Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Riders for health, social entrepreneurship..

Riders for Health reach in Africa ..
When bike riding fans Andrea and Barry Coleman met in Africa and decided to help the Central Africa states how to tide over the transportation logistics problem, nobody thought it would become a craze and benefit millions of people and save millions of lives.. 

Riders for health - is the story how an NGO on wheels helped five Central African countries tide over problems of poor logistics and transportation to improve the healthcare delivery ecosystem in Africa and bring in transformative change of communities ..

These problems are too narrow in scope to warrant legislative activism nor are they too profitable to attract private capital. But the right intervention at the right time across the right parameters can bring about lasting societal transformation and change. That is the essence of social entrepreneurship.

Click here for a video on the organisation ..

The NGO helps Ministries of Health and other health related organisations to manage their fleet of vehicles (click here) in good running condition and also provide extra fleet in the fight for AIDS prevention etc to these countries..

Reading through the article in Harvard Business Review (click here..) which highlighted this NGO and its activities, I was immediately moved by the impact of such social entrepreneurship. Knowing that it was the poor maintenance activities of the vehicle fleet that grounded these vehicles and prevented healthcare from reaching the poor and needy people across the central parts of Africa, Andrea and Barry Coleman offered to maintain a fleet of motorcycles for these governments who will carry out the last mile logistics of carrying patients, medicines, injections etc to the hospitals and to homes.

Andrea and Barry Coleman, co-founders ..
It has now grown to a fleet of motorcycles and vehicles that is helping solve the transportation problems affecting the health infrastructure of Africa.

This simple idea has now translated to become one of the greatest innovative interventions that helped improve the last mile delivery effectiveness of healthcare operations in Central

The whole crux is on providing a reliable transportation fleet to help the health organisation network in Africa aiming to reach more than 25 million people across Africa.  - to make the last mile the most important in health care delivery..

Wish more such socially beneficial entrepreneurial ideas come up in the world to help save and benefit humanity in many ways.

Australia culling 2 million Feral cats by 2020 ..

Feral cat, harmless to humans but ...
The Felis Catus (cat) we breed at our homes is a small mammal that has been harmless to humans and domesticated. Historical records show of this animal having been domesticated around 7500 BC in Cyprus and later spread to other parts of the world to Egypt, Greece and so on.

The main reason why this mammal found favour with the people was its ability to keep away the rodents that attacked the scarce food reserves in these places.

Australia has 6 million of these feral cats.  Feral cats are domesticated cats that have been abandoned and hence have become suspicious of humans and keep away in the wild.

These cats look very innocent, but they have been in the Australian landscape since the 17 century when Europeans brought these non-native cat species to a foreign land.

A feral cat consuming an innocent bird ..
What has been the problem with these 60 lakh harmless cats that roam around Australian landscape in the wild ? It is said by Australian Conservancy, ever since these cats have come to Australia, it has resulted in the extinction of almost 130 species of birds and reptiles from Australian landmass.

Every year they kill almost 316 million birds and 596 million reptiles across the country. As per this New York Times report, feral cats have established their presence over 99.8 percent of Australian landmass with over 100 cats per square kilometre area. The NY Times report states that in US free roaming cats kill between 1.3 to 4 billion birds and 6.3 to 22.3 billion mammals every year.

The bait used to kill these cats is burger airdropped in the wild Australian landmass, containing Kangaroo or chicken meat laced with a poison named 1080. It can also kill other non-native species like foxes.

These cats finish off rodents in a flick ..
The proliferation of these cats arises out of the fact that the food chain ends with the cats. They roam around freely like humans do on planet earth. These cats can only be poached on using poison or should be promoted as a national stew on the breakfast tables of Australians.

The problem is with how these cats oversee the extinction of hundreds of native species of birds and reptiles in Australia that have evolved over millions of years in the isolated landmass of Australia secluded from other land masses.

Even if 2 million of these wild feral cats are killed by poisoning, there are still the other 4 million cats around, posing a major threat to the native Australian birds and reptiles. In the long run will Australian government with just 30 million people around have to take a decision if and when these cats outnumber humans.

Only God knows what will happen next ?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Integrating ridesharing apps with public and mass transit systems

Imagine a situation in Bangalore where you tell Ola that on a particular day you would like to visit the city of Mumbai, go to so and so offices from this time to this time and travel to this hotel for staying overnight, vacate the hotel, completing some morning assignments and catching the afternoon flight to Bangalore.

If Ola could arrange your travel itinerary with a combo of private, public transport and Mass Transit systems at a particular cost, it would definitely make travel and transport a pleasant experience. 

The ride sharing services like Ola, Über by planning working on the backbone of Indian Railways, Mass Rapid Transit Systems (MRTS) like Metros, City bus systems etc and effectively integrating with it, backward integrating and forward integrating, definitely, would transform the personal transportation landscape around country and the world πŸ‘πŸ‘ It is already more than $1 trillion industry (conservative estimates) around the world.. (click here for a CNN report on global mobility integration)

The electric mobility system being planned by Ola in a big way in the country is based on this report of their electrical mobility experiment in Nagpur. (click here for the pdf report)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

SELCO Foundation SDG7 For SDG8 Conference at IIM Bangalore ..

The SELCO Foundation SDG7 for SDG8 Conference at IIM Bangalore (click here for the conf) happened yesterday 26 April 2019 and continues on 27th too.

Prof. G Raghuram, Director, IIMB, giving the
inaugural talk.
SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals 2015 formulated by United Nations in 2015 as part of the Paris Treaty on Climate Change to stall the global climate change and temperature increase to less than 2 deg Celsius by the turn of the century 2099 AD. (click here for the theme video for the conf..)

