Mindful by the Coast

~ Mindful by the Coast ~

Its only when you have stepped far out of the city that you realise what a beautiful planet it is and what we are doing to it. To see a wide expanse of sea like you otherwise wouldn’t. A skyline which is not a thick layer of smog generated from millions of vehicles burning fuel. To actually get a sense of what that entity called the atmosphere really is, that which is so discussed now.

It gets dark and quieter soon. The cell network is bad. You can’t get on to social media. Just nothing to do but be with yourself. Better are the urban trappings, which do not give you a moment with Self. How long can you enjoy the clean air and stillness or your own company? Or the village lanes and the lush greenery. What do you do with these poor villagers? They make for poor company compared to your echo chamber. Back in the city the cell phone is handy; get onto Facebook and pass away time rather than look it in the face. Or meetings and errands and a sense of feeling important.

Thoughts dwell on the self. Just who is this self? Is he the forearm or the fingers or his chin? Or the toe thumb or the bloated stomach or that which is experiencing the breeze. Or is it the skull? The stillness makes the incessant chatter inside feel like a noisy factory. Many parts moving and clanging. You wonder why so, what is need, what is the output?

And even here you have not escaped the city. The coastline is dotted with massive cement plants, power plants, ports, all servicing the needs of the cities. I feel glad of not having earned much in my life and consequently not able to afford/consume that much cement, power and steel.

Life is simple when you live off the land. Just what do I need? Where am I going? How would I like to feel when my short time here is over? What will I take with myself? What will I leave behind?

But why keep it simple?

Ganpati Bappa Morya and Mumbai monsoon mayhem – points further to television debates today

I was not inclined to join the ET Now debate at 9pm but eventually did. Below is the link

Some points I can now elaborate on, which is not possible in a 30 minute slot.

Point 1

Sujay Kantawala’s, suggestion that citizen experts and community workers be on various government panels is way too long overdue. I would say that to supplement that, what we need more importantly is for citizens to participate in their local politics, their elected representatives need to be petitioned, the ward annual budgets and works need to be supervised and taken interest in. None of that happens. For decades now I have been left holding to alone and applying one of my favourite words “Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for freedom” No such fascination among peers and fellow citizens. This requires wisdom on which I have elaborated in Point 2.

All of this was well piloted since the time AGNI came into existence 20 years ago but with the advent of social media and the digital age, face to face connect has disappeared or taken a backseat compared to what people do on Facebook.

Another point to add is that some of us who have been at this city improvement path for a very long time have been let down by the very citizens and society in whose interest we speak. By now there should have been support from the public for me and so many others to be in politics and have some leverage in the decision making process rather than just spout wisdom on television debates.

I entered politics a decade back contesting the Lok Sabha 2009 election but left it at that seeing the amount of energy and effort and the inability to raise financial resources to support this endeavour through honest means. Other city residents could have stepped in to provide necessary support for an office, staff, travel and the usual. But nothing. You cannot have the kind of ridiculous bad quality elected representatives that we have and expect to “deserve” anything better.

Point 2

For this point I will be unpopular but has to be said. The city does not show a fraction of the enthusiasm for civic affairs and those who champion for them that it shows for the Ganesh Utsav. It is an insight which really sustains the current state of affairs.

People will purchase a new lifeless idol every year and fall in love with it and get cute and cuddly and prayer to it but will not have an iota of interest in a living city and some of us living beings who are working at keeping and improving life in that city. It got tiring long back, now I feel exhausted. A prisoner of my own device.

Over 20 years of my close involvement with Mumbai issues I have seen people pray to that lifeless idol and get rewarded with Green Cards and lifestyle and move to enjoy more well managed and aesthetic cities and I have spent the better years of my life and still do (though much less now) on its issues. Essential India to understand. #beinghindu

If there was indeed wisdom spouting from Ganpati then that wisdom would have seen his devotees learning from the 2005 floods and many more such events and move to better and better management. If there was wisdom we would not have seen such a terribly insecure and guarded Devendra Fadnavis (after a full majority) but a more confident and courageous CM convening people across party and support lines to come together in making Mumbai a well managed city.

