Plastic packaging still unbridled in Bengaluru

Plastic packaging still unbridled in Bengaluru

Plastic packaging is still rampant in Bengaluru.  The people of Bengaluru are still being haunted by plastic menace. 

Plastic packaging continues to be a major contributor to the city’s overflowing landfills. Plastic is widely used in our day to day life. Starting from a pen to a polythene bag in which we carry fruits and books are forms of plastic. Though convenient in our day to day use, it has posed an alarming threat to the environment.

A shop stocks hundreds of plastic packaging covers to pack and one finds dozens of such shops on any busy street in Bengaluru.

Banned plastic packaging items :

No person including shop keeper, Vendor, wholesalers, retailers, trader, hawker or salesmen shall use plastic carry bags, plastic banners, plastic buntings, flex, plastic flags, plastic plates etc. are supposed to use plastic items. All the above mentioned items are banned by the BBMP.

BBMP Inspection :

The medical officer of health (MOH) from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) raided shops in the Jayanagar Assembly constituency and slapped Rs 1.5 lakh fine on four shops for using plastic covers.

In 2016, the state government imposed a blanket ban on manufacturing, storing, distributing and using single-use plastics such as carry bags, flex banners, plates, cups and spoons. 

Hazards of plastic usage :

Plastic – Plastic bags- an environmental hazard. The problem created by the use of plastics bags is primarily due to shortcomings in the waste management system. Indiscriminate chemical additives pose environmental problems including choking open drains, ground water contamination, etc.

Plastic is non-biodegradable and do not decay by biological actions of microbes. They remain in the same state as we throw them. So, dumps or garbage are created making our cities and soil polluted.

Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Harmful Chemical :

To destroy plastics, we can either recycle or burn them. If we burn plastic, they emit harmful chemical gases like carbon dioxide (CO,), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NO), methane (CH4), sulphur dioxides (SO2), etc. These gases pollute our environment, though in negligible content, they add to green house effect and endanger our environment.

Damage Sanitary System :

The wastes of plastic block pipes and sanitary lines so that dirty water came out on roads. This cause fear of malaria, cholera and other diseases.

Ecosystem Imbalance :

Due to wide scale use of plastic, water, soil and air pollutions are caused. These polluted components of environment lead to imbalance of various ecosystem of the Earth.

Only solution to this plastic hazard is to take preventive measures and for that,

a. To reduce use of plastic wherever possible

b. To use recyclable bags and things

c. To recycle the used plastic

d. Not to throw used plastic here and there

e. To collect the used plastic by the Government and then to recycle them

f. Only recyclable plastics should be allowed to use

g. Some legal norms should be declared.

How plastic is bad for the environment?

A dead albatross chick with plastic marine debris in its stomach

Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil, which can then seep into groundwater or other surrounding water sources and also the ecosystem of the world. This can cause serious harm to the species that drink the water. Landfill areas contain many different types of plastics.

Chemical Migration from Plastic Packaging into Contents :

People are exposed to these chemicals not only during manufacturing, but also by using plastic packages, because some chemicals migrate from the plastic packaging to the foods they contain.

Examples of plastics contaminating food have been reported with most plastic types, including Styrene from polystyrene, plasticizers from PVC, antioxidants from polyethylene, and Acetaldehyde from PET.

Find alternatives to plastic products whenever possible. Some specific suggestions:
  • Buy food in glass or metal containers; avoid polycarbonate drinking bottles with Bisphenol A which causes  diabetes and diseases of the heart and liver.
  • Avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap.
  • Do not give young children plastic teethers or toys
  • Use natural fiber clothing, bedding and furniture
  • Avoid all PVC and Styrene products
Benefit of reusable bags :
  • Because plastic bags are made from oil, reducing them would decrease foreign oil dependency.
  • Start preserving the thousands of marine animals and more than 1 million of birds who die from plastic bags each year.
  • Paper bags also pose a problem. Americans consume more than 10 billion paper bags per year which translates into approximately 14 million cut down trees. Think of how reusable bags can save our trees.
  • Also conserve water as paper production requires hundreds of thousands of gallons of water (not to mention the toxic chemicals involved in processing).

Small shops in Bengaluru city are doing their bit but it is the retail giants who are flouting the rules.  Vegetable vendors and small shop owners are buying paper bags, while some of the  retail giants are still using plastic bags.


Seed Ball technique – 1 lakh in 3 hrs. by Bangaloreans

Seed Ball technique – 1 lakh in 3 hrs. by Bangaloreans

Seed  ball technique   –  1 lakh seed balls were prepared by 600 Bangaloreans to Green Western Ghats.  Most environmentalists have termed this innovation as seeds of success due to its rapid growth rate.