It was a great act by IIM Bangalore to host this Conference of global impact and on a very vital and important topic in their premises,. thanks to the intervention and support by the IIM Bangalore Director, Prof. Raghuram.
The Alliance Uty participants at the conf ..

We could, besides listening to the Chairman of Selco Foundation, the 2011 Magsaysay Award winner, Harish Hande himself, (click here for a write up on Harish) an IIT KGP alumnus, see all the indigenous innovative product and service applications that were up on display at IIM Bangalore stalls, which had come from different parts of the country. All these societal livelihood enhancement interventions have happened thanks to intervention by Selco Foundation, led by Harish Hande.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015
for the world to help curb climate change ..
One thing striking was Harish's leadership style. a true leader, he leads from behind. It was really gratifying to find how his team members from around the country at different Foundation centres were leading the charge in bringing a change by linking sustainable energy to poverty eradication and lifestyle changes in the country, while Harish was behind them, giving full support and encouragement.

Another statement, which Harish has been repeating at different fora across the country is how fortunate we are to be educated, to be living and studying off the subsidy collected from the poor of the country.

He was very concerned about the fallacy of the English speaking people of the country assuming themselves to be more intelligent than the vernacular language speaking people and were snatching opportunities meant for them. Let us  ask our conscience, are we not showing off intellectual snobbishness and snatching from and denying the intelligent vernacular language speaking people of this country the opportunities to excel in life ?

In one of his talks he was mentioning how at an IT company, as part of CSR, employees were registering to teach the students from the village schools while in return he asked them how they would feel if the village school children could in return teach them some life lessons !! Never underestimate the rural people, there are many Einsteins and Edisons down there, waiting for the right opportunities to be unearthed.

Listen to Harish speak (click here)  at the Tata Centre for Technology and Design at IIT Bombay in 2018. Also his 2013 talk at an INK conference.. click here 

Dr Harish Hande, BTech (IIT KGP), MS, PhD, UMass.
2011 Magsaysay Award winner, 2018 Skoll Award winner
The IIMB conference sponsored by Selco Foundation was all about linking sustainable energy applications to poverty alleviation and lifestyle improvement models for the rural people of the country. There were many demonstrations arranged where people from rural areas came with their innovative solar energy based projects which helped improve lifestyles. for example cotton fibre collection to solar energy operated cotton loom to stitching ..., the entire cotton fibre-cloth-dress value chain ..

This is how we at Alliance University have shown our commitment to the UN SDG initiatives by conducting a No Impact Week to raise awareness among students to consciously strive to reduce their Carbon Footprints initially over a one week period and later intelligently act throughout their life .. (click here..)

We could get great value out of the conference and we are planning to invite Dr. Harish to the University in the month of July 2019.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Marketing (going for the overkill) and UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 ..

Is there any relationship, adverse or beneficial, between Marketing and over-consumption  ??

What is the function of Marketing ? Marketing is more about developing and managing the demand for an innovative product or service which earlier did not exist in the market. Innovation brings a new product or service and marketing tries to reach it out to the world of customers, find the right customers for the right products or services at the right cost performance mix .

According to Prof. Theodore Levitt of HBS, Marketing invariably views the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs. ie. Marketing has more to do with creating a demand for a product and getting customers to pay for it, than actually selling a product to the customer.

It s a pity, how many of these UN SDG goals are supported by
the Marketing function in an organisation ?
More often than not, we find this process of creating demand for a product or service, which is what Marketing is actually worried about, overshoots itself. It identifies a non-existing need, and develops the product and supply chain mechanism to help meet that need for a cost. This process of trying to satisfy a non-existing need by exploiting the resources of the physical world is in itself, against the environment. This non-existing need, created by Marketing, is in itself the start of an unsustainable lifestyle, as it exploits physical resources which otherwise would have remained in the physical world for future generations to consume.

How far can we resort to Marketing in the physical world ? or what constitutes environmentally sustainable marketing and what constitutes environmentally unsustainable marketing ? Where do we draw the line ?

Referring to the above Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the United Nations Forum for Climate Change as per the Paris Accord of 2015 - 2030 to limit the increase of global temperatures across the world to within 2 deg C, and to limit to 1.5 deg by 2099 AD, is Marketing acting against this need of the global community to limit consumption and splurge ?

Marketing plays an important role in establishing relationships between customers and the organizations offering to the market. The marketing function is also tasked with branding of the organization, participation in publicity activities, advertising and customer interaction through feedback collection. Timothy Mahea

Marketing is acceptable when it limits its actions to creating customer awareness. But what will happen if Marketing goes for the overkill, finding a  product or service that can harm the environment or otherwise, creating non-existential demand for that product / service and then going for the sale. It is not sustainable Marketing. And we need to stop such dangerous marketing practices for the better future of the world.

Marketing within existing and future customer demand is fine, but not making customers create artificial needs for the customer and make him spend and waste more where actually he does not have a genuine need.


Electric bicycles from Yulu on Bangalore roads ..

Cycles parked at Sony World, Koramangala,
Bangalore ..
Yesterday morning, 25 April 2019, while I came to the Silk Board bus stop to catch the college bus, I was surprised to see about 20 small cycles lined up in front of the Saphire shop area.

On close examination I understood this was Yulu Miracle, the electric bicycles from Yulu which was released in Bangalore and simultaneously in Bhubaneshwar and a couple of other cities in India.