People do not have a Ganpati Utsav in a London or a Singapore and Shanghai and Paris and possibly that’s why those cities are wiser in their management. And it is the Ganpati devotees who go all out to enjoy and devour these cities. They pray that they get wealth or jobs, which will take them away from the drab aesthetics and bad management of this city (and many more in this country) to greener pastures in the Christian world of Europe and America.

For me this is a god who does not deliver well on any of those promised qualities that are suggested and is a failure. The Brahmins need to take note and correct the defects in their product. Yes he works wonders at the individual level and has rewarded handsomely the very political class and terribly selfish middle class over the past 30-40 years of my life and observing the whole game but then that is the same political class in partnership with the the none so wise middle class, which has made the city what it is.

Wisdom would have meant that there would be a clear realisation that Metro and coast road will not solve traffic congestion. But it seems it is this very god who has removed all the obstacles to unwise and folly ridden projects with not so honest intentions, which are disguised in not so intelligent positions.

I am happy being me and the celebration class is happy being them and it seems the twain shall never meet.

Point 3

I already answered to Shaina’s point about coast road and Metro but to add to it I must say that this government has been disappointing for its levels of insecurity and pettiness. The time really is to collaborate but this has been a government in a huddle not wanting to let in anybody it is uncomfortable with.

In no single coming together of people is there complete agreement, there are fights in families, disagreements in office projects but through all of this people realise that the only way to achieve anything is through collaboration. And so I would like to invite her for a discussion off panel discussions, to put heads together to work on numerous avenues available where there is no clash in positions.

Through a tweet I am marking the post to Tamanna Inamdar, Senior Editor at ET Now and the host, Sujay Kantawala and Shaina NC.

India 2019-47

All Indians but especially Hindus have shown themselves incredibly incompetent of governing themselves in the pre and post independence years. And governing would cover a much broader arena than just elections, politics and forming of governments. Democracy would be another discussion all together.

Till 2047 India will be occupied in an action reaction seesaw. The Gandhi-Nehru fragment from 1947 to 1992 till the Babri Masjid demolition and post that from 1992 – 2047 (more like 2012-47) the Hindutva forces, which would use the action (good excuses) of the Gandhi-Nehru fragment to justify their reaction.

It was full Hindu control in the first phase (its Hindus who made vote banks of Muslims and massacred Sikhs in 1984) and it will be full Hindu (Brahmin-Bania) control in the second phase.

And so we can give Modi a third term and potentially one more post 2030. That alone can make Hindus fully appreciate how bad their report card will show up then (post 2030).

By 2047 the demographic dividend would have begun to end and the demographic load will start to show. Most of those who are 20 in 2020 would be in middle age by then and have lived a life with sub-standard opportunities and a sub-standard quality of life. Environmentally the landscape will be a wasteland and ruins.

Grin(or be dead pan) and bear would still be the national motto. The middle and upward classes would be invested and insured in the West (non-Hindu governed), while still glorifying the motherland and carrying out their petty and egoistic experiments.

Those who had to play their games would have done so and gone or be going, having lived very satisfied lives playing their petty games and making themselves sufficiently or enormously rich in the process. In keeping with tradition their sanskars and family values will not be up for discussion.

Plastics Ban

I have had a contrarian stance (and very public) on the Plastics Ban announced by the Government of Maharashtra since November 2017 – when the first announcements of an upcoming ban were made – that the ban is an impractical and stupid idea, which will fail and that it plays only to the gallery, with elections in mind and possibly a bundle of other motives, some of them being ulterior.

In an otherwise wide spread response of elation and hope I was the only one to publicly stand out with my contrarian views, many a time being viewed as cynical or negative and not giving an opportunity for positive developments to take place. Those who were positive should not hold a grudge now when I say that it takes more than positive thinking to make ideas work. And if the fundamentals are wrong no amount of positive thinking can ever help. 