Seed Ball is a unique and interesting method  in today’s age where the greenery is becoming a silent victim of modernization.  Seed balls work as a great idea for a sustainable environment in our concrete jungles.

Seed balls are an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up soil with cultivation tools such as a plow.

Victim of urbanization :

Trees are often the first victim’s of Bengaluru’s march towards increased urbanization.  To encourage to grow trees and to reduce their rate of depletion, Seed Balls creations helps growing trees in the city.  

SayTrees – Organizer of Seed ball :

SayTrees is a professionally run group of ordinary people extraordinarily determined to protect the environment not just by themselves, but also by sensitizing others towards the importance of environment conservation and goading them on to participate in tree-plantation campaigns.  

The group consists of passionate nature lovers, who juggle corporate jobs during the week with their love for trees over the weekends. Though it started off as a weekend pursuit in 2007 now it does more than 50 tree plantation drives in 4 months of monsoon. 

Last year, SayTrees had made thousands of seed balls and were sown in Chintamani and Bagepalli.

Volunteers at Seed Ball project:

600 Bengalureans came together in Krishnarajapuram on weekend and made more than 100,000 seed balls. Within three hours they prepared around one lakh seed balls, which will go on to increase the green cover in Western Ghats.

Making of Seed ball by all age group

All age groups came together for the seed ball making. 

Objective of the project:

The members of the organisation SayTrees will take the seed balls to the forests of Kodagu in Karnataka and plant them next week with the help of the forest department. The group wants to re-green the area as thousands of trees were lost during the floods last year.

The aim of the campaign is to build urban forestry and provide greenery in barren lands by using the seed ball technique. 

How to make a seed ball?

herder3 for commons.wikimedia.org

Take some clay, pure some water it, roll it into a little ball, make a little hole in it, pop the seed into it and roll it up again.  Leave it to dry for 24 hours.  The seed ball is ready.

Contents of Seed Ball :

For the seed balls, a mixture of soil and manure is used and each seed ball contains one or more seeds inside. The group which cut across all age groups, made many varieties of seed balls.

The seed balls project had made eight varieties of seed balls including banyan, peepal and tamarind.

Why seed ball?

Among different initiatives to improve green cover, making and distributing seed balls in a quick and cost effective method to reclaim the lost green cover of environment.  It is an emerging afforestation technique.

With knowledge, skill, and patience, seed balls can be as effective a way of establishing plants as plow-seeding or drilling, and they can be made by anyone anywhere in the world that has access to clay, soil, and seed — for no money.

How it works?

The composition of seed balls makes it self-sustainable and favorable for germination in most environments.  Making seed balls are fund and easy.

The concept seed balls was started by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese man famous for popularizing Natural farming, the concept has been adopted worldwide.

Seed balls can also be used to “over seed” existing ecosystems, without damaging the soil structure — or to seed productive plants into forested areas and steep hillsides where tillage is not possible. Seed balls can also be used in combination with animals such as pigs who will do the work of shuffling the mulch around providing seed balls extra cover.

Development of technique :

The technique for creating seed balls was rediscovered by Japanese natural farming pioneer Masanobu Fukuoka. The technique was also used, in ancient Egypt to repair farms after the annual spring flooding of the Nile.

In modern times, during the period of the Second World War, the Japanese government plant scientist working in a government lab, Fukuoka, who lived on the mountainous island of Shikoku, wanted to find a technique that would increase food production without taking away from the land already allocated for traditional rice production,  which thrived in the volcanic rich soils of Japan.

Advantages of using seed ball :

There are some advantages of using seed ball instead of using seeds directly:

  • Because there are nutrients in the seed  ball  in the form of compost or potting mix or cow dung,  it gives a leg up to germinating seeds – gives them nutrition in the early days when the young plant needs a little help to survive in harsh conditions.
  • The balls prevents animals or birds from eating up the seeds.
  • It takes less time to cover a large area – since one can simply throw the seed ball – so one could, for example, drive around in a car with thousands of seed bombs and a slingshot, and disperse the seed bombs all around while cruising in vehicle. In fact, there have been scenarios where seed bombs have been used for aerial reforestation by dispersing hundreds of thousands of seed bombs using a low flying aero-plane !

Seed Balls protect seeds from :

Winds – which blow them away

Birds and Rodents – which eat them

Hot Sun –  which bakes their vitality and

Excessive rain – Which carries them off.

Results of using Seed Ball :

With the rainfall, the clay coating melts and the seeds germinate where the ball has landed.  The seed balls will stay put until the seedlings have a chance to put down roots.  The seed balls will absorb moisture from the ground, the dew and the rain and will sprout when conditions are right. 

