SUN

Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
12,734
6,047

Yanking The Yamuna out of A Mess: Delhi to Have India’s Largest Sewage Treatment Plant Ready by December​

If all goes as planned, Delhi will have India’s biggest sewage treatment plant (STP) ready to pump out 564 million litres of treated water on a daily basis. With the work advancing at a fast pace, the new plant being constructed in Okhla along with two other STPs will help the national capital to prevent 1,362 MLD of dirty water from choking the Yamuna, which is currently among the most severely polluted rivers in the world.

“Yamuna is a high priority for us. It hasn’t got its due, but we are committed to reviving it,” G Asok Kumar, director general, National Mission for Clean Ganga, told News18. “We are pushing the work very hard and all three STPs at Rithala, Kundli, and Okhla should be ready by the end of the year. So we can begin the trial runs that might take another 2-3 months. By March 2023, we should have all three up and running."

Rescue act
Being built at a cost of Rs 665 crore, the Okhla plant with a capacity of 564 MLD is not only India’s largest but is also believed to be one of the biggest sewage treatment plants in Asia. Of the other two, one at Kundli with an overall capacity of 204 MLD is being built at an overall cost of Rs 239 crore, while the other at Rithala has a capacity of 182 MLD and is being built at a cost of Rs 211 crore.

“Overall, Delhi will be able to treat as much as 1,362 MLD of dirty water falling into the Yamuna, which will be a big boon for the river,” said Kumar, exuding confidence. “If that treated water can be put back into the river, we can improve the quality of flow as well.”

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) along with the Delhi Jal Board is now racing against time to ensure the major construction work is completed before the monsoon rains. “The work got delayed earlier because we were awaiting some tree-cutting permissions to come through. We have now readied an action plan, put additional manpower, and ordered the requisite machinery, so that we are on top of it by the time monsoon starts," said Kumar, apprehending potential delay in October-November when a spike in air pollution forces the closure of all construction activities.


Meanwhile, the massive 318 MLD Coronation Pillar Sewage Treatment Plant constructed by L&T at a cost of Rs 515 crore has also been completed and is ready for trial runs. The plant is expected to treat at least 10 per cent of the wastewater generated in Delhi per day.

Rs 2,354 crore for 12 projects in Delhi​

Overall, as many as 12 projects worth Rs 2,354 crore are currently under way for the treatment of 1,385 MLD sewage under the Namami Gange Programme in Delhi. Apart from the new plants, a lot of restoration work is underway to fix the existing ones and expand their efficiency. Several of these were either lying non-functional or were largely under-utilised.

Delhi, which is among the most polluted capital cities in the world, generates an estimated sewage flow of 3,273 MLD out of which 2,340 MLD is being treated against the installed capacity of 2,624 MLD, according to government data. At least 933 MLD of untreated sewage is currently being discharged into the Yamuna, which has turned toxic because of the high amount of pollutants in it.

According to experts, apart from execution delays, the problem of untapped drains (nallah) which are dumping sewage water directly into the river has been another huge challenge. At some points, it gets mixed with treated water coming out from the STPs. At least 19 such drains have been identified on the western side of the river, which also overflow during monsoons. The disposal of sludge has been a predicament as well, and the government is seeking industries’ support to help convert it into manure, which can then be made available to farmers in nearby villages.

“Now, the thrust area is to have smaller STPs ((50-100 kilolitre per day). In the longer run, it is the smaller STPs that will solve the bigger problem. If we can build smaller units in colonies, then there will be no need to transport sewage water for miles to get treated. We are running out of space, and instead of bigger projects that take a long time, we need to focus on smaller, localised solutions,” said Kumar.
 

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India turns 10% of its petrol green, targets a fifth by 2025​

India has achieved the target of supplying 10 per cent ethanol-blended petrol five months ahead of schedule and is aiming to double the blend by 2025-26 in order to cut oil import dependence and address environmental issues.

The original target for doping 10 per cent ethanol, extracted from sugarcane and other agri commodities, in petrol originally was November 2022 but this has been achieved in June thanks to tremendous effort by state-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL).

