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Postings and Projects

Postings and Projects

MONTREAL PROTOCOL

Saving the Ozone layer is the chief message of Montreal Protocol. Based on the Montreal protocol, anthropogenic emissions/use of materials detrimental to the Ozone layer has been reduced by a step by step process by the signatories of this protocol.

This agreement was presented on Sept. 16, 1987, to the member countries for approval and signature. This agreement came into force on Jan.1. 1989. Between then and now at least seven modifications were approved and written into this agreement. Strict compliance of the stipulations of this agreement shall reinvigorate the Ozonosphere by 2050. 195 of the 196 member nations of the un have signed ands approved this document. Yet, only 154 member nations approved the Beijing Amendment of 1999..

Mr. Koffi Annan, a Secretary General of the UN, once remarked that “ the Montreal Protocol perhaps of those international agreements that attained and achieved the identified goals.”

Different types halogens carrying hydrocarbons have been identified as those capable of destroying the ozone layer. Destruction of this layer of ozone is some thing that is capable of destroying the environment. Among the halogens, those with chlorine and/or bromine are highly potent in the destruction of ozone, while fluorine is not a great danger at all.

Montreal Protocol is founded on the tenets of a) reducing and finally stoppage of production, trade and spreading of fluorocarbons that destroy the ozone layer, b) invention of suitable and harmless substitutes and finally leading to total stoppage of production of chlorofluro carbons anywhere in the world. .

The longevity of chloroflurocarbons permit their reach up to the lower part of stratosphere, where they can absorb UV radiations, creating chlorine atoms – the “ ozone killer”- which are capable of destroying the Ozone by splitting the ozone into O2 and nascent O. In fact NO molecules vis-à-vis the chlorine atom react in the very same fashion.

The thinning and destruction of the ozone layer shall permit entry of the UV radiations to earth’s surface resulting in skin cancer in the humans and destruction of unicellular organisms in the surface waters of the oceans and finally destruction of the plants in the agricultural fields.

The glad news is that as a consequence of this agreement, the stratospheric ozone level registered a steep rise.. Being 10000 times more capable of warming of the atmosphere compared to CO2, the CFCs and HCFCs are capable of accelerating the Global Warming phenomenon.

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WETLANDS AND RAMSAR CONVENTION

The Ramsar Convention is a Fame work created for the scientific management, conservation and judicious use of the resources of the wetlands on the one hand and international and national co-operation to achieve these goals on the other. In 1971, international community of nations and NGOs met in Ramsar, Iran met to discuss and formulated and adopted this agreement, currently known world over as Ramsar Convention. The decisions came into force from 1975.

In the 60’s itself, the prelude to this convention in fact started in different parts of the world, among small but concerned groups, who were deeply anguished about the decay and demise of the wetlands and extinction (threats) of migratory birds which relied on the wetlands for their propagation and preservation.

The Ramsar Mission

The chief mission of the Ramsar Convention and follow-up are guaranteeing conservation and wise use of the wetlands lying distributed all over the world and consequent regional, national and international co-operation to achieve sustainable development.

For this, the convention also identified a variety of wetlands, like lagoons, rivers, marshes, wet-grass-lands, peatlands, oasis, deltas, tidal flats, mangroves, seashore, coral reefs, man made lakes, ponds, rice paddy fields, and salt marshes etc.

Wise use by definition means use of the wetlands without destroying the original ecological characteristics, Keeping in mind the goal of common good, any amendment or alteration, needs to be based on the sustainable development of the wetlands. I n Kerala, the Sasthamkotta Kayal of Kollam dist, and Vembanad-Kole of (Eranakulam-Thrissur dist) have been added to the list of wetlands.

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INDIAN NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAM

In Jan.30, 2008, and especially in the context of Climate Change Phenomenon, Shri.Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India, presented an outline of a National Program on Climate Change to the nation. This intention of this program called “National Action Plan for Climate Change” was to face up the impact of climate change by adapting and mitigating it.

The NAPCC had identified eight chief national missions ending by 2017, Additionally, the various ministries had submitted the special programs special to or suited to the respective ministries, to the Prime Minister’s council on CC.

Without impairing the higher rate of growth of the economy, several programs which shall provide co-benefits and capable of handling impact of climate change have been identified. Such programs can be successfully implemented with foreign assistance. Even if the development agenda of the nation is fully implemented, in no way we shall exceed the levels of Green House Gas emissions by the other developed nations of the world..