It was quite interesting to know the following points

1. No helmet needed
2. No license needed.
3. The maximum speed at which one can move on this e-bicycle in 25 kmph.
4. A charge lasts for almost 75 kms.
5. The e-cycle can be found at important points in Bangalore and can be kept back at these places.
6. They charge no fee if you are taking the bike to your home and parking it for the night between 6 pm to 8 am.
7. Rs 10/- as rental for the bike and Rs 10/ - for the first 10 minutes and so on.

Read the article in Yourstory giving all details ..

How can this solve Bangalore's traffic problem? The Yourstory link points to a survey conducted some months by an agency that the average distance of any bicycle ride in Bangalore is about 2 kms and car ride is 5 kms. If we can travel this 5 km distance on this ecycle, that much space on the road for a four wheeler can be saved, the traffic reduces, easing the traffic flow and speeding it up and then so much less of fuel too.

This evening I am definitely taking it for a ride on Koramangala roads.

There are some questions for which we address here. For example,
1. Can this innovative application bring cleaner air and less time consuming commutation for Bangaloreans ?
2. Is Bangalore outstripping other cities in the country to have the first e-cycles on road ?
3. Are there only limited spots to collect and deposit these e-cycles in Bangalore city ?
4. Can this be taken to spots on the city outskirts, within 75 kms or only within some limits within the city ?
5. If a day's ride is more than 75 kms, how can it be managed ?


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Carbon fibre Loom and components.

Just like cotton fibres and cotton loom defined and kickstarted Industrial revolution in late 18th century, Carbon fibres and Carbon fibre looms (upto 300 kg/hr) like the above pic (Bertha at Uty of Bristol, UK) are defining modern carbon fibre composites manufacture.

Carbon fibre composites (all modern lightweight F1 racing cars are made from carbon fibre braided composites) are 10 times stronger than steel and 5 times lighter than steel !! 

We can expect very soon large scale and mass precision manufacturing to be taken over by automated carbon fibre looms ..

Courtesy Economist, UK, April 2019.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day .. April 22, 2019 ..

 Why is Earth Day celebrated ? When did it start ?

"Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 193 countries each year."

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

History of the Earth Day (click here..)

How to observe Earth Day .. (click here..)

Do something ..  (click here..)

Simple things to do  (click here ..)

Come lets create awareness and help mother nature ..

The Earth Day was celebrated in Alliance University on 22 April 2019. The event started with a presentation by Prof. George Easaw on the need  to preserve species which is the motto for the current year. The interesting part was the discussion which went alongside the presentation.

The meeting was attended by almost 10 faculty from the streams of Economics, HR and Operations and a couple of students. The main points discussed during the meeting focused on the following points :

1. Caring for nature and preserving species is part of our culture. Prof. Aswathi was trying to recollect that preserving the environment and the species is not something new, but has been there in our society from time immemorial. (click here for Prof. Aswathi's blog on Mother Eath Day.)

With active discussions, the learning and
understanding was great.
Let me introduce a concept in Kerala homes may be for millennia, Sarppakaavu. I remember when we used to go to our friends' home in Kerala, in the older tharavads, there used to be an area called the Sarppakavu, (snake's place). Only recently I came to know that this place was the result of human's attempt and desire to help preserve the different species in their native living environments. Mainly snakes, birds, squirrels, rats etc used to reside there, but it was our effort to preserve an environment for reptiles and animals to live peacefully, a conscious effort to preserve the species of flora and fauna.

2. Technology can help further this preservation of species. Prof. Sajan and Prof. Sukanya, proponents of technology in our group were fervently arguing that sustainability is not a viable option in the long run. With improvements of science and technology, the speed at which we exploit natural resources will change. Many new innovative applications will come that may change our consumption and demand patterns. Can we sustain this exploitation of natural resources for ever ??

The faculty members were of the opinion that technology if properly implemented, could through the use of Blockchains, AI etc help to optimise the usage, increase efficiency and trace the sources of these energy.

They also were of the opinion that sustainability and environmental conservation should not to be a nationally focused activity, instead it should be globally coordinated by a strong international body with powers to enforce rules and bans. Planet Earth belongs to everyone and a disturbance in one area brings cumulative repercussions around the world.

3. The impact of SDG goals were discussed by our Economic Professor, who was explaining how environmental sustainability can be ensured by sound economic principles.

A view of the audience and discussion members .
Overall the discussion was high class. The meeting which started at 11.30 AM went to 1.30 Pm (2 hours ) before it was called off as the room was needed for other meetings for the day. We met in LHE 101.

The points noted and implemented by students when they implemented No Impact week (click here) in Alliance University during the first week of April 2019 was also discussed. No Impact Week impacts SDG 11, 12 and 13.

SDG11 - focuses on building sustainable cities and communities by controlling Carbon emissions and helping preserve a heathy lifestyle with physical exercises and responsible consumption 
SDG12 - focuses on cultivating responsible consumption and production patterns among the population so that resources are equally used by the people across areas and also left back for future generations to use 
SDG13 - focuses on the impact of our irresponsible actions leading to higher environmental pollution because of higher Carbon footprints of our actions. Identifying those actions is a firm step to preserve the environment in the long run.

The No Impact Week was a great success as the students were made aware that reducing our Carbon footprints or impact on the environment is within our reach and we can make conscious and concrete decisions to reduce the Carbon footprints to help save the environment.

George ..

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Why do Indian elections entice the world ?

Why are elections in the world's largest democracy of India closely watched by the whole world ? Why does it take 39 days to complete this exercise in 9 phases involving 10 million officials in a million polling booths to cover 900 million eligible voters for 543 seats ? 

