105241 citizens represented in petition delivery to MoEF&CC; Ministry responds with assurance - no dilution of emission norms.

New Delhi | March 30, 2017| The joint secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) Mr Arun Kumar Mehta today assured activists from Greenpeace India, Care4Air and Help Delhi Breathe, that emission standards for thermal power plants will not be diluted.

Over one lakh concerned citizens have signed the Greenpeace petition for a ‘Clean Air Nation’ that was delivered to the MoEFCC today. A group of volunteers and environmental activists, some of them dressed in oversized lung-shaped costumes to visually represent the impacts of worsening air pollution, brought the petition to Environment Minister Mr Anil Madhav Dave, and handed it over to Mr Mehta who is Joint Secretary at MOEF&CC.  Sunil Dahiya from Greenpeace India and Ekta Singh from Care4Air met with Mr Mehta, who on behalf of the Ministry assured them that the emission norms for thermal power plants as notified on 7th December 2015 will not be diluted.  

Campaigners from groups including Greenpeace, Help Delhi Breathe and Care4Air called on Minister Dave to challenge all attempts at relaxing or diluting the Thermal Power Plants emission standards. The MoEF had set December 2017 as the deadline for implementing emission standards for thermal power plants. With less than nine months left, reports suggested that the  government is ready to relax the deadline and worse, even dilute the emission standards that it had set.

“Mr Mehta further added that they were aware of the hazards air pollution causes on human health and he will make sure that the pollution doesn’t increase. We urged MOEF&CC and Mr Mehta to ensure that a monitoring mechanism for implementation of the emission standards is put in place, so that we don’t reach a situation in December where no power plant has complied to the notification,” said Sunil Dahiya, campaigner, Greenpeace India.  

“We desperately need to upgrade TPPs to control air pollution - without these upgrades we will never have clean air” said Reecha Upadhyay, Help Delhi Breathe campaign coordinator.  “Along with upgrading the newer plants, we need to phase out older power plants completely, and use our resource to invest in clean and green renewable energy for India.”

The impacts of air pollution are far reaching and have devastating consequences, including rising economic and health costs. It is a national problem that is killing 1.2 million Indians every year and costing the economy an estimated 3% of GDP.  Studies have linked PM exposure to health effects in both, the short and the long term, with a marked increase in pollution-linked ailments from redness in the eyes to lung cancer and heart attacks. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has, in its own reports, demonstrated the impact of Air pollution on Children in Delhi.

Historically, coal has been a major source of pollution in air as well as water. Reliance on coal has led to loss of forests, wildlife and destroyed livelihoods of thousands of people. Research suggests that growth in coal is responsible for an estimated one lakh  premature deaths in India. 

Ekta Singh from Care4Air, said, “In the immediate, short term, we must focus  on reducing emissions from existing power plants by implementing the standards to control emissions. But in the long term, we need to  recognise that coal is the biggest contributor to air pollution and that breaking free from polluting fossil fuels will lead India towards a cleaner and sustainable future.”

For Further details-

Madhulika Verma; Communication Specialist;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 9971137736

Jitendra Kumar; Communication Specialist; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;  9868167337

Anindita Datta Choudhury; Communication Specialist; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +91 9871515804

Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 9013673250

 

http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/Press/105241-citizens-represented-in-petition-delivery-to-MoEFCC-Ministry-responds-with-assurance---no-dilution-of-emission-norms/

Ken-Betwa link gets forest panel’s nod but with reservations

| TNN | Updated: Apr 9, 2017, 10.19 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The forest advisory committee (FAC), an expert body that advises the government on approval or rejection of major projects involving diversion of forest land has recently recommended the Ken-Betwa river link project (phase 1) in Madhya Pradesh for forest clearance.

But minutes of FAC's meeting held on March 30 when the river linking project which is likely to submerge more than 6000 ha of forest land including prime tiger habitat, was discussed reveals that the panel has several reservations with the project.