Some important missions identified under this program are:

  • National Solar Power Mission (maximizing the use of solar energy for electricity generation followed by higher levels of use of harnessing of solar power technology in cities, towns, industries etc). .
  • Manufacture of photovoltaic cells equivalent of 1000 MW
  • Distribution of solar power equipments worth 1000 MW
  • Establishment of a Solar Energy Research Institute
  • Co-operation with other nations of the world to develop such technologies
  • Raising the national production capacity of solar energy equipments
  • Release of large scale assistance to encourage application and use of solar power based energy in the states.

National High Energy Efficiency Mission

This program already implemented, aims at saving of 10,000 MW by 2012. The chief initiatives under this mission are;

Assured incentives to institutions and industries consuming large quanta of energy to achieve substantial reduction in energy consumption and implementation of a energy savings plan proportionate to the saved energy.

Tax breaks and financial incentives for popularizing the energy efficient equipments (both industrial and domestic appliances) in the nation

With PPP, promote efficient energy use and consumption by the consumers; including government and private buildings, agricultural sector etc.

National Sustainable Habitat Mission

Under this program the initiatives identified are as below.

City and town planning founded on the concepts of energy efficiency and energy conservation,

In the rules governing construction, energy efficiency will be written in as an important factor

In the area of waste management, the factors of reuse and recycling and energy production will be included

Fuel efficiency of motor cars will be raised, including appropriate incentives to individuals buying such vehicles. .

Incentives will be provided to encourage use of public transport in place of private transport.

National Water Mission

In the context of climate change and rising water shortage in the nation, aim is to achieve at least 20% of efficiency in water use. Implementing user charge for water use is already in the anvil.

Other missions that are already in the implementation process are:

Conserve and sustain the Himalayan Ecosystem; realize the concept of “Green India”;

Promote and encourage sustainable agriculture and take programs and knowledge of Climate Change to the midst of the population.

Following are some of the initiatives already implemented in the country.

Decommissioning of energy inefficient, coal based power plants in the country.

Making suitable amendments to rules to facilitate buying of energy produced from non-conventional sources to the state power grids.

Implement the energy audit scheme to very large scale power consumers like factories and production units.

Making the manufacturers to label their products appropriately based on the energy efficiency ratings.

In addition, the various ministries are to report to the PMCCC (Prime Ministers Council on Climate Change) their achievements as well as non-achievements with reasons, in respect of the Climate Change impact adaptation and mitigation programs.

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INTER-GOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC)

The IPCC was created by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) to assess, analyze and report the potential risks and dangers to humanity due to the climate change phenomenon driven by anthropogenic actions.

The 2007 Nobel Peace prize was awarded to Dr. Rejendra Pachauri (ChairmanClinton administration.

Basic research or issue warnings on climate change are not the mandate of the IPCC. Instead, it helps the UNFCCC, by providing specially prepared reports enabling the former in developing policy programs for implementation. IPCC prepares such documents based on the study of peer reviewed and published papers, monographs and reports etc. The members of WMO and UNEP are the members of IPCC. It has the mandate to examine, analyze and commission reports covering the areas listed below.

a. Anthropogenic climate change

b. Impact of climate change to the earth and biosphere

c. Developing strategies for survival in the changed climate

d. Mitigation and adaptation of impacts of climate change

As the IPCC is a body scientists representing the member nations and one based on science, and as it helps the heads of nations to make policy formulations and decisions, it has an independent, special and unique status. So when the member nations approve the IPCC reports, the inferences drawn by the IPCC and their validity are also endorsed.

The IPCC Bureau and the Chairman are elected by the member nations. This 21 yr old board has so far published several important reports, and one among those is the “Climate Change-2007” which part-earned the 2007 Nobel Prize. In fact the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report, published in 1995 caused the creation of Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Third Assessment Report (TAR) appeared in 2001 and Fourth Assessment Report appeared in 2007 respectively.

It was IPCC that provided the guidelines and basis to the UNFCCC to enable the member nations to assess the country-wise GHG emissions,. Several other “status” reports as well as progress reports on climate change science also go to the credit of the IPCC. It also provided timely explanations to the UNFCCC in the area of science and technology. In summary, the thoughts of climate change and impacts now rooted in the minds of populations and governments are due to the IPCC only.

