Graphite India : Closure order NGT – residents elated

Graphite India is getting closed.  NGT orders closure of the Co.  The residents of Whitefield are happy and elated.

The NGT order comes after the Apex Court fine Rs.50 lakh on Graphite India, Whitefield on October 30 2018.  The NGT has restored the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s (KSPCB) order of closure on Graphite India.

Graphite India :

Graphite India Limited (GIL) is the pioneer in India for manufacture of Graphite Electrodes as well as Carbon and Graphite speciality products.  Having started in 1967 in collaboration with erstwhile Great Lakes Carbon Corporation (GLCC) of USA.

Plant at Whitefield

GIL has been continually improving its product quality and services thereby scaling newer heights of excellence and customer recognition. 

Closure of Graphite India plant :

A long battle.  A decade long legal struggle.  But the result is a happy one.  The  legal struggle of residents of Whitefield has taken an important step forward after the NGT (National Green Tribunal restored the 2012 order of KSPCB to close the 50 year old plant for violations of rules.

NGT cleared the way for closure of the plant and also ordered a multi-agency survey of the pollution emanating from Graphite India.  Graphite India was a red category industry that manufactures graphite anodes, electrodes and paste.

NGT’s order :

The Tribunal’s order stated “Referring to the evidence available on record, more particularly the reports of inspections of the factory carried out by the Authority, it was held that the respondent Graphite India was grossly non-compliant of the requirement of environment mitigation measures”.


The NGT has directed constitution of a joint committee.  This  involves  the representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board, KSPCB and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). 

Work of the Committee :

They have to monitor pollution from the Graphite India’s stacks, ambient air  monitoring of  the area by setting up atleast 10 monitoring stations. The joint committee will also carry out a study on source apportionment of pollution sources.

Residents elated about Graphite India closure :

The NGT judgment has come as a shot in the arm after the Supreme Court in October 2018 deemed Graphite India as a polluter.

Affected by Whitefield phant

The original petitioners were supported by residents of nearby apartments and in later stages by the citizens’ collective, Whitefield  Rising in the legal battle against the co.

Conclusion :

The judgment relies on global studies on graphite dust pollution.  The bench recalled that the industry had done little to lower emissions in Bengaluru plant while they had complied with all laws in their factories abroad.

This comes as a lesson to those who take polluting the environment lightly. 

Elevated Corridor Bengaluru

Elevated Corridor Bengaluru – some believe hat a 6 lane elevated corridor criss-crossing namma Bengaluru is a sure shot solution to traffic congestion.

Elevated corridor details

Deputy Chief Minister G.Parameshwara is planning to suspend the registration of new vehicles in Bengaluru.  This is due to the poor air quality in the city.  But correspondingly the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority has taken the initiative for environmental clearance for the elevated corridor Bengaluru project.

Project Elevated corridor, Bengaluru:

The elevated corridor Bengaluru project will add more vehicles and pollution to the city.  According to Chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the proposed elevated corridor is an important part of his ‘long term vision’ for Bengaluru.  Already Rs.1000 is earmarked for this project in the current financial year.

Elevated corridor Bengaluru

The Detailed Feasibility Report (DFR) has budgeted Rs.19265 crore for the elevated corridor Bengaluru project.  This cost excludes the cost of acquiring around 141 acres of prime real estate and 1130 buildings.  Among the buildings majority are of commercial structures.

Environmental impact of the elevated corridor Bengaluru:

  • Residential and commercial structures to be razed – 1130 structures
  • Alignment runs close to 60 sensitive localities like schools and hospitals, hostels and libraries.
  • 8 water bodies will be affected including Halasuru lake
  • 2 archaeological structures – Tipu Sultan’s summer palace and old Dungeon fort and gates will be affected.
  • 5.88 lakh cubic metres of earth to be excavated.
  • 1.47 lakh cubic metres of earth to be disposed off in landfills and quarries.

Citizens opposition to elevated corridor :

A campaign was organized in the city by Bengaluru Bus Prayaanikara Vedike.  This movement saw participation of commuters and a number of groups.

Citizens questioned the logic and reason behind the plan to increase the bus fares giving reason as fund crunch but is ready to spend Rs.33,000 crore to build the elevated corridor Bengaluru.

A member of the vedike came out and said that the government is investing an obscene amount of money to build elevated corridor in the city.  If a portion of that money is utilized to make bus system better, the whole of public transport system across the State can be made world-class.

Organisations participated against elevated corridor Bengaluru :

A lot of organizations participated in rising their voice against elevated corridor Bengaluru.  The organisations are Garment & Textile Worker’s Union, Bengaluru Zilla Beedhi Vyapari Sanghatanegala okkuta, Slum Janara Sanghatane, BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha & Domestic Worker’s Rights Union along with Citizens for Benglauru.

