How to recycle your old mobile phone devices

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Advent of smartphones have made the world a smaller place and added comfort to our daily lives. Smartphones are finally taking the nation by storm. According to a report India will be the fastest growing mobile market in the world till 2020. India is home to 20% of all mobile in the world.

Phones are supposed to last 4-5 years but we are switching them every year or two year, its all status symbol. However we are upgrading to a new one, we also need to give some thought to what will happen to the pre-existing one.

Since the number of mobile phones has been increasing everyday, simultaneously the amount of e-waste too.

Do you know that mobile phones are considered as one of the most hazardous waste because it contain a large number of harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium etc. If not handled carefully reaches the landfill site and seeps into the soil, contaminate the groundwater and enter the food chain causing harm to the living beings and environment and when it ends up in the hands of improper recyclers consists of local kabadivala, scrap merchant,they use open air burning method releasing harmful gases, effecting nearby residents and environment.

Its time for us to realise that what has gone around will come around. There is no magic to reduce the e- waste in a blink of an eye and make people use their old phones.

How to recycle?  I am sure majority of people will have phones lying at home awaiting their fate. Now its our turn to dispose them off at locations where it could be recycled.

  1. Offline: The main channels for disposing off are the shops that sell them and there are other organisations that accept them for recycling.

  2. Online: Sell them! There are tons of phone recycling companies out there. Find one who is offering the best price and you will get the cash depending on the condition of your phone.

It will just take a few minutes of your time and you will be surprised to know that how much your old phone is worth.

Recently I have sold my old phone too, imagine how good you will feel to know that your phone is getting a new lease of life and also contributing to save mother earth from e-waste burden.

Last but not the least you can make other people aware about what e-waste is, how it can impact health and environment and how we can help. After all, we have to answer our children what planet we will leave behind for them.

How do you dispose off your old mobile phones? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

Make a difference in your world Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Are our oceans turning into plastic garbage?

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The problem:

  • Technology is a wonderful thing until its dark side is appreciated. Plastic is ubiquitous and is found in every part of our life, in home, car, laptops, packaging etc.

  • For all the benefits plastic has given us disposing of products has become a major environmental issue.

  • Plastic is very long lived substance and there is no corrosion, dissolving or biodegrading.

  • Basically plastic is a synthetic polymer that consists of many organic and inorganic compounds and is mostly derived from petrochemicals like olefins.

  • Plastic generally degrades in 500-1000 years, though degradation time depends on various other parameters.

  • Every piece of plastic being made today remains in the environment unless someone recycles it.

  • Several additives present in plastic can cause permanent harm to living beings.

  • According to an estimate approximately 10-20 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. The primary source of plastic in the ocean is not dumping at sea but plastic escaping from the land. it is blown away, washed away and forgotten as it disappears into the ocean.

  • During rainy season the plastic garbage on the road gets washed away into the nearby water reservoirs and drains leading to their choking up and overflowing.

Effects:

  • The plastic debris results in huge losses from damage to marine life including financial losses to tourism and fisheries. Marine animals become entangled and wrapped in fishing net, plastic bags, balloons and floating plastic matter.

  • A lot of plastic debris in the ocean breaks down into microplastics, tiny particles less than 5 mm and is ingested by marine life. It causes choking, blockages of gut and release of toxic chemicals after ingestion.

  • Millions of turtles have been found dead with piece of plastic bags in their stomach. It is assumed that turtles mistake these floating bags for jelly fish and consume them.

  • When dumped in landfills, plastic material reacts with water and form hazardous chemicals. These compounds seep down towards groundwater and deteriorate water quality.

  • Burning plastic results in release of poisonous gases contaminating environment leading to air pollution.

  • Depletion of marine resources will result in food shortage (sea food) for humans too and will introduce the chemicals into food chain as humans also happen to be a part of food chain.

  • It has been calculated that by 2050 there be more plastic in the ocean than fish and 99% of the sea bird species will have plastic in their stomachs.

Preventive Measures:

  • Carrying a reusable water bottle and bag, using a metal straw, are some simple choices we can make. We don’t have to rely on government for it.

  • Reuse the plastic items as many times as you can like plastic water bottle or find an alternative use for it like planting small flowering plant in it.

  • Understand the severity of problem and know the consequences of dumping plastics anywhere.

  • Educate others and spread awareness. Start it from your home.

  • Government should ask companies and industries to find more environmental friendly alternative for packaging and improving management of material.

To satiate our craving for development, we have failed to examine the damage that we have been causing to the environment. Its human nature that we take things for granted until devil himself starts knocking down our own door.