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CARBON TRUST

Carbon trust, a creation of British Government to accelerate the march towards a low carbon economy, aims to achieve the status of a low carbon nation. The aim has been defined as a venture to reduce the carbon emission in cooperation with different organizations and enterprises. In addition, another goal set is developing technologies, instruments and products that will ensure future needs of low carbon economy. Carbon Trust also offers advice, recognition and financial aid to public institutions, manufacturers and large trading houses

In their annual report, The Carbon Trust announced that the British state could achieve a saving of 1.0 million British pounds daily, by practicing the energy saving and conservation measures that had also ensured the low carbon emissions. More over, a Carbon labeling scheme on products introduced in 2007, enabled consumers to know well the advantage of products they were buying, in respect of how large the carbon foot pint of the product is and how long will take to attain the set goal of low carbon economy based on the size of the carbon foot print of the product.

The Carbon Trust Standard is a sort of “green washing “of products. But at the same time it helps to spread the message in the community, regarding the true nature of the Carbon Emission in general and Carbon Foot Print of the particular industry or product in particular. . The annual rate of reduction of the Carbon emission is the basis in fact for the award of Carbon Trust Standard.

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UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, UNFCCC

UNFCCC was created in 1994, in order to co-ordinate the efforts taken by the community of nations to primarily face up the challenges posed by the global climate change and its impacts. It has the approval of 192 nations. This cooperative helped to curtail to a great deal the carbon emission rates of the developed countries of the world. As per the statutes of the UNFCCC, the world nations have been classed under three categories, viz., the Annexure I and Annexure II parties and non-Annexure I parties.

All developed nations that were members of OECD in 1992, come under Annexure I, along with those nations whose economies are changing, while in Annexure II all nations of the OECD are included. The OECD member nations in their turn will have to contribute and create funds in order to develop technologies and procedures to reduce the emissions driving climate change and transfer these, to nations whose economies are developing and undergoing changes. Majority of developing nations come under Non-Annexure I Parties. A group of countries numbering 48 and who cannot fight the challenges of Climate Change themselves deserve special consideration of the UNFCCC in respect of Global Climate Change.

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WORLD METEREOLOGICAL ORGANISATION, WMO

The WMO is a special arm of the United Nations. The chief mandate of the WMO is to provide data, and knowledge to the UN in respect of the air sea interaction, the distribution of climate zones and water resources, and their behavior and state.. On Jan 20, 2004, the WMO had 188 member nations on its roll. The WMO in 1950 evolved from the International Climate Study Organization founded in 1873, and since 1951 it has been under the aegis of the UN. As Weather, Climate, Water Cycle are trans national in nature, affecting the whole globe, the WMO earned support and co-operation of the world community of nations.

On its turn the WMO had offered immensely and tangibly to the safety, security and welfare of the world population. Further, the products and services originating from the WMO have been the basis to assuring the food security, water resources, shipping related sectors as well as in ensuring the safety to life and materials, protecting communities from natural disasters securing environmental protection and safeguarding rising quality of life.

In addition, with the help from member nations, the WMO is engaged in areas of data collection, analysis, research and distribution and empowerment. Further, with the help of WMO, the member nations acquired very important skills and technologies in the fields of informing the daily weather, agriculture, air travel, shipping, environment and water related issues, and impact of natural disasters- but all these at no cost for the nations..

The UNFCCC in conjunction with UN, had organized several conventions related to environment and among which the most important ones are:

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

UN Convention to Combat Desertification

UN Vienna Convention on Protection of Ozone Layer

UN Convention on Protection of Marine Environment

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UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM, UNEP

In the Stockholm meeting of the United Nations Man and Environment Convention of 1972, Sweden proposed the need for creating a group or organization to address the Management of the world Environment. As a follow up, in Dec.15, 1972, and based on the UN General Assembly resolution No. 2997, the UNEP came into being. The UNEP has a membership of 58 nations, elected once every 3 years from the General Assembly. .The participation of Smt. (Late) Indira Gandhi (the then Prime Minister of India) in the 1972 Stockholm meeting needs special mention.

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A NATIONAL PORTAL ON ENVIRONMENT

On Aug.11, 2008, Mr. Sam Pitroda, the Chairman of Knowledge Commission inaugurated this “Indian National Environment Portal” Design, maintenance and administration of this portal is vested with the CSE (Center for Science and Environment) , New Delhi and with financial support from the Knowledge Commission..