Like I say going for a ban in the current state of SWM in Maharashtra is like attempting a Phd even before clearing kindergarden. A number of urban local bodies cannot even be considered born when it comes to their grasp of the most basic of laws of the land and how to apply them. And we could see it well in Mumbai itself with silly and stop gap measures abounding but no serious engagement. 

For those without a background, I have had a deep engagement with the subject over a long time in Mumbai having worked on the ground and with government through two decades. That engagement provides deeper insight into what works and what doesn’t. It would be good to apply energy on what works rather than on optics, which certainly does not work as much it gives excellent short term returns to a number of stakeholders, not just the politicians.

Below the introductory commentary to this post I am collating all the instances of speaking with the print and electronic media and speaking out my firm and direct criticism of the ban and a few times in panel with the Minister himself who was so enthusiastically championing the ban.

We saw elation in a number of quarters about the ban. A lot of it clearly from people who are part of the political coterie and obliged to halo everything that their party/government does irrespective of (and without any concern for outcome or the environmental consequences) the merits.

Yet others were naive, others plain lazy and wanting to see some good come (and relief for their souls tired of only hearing bad news on the environmental front) without much application of mind. And then those who would like to just go with the flow and be on good terms with the establishment; and that really is such a huge segment in India to almost be the whole.

And the media treading very cautiously. Giving space for somebody like me but also trying to show the government in a positive light as trying to do some good. And if at all then not making any critical remarks on its own, always having someone like me to do the hard hitting.

All in all within less than a year of the formal government notification of the ban, the ban has fallen flat on the more simplistic and visible of its aims – the complete stop on use of the lowly plastic carry bag. Firstly the nomenclature itself was much faulty, was it a plastic carry bag ban or a plastic ban?

Whatever be the case, this another instance of the plastic ban failing is a sad commentary on the state of affairs of environmental governance in Mumbai/Maharashtra. But not very surprising. At a time when we need to be urgent and sincere towards such a serious issue we still have time to be frivolous like this.

In the same year and time as the ban, I came up with the idea of Safai Bank of India, nurtured it within Mumbai Sustainability Centre and the program has firmly established itself in a short duration as a powerful and effective means to handle the waste emerging from millions of biscuit and snack packets sold in multi-layered packaging. This is also in keeping with the laws which enforce Extended Producer Responsibility.  There are no incubation facilities for individuals and ideas which deliver.

As a society we remain unable to provide adequate support to innovation and sincere leadership (there is abundance of insincerity) and will keep meandering the way we do till the same happens.

**********************

2nd July DNA –

Speak up Mumbai – Plastic predicament: Is govt rolling back its tough stand?

My views shared at the end of the link here

 

31st March, 2018

DNA

   

 

 

Indian Express

16th March 2018

Views highlighted below

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DNA

 

 

Mid-Day

Speaking on India Today with Rajdeep Sardesai

(After 14th minute) Here

 

Times Property – 23.06.2018

I speak on how taxation by the government can be a better tool, increasing the price and impacting downstream use.

Times Property 23.06 Plastics

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The first remarks came in November 2017, a few months before the official communication for the ban in March 2018

Total ban on plastic bags in Maharashtra impractical, say environmentalists

Response to ToI story on GMLR

Hi Clara,

Writing with respect to your 17th May story on GMLR. “Green Clearance is no longer needed for SGNP tunnel: BMC

I would like to highlight that the current alignment with tunnels was my proposal and not the original plan by MCGM in 2014 when work first started under SVR Srinivas. Left to the MCGM proposal and alignment of 2014 GMLR would have been ready by now passing through the current Aarey Road. If the tunnel is coming up it is only because some of us disrupted the original alignment and I pushed strongly for the tunnel.

It would be a generally accepted principle that in any newspaper story all important facts pertaining to a matter should be covered and due credit should be provided to those who have played an integral role.

I would like to highlight the following facts for your information and consideration.

1) In July 2014 Aarey Road was handed over for upkeep and jurisdiction from PWD to MCGM. The condition of the road was pathetic and it was one of the major civic issues. The road was till then tolled and yet the road was in a bad condition.