Having 4 times as much voters in the second largest democracy US with 225 million and an average voter turnout of 66%, India is the greatest crucible ever in the history of mankind where personal freedoms of citizens often intersect with partisan interests of left, middle and right wing political thinking (extremes too). 

This helps take the world's oldest civilisation ahead in the path to greatness and unparalleled glory πŸ‘πŸ‘

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Curating an Alliance Talk ..

What makes any talk captivating ??

Three points come to our mind

a. The ability of the speaker to talk well

b. The content of the talk

c. The preparations and setup

While thinking about the first point, we come across the following points :

  • Can we get a speaker to improve his talking style ? 
  • Can a speaker be trained to speak well ? 
  • Does he have a soul for talking on the topic ? 
  • Has he any practical experience or deep exposure to the topic of his talk ?
  • Can he speak fairly well in the English language ?
  • Does he have any inhibitions in speaking well ?
  • Does he require training to speak well ?
While thinking about the content of the talk, the following points come to our mind.

  • Is the topic of interest to the audience ?
  • Does the topic have common appeal ?
  • Can an ordinary member of the audience relate himself with the topic ?
  • Is the topic very scientific ?
  • Is the topic related to a problem which the people encounter in their daily lives ?
  • Can an understanding of the problem help make the society live better ?
While thinking about organising the talk, the following points need to be taken into consideration

  • Is the room properly echo insulated ?
  • Does the room have proper lighting and focusing systems ?
  • Does the room have good audio system ?
  • Is there seating for at least 200 people in the room ?
  • Is the dais properly visible to the audience ?
  • Does the room have a good recording facility ?

This process can take anywhere from 2 - 6 months. The time spent for curating your first talk series is time well spent.

Ideas is the most important, then comes speakers and thirdly the facilities. Start and end with a bang ..

So go ahead with your first talk (click here for a copy of this article..)


Monday, April 15, 2019

Stratolaunch flies nine years after conception ..

Stratolaunch , the space vehicle launch startup by late Paul Allen of Microsoft, was launched successfully yesterday 13 April 2019 on its maiden flight yesterday in Mojave desert California.

The two fuselage, 110m wide, 6 engines 544 T aircraft will be used to launch spacecraft at altitudes of 9000m to space.

Will the launch of this massive plane change the commercial flying business of the world ? Or will it only be a challenge to the NASA, ESA, ISROs of the world ?

In special arrangement with SpaceX of Elon Musk, it remains to be seen what all innovative applications the stratolaunch will subject itself to in the coming years.

Click here for the BBC link ..

scenes from the first flight ..
Will other launchers also crowd the world aviation market like Virgin Atlantic or NASA itself ?

Does this launch mark the beginning of the great space age for humanity on earth ? Will it be the start of the great space explorations by humans as the launch costs will be greatly be reduced in the coming years.

Flying at altitudes of 10 km, will it be most cost effective, safe, secure, highly reliable launch pad for launching low earth orbit and high earth orbit satellite in the future ?


Remembering Jalianwala Bagh's cold blooded murder ..

The gory Baisakhi day of 1919 ..  Courtesy News18
General Dyre, the young British Brigadier General posted in Amritsar, Punjab committed a grave act that would be remembered for generations on the evening of April 13, 1919. The soldiers led by Gen Dyre surrounded a crowd of 1600 people gathered and in 10 minutes committed one of the most brutal and heinous crimes ever on the people of India.

It was a very audacious and bold move in British eyes but a very agonising, excruciating and heart wrenching moment for Indians. In a matter of 10 minutes from 17.37 hrs to 17.47 hours,  on 13 April 1919, 1600 bullets were fired on the people who had gathered at Jalianwala Bagh. 376 innocent villagers who had gathered to celebrate Baisakhi and to protest against the British high handedness, were brought down in cold blood, fell dead, with about 1100 injured, many of them grievously.

A British newspaper even went to the extent of complimenting Gen Dyre and organised a fund collection drive for him and collected 26,000 British Pounds for him as a reward for the atrocities on the Indians. 

The British envoy who visited the site yesterday expressed deep remorse at the act committed a hundred years ago, by a loyal British subject employing Indian policemen on the people of India. 

The memorial erected at the site during the 50s .. Forever a dark blot on
British imperialism .
Great Empires come and great Empires go, they get mired in their own inconsistencies and sinful, remorseful acts. The burden is carried over for generations and centuries, even after the complete annihilation of the empire or its divided and fallen subjects. The great Romans fell like a pack of cards, Alexander of Greece went down defeated, bruised and obliterated, the Egyptians were annihilated and extirpated, the people from the Mesopotamia basin were removed and erased out of human history. Only civilizations that preached peace, harmony and love have survived and thrived.

An apology is but the civilised way to say sorry, that it will never be repeated, never again in human history of planet Earth. More dastardly events were to come after this massacre in the killing fields of Auschwitz during the second world war, Khmer Rouge killing fields at Pnom Penh Cambodia in the mid-seventies and Rwanda in Africa in the mid-nineties and more .. It is a great humbling lesson now for the British government and their learned but uncivilised subjects.

Click here for a video of the event attended by British officials on 13 April 2019 in Jalianwala Bagh .. India's great leader Shashi Tharoor speaking in the Indian Parliament, two months back .. (click here) asking an apology from the British... And apology did Britain do for one of the darkest blots on British imperialism ..

To the honoured people who lost their lives - your death was not in vain, we gratefully remember your sacrifice and contribution to our freedom movement . Rest in peace !!