Many seeds will grow from a single seed ball and the plant most suited to the micro conditions of that site will prevail. perties

World Environment Day –  theme : Air Pollution – Bengaluru

World Environment Day – theme : Air Pollution – Bengaluru

World Environment Day  – It is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

World Environment Day is the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of our Earth. That “something” can be local, national or global. It can be a solo action or involving a crowd. Everyone is free to choose.

Theme – World Environment Day 2019 :

Environment is the surrounding or conditions in which a person, animal or plant lives or operates. It is necessary to understand the importance of environment and lots of activities are done by the people to preserve and conserve the unique and life nurturing nature.

Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that draws attention to a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019 is “Air pollution”.

The theme for World Environment Day 2018, hosted by India, was “Beat Plastic Pollution”, which was a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time.

This year, China took over the task, choosing ‘Beat Air Pollution’ as the theme.

Air Pollution :

Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases, particles and biological molecules are introduced into Earth’s atmosphere.

It may cause diseases, allergies and even death to humans; it may also cause harm to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, and may damage the natural or built environment. Both human activity and natural processes can generate air pollution.

Indoor air pollution and poor urban air quality are listed as two of the world’s worst toxic pollution problems in the 2008  Blacksmith Institute World’s Worst Polluted Places report. 

According to the 2014 World Health Organization report, air pollution in 2012 caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide,  an estimate roughly echoed by one from the International Energy Agency.

Air pollution kills 7 million people every year hurting child development, damaging economies and contributing to the global climate emergency.

Why 5th June every year?

World Environment Day is held each year on June 5. It is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations (UN) stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. World Environment Day promotes ways to improve the Earth’s environment, such as conserving forests.

First time World Environment Day is celebrated in 1973 with the theme “Only one Earth”. And from 1974, the celebration campaign of the World Environment Day is hosted in different cities of the world.

What do people do on World Environment day?

World environment Day is celebrated in many ways in different countries.  Activities includes street rallies and parades as well as concerts, tree planting and clean-up campaigns.

In many countries, this annual event is used to enhance political attention and action towards improving the environment.  This observance also provides an opportunity to sign or ratify international environmental conventions.

Background – World Environment Day :

World Environment Day was established by the United Nationals General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.  A Resolution was adopted by the General Assembly on the same day, which led to the creation of UNEP.

It is hosted every year by a different city and commemorated with an international exposition through the week of June 5.

Symbols featured :

The main colors features in many promotions for this event are natural colors depicting nature, the earth and natural resources.

These colors are often in the shades of green, brown and blue.  Images or pictures of snowy mountains, clean beaches, unpolluted rivers and natural flora and fauna are used to promote campaigns. 

Significance of the day :

A Platform for Action World Environment Day is the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

World Environment day at Bengaluru :

In a welcoming move, Bengaluru’s civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to plant one lakh trees across the city.

The decision was taken after Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun held a meeting with experts to discuss steps to be taken to avoid trees getting uprooted in heavy rains.

According to BBMP’s plan, the new trees will include varieties of Neem, Mahogany, Pride of India, Nerale, Pongam, Honge, Champaka, Sampige and Tabebuia among others.

Bengaluru Traffic Police celebrates World Environment Day by planting saplings in various police stations in the city.

Politicians participation – World Environment day :

India’s youngest MP in the current Lok Sabha Tejasvi Surya led events held in Bengaluru to observe World Environment Day.  As he planted saplings and painted dividers along Kanakapura Road, hundreds of citizens including celebrities from the film industry joined the initiative. 

Member of Parliament from Bangalore Central P.C. Mohan attended the special World Environment Day programs organized at Ulsoor Lake on Wednesday. Soon after the event, the MP took it to Twitter to thank the staff at the venue.

The South Western Railway (SWR) opened a new vertical garden at KSR Bengaluru City railway station this morning. The inauguration of the same was done by Ashok Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division.

To celebrate World Environment Day, Bangalore International Airport Ltd- operator of Kempegowda International Airport from June 5 will give away around 10,000 plants to people.

Bangalore International Centre :

Bangalore International Centre celebrates the World Environment Day by screening some of the brilliant short films and documentaries. The films that will be screened include Himalayan Waters, Ni Kata Banja (Don’t Cut My Oak’s), Remember The Spring, Chaal Khaal and Parisar Snehi Shauchalaya.

‘Himalayan Waters’ gives an overall picture of the Himalayan waters and efforts put it in by the NGO’s and locals to protect the same. ‘N i Kata Banja’ highlights the importance of Broad leave Species i.e. Oak trees in the water cycle of the Himalayas. Throwing light on the positive interventions such as snow sand filter etc is the short documentary titled- Remember The Spring.

Let’s join hands in being a part of solution for every type of pollution on the occasion of World Environment Day.