“Due to the coordinated efforts of the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs), the target of 10 per cent blending has been achieved much ahead of the targeted timelines of November, 2022 with OMCs attaining an average 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol (10 per cent ethanol, 90 per cent petrol) across the country,” an official statement said.


This, it added, translates into a forex impact of over Rs 41,500 crore, reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 27 lakh tonnes and has also led to the expeditious payment of over Rs 40,600 crore to farmers.


India is the world’s fifth largest producer of ethanol after the US, Brazil, EU and China. Ethanol worldwide is largely used for consumption but nations like Brazil and India also dope it in petrol.

“The Government of India, with the aim to enhance India’s energy security, reduce import dependency on fuel, save foreign exchange, address environmental issues and give a boost to the domestic agriculture sector, has been promoting the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme,” the statement said.

It has advanced the nation’s target of making petrol with 20 per cent ethanol by five years to 2025 in a move that’s expected to save USD 4 billion annually.

This increased blending will expand the use of renewable energy in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and help turn the nation’s surplus rice and damaged foodgrains into ethanol.

“The ‘National Policy on Biofuels’ notified by the Government in 2018 envisaged an indicative target of 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by year 2030. However, considering the encouraging performance, due to various interventions made by the Government since 2014, the target of 20 per cent ethanol blending was (last year) advanced from 2030 to 2025-26,” the statement said.

Oil ministry officials said 20 per cent ethanol blended petrol will be available at select petrol pumps in the country by April 2023 and it will be progressively spread to other parts.

Since the past two decades, India has been making progress towards putting in place an ecosystem to increase the quantities of fuel-grade ethanol blended into petrol under the EBP for use in vehicles, particularly two- and four-wheelers.

This effort has been ramped up in recent years as multiple benefits of the EBP have become more apparent in light of volatile international
energy markets and increased focus on decarbonisation of transport fuels.

While earlier fuel-grade ethanol was produced only from sugarcane, since 2018 alternate routes such as sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup, B heavy Molasses, C Heavy Molasses, damaged foodgrains unfit for human consumption, surplus rice and maize, were opened up.

OMCs set up some ethanol production units and offered long-term procurement contracts to ethanol suppliers to give them assurity of business. OMCs started blending ethanol in petrol on a pilot basis in 2006. The blend then was up to 5 per cent in sugar surplus states. Availability of ethanol was a constraint and steps taken thereafter have improved supplies.

During the current ethanol supply year (December 2021 to November 2022), the availability to OMCs is likely to touch 450 crore litres (as compared to 67 crore litres in 2014). For 20 per cent blend, 1,000 crore litres of ethanol will be required.

As the availability of ethanol increases, the equivalent amount of crude (used for petrol production) import is reduced.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the achievement of the 10 per cent target at an event to mark the World Environment Day in the national capital on Sunday.

“Elaborating on the enormity of the achievement, the Prime Minister said that in 2014 ethanol blending was at 1.5 per cent,” a separate official statement said.

“There are three clear benefits of achieving this goal, he explained. First, it has led to a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emission. Second, it has saved foreign exchange worth Rs 41,000 crore and thirdly, farmers of the country have earned Rs 40,600 crore in the last 8 years due to increase in ethanol blending,” it added.

The Centre had also announced an additional duty of Rs 2 per litre on unblended fuels starting October 2022 to incentivise blending. That duty will no longer be effective as the target of 10 per cent blend has been achieved.

“In order to meet the gap between current availability and the future requirements of ethanol for the EBP program, public sector OMCs have now signed long term off-take agreements with 131 upcoming dedicated ethanol plants in ethanol deficit states which will augment the ethanol production capacity by approx 750 crore litres per annum.

“This is expected to improve the ethanol availability and help in achieving the blending targets set for the country,” BPCL said in a statement.
To meet the blending targets, OMCs are making huge investments in augmenting the blending infrastructure at their terminals and depots.
“In order to achieve uniform blending across the country, the OMCs are now transporting ethanol as well as ethanol blended petrol over long distances with the help of Railway Tank Wagons,” it added.