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Environmental Impact Assessment..

Environmental assessment is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. Wikipedia

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likelyenvironmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

Another purpose of the assessment is to promote the communication to and involvement of citizens, even in the early stages of a project.

FAO guidelines on preparing EIA (click here ..)

What is the purpose of Environmental Impact Assessment?
Goals of EIA
The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment is to protect the environment by ensuring that a local planning authority when deciding whether to grant planning permission for a project, which is likely to have significant effects on the environment, does so in the full knowledge of the likely significant effects, and takes this into account in the decision making process. The regulations set out a procedure for identifying those projects which should be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, and for assessing, consulting and coming to a decision on those projects which are likely to have significant environmental effects.

The aim of Environmental Impact Assessment is also to ensure that the public are given early and effective opportunities to participate in the decision making procedures. www.gov.uk

A brief explanation .. Click here for video ..

Stages of Environmental Impact Assessment | Environment 
                                                            (material taken from environmentalpollution.in)
The following points highlight the ten main stages of environmental impact assessment. The stages are:
1. Identification
2. Screening
3. Scoping and Consideration of Alternatives
4. Impact Prediction
5. Mitigation
6. Reporting To Decision-Making Body
7. Public Hearing
8. Review (EIA Report)
9. Decision-Making
10. Post Project Monitoring & Environment Clearance Condition.
Here we describe the various stages involved in preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

Stage # 1. Identification:
The first step is to define a project and study all the likely activities involved in its process so as to understand the range and reach of the project. The extent of the utility of the project s assessed at this stage. This helps in deciding the possible zones of environmental impacts.

Stage # 2. Screening:
Screening is done to see whether a project is big enough and requires environmental clearance as per the statutory notifications.

Screening criteria are based upon:
(i) Scales of investment
(ii) Types of development
(iii) Location of development
A project will have several ramifications like biophysical or environmental, economic and social. Hence, it requires some degree of public participation and vetting to be taken up. The law for EIA varies from country to country. If screening shows that a project necessitates EIA, it moves to the next stage.

Some projects may not require EIA. It is generally determined by the size of the project and is sometimes based on the site-specific information.

The output of the screening process is a document known as “Initial Environmental Examination or Evaluation (IEE)”, based on which the decision is taken whether an EIA is needed and if so, to what extent.

Stage # 3. Scoping and Consideration of Alternatives:
Scoping is the procedure of identifying the key environmental issues and is possibly the most important step in an EIA. Scoping means the scope or range of the EIA report.

It undertakes the project’s effect on the air, water, soil, noise level, air quality and physical impact.

It identifies issues and concerns, decides the assessment methods, identifies af­fected parties and invites public participation for agreement on debatable issues. In which public participation involves interactions of all stakeholders including project benefi­ciaries, local people, private sectors, NGOs, scientists and other.

It is on-going process and is likely to continue in the planning and design phases of the project.

Scoping is important because it is possible to bring changes in the project in the early stages of the cycle of the project and it ensures the study of all possible important issues.

In this stage there is an option for cancelling or revising the project. After crossing this stage, there is little opportunity for major changes to the project.

Stage # 4. Impact Prediction:
Impact Prediction is a way of ‘mapping’ the environmental consequences of the signifi­cant aspects of the project and its alternatives.

There are two steps in impact analysis:

(i) Identification:

Identification of the impacts would have been initiated in the scoping stage itself. These initial identifications may be confirmed and new ones are added as and when the investigations reveal.

(ii) Prediction of Impacts:

Predication of impacts is both qualitative and quantitative. The scale and severity of an impact is determined by whether it is reversible or irreversible. If the impact is reversible, then it may be taken as low impact. If the adverse impact cannot be reversed then the impact is said to be high.

Duration of the impact is equally important to understand. The chronological aspects of impacts, arising at different stages must be taken into account.

Thus, it may be catego­rized into:
(i) Short-term (3-9 years)
(ii) Medium-term (10-20 years)
(iii) Long-term (beyond 20 years)

Stage # 5. Mitigation:
This stage includes recommended actions that can offset the adverse impacts of the project. This is done with the idea of lessening the negative effects and improving the scope for project benefits.

Mitigating measures may be:
(i) Preventive: public awareness programmes
(ii) Compensatory: to reduce potential reactions
(iii) Corrective: putting into place devices and installations

Stage # 6. Reporting To Decision-Making Body:
The project authorities have to furnish the following documents for environmental appraisal of a development project.

(i) Detailed project report (DPR)

(ii) Filled in questionnaire

(iii) Environmental impact statement (EIS): EIS should provide the possible impact (positive and negative) of the project.

Some of the issues to be included are:
1. Impact on soil, water (hydrologic regime, ground water and surface water) and air quality
2. Impact on land use, forests, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, recreation etc.
3. Socio-economic impact including short and long-term impact on population
4. Impact on health
5. Impact on flora, fauna and wildlife, particularly endemic and endangered species, and
6. Cost benefits analysis including the measures for environmental protection.
(iv) Environmental Management Plan (EMP):

It covers the following aspects:
1. Safeguards and control measures proposed to prevent or mitigate the adverse environmental impact
2. Plans for habitation of project outers
3. Contingency plans for dealing with accidents and disasters
4. Monitoring add feedback mechanisms on implementation of necessary safe­guards.

(v) Human Exposure Assessment Location (HEAL):

The concept of Human Expo­sure Assessment Location (HEAL) was developed as a part of the health-related monitoring programme by WHO in cooperation with UNEP, and the project has three components, viz., air quality monitoring, water quality monitoring and food contamination monitoring on a global basis.