All information essentially and equally required for environment and development has been brought under one umbrella by the inauguration of this portal, which is built on the “open source” engine. This portal will provide answers or explanations for the questions regarding environment and development in the minds of average citizen, a novice or informed citizens. .Climate change phenomenon related information also finds a prom9nent place in this portal. Space is allotted for the NGOs, individuals and government institutions on issues related to climate change. Further, permission is available for asking to individuals or NGOs to add their creations related to the theme of this portal. A Thesaurus related to the climate, environment and development is an added attraction in this portal. The link address is:

http://www.Indiaenvironmentportal.org:

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PROJECTS

1. MAP THE SOIL AND ROCK WITHIN ONES OWN COMPOUND.

Basic Tools Required

a. Map of the area procured from the village office concerned. Enlarge if required. Do not forget to note the scale of the map.

b. Measuring tape and field note book, pencil and eraser

c. Magnifying glass

d. Sample bags or used newspaper to wrap up the samples.

Work Plan

Note or mark the area of ones own compound in the map. Also indicate the north direction correctly. Mark the direction of slope of the land surface with a correctly placed arrow. If the piece of land is not sloping then indicate it in the field note book.

a. Collect samples of soil and rock.

b. Examine the same with a magnifying glass. Note the features you see on the samples under separately – soils separately from rock.

Note the particle size, colour, bonding etc.

c. Wash a portion of the soil in water to remove the dirt (mostly silt and clay). Dry the residue and check the particles. Vividly cooloured particles will appear under the magnifying glass. Pack the samples carefully and take the same to home and later to school at the time of award of marks/grades.

Presentation

Write a short essay about the processes you followed in making the map,(marking the north and scale, marking direction of slope when needed, marking the plinth of house area under soil/rock etc.

Submit the samples, map and essay to the teacher finally for grading.

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II LIFE CYCLE STUDY OF THE MATERIALS THAT ARE USED IN YOUR HOUSE.

(Note: For building the house different types of materials are sourced from shops, quarries, or even locally. Here, the chief building materials brought for a scientific scrutiny).

Basic tools required

a. Map of the site with home (Get it from the Village office concerned), tape, pencil, eraser and note book.

Work plan:

a. Material used in the foundation and basement, the timber and tiles used for the roof, or cement, steel, sand and metal used for making the concrete roof, water used for mixing,

b. Manufactured materials used in the house and their natural sources, Processes of manufacturing in the factory, nature of energy used oin manufacturing, and its sources or methods of manufacture

c. Name the regions from where the raw material was obtained.

Presentation

a. A detailed report indicating the types of materials (manufactured and natural) used in the house.

b. A map showing the location of house with scale and north marked correctly and clearly.

c. A tabulated statement of materials and their sources As well as answers to the points indicated under points of enquiry.

d. An essay combining everything for grading by t he teacher.

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III PROPERTIES OF WATER

(Note: Collect samples of water from pond, well (pumping or otherwise), stream/river and dirty water.)

Basic Tools required

a. Plastic bottles for collecting water samples

b. Labeling tape and marking pen

c. thermometer

d. Field note book, pencil, erasers,

Work plan

a. Collected water samples are immediately examined for the following.

b. On each sample note Colour, odour, clarity, temperature. And then write in the notebook

c. Determine the Sp.Gravity in the school laboratory and record.

d. Filter all the waters and then recheck the colour odour etc.

e. Evaporate 50 ml. of water and determine the weight of the residue. (use a small beaker of known weight to start with).

Presentation

Make report on all the steps in the data collection (in the field and in the lab) and tabulate the results in a table. With properties determined as the columns and samples in the rows.

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IV SAND FROM THE RIVER/STREAM BED

Aim: Determination of mineralogy in a semi-quantitative manner

Basic Tools required

a. Sample bag, mason’s trowel, dissection needle, magnifying glass, graph paper.

Work plan

a. Locate a suitable section of river/stream out of which one sample of sane can be collected in suitable plastic bag, Label the bag before sand is collected. Make note in the note book about the nature of the site of collection etc. Remove the debri from the place of collection. Use the trowel for cleaning the surface and removing and transferring sand in the sample bag. Seal the bag carefully to avoid spillage of the material.

b. Do a coning and quartering process to get a convenient sized sub-sampler. Pour the sand through a large funnel (10 cm) over to a sheet of paper so that sand forms a cone. Depress the apex of the cone with a hard sheet. Then divide the “disc” of sand using a ruler in to four equal parts. Collect the opposite parts and repeat the coning and quartering process as before until say 100 gm of sand is obtained.

d. Wash this subsample with water using a suitable beaker or other container thoroughly and cleanly. Then dry the sediment (sand) after draining the water nearly totally on a newspaper in shade. Once the sample is dry (non-sticky).

e. Spread the sand in the graph paper and check with the magnifying glass to note the colour etc. Transparent particles are quartz. Black opaques are generally magnetite if it is attracted by a magnet, and ilmenite if it is non magnetic.