Please have a look at the story below, which clearly highlights the issue and also MCGM plans for GMLR through this road.

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/civic/BMC-to-take-over-Aarey-Colony-road-and-make-it-toll-free/articleshow/40144071.cms?prtpage=1

GMLR as per this alignment in 2014 would be along Aarey Road till Powai and then move northwards along Bhandup pumping station road axis to come to Mulund. In the process 2000 trees were to be cut. There was no alarm from anybody in the city then except Manish Gadia and myself.

 

2) I highlighted the inefficiency of such an alignment in my blog posts and media comments then. My first blog post on the same was on 28th August, 2014

https://rishiaggarwaal.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/gmlr/

Two days after the blog post I sent the first email to Mr. Srinivas on the matter seeking a meeting with him.

Through engaging Srinivas then I single handedly brought a stop to MCGM plans to start the work on widening of Aarey road for GMLR purposes. Manish Gadia was actively involved in the pressure but the initiative to bear down heavily on Srinivas was mostly mine.

We invited a few others, notably Sunjoy Monga and Anand Pendharkar to join in the efforts but there was no participation from either of them right till the end when we tasted success. Not even a congratulatory message.

Copies of the originating email and one later one from Manish Gadia for your perusal

30th August 2014

Recipients list of email on 30th Aug, 2014

Alarm email by Manish Gadia on 6th November 2014

 

3) In November of 2014, the local ward office had clear orders to start cutting trees post Diwali to make way for GMLR preparations. We were continuously in touch with the Assistant Commissioner at P(South) Office and the staff. During the clean-up drive kept at Aarey on 2nd November 2014 I even confronted Ravindra Waikar strongly at the Aarey Garden when he shouted back at me.

On November 11, 2014 we finally got a meeting with Srinivas on the matter. He rejected the tunnel idea (too costly according to him) then suggesting that he will consider an elevated option where neither the road will be widened nor trees cut. I was not sure how this would be possible but we agreed to such a plan as a means to buy time and avert the imminent cutting of trees which was beginning soon.

The tunnel was my most favoured option even then. Though I came for a lot of criticism in the nature community.

Letter submitted on 11th November, 2014 as part of the final meeting

4) The tunnel proposal as described in your article was written by me to MCGM citing all the advantages now ascribed to MCGM. Ranjeet Jadhav of Mid-Day even covered the matter prominently in a full page feature. Please have a look at image below of the article. My views have been covered in great detail. It came to my mind then that Mr. Padikkal and others had also suggested a tunnel option a few years ago, with one arm from the Kandivali end.

Mid-Day article from 27th November, 2014

5) Save Aarey movement was not such a big global name then but it became big because of all these big interventions of 2014 and 2015. Many who are now the face of the movement played no role in many of these developments. The early successes led to the subsequent demise of the movement because there was a rush by all and sundry to be the face of the movement.

In 2014 there was hardly any participation from people forget noisy rhetoric like now. Had there been no opposition from a few of us GMLR would have easily gone ahead on Aarey Road with 2000 trees being cut. With abundant knowledge of the alignment coming up there was no opposition from the large number of members who make up Aarey walkers Club (mostly businessmen who don’t want to mess with the establishment in anyways and would have been at ease with seeing the trees being cut). Nor from Bittu Sahgal or Anish Andheria or Anand Pendharkar or Vanashakti/Stalin (who were still to open their Aarey account)

I love (not like) Aramco

I hardly read papers now. Whatever little news I follow is through what Google throws on its phone feeds. And then once in a while when I do read papers it is with shock and awe. And then sometimes it can lead to a lot of my time being taken away from urgent tasks to write notes like these. A waste. Nothing changes in this characterless country. The only take away? Never read the papers in the morning. At least not when you have a long to do list.

Two news pieces combined wonderfully in the past 2-3 days. I could see some headlines on the new Aramco investment of $44 billion investment in an Indian (or is it a Republic of Konkan) refinery. I think this was the first article I read.