Plastic bags are banned everywhere despite this  in  Gurugram I have seen many local vendors and shopkeepers are using plastics regularly. So I have a small favour to ask, everyone who is reading the article don’t accept the plastic bags from them instead carry your own  reusable bags and also ask them to replace plastics with paper bags and if they don’t mind you can give them 1-2 reasons for it and rest is up to them.

These changes might be gradual and less appealing against the problem but taking small steps can contribute towards a big change. Its time for us to ensure a better life for the future generations.

Be a part of the solution not part of the pollution

Tuticorin copper smelter – why people wanted it closed

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Vedanta’s Sterlite Plant came to highlight after facing huge protests over its failure to follow environmental norms. Vedanta limited is one of the world’s largest diversified natural resource majors with operations across zinc, lead, silver, oil & gas, copper, aluminium and commercial power.

Protest against Sterlite copper development and expansion, began nearly two decades ago when it was notified to built. It was intensified earlier this year after the company announced expansion of its plant by doubling its capacity but violence first erupted on march 23 when Tuticorin residents woke up to itchy eyes, breathing problem and burning throat.  At least 13 people died when police opened the fire when hundreds were marching to the district collectorate, protesting the proposed expansion of factory.

Environmental activists in Tuticorin have been accusing sterlite contaminating the regions air and water resources. In every household at least one person is suffering from some kind of illness. Locals believe that asthma, heart problems, cancer are among the other health problems and children’s are worst affected.

Residents claim that  underground water has also been contaminated to such level that they can taste the pollutants in water  and even can not rinse their mouth with it anymore.

Sterlite officials claimed that there is no evidence to link the factory to illness among the people living around it and increased pollution & denies all allegations. They said that we are confident that we will be able to overcome the issues. It will certainly require a huge effort but they  are sure to restart as quick as possible.

The Company says they  would go ahead with its plan to double the capacity; inspite of the controversies. “We are very clear that this plant is not only important for the company but for the country’s growth considering it as a major source for infrastructure ( defence, automobile, construction).”

For sterlite frequent shut down resulted in huge losses. for each day company loses 50 crore when not in operation.

However on 28 may 2018 the Tamil Nadu government ordered permanent shut down of sterlite copper unit in Tuticorin.

According to the sterlite official statement the sudden decision of Tamil Nadu government  to close down smelter have far reaching ramifications for the economy of not only the town but also the country.

My point of writing article is not accusing anyone without myself having any proof but  to spread the word that nothing is greater than our environment. Now I hope other   industries or companies  safety team and experts too take it as a lesson  to  put their best efforts  to work on better norms, modern technology use  for  pollution control and cleaning hazardous material on site and surroundings.

We should not  forget that if we overstep the boundary, planet will simply erase us from its surface. We need environment because everything in the world created by humans comes from environment, let’s say money in our wallet made from paper! This paper comes from trees. We can buy air filters but not air.

At the end no amount of investing will save the world if we are not paying attention to what nature gives us for free clean air, clean water, mountains, oceans, rivers, sun light.

If you really think that environment is less important than economy try holding your breath while you count your money- Dr Mcpherson

Dust storm: Nature’s way to warn human race

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IMD Indian Meteorological Department issued an alert for the next 48 hours at various places in the country including Delhi NCR.  It’s been since past two weeks we are being warned about similar weather conditions. According to the news more than hundreds of people are killed and other two hundreds are injured, when several regions of north India were hit by severe weather condition with a trail of destruction that brought down mud houses, uprooted trees, flattened crops with reduced visibility affecting air and road transportation.

My purpose for this article is to highlight some information about occurring meteorological phenomenon i.e dust storm.

What is dust storm? A dust storm is a natural phenomenon that occurs when a strong wind such as gust front blows fine sand particles and dust from a dry surface.

In India pre-monsoon weather includes activities like dust storms, thunderstorms, rain, lightning strikes. As a norm not more than two pre monsoon storms are recorded in India. Occurrence of more than one severe storm with in span of a week has been very rare in northern parts of our country.

According to the data compiled by IMD, the severe thunderstorm last week caused the most devastation by any single day storm event in India in the past six years.

High mortality rate due to heat waves during pre-monsoon and widespread flood has become routine now.

Pre-monsoon dust are not out of the ordinary but the confluence of the multiple factors together to give us dust storms that have covered a larger part of India extending into north east and central south India.

what is happening now?  Weather is not following its own rule at the moment. Increase in earth’s average temperature due to global warming, ecological disorder and green cover depletion is the main culprit behind this meteorological activity. With the rise in global temperature soil is going to become drier so, the amount of soil that wind can carry is also increasing. With the increasing intensity of the wind and dryness of soil, the intensity of dust storm is going to further increase in the future.