In our country, Chembur and central Bombay city have been identified for such study of human exposure with reference to pollutants such as chlorinated pesticides (DDT and BHC), heavy metals (lead, cadmium) and air pollutants (nitrogen oxides).

Stage # 7. Public Hearing:
After the completion of EIA report the law requires that the public must be informed and consulted on a proposed development after the completion of EIA report.

Any one likely to be affected by the proposed project is entitled to have access to the executive summary of the EIA.

The affected person may include:
(i) Bonafide local residents;
(ii) Local associations;
(iii) Environmental groups active in the area
(iv) Any other person located at the project site/ sites of displacement
They are to be given an opportunity to make oral/written suggestions to the State Pollution Control Board as per Schedule IV of the act.

Stage # 8. Review (EIA Report):
Once the final report is prepared, it may be reviewed based on the comments and inputs of stakeholders.

Stage # 9. Decision-Making:
The final decision is based on the EIA to approve or reject the project. This is open to administrative or judicial review based on procedural aspects.

Stage # 10. Post Project Monitoring & Environment Clearance Condition:
Once a project is approved, then it should function as per the conditions stipulated based on environmental clearance. These conditions have to be strictly monitored and implemented.

Monitoring should be done during both construction and operation phases of a project. This is not only to ensure that the commitments made are complied with, but also to observe whether the predictions made in the EIA reports were correct or not. www.environmentalpollution.in


Classroom Activity :

The class was divided into five groups and the groups were given five topics to prepare an Environmental Assessment Report.
A. Opening an NPK fertilizer chemical plant of large capacity, 200 TPD capacity on a 30acre plot  at Anekal, Bangalore 
B. Opening a water theme park in a 40 acre plot in Bommasandra 
C. Infosys opens a 4000 seater new office in a 40 acre plot in Marasur area 
D. Opening a 30 acre BMTC / KSRTC bus terminal in Anekal area to  
E. Relocating the old Fruits Market from Huskur Gate to the suburbs of Anekal. 

There could be no better way to get the students to participate and think creatively on how to assess the impact of their actions on the environment.

The students prepared a brief  Environmental Impact Assessment report (2 page report) to understand how each of these projects impact the environment and the socio-economic aspects of the population living around. The aim of the exercise is to get the students think of of Environmental impact for all of their actions and to take corrective action to mitigate these impacts. The students will now think of how each of their action impacts the environment.

George.. (the author is thankful to www.environmentalpollution.in for the major inputs to this study material)

Friday, April 12, 2019

NIRF rankings 2019 ..

While going through the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India NIRF rankings for Business Management Schools, I was very much happy to note that there were only three Business Schools from Karnataka in the top 75 list .

1. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore overtook IIM Ahmedabad to become rank #1
2. TMA Pai Business School, Manipal at rank 23.
3. Alliance University at rank 43

Great news and fruits for our hardwork.

Prof. G Raghuram, IIMB
What greatly touched me was the response from Prof. G Raghuram, the Director of IIM Bangalore. 

He said he is very much thankful for the Institute's previous leadership for the honour. It reads this way, 
" I would give credit to the Institute's previous leadership and the responsibility of faculty and staff, at least over the past decade, who have often made difficult but the right choices, in setting the direction for and contributing to the Institution. "
This is leadership .. Great leadership !! Professor your leadership is worth emulation !! (my professor too..)


Stormwater drain pollution ..

A stormdrain ..

What is Stormwater Drain Pollution ?? Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas, bare soil, and sloped lawns. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports animal waste, litter, salt, pesticides,fertilizers, oil, grease, soil and other potential pollutants. This is commonly called as stormwater pollution ..

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people. Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.

A storm drain, storm sewer (U.S. and Canada), surface water drain/sewer (United Kingdom), or stormwater drain (Australia and New Zealand) is infrastructure designed to drain excess rain and ground water from impervious surfaces such as paved streets, car parks, parking lots, footpaths, sidewalks, and roofs. www.wikipedia.com

Stormwater Pollution Management : 
1. Don't dump anything down the stormdrains.
Stormdrains are for stormwater. Not mop water, not your used motor oil, not your car washing rinse water. This water does not get any sort of cleaning treatment before it makes it's way into our rivers, so help ensure only water from the sky ends in our stormdrains.

2. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
Make sure lawn fertilizers stay on your lawn and out of the gutter. Better yet, replant area with native plants that don't need chemicals to look good. Stay away from RAID insecticide for ants, and use a less toxic borax solution instead.

3. Use a car wash instead of washing your car in the street.
Take your car to a car wash which has to collect and clean the wash water before discharging it. Try to wash your car on your lawn to keep that water from the gutter.

4. Pick up your dog poop / domestic animals wastes.
Dog poop is gross and has lots of fecal bacteria in it. Just as I don't want to step in it, I don't want it running into the river.

5. Throw your trash in the garbage.
Litter will make it's way into our rivers through the stormdrain system. In addition to being unsightly, trash can encourage the growth of harmful bacteria.

6. Throw your cigarette butts away.
This really should be included with number 5, but some people don't seem to have second thoughts about throwing butts on the ground. They are gross and contribute to the toxicity of the river. Put your butt away, no one like it.

7. Fix your clunker car.
Oil drips onto the road will wash into the river during the next storm. If you have a puddle underneath your parking spot, it's time to take your car in for a repair. Your car and the fish will thank you.

8. Consider a rain barrel. Capturing and reusing that rainwater means less of it can carry pollutants to the river. Your garden will be thankful for that sweet chlorine free water.