$44 Billion?! Now where did they get that kind of money from? Somehow the money must have gone in to now come out? Here my vices and addictions have made me a pauper who can only sustain his dream projects on small donations from friends and there they have $44 billions! Now I should also learn to make that kind of money.

The interesting part was about how oil at $ 50 a barrel and oil at $ 80 a barrel makes a difference for Saudi Arabia and helps them support financing for some internal agendas. Every business and cause needs funds to sustain itself. And Indians sustain the Saudi business and cause(s) very well. They wholeheartedly subscribe. They love Aramco.

And then I saw this news item while going for this novelty called a newspaper at breakfast today. I had come from travels after a while and sitting for breakfast at home thought of also glancing through the papers. Saw this particular headline on page two, almost choked, went through a spin of thoughts and folded the paper to keep it aside to have my breakfast peacefully. Enough anguish, enough material to write this note. No need to even read the article.

trim 2

The headline was just regurgitating a similar headline from May 2015. Maybe there had been some new development (no) but the ground situation has been exactly the same, maybe even worse. I had even been invited to write a damn article on the development then in the Mumbai Mirror. Thinking that it will make a difference. It even started on the cover page not a sidey page 2 bottom.

I could speak at length about the joke that the Bombay HC is and bring in a dozen other pronouncements by it as case studies but why waste more time?

Walking for me is just not an activity, it is poetry, it is medicine, it is sustainability as a cause, it can be a topic for fiscal implications and most certainly a topic for how the transport planning of our cities should be carried out.

In 2012 I made an attempt to give shape to Walking Project as an advocacy movement, which will accelerate the development of pedestrian friendly roads in Indian cities. I had just come out of a showdown at my job at World Resources Institute where I got into a bad fight with the people who had taken control of a walkability improvement project I had developed with a lot of passion and fondness and were ruining it. The organisation itself is an elegant waste of money. Elegant is the word to note, not waste. As long as elegance is there waste is fine.

Since May 2015 (when I wrote the article on walkability as a fundamental right) and now when I read the article today, Indians have put billions of dollars into the pockets of Saudis and for Walking Project I have raised just about Rs. 100,000 from 5-6 odd individuals. And so the Saudi’s now are in a position to apportion a part of the money they have collected from Indians themselves and make an investment in a refinery of theirs. And here I sit fretting and fuming and wasting more time after reading a news article.

Much patriotic Indians (Mumbaikaars) have shown no support for a home grown initiative, which could at least endeavour to stop the flow of some of those dollars. I still sit on plans of a model road in each of the 24 wards, Andheri Kurla Road, E Moses Road, Senapati bapat Road and so on. Not to mention that in my mind I have plans all mapped out for important roads and junctions in 10 other cities I have visited since 2012.

There is a facebook group with 700 odd people. No activity takes place on the group now because I have decided not to engage people who cannot show character to contribute even 100 rupees a year. And they on their own do not have what it takes to show initiative and dare.

Two years back a think-highly-of-itself (which doesn’t) Rotary Club invited me to speak, two members got impressed with Walking Project and promised Rs. 25,000 each and that’s about it. No news after that. Another member suggested he could help with big sponsorship support but only for a co-founder tag. Ok sure. Self before Service.

The more character and intellectually challenged folks ofcourse do keep asking how any support for an advocacy movement will bring any immediate difference to their own experience of walking. It is like a quid pro quo. I pay the Saudi’s an xyz amount for every litre of fuel and that allows me to with much pomp and show drive around my luxury sedan. If I give you 10,000 rupees what is it that you have to show for the road outside my office? Nothing? Well you get nothing then. Please do not waste my time. I LIKE the activity you are doing. You can have my LIKE, the money is for the Saudi’s.  

While Indians have been luxuriously funding the Saudi business and cause(s), they – or the few I manage to reach through social media and personal interactions – are truly lousy at supporting any of my businesses and causes. Only a handful show the character and temerity to rise above.