There has been no focussed study on trends related to dust storm and thunderstorm as they are a common phenomenon every year. But its increasing intensity has led to its detailed study. According to scientists in coming years there could be more instances of severe and frequent thunderstorms and dust storms.

Few tips to be safe?

  • keep a watch on local weather updates

  • try to stay indoors

  • stay away from structures with tin roofs/metal sheeting

  • don’t take shelter under/ near trees

  • Cover your mouth and nose immediately

  • find a shelter

  • avoid driving

  • if driving pull aside wait until visibility resumes

recent events all over India is just a reminder that forest degradation, rapid industrialisation, urbanization and human interference by means of excessive construction activities are only aggravating the negative outcomes of global warming. In my opinion it’s Mother Nature way to convey a message to human race to stop trespassing its boundary.

The only good news is that IMD has predicted each of the thunderstorms in time.

Everything in nature is about balance

Eco- friendly activities for kids to follow during summer vacations

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Summer vacations are generally the happiest period for children’s. It is very interesting and entertaining season for them as they get rest and relax from daily school schedule .They enjoy it a lot due to long vacations and love joining summer classes with different activities like swimming, drawing, dancing, music etc. that interests them. Children’s are carefree so it is up to the parents to equip them with requisite skills and make them responsible for important things right from the childhood.

It is the need of the hour that everyone should know how they can protect the environment with small contribution. So, I thought to put a list a beautiful ways kids can have summer fun, learn something new, and make a difference at the same time. By teaching kids at a young age to be environmental friendly, you are building a life long habits that could make a difference in the future. Teach them how they can keep the environment and surroundings clean by working smart.

Use of Dustbins: Kids get lazy at times and throw papers, food etc. anywhere they wish to. Do not appreciate such habits, teach them to use the dustbins or garbage bins. Tell them that not littering is one of the most good habits.

Its better to keep the two dustbins one for food or general waste and other for waste that can be recycled.

You can also ask your kids being creative by drawing coloured labels for the bins.Take every effort to inculcate this habit in your child.

Gardening: Help your kids to plant a tree or grow some vegetables in a community garden or in your backyard. Day by day they can watch it grow into a beautiful plant or may find to like vegetables when grown themselves. May be you can plan vacations that focus on great outdoors like a day at state or national park and can get plenty of opportunities to discuss plants and animals you see and why its important to protect their habitat. I am sure this is going to be fun for parents too.

Conserve Energy: Teach kids to turn off TV when no one is watching, turn off lights when not in use and resist lingering in front of the refrigerator with door open.

Do not litter during trips: Always carry bags to dispose of the things that you want to throw. This way kids will learn the good habit and also teach other some valuable lessons. Take lot of pictures and ask your kid to make a collage or photo frames using waste materials (papers, straws, old CDs etc.). Trips, are the best thing about summer vacations. So why not let them learn few smarter things with fun.

Reuse shopping bags: Whenever you take kids for shopping, always carry the reusable shopping bags and tell them the importance of using it like how it will reduce the garbage, save the money and reduce plastic pollution.

Encourage cycling and walking: Teach your younger ones about the importance of cycling and walking as a mode of transportation to go to school, park or for short distances.

Pass it on: Ask kids to gather old toys, books , clothes and other things that they no longer use and ride along them to local charities for the drop off so they can see how donations help others and it will also develop the giving and sharing habit.

These tips are just ways to engage your child in eco friendly activities and get them to start thinking how their individual efforts affect the world they live in and how little changes can and will make a difference.

Remember, your child will mimic your actions and follow choices you make. So, the best way to teach them is to be a good role model yourself.

Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children- Walter Elias Disney

India tops world in bad air quality: Everything you need to know

India Air Pollution

According to the data released by WHO (world health organisation) in Geneva, 14 Indian cities are among the world’s 20 most polluted in terms of PM 2.5 concentration.

Here is some points to this big story:

  1. 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high level of pollutants.

  2. 7 million people die every year from exposure to polluted air.

  3. 14 Indian cities are in the list of 20 most polluted cities of the world includes New Delhi, Gurgaon, Kanpur, Gwalior, Gaya, Varanasi, Patna, Agra, Faridabad, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur.