Presentation

Make a write up of the procedure and processes along with a tabulation of the results checking with magnifying glass and magnet.

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V ROCK QUARRY

Aim: Mapping of quarry wall.

Basic Tools required

Note book, Paper, pencil, eraser, tape and compass.

Work plan

Go to a quarry in your neighborhood. Walk along the floor of the quarry checking the types of rocks exposed from the floor of the quarry to it top. You will see among other things different rock types, overlain by a horizon of soil.

Make a estimate of thickness of the soil and rock exposed in the quarry wall.

Now make a sketch of the quarry wall (in a swath of say a meter from bottom to top).

Collect a sample whenever there is a change in the type of risk or soil. Generally it is indicated by a different colour or appearance rock. Label in the section such changes and hence the approximate thickness of each.

Presentation

A sheet showing the distribution of various rocks and soils in the quarry wall from bottom to top and according to scale.

A plan showing the location of quarry along with the road approach. Do not forget to mark the North correctly in this pan.

A set of representative sample collected from the quarry face.

Samp[les correctly labeled and tied to the map of the quarry wall.

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VI REGIONAL WATER TABLE MAP

Basic Tools required

GPS

Graph paper

Pencil and eraser

25 meter measuring tape and 250 gm weight

Work plan

Georeference the cadastral map of the study area. With a GPS. In addition mark the well locations in the map with the help of GPS. GPS will provide the location as well as elevation data of the location.

Lower the tape in the well to measure the depth to water level (water table) with the help of the tape and the weight attached to it. This arrangement will keep the tape taut and hence afford reasonable better measure to the water table. Repeat the same process with all the selected wells.

In the lab transfer the well location and water depth to the map. Then follow it up with contour lines by connecting points of equal elevation. This contour map is a water table contour map of the selected area .

Presentation

The map and the essay about the procedure and observations on t he water table map are submitted to the teacher for grading.

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VII LANDUSE MAP

Basic Tools required

Cadastral map of at least half a hectare area

Measuring tape, GPS or Compass

Skill to identify the common plants/vegetation

Work plan

Use GPS to georeference the cadastral map. It will require some degree of talking with local people/land owners. Then walk around the study area and collect samples (mainly leaf) of the sorts of vegetation. Then identify them with the help of a teacher. Now with the help of GPS and tape, measure and mark the area under each type of crop in the map. Also mark the extent of rocky and barren area. Mark these information in a cadastral map right in the field. This map can be finalized with appropriate shades etc later in the lab. Take samples of vegetation (samples of leaves etc.) to the lab.

Presentation

Submit the map, the samples and an essay discussing the various steps gone through in making this map.

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VII IMPACT OF SAND MINING IN RIVERS

Aim: Reporting the impact of sand mining in a section of the neighborhood river along with a note and map.

Basic Tools required

An enlarged cadastral map. Pencil, eraser and field note book.

GPS/Compass

Work plan

Walk to the river shore and check out all the modifications of the natural channel due to sand mining.

Check out the types of plants/ vegetation both in water surface and along the shore. .

Use the compass to get a picture of the orientation of river channel. Then mark it in the Cadastral map. Both GPS and compass will be handy in this step.

Mark the section you wish to enumerate in the map. Check out the changes in the physical system of channel due to sand mining.

Make notes on these.

Then sketch the succession of the vegetation from bank-top to to the river shore. Do this for both banks. Make notes on the density of floating plants and their types (species if you can).

Collect samples of the vegetation. Also check out the nature of sediment below water iif the depth is safer to wade through.

In addition pay attention to the water as to stagnant or flowing, its colour, odour, transparency etc and make notes on it. Determine the content of load in the water bvy following the procedure of evaporation of a known volume of water sample.

Presentation

Present the completed map as well as the sketch of the cross section with all the details of vegetation marked systematically on it, along with samples and the procedure written up neatly and completely. .

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