9. Direct your downspouts back onto your garden.
Direct the downspout water away from your impervious driveway and back onto your garden. Your plants and the soil will filter that water on it's way to the river.

10. Sweep your sidewalks and driveways clean.
Don't use a hose to wash your sidewalks and driveways. This wastes water and sends non rainwater into the stormdrains. Does your driveway really need a late summer bath? Credits : www.sdcoastkeeper.org

What is a green roof ?? Greenroof ..A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane

Selfish humanity ..

This pic is great illustration how selfishly we have used up Earth and polluted it, leaving the other inhabitants helpless to act or react ..

It is high time we cleaned up our premises and give the other living beings on this planet a chance to live and enjoy the resources of planet Earth.

We are in the race to exploit and exhaust the other natural resources too available to the whole of humanity and all flora and fauna on this planet.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Noise pollution ..

Effects of noise pollution (click here..)

Note of Noise pollution click here

I am reminded of my Engg college days in Trivandrum, Kerala when we had to carry out the final year project. It was on identifying the noise pollution levels in the city of Trivandrum, to plot a noise contour map. While my friends were busy carrying out great projects on rocketry and other things in VSSC . , I took it as a great challenge to do this project for the society. We went around the important traffic points in the city of Trivandrum on week days and weekends at different times of the day to find the sound levels to plot the sound map of the city of Trivandrum. We succeeded finally in doing that. That was my first experience with the environment. We got the Sound Level Meter from the CSIR Lab in Trivandrum. 

Nowadays I have asked my student to download many of the sound level meters, especially one from Google , properly calibrated. 

Sound levels are measured in decibels(dB). It is a unit for expressing the relative intensity of sound on a scale from 0 to 130.

Normal conversation is about 60 dB, a lawn mower is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is about 120 dB. In general, sounds above 85 are harmful, depending on how long and how often you are exposed to them and whether you wear hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs.

Headphones : Standard headphones, when turned all the way up, can emit sound as loud as 110 decibels, the equivalent of strapping a power saw to each ear. Many people have no idea how much damage they are doing to their ears when they listen to music at a high volume for an extended period of time.

Noise level of 80 decibels or more for more than 8 hours a day increases tension and changes in breathing patterns. Continued exposure to high levels of noise results in fatigue, hearing loss or even total loss of hearing, changes in blood circulation, changes in breathing, etc.

Types Of Noise Pollution:

The types of noise pollution are categorized into three broadly.
1. Industrial pollution
2. Transport noise
3. Neighborhood noise. 
1. Industrial Noise:Industrial noise is caused by some high intensity decibels that is the result of industry machines and other such appliances. The noise comes from the use of mills, heavy industrial machines and even the small exhaust fans that run for a long period. Noise from mechanical saws and pneumatic drills is unbearable and the ultimate form of pollution to the public and neighborhood. This is one cause of noise pollution. 
2. Transport Noise:Transport noise is simply inevitable. The traffic jams cause considerable amount of vehicle noise and the honking of the many vehicles in the crowd are nothing but a pure nuisance. Whether road, rail or aircraft, their noise is a considerable contributor to noise pollution. Tractors and other heavy vehicle sounds are difficult to control for their sound. 
3. Neighborhood Noise:Gadgets, electrical appliances like the grinder and mixer are the prime contributors to noise pollution. Loud loudspeakers in the name of wedding, political parties and other such events call for a significant amount of noise pollution. In the long run, they become difficult to bear posing problems to the health of humans.
150 decibels is usually considered enough to burst your eardrums, but the threshold for death is usually pegged at around 185-200 dB. A passenger car driving by at 25 feet is about 60 dB, being next to a jackhammer or lawn mower is around 100 dB, a nearby chainsaw is 120 dB.

Around airports, you have noise levels around 120 dB at the time of takeoff.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

UN SDG 11, 12, 13 No-Impact Week practiced at our University in Bangalore.

There is no better way to spread the good word about the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals than get the students in educational Institutions to practice them. At Alliance University Bangalore, we got the students to undertake actions through a No Impact Week focusing on SDG 11, SDG12 and SDG 13  (ref to pic below) as part of UN SDG 2015 that trains to limit global climate change and temperature rise to within 1.5 deg C by 2099 AD.

Following UN SDG goals 2015-2030 AD for a sustainable world ..
Accordingly in the Alliance University Bangalore, a group of 23 of my students pursuing Operations elective in the sixth semester of BBA were given this task, try their level best to have NO IMPACT on the environment for a period of one week to start with. 

Students, as usual, if properly guided are very sincere and serious right from the beginning. They have been asked by their parents to eat well and live well, but when I asked them to look at their consumption, travel, living and eating patterns and asked them to relook at them, see what all caused environmental damage and how its impact could be reduced if not totally eliminated, the results were really promising. 

I am listing down some of the interesting ideas / thoughts and actions that came from the BBA sem 6 students.
Create Awareness ....