My business does not prey on human weaknesses, it requires a certain character on part of the consumer. And that is where lies its shortfall. Weakness is aplenty in the people of India today, character too little. #sanskari

Yes a lot of this use of fossil fuels and outflow of money is needed to sustain the living paradigm we have adopted but a great deal of it is also waste. While we might question the paradigm and there may be differences of opinion on philosophical grounds there is no disagreement that the paradigm can be made a whole lot more energy efficient.  And it can be made energy efficient by only supporting those who will work on that agenda. Not by chanting Hanuman Chalisa.

Walking and cycling friendly cities, ecological waste management, would be so much more energy efficient and prevent millions of litres of diesel being used in the first place but some of us are left to doing pilots and giving quotes to newspapers while the big boys sign billion dollar contracts.

It is easier for a fossil fuel powered model of the world to be sustained because it can be funded. Dry up the funding and the Arabs would be like me and others in the ilk. Issuing requests for donations to sustain their enterprise and ideas.

Some side thoughts towards the end. The Arabs have learnt a lot from the Americans over the decades. After being fooled and used wholesale by the Americans they now have learnt to use the same tricks successfully to become (more) powerful. Everybody learns from the wonderful Americans. I am a product of American thought and action, though of the kind which does not find popular flavour. And so the Arabs have now started deploying the learning on gullible doormat nations like India who can be fooled and used any amount.

From money taken from the Indians they will not be able to create jobs for the same Indians and create a new loyal bureaucracy of people who have always loved to come out of the woodwork and serve up any new colonial master as long as they can get status and some money for lifestyle.

Buddhiheen tanu jaani ke pawan kumar….

Treat your sewage!

I spent December visiting various wastewater treatment facilities and researching on the processes and technology running each facility. Many of these technologies I had already been aware with or interacted but this time it was spending time in detail.

Each facility was marked with the simplicity of process and its eco-friendliness. Each process was treating dirty foul smelling sewage, which you could not stand from a few metres away and generating clear water which you hold in a bottle and bring close to your nose for smelling. With one more treatment level the water could be made potable.

A number of processes in application currently are energy guzzling and use polluting inorganic processes. None of this was the case with these processes.

At a time when all our rivers and wetlands are fouled with sewage and there is a looming water crisis it should be imperative upon every body to adopt such technologies in their circle of influence. And clearly the processes are available to ensure that not a single litre of sewage has to be discharged untreated. Sewage should be preferably treated at the source of generation and not be transported to centralised sewage treatment plants.

Swacch Bharat will be achieved when we have the intelligence to scale up the processes below and support knowledgeable people like showcased in this post.

  1. Constructed Wetland at Aligarh Muslim University

The first facility I visited was a constructed wetland in Aligarh Muslim University, created as part of a Department of Science – EU collaborative project Safeguarding Water Resources in India with Green and Sustainable Technologies (SWINGS). I was visiting Aligarh to meet my childhood friend Hamid who stays there and his wife is a professor at the University. He knew my interest and was kind enough to organise the visit.

The facility was treating one million litres of sewage per day. The sewage was drawn from the sewage treatment plant of the Aligarh Muslim University, which has a strength of about 20,000 students and various departments and generates six million litres of sewage per day. Pictures below show the facility and the processes.

1. What goes in is the black sewage on the right and what comes out is clear water like on the left. The black water is what goes down your toilet, comes from the washing machine, washing utensils, bathroom etc. When it goes untreated or partially treated into the rivers then that is the colour it imparts to the river as well.

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2. Raw sewage of one million litres is drawn daily from a common collection point where six million litres is collected. Sewage drawn from the collection point and stored into the circular tank in the foreground.

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3. Through a process called UASB (read here) the first round of cleaning the sewage happens and the water is treated upto fifty percent.

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4. In the second stage the treated water flows into the Syphon tank where using a mechanical process the water is pushed with force into the constructed wetland bed at a lower height than the Syphon tank.

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5. The constructed wetland has considerable amount of thought gone into its planning and design to ensure that the semi-treated water is optimally distributed through the wetland bed where plants specifically selected for their ability to remedy the water are planted. This is the primary bed and is raised about a metre above the ground.