Feasibility report – Elevated corridor project :

The feasibility report is been finalized for the proposed Elevated Corridor Project. The project covers a distance of 102 km with six corridors — three main and three connecting ones. 

These details were finalized at a meeting held at Vidhana Soudha on 12th March in the presence of all the civic stakeholders. The report will be presented to the Chief Minister on 14th March for the final seal of approval. 

The proposed elevated corridors along with the long-planned Peripheral Ring Road are proposed as answer to de-congest the city’s traffic choked roads. 

The project is expected to be completed by 2025-2026. The Public Works Department (PWD) will implement it through the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL). 

Each of the corridors will have four lanes with two shoulders. The additional space provided for two-wheelers is to pass through, which can also be used as space for parking in case of breakdowns. The project was mooted a year ago. 

Approval by Chief Minister – Elevated Corridor :

If the Chief Minister Kumaraswamy approves the feasibility report, the tenders can be called for next month. Work will begin in 2019 and suggested a deadline of five to six years.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd has also suggested having its future Metro lines at the second level while the road will be at the first level at two points. 

Jayamahal Canopy – Elevated Corridor :

Around 356 trees will be going down between Mekhri Circle and Cantonment underpass. The stretch between Mekhri circle to the Cantonment station is one of Bengaluru’s green canopy. The trees will be either pruned, felled or translocated.

The majority of the trees are fully grown with wide canopy. The BBMP has declared that the trees will be translocated to the Bengaluru Palace Grounds or the footpath of the same road.

The trees in the median will have to be axed to accommodate the pier of the elevated corridor.

Transplanting trees – Elevated corridors :

According to the reports, the transplant of trees to a safer place will take place. But transplanting depends on the health, form and the structure of the tree. The focal point will be on the quality of the root system of the tree along with the species and conservation status of the tree.

Transplanting cost plays a critical factor. It should be cost effective.

The loss of tress will be compensated by growing vertical garden on the piers to increase the beauty and to fight vehicular pollution. Ornamental plants will be planted in medians.

Outrage against axing trees :

Around 120 trees will be axed in Cubbon Park. This has set-off a public uproar on social media. Several critics are questioning the proposed destruction of greenery in Bengaluru.

Some of the critics have called for a protest on March 16 against the Elevated Corridor project.

Pollution in lakes  – punish officials

Pollution in lakes is causing a big problem to those who are staying close to it.  The Green Tribunal has asked the Government of Karnataka to find the officials responsible for it.

Pollution in lakes is common in our country.  The National Green Tribunal has given Karnataka 3 months time to punish the officials (Present and past) who are responsible for letting the lakes get polluted.

This punishment is in the wake of the pollution caused by Bellanduru, Varthur and Agara lakes.

Lake Pollution :

Lakes and rivers are common sources of drinking water supplies.  Nutrient pollution builds up in our nation’s lakes, ponds, and streams. EPA’s 2010 National Lakes Assessment found that almost 20 percent of the 50,000 lakes surveyed had been impacted by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.   All this contributes to pollution in lakes.

Many freshwater lakes, streams, and ponds are polluted.  When it rains, the extra fertilizers and pesticides flow into streams. The pollutants can cause algae to grow quickly. These ‘blooms’ of algae may produce toxins that harm other life in the river thus pollution in lakes and ponds.

algae floating in the lake

Human sewage or cattle excrement that is untreated also cause pollution in lakes in the same way as fertilizers do. Human sewage also contains germs that cause diseases such as hepatitis and cholera. The natural chemicals can cause a pollution in lakes similar to that caused by fertilizers.

Causes of pollution in lakes

  • Industrial waste
  • Sewage and wastewater
  • Underground leakages
  • Pesticides and fertilizer
  • Agricultural waste

Pollution affecting aquatic life

Aquatic species such as fish can be extremely high in contaminants as some pollutants don’t readily dissolve and dilute in water and are instead taken up into organisms. Some species of aquatic organisms are particularly sensitive to pollution. They are used as indicators of pollution and are called bio-indicators. Because lakes drain a large surrounding landscape, they reflect the processes and actions that operate around them. When chemicals are spilled, they can drain into nearby streams and be transported downstream into lakes.

Punishment for polluting lakes

The NGT in its order has asked the trusted agencies to identify the officials who were responsible for pollution in lakes.  The order also stated that any lapse should be recorded in the annual reports.

The Tribunal ordered regarding punishment to officials regarding pollution in lakes includes present and past public servants.  The punishment is for those who failed to discharge their duty and obligations to society as a whole.

The Committee headed by Justice Santosh Hegde will decide about the additional amount required to set up the Sewage Treatment Plants in the State of Karnataka.