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Rent a farm – Benglauru- organic products

Rent a farm – Benglauru- organic products

Rent a farm is a concept in Bengaluru where one can rent a piece of land to grow organic products.  This allows Bengalureans to rent out a space on a farm of a nominal amount a month for fresh, naturally grown, chemical-free vegetables every week.

Reasons behind Rent a farm :

Bengaluru city dwellers face two problems.  The vegetables and fruit produce available in the market may not be trust worthy and to want to grow their own, there is either space or time.

Even if one lives in a big house and have a farm there is lack of time to take care of farming.  Consumers can get up to 6 kgs of vegetables every week from the third month since the initial months are meant for set-up.

The monthly rental is inclusive of everything from delivery to seeds, saplings, labor and other set-up costs. The method of farming that participating farmers use is natural farming, which does not permit the use of any chemicals including fertilizers such as urea.

Focus – Rent a farm :

The main focus is on enriching the soil by using latest techniques like multi-cropping, introducing microbes such as earthworms in the soil.  The soil is mixed with natural mixtures to control pests.

This model is a win-win model.  It is good for consumers because it is chemical free.  It is good for farmers because they are able to make money and earn a fixed income.  It is good for our planet and the soil because of the farming methodology  followed. 

The raised beds will not allow for the compaction of the soil. 

Organic farming :

Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system which originated in early  20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. Organic farming continues to be developed by various organic agriculture organizations today.

It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure and bone meal and places emphasis  on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting.  

Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged.  In general, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances.

Reasons for advocation of organic farming include advantages in sustainability, openness, self-sufficiency, autonomy/independence, health, food security and food safety.

Organic defined :

Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

Benefits of organic farming :

The major benefits of organic farming are :

  1. It helps in maintaining environment health by reducing the level of pollution
  2. It reduces human and animal health hazards by reducing the level of residues in the product.
  3. It helps in keeping agricultural production at a higher level and makes it sustainable.
  4. It reduces the cost of agricultural production and also improves the soil health
  5. It ensures optimum utilization of natural resources for short-term benefit and helps in conserving them for future generation.
  6. It not only saves energy for both animal and machine, but also reduces risk of crop failure.
  7. It improves the soil physical properties such as granulation, and good tilth, good aeration, easy root penetration and improves water-holding capacity.
  8. It improves the soil’s chemical properties such as supply and retention of soil nutrients, and promotes favorable chemical reactions.

Health benefits of organic farming :

  1. No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers are used. Organic ensures that foods are grown without the use of these harmful substances, some of which are known to cause cancer.
  2. Organic farming reduces long time exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, for farmers, workers, and consumers which can affect the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Organic food is free of artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, trans fats, enhancers, stabilizers, fillers, sweeteners or other additives.
  3. Studies show that organic foods are more nutritious and higher in antioxidants because they are grown on more nutrient rich soil.
  4. Eating organic fruits and vegetables could increase your antioxidant intake by 20-40%.
  5. Organic farming ensures that food is not subject to any artificial human intervention or genetic modification.
  6. Diseases, pests, and weeds are managed through good soil health for natural plant resistance, selection for stronger plants, crop rotation, natural predators, and beneficial insects.
  7. Organic food cannot be irradiated. Irradiation causes changes to both macro and micronutrients in foods and creates free radicals.
  8. Unlike conventional methods, antibiotics, pathogens, or hormones are used in raising livestock. Organic livestock have higher animal welfare standards which lower levels of pathogens present in meat.

When did organic food start?

The term “organic farming” was coined by Lord Northbourne in 1940. The beginnings of the organic movement can be traced back to the beginning of the 1800s. In 1840 Justus Von Liebig developed a theory of mineral plant nutrition

Why organic farming has become inevitable?

Modern farming practices heavily based on use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, have created problems of land degradation, environmental pollution, deforestation, biodiversity depletion, seepage and water logging, lowering of ground water tables, inter crop disparities, emergence of several diseases, pest multiplication, pest resurgence and resistance.

Modern agricultural practices are the major cause of soil, water and air pollution. Chemical fertilizers crowd out useful minerals naturally present in the topsoil.

The microbes like bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, worms etc. in top soil enrich the humus and help to produce nutrients to be taken up by the plants and later by animals.

However, fertilizer enriched soil is unable to support microbial life and hence there is less humus and less nutrients and the soil easily becomes poor and eroded by rain and wind.

Conclusion:

It can be concluded that modern farming heavily based on chemical fertilizers and pesticides has led to problem of environmental deterioration, depletion of natural resources, and loss of biodiversity and pest resurgence.

The organic farming, which strictly avoids the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and growth hormones conserves environment and natural resources and checks the loss of biological diversity.

The food grains produced through organic farming are free from pesticide residues and are of high nutritional quality.

Therefore, organic farming is inevitable for the conservation of natural resources and maintenance of ecological stability.