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6. From the primary bed the water flows down into a secondary bed, where a different set of plants leads to secondary treatment.

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7. This is the quality of the water at this point.

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8. The treated effluent is discharged into the drains and part of it is used for irrigation purposes in the surrounding fields.

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9.This is the treated effluent, which is released into the drains.

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10. With one more level of treatment using either UV or AO process the water can be made drinkable. The scientists from the EU who were part of the project used to drink this water during the time they spent here. That’s clear drinkable water in the beaker!

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11. With my friend Hamid Qadeer on the left and Prof. Nadeem Khalil on the right.

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2. Soil Biotech Technology for a housing society in Virar

The second facility I visited was as part of a workshop and training program organised by Centre for Sustainable Environment and Development Initiatives (CSEDI). The three day workshop dealt with the rural context and a field visit was part of the training.

80,000 litres in a residential complex was being treated by Vision Earthcare a startup incubated in the IIT-SINE and having a technology partnership to use the patented soil bio technology developed by Prof. H S Shankar.

We were shown the treatment beds where the soil bio technology media was added for  the process of remedying the sewage. The treated water is then reused for the purpose of flushing. The beds themselves were beautifully landscaped and the first impression clearly is that this is the society garden and not a sewage treatment plant. In this case the plants themselves play no role in the process and are purely for ornamental purposes.

Since there is water shortage in Virar, tanker water supply is a regular expenditure and the society was able to save on the same. The excess water was discharged into the storm water drain.

  1. Dr. S. Chandrashekar in the grey suit explaining to the group the process of sewage treatment. Mr. Pramod Dabrase, Founder Director of CSEDI in the light blue jacket. We are standing over the tank which is the collection tank for the sewage.

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2. On left is the sewage collection tank and right is the network of pipes which carries out the sewage and spreads it in the bed, which has the soil biotech medium which remedies the water.

3. After the remedial action of the soil biotech bed what emerges is clear transparent water

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4. On the right hand side is the soil biotech bed below the landscaping which remedies the waste water.

 

3. Biosanitizer in a commercial building in Nariman Point

The third visit as part of the same training mentioned in point 2 was to a commercial building in Nariman Point which was treating 90,000 litres of its sewage within the compound using Biosanitizer technology.

Biosanitizer is a product emerging from the same research at IIT Bombay into soil biotechnology. It is developed by Prof. Bhawalkar and available in the form of crystals which are added to the sewage and create the remedying process which cleans up the water.

The building had adopted the Biosanitizer based method three years back by replacing its existing process, which was based on conventional processes requiring frequent addition of inorganic chemicals and use of electricity for aeration purposes. And was yet giving treated effluent which was showing odour and colour while used for flushing in the offices.

After adopting the Biosanitizer based method the building was happy with the results. Their recurring expenditure on consumables had become zero and the electricity consumption reduced significantly.

This process seems space saving and in the Mumbai context that is a key criteria.

Workshop participants in conversation with the Managing Committee member of building. The wastewater is collected in a tank behind and dosed with the Biosanitizer.

 

4. Seventh Standard Students at Kendriya Vidyalaya, INS Hamla!

This visit was not in December but a month before and it was most impressive to see seventh and eight standard students go about using phytoremediation to treat sewage from the neighbouring drains as part of their science project! Their enthusiastic science teacher Krishna Ma’am and Principal were as much a delight to meet.

It was the sharpest most energetic and enthusiastic bunch I had met in a long time and it was a pleasure to meet them. Just goes to show just how much talent is available to solve all our problems.

 

Finally this is the information I received from Raashid one of the workshop participants. Only numbers which fail to impress anymore. Need to know what is the outcome after so much expenditure.

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[ This work has happened under the aegis of Mumbai Sustainability Network (MSC) a registered non-profit, committed to the mainstreaming of sustainability pathways. Along with the support and collaboration with Centre for Sustainable Environment and Development Initiatives (CSEDI). If you feel this information is useful for society please consider supporting the work of MSC]