 


About 4141 ha of the total area to be submerged falls within the core Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR). FAC in the minutes observed that "If there is no other option and the present proposal is the best possible option available with the government in light of the demand of water in this area and for human welfare, the proposal for diversion of forest land from PTR may be considered...." FAC refers to an earlier report filed by a subcommittee of the FAC, and states that the construction of the proposed Dhaudhan dam inside the reserve is "not the best option in the light of conservation of the pristine forest and its ecosystem." The panel also observes that it's not possible to compensate the loss because the submergence area falls in a riverine habitat which is "unique" and "cannot be replicated elsewhere."

 


FAC has recommended that the loss of forest land has to be compensated by purchasing revenue or other non-forest land. "The project proponents and the government should compensate the loss of forestland and tiger habitat through purchase and transfer to PTR equivalent revenue and private land." The panel also recommended that the height of Dhaudan dam be re-examined to conserve a part of the tiger reserve. FAC suggested the height of the dam may be reduced by 10 meters if not at least 5 meters as a "trade-off between conservation and development." FAC's subcommittee had examined the cost-benefit analysis made by the government. In the cost benefit ratio the capital cost was about Rs 13744 Crore and annual benefit was assessed to be Rs 2829 Crore. The committee had noted that the cost benefit analysis had not paid attention to eco system services lost due to "diversion of unique riverine eco system." FAC has recommended a cost benefit analysis should be done considering the ecological cost of diversion of PTR.

 


Experts from the EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC) said "reading of the minutes makes us feel that FAC has recommended the project half-heartedly. In fact they recommended the project in absence of the essential tools." Pushp Jain of ERC said "It is unbelievable that a project under preparation for more than a decade should not provide actual verifiable submergence area and number of trees going to be lost. It is still not clear whether it would 30, 40 or 50 lakh trees. It is another matter that such huge loss is involved in the project."

 

 

 

 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/ken-betwa-link-gets-forest-panels-nod-but-with-reservations/articleshow/58088502.cms
The FAC has Director General of Forests as Chairman and other senior forest officials as members. It also has unofficial expert members such as Sanjay V Deshmukh, VC of Mumbai University and Deepak Apte, director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Emission standards of TPPs shouldn't be diluted: Green bodies

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi March 30, 2017 Last Updated at 17:03 IST

Green bodies today demanded that emission standards set for thermal power plants should not be diluted and said inadequate execution of such norms worsens air pollution killing 1.2 million people in every year.

Volunteers and activists of the green bodies held a silent protest over this issue and submitted a petition, titled 'Clean Air Nation', signed by over a lakh people, to the Environment ministry, which assured the activists that the norms will not be diluted.



Joint secretary in the ministry, Arun Kumar Mehta, has assured the activists of Greenpeace India, Care4Air and Help Breathe, that emission standards of thermal power plants will not be diluted, Greenpeace said in a statement.

The ministry had notified the emission standards for thermal power plants (TPPs) on December 7, 2015 and had set December 2017 as the deadline for implementing it.

With less than nine months left, reports have appeared that the is ready to relax the deadline and even dilute the emission standards.

"We urged the ministry to ensure that a monitoring mechanism for implementation of the emission standards is put in place, so that we do not reach a situation in December where no power plant has complied to the notification," Sunil Dahiya campaigner of Greenpeace said.

"The joint secretary said he is aware of the effect of air pollution on human health and will make sure that pollution level does not increase," he said.

The impacts of air pollution are far-reaching and devastating which include rise in economic and health expenditure. It is a national problem which is killing 1.2 million Indians every year and costing the economy around 3 per cent of GDP, Greenpeace said.

"We desperately need to upgrade thermal power plants to control air pollution. Without these upgrades we will never have clean air," said Help Breathe campaign coordinator Reecha Upadhyay.

"Along with upgrading the newer plants, we need to phase out older power plants and use our resources to invest in clean and green renewable energy for India," Upadhyay said.

According to various studies, exposure to particulate matters have both short and long-term effects on human health. There is a marked increase in pollution-related ailments like redness in eyes, lung cancer and heart attacks.