1. Using public transport (BMTC buses) were reported by mostly everybody.
2. Flatmates who used to watch the same serial on TV on two different laptops now have started watching the serial from one laptop.
3. Reducing the frequency of washing of clothes to once in three days.
4. carry own bags to do shopping instead of taking plastic carry bags from the store
walk for small errands than taking bikes / cars
5, Upcycling of old plastic water bottle as a toothbrush holder for the flat inmates
6. Stopped using chemical based room fresheners, instead using camphor
7. Stopped reading the print version of newspapers, instead reading the online version
8. Planted two saplings in the house.
9. Asked mother to ash clothes using washing machine only when there is a load full.
10. shop not from the distant supermarket, but from the nearby corner store, helping the store keeper and keeping my supply chain costs low too
11. Make online payments, ask for email receipts than paper receipts
12. Instead of just watching social media posts from friends, have now started sharing them
13. Reduced frequency of eating non-veg food
14. open the curtains instead of switching on lights
15. making art items from waste
16. refusing plastic bags from shop keeper
17. started using refillable water bottle
18. buy dress brands manufactured locally instead of imported ones
19. switch off laptop and take off mobile phones from power
20. buy products from environmentally conscious comp[anies and those who work for the betterment of the environment.
21. make it a point to switch off geyser after taking bath
22. use cans rather than plastic bottled beverages
23. Dont take atm receipts from atms
24. make bulk purchase of home provisions
25. use waste amazon boxes as storage bins
26. use biodegradable garbage bags, than the black ones
27. properly maintaining the bike 
28. defrosting the fridge frequently
29. install small 12 V ventilator fan to improve air circulation inside room
30. use car pooling
31. avoid over charging personal devices
32. started using existing notebooks
33. switching off car ac when the air inside car is cold
34. use washing machine only for washing , not drying
35. started food by taking smaller portions on smaller plates
36. not using bottled water and carrying water bottle
37. shorten shower time
38. make arts and craft from waste articles like bottles, cans etc
39. use less plates for each meal
40. use dishwasher only when full load of plates is available
41. get everybody to be in a single room than in different rooms to conserve electricity
42. use cut plastic water bottles to store waste paper and keep track of waste generation
43. reduced non-veg, high fat avoid packaged food
44. food consumption
45. turn off fans in electric elevators when not in use
46. reduced frequency of visiting restaurants and did more cooking at home
47. since he works in Decathlon, he switched off 70% of lights inside store after 9 PM.
48. requesting store manager to replace tubelights with CFL or LED bulbs
49. use reusable items like fork, spoon, bottle etc
50. Do not overcook food
51. print as little as necessary
52. be the last person to leave the class and then switch off all fans and lights 
53. use dustbin to throw away waste
54. I will continue practicing No Impact week hence forth for saving environment
55. use cold water when washing clothes
56. get power strips to connect electric devices to save power by switching off completely
57. If buying a vehicle for myself, it will be a hybrid vehicle
58. started driving at low speeds
59. planted a garden at home 
60. started using vinegar to kills, germs, bacteria and mold
61. using concentrated detergent as it has reduced supply chain costs, better for environment
62. instructed maid to conserve water and switch off lights after cleaning rooms
63. cook on low flame to conserve LPG
64. instead of drying clothes under fan, asked roommate to dry clothes outside 
65. In summer keep the doors and windows of room closed during noontime, to prevent heat entering the room
66. Started using salt bowl instead of room freshener
67. Reduction in use of single use plastic
68. Only stream videos online not completely download, so streaming can be stopped if it is not a useful video
69. Always giving lift to someone when traveling alone
70. reduced dining out
71. kept a plastic bottle to collect all waste inside the car
72. using an immersion rod instead of a heater to reduce electricity consumption
73. Even for online order, I wait for my cart to be full than ordering alone to reduce setup costs
74. Publicise NO IMPACT WEEK operations to at least 50 friends asking them to observe the No Impact week in their organisations / institutions
75. Gave all my old text books to my juniors so that they need not buy new books and damage environment
76. try to carry small items in my hand or in m dress pockets than packaging
77. share food if extra and do not waste it
78. i try to help whoever is in need
79. flush the toilet every time after use to keep it clean
80. give unusable old items to people in the vicinity..

These were excellent ideas and proposals that came up from the students in the class. I was totally floored by these ideas as I am sure i have been successful in creating an awareness among the students on the need to reduce personal Carbon footprints of each individual.

Hope all the viewers who read these suggestions from the students think it ovber and do their bit to save the environment.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Water - a great resource to be properly preserved and exploited..

Can we be more selfish ??
Water is one of the greatest resources we have on planet earth besides the Sun's rays and water. Of all the water only about 23% is potable and almost 85% of that water is in glaciers and snowcaps. Only 3% of the total water is potable. These fresh water resources are at danger of being polluted.  While we continue to pollute surface fresh water resources and smartly exploit groundwater resources, the animals on this earth are left to themselves to care for the water. They are at a great danger of being at a higher risk of  extermination.

The six things that make life possible on planet earth are given in this National Geographic link .. (click here for the link). Its all about our solar system and the sun.

Water - the third world war will be fought over water.. So preserve it ..
Before we go to understand about water and the how countries can get affected by it, let us take a look in our country itself. The Indus waters treaty was signed in 1960 by India and Pakistan brokered by the World Bank, wherein the waters from Indus and its five tributaries would be shared by India and Pakistan. While India would have rights to the waters of the tributaries of Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, Pakistan would get the waters from Jhelum and Chenab besides the mighty Indus itself.

The water flow to India is almost 33 million acres feet (MAF) of which 95% is used within the country and the balance 5% flows to Indus and through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. Indus Water Treaty Click here for the  Brittannica link

During the recent skirmishes between India and Pakistan at Pulwama, this 5% of water that comes to about 1.6 MAF water was decided to be used exclusively by India and not to be let off to the Indus. 

The dispute between the Southern riparian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the waters of the South Indian river Cauvery that originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal is a major source of friction between the two states.

The water crisis in Bangalore is fuelled by the Cauvery water dispute. (click here)

Click here for the Newsweek link that states the third world war will be fought over water ..

george ..

Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

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