  4. Ambient air pollution caused around 4.2 million deaths in 2016.

  5. Household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.

  6. In New Delhi, levels of the most dangerous particles in the air are sometime 10 times higher than the safe limit.

What is PM 2.5? Particulate matter are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in earth’s atmosphere. Its subtypes include SPM (suspended particulate matter), coarse particles with a diameter between 2.5 µm and 10 µm and PM (Particulate matter), fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 µm or less.

Health implications? Due to their smaller size possess ability to penetrate deep into lungs and blood streams unfiltered causing permanent DNA mutations, heart attacks, asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. It can also lead to premature death from heart and lung diseases.

How to reduce exposure to PM 2.5? here i am listing few steps which can reduce exposure.

  1. When outdoor PM 2.5 are elevated, going indoors may reduce exposure.

  2. Avoid activities such as Burning candles indoors or open burning outdoors that produces fine particles.

  3. Avoid strenuous activity in areas where PM level is high.

  4. Use air purifier equipped with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filter) which can remove fine particles from air. (If its affordable).

I must say government are making efforts to fight air pollution for example India’s Pradhan Mantri Yojna an initiative to safeguard the health of women and children has provided 37 million women living below the poverty line with free LPG connections to support them to switch to clean household energy use.

Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) specifically meant for Delhi and Delhi NCR to reduce vehicular emissions and control dust from constructions. But to combat pollution such plan should be implemented across the country.

This is a national public health crisis and we need “ serious” efforts, plan, and stringent action all over the country.

There is urgent need to ensure clean environment and healthy living as millions of lives in peril.

if we want to stop this invisible killer there should be a big step at the government level declaring war on air pollution.

Pollution-If you don’t kill it, it will kill you.

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Solar Energy: Today’s Resource for a Greener Future

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Solar technology has gained prominence in the past few decades. the global crisis of fuels is pressing up and it has become imminent for us to look for alternative sources to meet the increasing energy demands. Due to overexploitation, natural or non renewable resources are drying up, the use of green tor solar technology seems to be the only knight in shining armour that can save us.

The green or solar technology industry is constantly evolving and expanding our reliance on clean energy.

According to study “solar electricity generation is one of the very few low carbon energy technologies with potential to grow to very large scale”.

Why solar technology is important: Our planet is suffocating with increasing pollution affecting millions of population in various ways viz. air pollution, water contamination, earth average temperature rise. The aim of such technology is to makeup the human damage done to environment . Solar tech is not limited to a selected number of technologies instead it includes all the tech that is an innovative initiative that may or may have not seen the light of the day. Broadly the importance of solar tech lies to prevent the complete exhaustion of non renewable sources and reducing the risk posed by environmental damage.

This is an rapidly evolving industry that people have shown interest in last few years.

With advancement in solar power technology its clear that solar energy is here to stay. Here are a few reasons to look at why solar power is expected to dominate:

Sun-powerful source: According to a data every year, amount of energy reaching the earth in the form of solar radiation is twice the amount of all the conventional resources, combined!

It seems to be very clear that solar power also has the potential to become the most powerful and distinguished form of renewable energy.

There have been technological advancements and some significant transformations in the solar industry and this has brought down the price of solar energy.

Decline of fossil fuels: it is obvious we can not forever use our natural resources that we use to generate energy. The formation of fossil fuel is a natural process which took millions years and their overuse causing its depletion. Beside the sustainability issue burning of fossil fuel such as coal releases huge amount of carbon dioxide .

The solution to the problem is harnessing energy from renewable sources like sun, wind, sea etc.

Store your energy: one main issue over the years is its ability to be stored properly. Once the solar energy is depleted you have to wait for the sun to re-emerge. Now with the solar batteries it is possible to use the power even when the sun goes down. Its a great way to get more out of solar system and help reduce energy bills further.

Cost comparison: Nevertheless the one time transaction in equipping a property with solar panel will put a temporary dent in your finances but will straighten out in overtime. It is worth looking at the cost comparison of solar energy sources and fossil fuels. According to IEA report the cost of producing electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind has dropped significantly over the past five years, narrowing the gap with power generated from fossil fuels and nuclear reactors.

However after installation, you can expect your electricity bill savings to grow with time. Some things are a whole lot bigger than money and health is one of them.

Rise of electric vehicles: IEA (international energy agency) report suggests that half of new car sold will be electric by 2040 increasing the demand for green energy. EVs also reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change and smog.

In a nut shell, solar technology is important for our future. Affordable, easy to install, qualities and advantages are more than obvious when introduced and implemented in the right time and right way. Moreover, its benefits are undeniable.  In the future solar power  assure to have a positive and  profuse impact on the society.  its been only a matter of time that solar energy becomes a game changer.

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Sometimes the best things in life are free