"In the short term, we must focus on reducing emissions from existing power plants by implementing the standards. In the long term, we need to recognise that coal is the biggest contributor to air pollution. Breaking free from fossil fuels will lead towards a cleaner and sustainable future," Ekta Singh of Care4Air said.

Coal has been a major source of air and water pollution. Reliance on coal has led to loss of forests, wildlife and has destroyed livelihoods of thousands of people. Research suggests that growth in use of coal is responsible for around one lakh premature deaths in India, Greenpeace said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/emission-standards-of-tpps-shouldn-t-be-diluted-green-bodies-117033000811_1.html

 
 

No deadline to implement long pending Inviolate Forest Policy, says govt

Policy recommends keeping 40% of India's forests safe from all kind of mining

Nitin Sethi  |  New Delhi March 30, 2017 Last Updated at 19:15 IST

The has no deadline by which it will implement the long-pending The policy, awaiting a final approval for more than four years now, requires the to sequester good and biodiverse areas from all kind of mining, including coal. 

 

In its last assessment, the government’s Forest Survey of India had recommended under the policy that over 40 per cent of the country’s existing forest cover should be kept safe from mining of all sorts. This recommendation came in a report, submitted in August 2016. This would require denying mining rights in 285,853 square kilometres of lands out of 701,672 square kilometres. 

 

The fact that has no specific deadline to impose this policy was revealed through a response to an application in February 2017. While the policy has been kept in limbo the has continued to give clearance to some of the coal blocks that fall into a deeply pruned list of inviolate areas on a piece meal basis. 

 

The policy was initiated during the era by the then minister Jairam Ramesh in 2011. It was then called No-go policy. At that time it was to look protecting good forest areas only from But it faced opposition from within the cabinet itself leading Ramesh to relatively prune down the list of coal blocks to be denied permissions. Even this diluted-down version faced opposition from within the as Jayanthi Natarajan took charge in place of Ramesh. She was asked to let clearances be given on a piecemeal basis and get the draft policy revised using better scientific methods. A committee of experts set up within the ministry did so and in 2013 in its report detailed the parameters by which rich forest areas could be identified to be kept safe not only from coal but all kind of mining activities. This came to be known as the inviolate forest area policy

 

But, instead of implementing the policy, towards its last days, the began a process of reviewing and diluting its application after Natarajan was removed as minister. When the took over, this process of dilution continued. The ministry consulted the coal ministry and its institutions on repeated times to see how different tweaking to the criteria for selecting inviolate patches would impact coal blocks and coal-bearing areas. Documents accessed through show that the coal ministry repeatedly asked for dilution of the inviolate forest area parameters and in several cases the ministry relented. 

 

As early as mid-2015 the Forest Survey of India (FSI), a agency that maps country’s forest resources, told the ministry that out of the total 835 coal blocks it assessed 49 were found to be totally in the inviolate zone. Originally 206 blocks had been identified as inviolate.  The pointed out in its 2015 correspondence that another 417 blocks would also face partial restrictions if the inviolate policy was imposed using all the recommended parameters.  informed the that 4 operational coal blocks fell totally within inviolate forest areas and another 117 operational coal blocks would be impacted if the also tried to protect first order rivers that are critical for the good from This hydrological parameter had also been recommended by the experts as one of the several parameters for delineating rich forest areas but the coal ministry has objected to using this criteria and suggested severe dilution to it as it could potentially impact a large number of  

 

The then also undertook an assessment of how much total forest area needed to be protected from all kinds of mining and not just coal. This report was submitted to the in August 2016. The recommended protecting a bit more than 40% of India’s from all kind of mining. 

 

The ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee, which recommends whether should be given over for mining and other activities has begun using this data to make its recommendations at least in some cases, public records of the ministry show. But a universal blanket application of the policy to sequester rich as a default has not been taken because the has not approved the policy. 
 
http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/no-deadline-to-implement-long-pending-inviolate-forest-policy-says-govt-117033001135_1.html