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Toxic Air Pollution – Karnataka / Bengaluru

Toxic Air pollution – Karnataka/Bengaluru. Pollution is making people fall sick.  In some cases, it is even fatal.

Toxic Air Pollution problem is grappling Karnataka.  The worst air quality in South India is in Karnataka that kills 95 out of 1,00,000 individuals.  The death rate on national average is 89.9 due to air pollution.

air pollution

The toll in Karnataka is worse than the national average.   The worst toxic air pollution is found in northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana,  Delhi, Rajasthan, and Bihar.

Toxic Air Pollution

Toxic air pollution occurs when harmful quantities of substances including gases, particulates, and biological molecules are introduced into earth’s atmosphere.  This may cause diseases,  allergies and even death to the human. More diseases like lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive lung disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and lung cancer.

toxic air pollution                                          It also causes harm to other living organisms like animals and food crops.  Toxic air pollution damage the natural or built environment.  The substance in the toxic air pollution can be solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases. A pollutant can be of natural origin or man-made.

Along with harming human health, toxic air pollution can cause a variety of environmental effects. Acid rain is precipitation containing harmful amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. These acids are formed primarily by nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned.

Sources of toxic air pollution:

Human activity and natural processes can generate air pollution.  Anthropogenic (man-made) sources and natural sources.

Man-Made Sources :
  • Fossil-fueled power stations, waste-incinerators
  • Motor vehicles, marine vessels, and aircraft.
  • Controlled burn practices
  • Fumes from paint, aerosol spray, varnish
  • Landfills
  • Military sources
  • Fertilized farmland
Natural Sources :
  • Dust from natural sources
  • Radon gas from radioactive decay
  • Methane, emitted by the digestion of food by animals
  • Wildfires
  • Vegetation
  • Volcanic activity

Mortality rate due to toxic air pollution:

The WHO (World Health Organization) estimated in 2014 that every year toxic air pollution causes the premature death of some 7 million people worldwide.  India has the highest death rate due to air pollution.  India also has more deaths from asthma than any other nation according to the World Health Organization.

In December 2013 air pollution was estimated to kill 500,000 people in China each year. There is a positive correlation between pneumonia-related deaths and air pollution from motor vehicle emissions.

Toxic-free clean air adds 1.7 years to life cycle in India and 1.4 years in Karnataka.

How to prevent toxic air pollution?

Prevention is better than cure.  On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, Take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution. Reduce the number of trips taken in the car. Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use. Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.

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Vehicle population – choking Bengaluru city

Vehicle population – choking Bengaluru city

Vehicle population is choking Bengaluru city with vehicles crossing approx. 80 lakh mark.  It is a huge leap from 31 lakh vehicles in 2008.

Bengaluru choked

There is no stopping the boom for vehicles in the city as roads are choked with vehicle population.   According to transport department data,  the vehicle population is set to cross 80 lakh out of which 14-16 lakh are cars and 55-60 lakh are two-wheelers.  This has also contributed to reckless driving in the streets.

Experts say the growth in vehicle registration is alarming and is, in turn, is responsible for the vehicle population.  Even footpaths are choked with vehicles thereby causing problems to pedestrians.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research of U.S of America, Bengaluru is the most congested city in India.

The ever-increasing vehicle population of Bengaluru has contributed to the dropping in the average speed of a vehicle in the city from 35 km/hr in 2005 to 20 km/hr in 2010 and 9.2 in 2014. The city’s roads are bearing the burden of twice their vehicular capacity – enough of an indicator that the city is getting gridlocked.

Initiatives to curb vehicle population:

Various agencies are taking up numerous initiatives to curb vehicle population like ‘Bus Day’, ‘Open Street Day’ and ‘Less Traffic Day’ to promote the use of public transport.  But the impact of all these efforts is highly debatable.

The different zones of Bengaluru city have 1,400 km. of an arterial and sub-arterial road but half of these roads are two-lane with traffic.

Vehicle population history:

When the city’s population was 16.64 lakh in 1971, the vehicle population was just around one lakh.  Nobody – not even the planners saw what was to come. So, while the vehicle boom overtook the city, every other piece of infrastructure was left far behind.

The city’s traffic police wing was formed in 1930 with a staff strength of 40 policemen in the Halasuru Gate police station.

Solutions to curb vehicle population :

Metro rail is progressing at snail’s pace and the suburban rail project is yet to take off as well as road widening plans being hit by land acquisition delays.

Experts suggest

  • Expansion of BMTC bus services
  • Levying congestion tax
  • Regulating per family vehicle ownership
  • Additional taxes and cess
  • Parking fee to be hiked
  • Promoting carpooling could help stem the growth of private vehicles.

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